After how poorly my first mock draft went, I was more than a little excited to get back out there and try again. Howard Bender is kind enough to keep me in his Mock Draft Army and we held the first MDA mock of the year yesterday evening, with the tweets and hashtags to prove it. I outlined my “bats first, other than catchers” plan (side note: I’ve been tinkering with an acronym for this, calling it the EBEC plan: Early Bats, Except Catchers) on Wednesday and lets see how well I stuck to the plan, as well as what my team looks like.
Rather than split it up into a detailed breakdown of infield, outfield and pitchers like last time, I’ll display the mock in a different format today by highlighting certain picks and let the comment section decide which version they prefer. The full draft board can be found here with my team below.
If I had a vote for the imaginary award of Mr. Dependable it would go to Matt Holliday. Since I just made up that award, I’m giving myself full voting power. Congratulations Mr. Holliday! Even after your .272 average being the lowest of your career, you still managed 20 home runs and 90 RBIs in 156 games. I believe his average will bounce back to the .290 mark and getting him in the fifth round is more than solid. Holliday posted an 8.5% swinging strike rate, the lowest of his career and that of course helped drive the best contact rate he’s ever had as well. Can you be optimistic on Mr. Dependable? I think so.
There was a stretch of five consecutive outfielders for me from the 4th-8th rounds and of my first eight picks, six were outfielders. I think the outfield offers plenty of options, but not that many upper echelon options. It seems very top heavy with a lot of merely one or two category guys going in the mid and late rounds. I’m happy to go early and often to the outfield to nail down the batting numbers I want.
Despite Evan Longoria playing in 160 and 162 games in 2013-14 respectively, I thought it wise to grab another third baseman. Pablo Sandoval in Boston could prove to be a very nice thing, so having him as my CI or even primary 3B is great in ninth round. The Panda struggled last season against southpaws, but given his switch-hitting ability plus the Green Monster in left field, those struggles could be behind him. His frequent fly balls to left — 42% fly ball rate against left-handed pitchers last year versus a 34.3% FB% against right-handed pitchers — may hit the wall for doubles rather than being caught for outs.
I was happy to support Troy Tulowitzki with my Jhonny Peralta pick. Grabbing Peralta in the 15th brought a smile to my face. If — or when — Tulo hits the DL, I can slot Peralta in as my starting SS and find a MI on the waiver wire. I did not draft a pitcher until the 10th round, but when I finally did, again I went with Trevor Rosenthal as my first thrower off the board. It started a personal run of grabbing five consecutive pitchers where I took James Shields, Glen Perkins, Phil Hughes and Hyun-Jin Ryu with my 11-14 round picks. Starting pitching is incredibly deep, and to be honest I probably could have waited even longer to create my rotation. Picking up Cliff Lee in the 18th round could be the sneakiest pick of my draft.
It was intentional to wait so long on my first baseman, despite my EBEC plan. After Jonathan Burian blasted a 12-gauge sized hold in my plan of waiting to grab Brandon Moss when he nabbed Moss from me in the 18th, I waited another round and picked up Justin Morneau. As relatively shallow as I think the outfield is, first base is crazy deep. It always is, but this year it is loaded. You can find a worthy first baseman late so long as you get your other bats early.
Picking up my second baseman late wasn’t on purpose, but getting Martin Prado — a career .291 hitter with double digit home run power — isn’t too bad. Do I love him? No, but I like him enough in the 20th round.
The EBEC plan shines in the last two rounds where I finally pulled the trigger on my catchers. Chris Iannetta, despite a poor AVG can get on base and hits in a great offense, albeit at the bottom of the lineup. Dioner Navarro isn’t as exciting as Iannetta (and Iannetta is about as exciting as a getting dental work done) but he hits in another strong lineup.
I liked my hitters quite a bit, no surprise there, but I wasn’t too high on my pitchers, thinking I’d be weak there. The projections seem to disagree. (Click below to embiggen)
Where my offense ranks a disappointing fifth, my pitching staff that I largely cobbled together with mid and late round picks rated as the third highest. My overall team ended up projecting tied for second best, but I think it overrates my pitchers and underrates my bats. I think I would be a little light on steals and that is what pushes my offensive projection down. Regardless, I am more than happy to see how this draft played out.
You can catch David spouting off about baseball, soccer, esports and other things by following him on twitter, @davidwiers.