Fantasy Baseball: Baseball Prospectus AL-only Mock Draft Review

On Wednesday, February 12, 2014, I participated in the Baseball Prospectus AL-only fantasy baseball auction mock draft. This was a 12-team, 5×5 Roto league which included some of the most prolific fantasy sports entities in the industry including Baseball Prospectus, Fox Sports, BaseballHQ, RotoWire, USA Today, Mastersball, and Fangraphs. Not only was I drafting with a great group of guys, but the overall experience using CBS’s mock draft software made things go extremely smoothly. Normally an auction draft can last more than four tedious hours, but this went relatively quickly and finished well ahead of that (thanks also in large part to commissioner Mike Gianella and his tireless efforts).

Jose Reyes TORListed below is the complete roster of the team I drafted with a standard $260 budget. Going into this draft, I knew I wanted to land at least two superstars with the expectation I would have to sit tight after that. The way things played out, I didn’t have to sit around too long. In fact, I was able to land three superstar players at what I would consider reasonable prices – Miguel Cabrera ($41), Jose Reyes ($29), and Adam Jones ($28). Collectively this trio provides elite level production in all five Roto categories so I am pleased with my decision to be aggressive.

C Jose Molina-TB ($1)
C Kurt Suzuki-MIN ($1)
1B Adam Dunn-CHW ($9)
2B Logan Forsythe-TB ($2)
3B Miguel Cabrera-DET ($41)
SS Jose Reyes-TOR ($29)
MI Grant Green-LAA ($1)
CI Manny Machado-BAL ($16)
OF Adam Jones-BAL ($28)
OF Alfonso Soriano-NYY ($19)
OF Dexter Fowler-HOU ($17)
OF Daniel Nava-BOS ($10)
OF Aaron Hicks-MIN ($7)
U Derek Jeter-NYY ($1)
P Jon Lester-BOS ($15)
P R.A. Dickey-TOR ($11)
P David Robertson-NYY ($19)
P C.C. Sabathia-NYY ($13)
P C.J. Wilson-LAA ($12)
P Luke Gregerson-OAK ($3)
P Matt Thornton-NYY ($1)
P Colby Lewis-TEX ($2)
P Kyle Drabek-TOR ($1)

Adam JonesI was very happy getting both Cabrera and Reyes, but when Adam Jones was nominated shortly thereafter I decided to pounce.  Jones is arguably the second best outfielder in AL-only leagues behind Mike Trout.  He is consistently hitting around .280 and has seen steady increases in his home runs and RBI over the past few years.  He is in the prime of his career so it is not unreasonable to expect 35 home runs and 110 RBI from him to go along with 100+ runs scored and double digit stolen bases.

After making the decision to add Jones as my third elite hitter, I knew I would have to forego an elite pitcher. Sure I had the money available to spend, but then I would have extremely limited resources to put together any type of deep pitching staff. So instead of spending $25-$30 on a top level pitcher, I ended up with four top of the rotation pitchers for a total of $51 (Lester, Dickey, Sabathia, and Wilson). Are they as good as the top pitchers such as David Price, Justin Verlander or Felix Hernandez? No. But they are good enough collectively to provide solid and consistent production despite a couple of these pitchers having rough seasons in 2013. I expect both Sabathia and Dickey to bounce back, maybe not to 2012 levels but at least better than 2013.

In terms of closers, I was only able to get David Robertson who will be taking over for Mariano Rivera in New York. While that sounds good on paper, Robertson still needs to prove he has the endurance and mental toughness to close games. He has been a very effective set-up reliever the past few years, but the 9th inning is quite different than the 8th inning. I also drafted Luke Gregerson who could get some saves if Oakland’s new closer, Jim Johnson, struggles during the season.

Don’t be fooled by the fact I got Derek Jeter for $1.00 because that is unlikely to happen in a real draft. The settings in this particular CBS draft were so that any player who didn’t have 20 games at any position in 2013 only qualified as a Utility player. So I patiently waited until all eleven other teams filled their utility spots and then I bid on Jeter and was able to win him for $1.00 because he didn’t qualify as shortstop or middle infield.

As you also noticed, my catchers are not very impressive. I typically punt catchers because I don’t think they are usually worth early round picks or significant auction dollars. If Brian McCann could have been had for under $15.00 then I would have made a play for him. But he went for well over that so I sat back and picked up the scraps.

Overall this team has a lot of power with Cabrera, Jones, Soriano, and Dunn. Dunn will kill me with his Rob Deer-like batting average, but hopefully Cabrera is competing for another Triple Crown and can help offset that. I should be good with runs scored and RBI between Cabrera, Reyes and Jones. Finally, I am set in terms of speed with Reyes, Jones and Fowler who can all swipe more than 20 bags. My pitching is the biggest weakness, so I will be heavily relying on Sabathia and Dickey to turn the clock back a little.

Let me know what you think of this team.  Send your comments to me by email at michael.stein@fantasyjudgment.com or through social media on Facebook and Twitter (@FantasyJudgment).

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