Fantasy Baseball: Mock Draft Review

I recently participated in a fantasy baseball industry mock draft hosted by that was used for their terrific draft kit. This group I drafted with was a “who’s who” of the fantasy baseball world so I had to be on top of my game. It was a 15-team mixed Roto league with standard 5×5 categories. I was randomly assigned the 10th overall pick which I was happy about because there is a lot of anxiety over having to decide between the second tier of elite players after the top three or four are off the board.  By the 10th spot, the decision should be easily narrowed down.  For the record, being 10th made it a little easier to accept the fact that I would not be able to draft Paul Goldschmidt.

Here is a breakdown of the players I drafted in the order of which round they were selected in:

Robinson Cano SEA1. Robinson Cano (2B-SEA)

I will be the first to admit that I expect a decrease in Cano’s statistics with his move to Seattle. But he is still by far the best second baseman in both real and fantasy baseball so he is worth the pick at number ten. He should still hit close to .300 but I do not foresee another season of 25-30 home runs.

2. Prince Fielder (1B-TEX)

It surprised me to have a choice of Prince Fielder or Joey Votto in the second round of this 15-team league. I went with Fielder because I love his power potential in the warm air of Texas. Votto is an on-base machine, but his home run and RBI totals over the past couple years did not appeal to me.

3. Josh Hamilton (OF-LAA)

Shin-Soo Choo was all queued up but then he was taken one pick before me. Instead I went with Josh Hamilton hoping for a big comeback season in 2014. If I could do it over again, I probably would have gone with Matt Holliday is a sure thing as opposed to a calculable risk.

4. Madison Bumgarner (SP-SF)

I knew I wanted to take my first starting pitcher here and some of my other options were Zack Greinke and Chris Sale. But after looking at Bumgarner’s statistics over the past three years, I really see him elevating his game to the next level. Bumgarner could be a legitimate Cy Young candidate and is someone I am targeting to win close to 20 games and strike out over 200 batters.

5. Kenley Jansen (RP-LAD)

With Craig Kimbrel already off the board, I had my choice of Kenley Jansen or Aroldis Chapman here. Jansen can be an injury risk, and if he struggles the Dodgers have several former closers in the bullpen who can take over. But I think he will settle in as a dominant closer and should be a lock for 35-40 saves on a very good Dodgers team.

6. Pablo Sandoval (3B-SF)

Sandoval doesn’t have any more wrists he can break on his violent swings. He also lost a ton of weight during the off-season so the hope is that he is more durable in 2014. I have been burned in other drafts waiting too long to take a third baseman, so I grabbed Kung Fu Panda banking on a comeback season.

7. Masahiro Tanaka (SP-NYY)

This is a bit of a gamble since Tanaka is completely unproven in Major League Baseball, but his resume is impressive enough. He has a chance to shine on the biggest stage in New York, and if he is half as good as he was in Japan then he will make a perfectly acceptable second fantasy starter.

8. Shane Victorino (OF-BOS)

The Flyin’ Hawaiian had a nice year in his debut with the Red Sox.  While he may not run as much as he used to, he is still very productive across the board and will provide solid numbers in terms of batting average and runs scored.  If he can stay healthy, he could still swipe 20 bases which would be much needed as my team does not have a lot of speed.

9. Brian McCann (C-NYY)

My normal strategy is to punt catchers because I don’t put much value in them. Catchers are typically more prone to injury and they don’t play every day. But when I saw Brian McCann still available in the 9th round, I had to pounce. McCann should thrive in New York and is a strong candidate to hit 25 home runs with the short porch in right field at Yankee Stadium. I consider this one of the biggest steals of the draft.

10. Jon Lester (SP-BOS)

I really like Jon Lester this year for a couple reasons.  First, he showed that 2012 was a fluke because he had a great bounce-back season last year thanks in large part to the return of John Farrell.  Second, he is a free agent at the end of the year and will be looking to cash in.  He has already indicated he would take a hometown discount to stay in Boston, so he is pitching with a purpose.

11. Carl Crawford (OF-LAD)

I have always felt that Carl Crawford was overrated, even during his glory days on Tampa Bay.  From a fantasy perspective, I never quite understood the infatuation with him.  Yes he used to steal 40+ bases and hit for a decent average, but that was about it.  Now he is older, broken down, and could be part of a 4-man platoon in Los Angeles.  He is getting paid big bucks and seems to be past his injury woes, so there is some hope he can provide Crawford-like numbers if he can stay on the field.

12. J.J. Hardy (SS-BAL)

This was a little bit of a surprise that Hardy lasted this long.  He is not an elite shortstop by any stretch of the imagination, but any time you can get a shortstop who can hit 25-30 home runs is a real advantage.  He doesn’t provide much in terms of batting average and he is getting older, but I still expect a 20 home run campaign which is great value for a 12th round pick.

13. John Axford (RP-CLE)

After being a GM who has been burned by John Axford before, I reluctantly made this pick in need of another closer.  Axford will be given the chance to close games again for Cleveland.  But I would expect the leash will be short with other options like Cody Allen and Vinny Pestano waiting in the wings.

