Early Mock Draft: Round 3

I’m not participating in the first RotoGraphs mock draft of 2015 (which, as you can see, is almost over). Thus, it’s easier for me to critique (read: take jabs at Mike Podhorzer), because, without a team to criticize, I don’t have to worry about retribution. Yeah, that’s right, I’m an impartial observer, and the Pod Squad is in the crosshairs.

Round 3 is on the docket. In case you missed them: other writers’ looks at Round 1 and Round 2.

Some big-time pitchers came off the board in Round 3. They don’t interest me. Eno already put Braun and Brantley against each other in a steel-cage match. A few other things occurred to me, most having to do with a particular position.

OVR Player TM POS Manager
25 Josh Donaldson TOR 3B Dan
26 Adrian Beltre TEX 3B Pod
27 Corey Kluber CLE SP Zach Sanders
28 Ryan Braun MIL OF enosarris
29 Michael Brantley CLE OF Paul Sporer
30 Justin Upton SD OF jhicks
31 Max Scherzer FA SP Scott Spratt
32 Evan Longoria TB 3B cwik
33 Madison Bumgarner SF SP ColinZarzycki
34 Carlos Gonzalez COL OF wydiyd
35 Buster Posey SF C Blue Sox
36 Jason Kipnis CLE 2B wiers

Obviously, third base has become a duller position. You can see how it looks different from last year’s ADPs. Miguel Cabrera is no longer eligible there. In some leagues last year, Edwin Encarnacion could still have been slotted at that spot. Those losses have dropped the fantasy temperature of the hot corner by several degrees. This isn’t exactly breaking news.

The middle and tail end of the position are also flooded with uncertainty, though. There are exceptions, of course. Still, the loss of a couple of big-time pieces at third exacerbates the issue a little, I think.

I’d say that it doesn’t look like shortstop, except that it kinda does. Anthony Rendon is, at least based on how this draft has gone, the clear-cut stud, the way Troy Tulowitzki is at the 6. Then there are a few high-end choices, one perceivably pretty reliable (Donaldson, Desmond), and one or two not so much (Beltre’s dip in home runs and fly-ball rate last year having put him in that questionable category, similar to Hanley Ramirez, just for, mostly, a different reason). Then there’s a bunch of eh, ooh, meh, and oh. All the SS dudes went just before the sorta comparable 3B dudes.

Depending on how my draft was shaking out, I might prefer Rendon as a 3B rather than a 2B. It’s nice to have that kind of flexibility as you draft, not just when you play, obviously. It’s kind of intangible valuable. That’s something you don’t get with Tulo, just like the 65 games he’ll miss.

I don’t advocate a scarcity approach, really. In a shallow league, scarcity is virtually nonexistent, as Dan tried to emphasize, and it’s kind of close to that state even when not. But I like to know about where players I hope to target at positions I consider a bit dicey tend to go. It all depends, of course, but in the context of this draft. …

For example, I might be jonesing to take Donaldson or Beltre in this round. If I choose near the beginning of it, the way Dan and Pod (terrible pick, by the way) did, then I’d obviously feel very good about my chances. If I’m closer to the middle, then I might consider one of the two in the second round. Longoria has never really been my cup of tea, but I have to mention him because I’m talking about this round and his position – and hey, his price tag has become reasonable. I wouldn’t need to land Beltre or Donaldson just because either was a target, naturally.

Enough about third base. There’s a case to be made against Upton, but I don’t care to make it. Gonzalez is the polarizing player for fantasy purposes – a previously perennial first-rounder who has a serious health thing going on. Some people will probably be willing to spend that kind of pick, or better, on Car-Go. Others won’t put him in their top 100 (so I’ve read). The third round is definitely too much for me, right now, I’d say.

I’m interested in Kipnis if that’s about the time he goes. According to early ADPs from the NFBC, though, he won’t even cost that much. In that case, I’d want him quite a bit. It’d be kind of nice to pair him with one of those third-round third basemen.

Everybody drafts for different reasons – to practice, to make statements, to give readers a guide – in mock drafts, so I don’t care to nitpick individual choices. Except Podhorzer’s. We can’t draw conclusions from anything here, anyway. But we can have a little fun.

Nicholas Minnix oversaw baseball content for six years at KFFL, where he held the loose title of Managing Editor for seven and a half before he joined FanGraphs. He played in both Tout Wars and LABR from 2010 through 2014. Follow him on Twitter @NicholasMinnix.

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Mike Podhorzer

The Pod Squad will dominate the dream world and make a mockery of your poorly conceived analysis! 🙂