In case you may have missed it, I really like fantasy baseball. While it might not be exactly 10 more, I fully intend on getting into as many mock drafts as my free time allows. For now, let’s examine my roster from our draft. I’ll leave the comment section to grade me, though I’ll try to set the context of each pick. I picked at the turn, probably my favorite spot in snake draft formats so if someone is a fifth rounder but you see them as a sixth, it’s basically the same thing for me with back-to-back picks. Rather than bombard you with thousands of words at once, today we’ll look at my infield, with the outfield and pitchers coming in separate posts.
Catcher — Brian McCann, 133rd
I went against my normal trend of waiting on a catcher, especially in single catcher leagues, and grabbed McCann in the 12th round, 133rd overall. Devin Mesoraco went four picks later and given serviceable guys like Evan Gattis and Wilin Rosario went as late at the 16th and 17th round respectively, this pick looks even worse.
First base — Joey Votto, 61st
Votto’s health needs to be the first, second and third thing to consider when selecting him to join your fantasy team. He appeared in just 62 games last year, however he did appear in all 162 in 2013. Of course in 2012 Votto made it into 111 games, and 161 in 2011, so we have quite the roller coaster here. Since his 37 dinger campaign in 2011 we’ve seen Votto’s ISO drop over 100 points and his slugging dip almost 200 points. Even if he never again tops the 30-home run mark, both Steamer and the fans expect a 20 dinger season with strong ratios. For a sixth round pick, 61st overall, I’m not upset. Prince Fielder was off the board 11 picks after I selected Votto for those interested.
Second base — Jason Kipnis, 36th
A pretty controversial pick both then and now. Some thought I was breaking my arm reaching for a guy coming off an injury, others saw it as a great buy-low pick. Mock Draft Central’s ADP has Kipnis going at 29 for their four qualifying drafts, though Fantasy Pros have him ranked at 80, with the highest being 36 and the lowest ranking at 162 (!?). I don’t see a terribly deep position at second and wanted someone at least with a pulse there. I think a middle of the order hitter who can post a 20-20 season with a .260 average is worth a third/fourth round pick, even when considering Kipnis’ risk.
Third base — Manny Machado, 108th
I’m putting my infield in one big basket, and on the front of that basket is says “FRAGILE” in big stenciled lettering. Despite undergoing another knee surgery, I’m hopeful for Machado having another strong season. I don’t think a .280 average with 15 or so home runs is out of the question for him, assuming he enters spring training healthy, but this was still a relatively poor pick. This was probably my biggest stretch of a pick, and I wish I didn’t grab him so early.
Corner infield — Matt Carpenter, 109th
Yep, in back-to-back picks I grabbed two third base eligible players. Part of it was to handcuff Machado in case his knee is worse than I thought, but mostly because I love Matt Carpenter there. If I could do it again I’d roll with Carpenter at 108 and someone else here. Alas, plugging Carpenter in here isn’t so bad.
Shortstop — J.J. Hardy, 252nd
That infield basket should have “BOUNCE BACK” written next to fragile. Hardy poses a power threat and could hit 20 dingers again, just like he has in three out of the past four years. Hardy’s average will never impress but in the mid 200’s of picks, upside tends to be scarce. This seems like an appropriate place for him to be taken, but Hardy is my only SS eligible player, thus making me a little less than luke-warm on the pick. At this point the only other available SS were Erick Aybar, Asdrubal Cabrera, Jordy Mercer, Andrelton Simmons, Yunel Escobar and then it gets worse. I’m fine waiting on a shortstop and should have done the same with my catcher.
Middle infielder — Jedd Gyorko, 204th
Another 20 home run upside player, but another batting average drain. As up or down as someone may be on Gyroko after his dismal 2014 season following up his breakout 2013, this feels like an appropriate place for him. The next MI eligible player after Gyroko was Brett Lawrie eight picks later, and I’m happy I got Gyroko. I’m less happy my A’s got Lawrie, but that is neither here nor there.
What this infield lacks in rate stats, they have the potential to make up for in counting stats, save steals. Or the wheels could fall off my team and they’ll all miss 40+ games each. Good thing this was a mock, right? As iffy as this infield is, I have a ton of confidence my outfield will help with the missing stolen bases and I’m really high on my pitching. If I were to grade this infield I would give it a C-. Decent upside, but lots of questions marks, with a pretty significant gaffe with grabbing Machado so early and a lesser mistake on McCann. I’ll chalk up the mistakes on being jet lagged, as I spent half of the draft in Las Vegas at CES (basically nerd heaven) for TechGraphs.
You can catch David spouting off about baseball, soccer, esports and other things by following him on twitter, @davidwiers.