14. R.A. Dickey (SP-TOR)

It is hard to believe how things change in just one year. In 2013, Dickey was highly sought after in fantasy drafts coming off his magical Cy Young Award and being part of Toronto’s revamped rotation. But nagging injuries prevented Dickey from being able to effectively throw his hard knuckleball and the results were not good. He rebounded in the second half, but I don’t expect a return to his 2012 level of production.

15. C.C. Sabathia (SP-NYY)

I continued filling my pitching staff with another reclamation project as Sabathia looks to rebound from a horrendous 2013 season. For the first time in his career, he really battled injuries and ineffectiveness over a prolonged period of time. He has a ton of innings in his arm which is a big concern for him going forward. But I still think I can squeeze 12-15 wins and a sub-4.00 ERA out of him.

16. Derek Jeter (SS-NYY)

You would never know I strongly dislike the Yankees after making Jeter my fourth Bronx Bomber. I just couldn’t let Jeter pass by again so I grabbed him as a late round bargain to fill my middle infield spot. If any 40-year old shortstop can come back from a broken ankle, it’s Jeter especially in his final season.

17. Alex Wood (SP-ATL)

I really liked this pick here as Wood is projected to be in Atlanta’s starting rotation replacing the departed Tim Hudson. Wood looked great during the second half of 2013 and could be the next stud in the Braves’ long lineage of pitchers. He is well worth taking a chance on at this point of the draft.

18. Cody Asche (3B-PHI)

I needed a backup third baseman because Sandoval is always injured, so I decided to take a gamble on Asche who is projected to be the Phillies starting third baseman.  He has the potential to be a good power hitter and has the fortune of playing half of his games at hitter-friendly Citizens Bank Park.  This is the time in the draft where you should take some risks, and I think this one could pay nice dividends.

19. Andre Ethier (OF-LAD)

I wanted to stay away from the Dodgers outfield because they have four players to fill three spots. So of course after already taking Crawford I draft their other overpaid outfielder Andre Ethier. He seems like he should be so much better than he is, but Ethier is just a pedestrian fantasy option who happens to make a crapload of money.

20. Brandon Morrow (SP-TOR)

I must be a glutton because Morrow is one of the most frustrating players to own on a fantasy baseball team. He has overpowering stuff and can rack up strikeouts, but he is frequently injured and tends to run his pitch counts up which prevent him from accumulating wins. He is coming back from a major injury so there will be question marks around him all season.

21. Jake Odorizzi (SP-TB)

Odorizzi was the other key acquisition by Tampa Bay in last year’s James Shields trade. He may not make the rotation out of spring training, but he will be the first one called upon if David Price is traded or if someone gets hurt.

22. Aaron Hicks (OF-MIN)

The Twins want Hicks to earn a starting job in spring training, so I took a chance on this youngster. He struggled during his first stint with Minnesota last year, but he possesses a solid combination of speed and power.

23. Dustin Ackley (2B/OF-SEA)

This is a pick that could be a complete steal as Ackley should find his way into Seattle’s lineup in some capacity. He clearly won’t be playing second base, but he should be in the outfield given the Mariners have way too many options of players who cannot play defense. Ackley had a much-improved second half of 2013 and may just be starting to figure things out.

24. James Loney (1B-TB)

How did a starting first baseman who hits .300 last all the way to the 24th round? No, he likely won’t contribute much in terms of power or RBI. But for my 24th pick I am satisfied getting Loney who I can possibly use as trade bait.

25. Felix Doubront (SP-BOS)

The ERA and WHIP weren’t pretty, but Doubront can strike people out. If he can crack Boston’s rotation and stay there, Doubront will provide nice value with a handful of wins and punch outs.

C Brian McCann-NYY
1B Prince Fielder-TEX
2B Robinson Cano-SEA
3B Pablo Sandoval-SF
SS J.J. Hardy-BAL
CI James Loney-TB
MI Derek Jeter-NYY
OF Josh Hamilton-LAA
OF Shane Victorino-BOS
OF Carl Crawford-LAD
OF Andre Ethier-LAD

P Madison Bumgarner-SF
P Kenley Jansen-LAD
P Masahiro Tanaka-NYY
P Jon Lester-BOS
P C.C. Sabathia-NYY
P R.A. Dickey-TOR
P Alex Wood-ATL
P Brandon Morrow-TOR
P John Axford-CLE

B Cody Asche-PHI
B Aaron Hicks-MIN
B Jake Odorizzi-TB
B Dustin Ackley-SEA
B Felix Doubront-BOS

Overall I think this is a championship-caliber team.  My infield is dynamic in terms of the power and run production, and they should also provide solid batting averages assuming Prince Fielder returns to pre-2013 form.  The outfield is a bit risky with several players who are injury risks.  If Hamilton, Crawford and Victorino can stay on the field, then they should collectively provide great contributions in all five categories.  My pitching staff is decent but not great.  I give that evaluation because we don’t know what Tanaka will be.  If he is as good as he was in Japan, then he gives me a great 1-2 combination with Madison Bumgarner.  I might be a bit light on saves considering Jansen is my only sure-fire closer and Axford is a big question mark.  I would have to make some moves during the course of the season, but overall I like the team I drafted.  Hey, even Mock Draft Central projected my team to be at the top of the standings as well.

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

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