The mock was a 23 round standard 12 team draft (14 hitters / 9 pitchers). Now, I'm done my fair share of research already this preseason, but this was my first mock of the year. I take mock drafting very seriously. It's not only a tool to gauge where players come off the board, but an expert mock like this is published for the masses to see. I wanted to make sure I did everything I could to prepare in a short amount of time to draft the best team possible.
When I entered the draft room right before everything got going, I was pleased to see I had the first pick. I'm comfortable drafting from anywhere, however this year if I had a choice to select my draft spot, I would prefer one of the top 3 slots. Going through all of my rankings and projections, I liked getting an one of the top 3 players, and then another 2 players close together at the turn for rounds 2 and 3. The talent that I project falling in those slots in most drafts would give a great foundation to a team, and I feel this draft absolutely started that way for me.
Before I dive into my picks, you can go here to see the full grid results of every team's picks round by round.
Now onto my pick by pick breakdown of the draft:
Mike Trout (Round 1.01, overall pick 1): Not much to say. Someone might argue Bryce Harper or Paul Goldschmidt, but Trout is an easy pick for me here.
- Edwin Encarnacion (Round 2.12, Overall pick 24): As guys were selected I removed then from my board. I was happy to see him fall to me and another easy selection, simply the best overall player left in my eyes.
Madison Bumgarner (Round 3.01, Overall pick 25): This was the first pick I started to second guess, but looking back am happy I made the pick. I was debating between him and Buster Posey. I thought Posey was fair value in that slot and in a 2 catcher league worth a 3rd round selection, but if I didn't take a stud SP, I was afraid what would be left for me at the end of the 4th round with 22 other pick taking place. Clayton Kershaw and Max Scherzer were already off the board. Bumgarner was my #3 ranked SP and I finally decided to go with him.
- Jacob deGrom (Round 4.12, Overall pick 48): After I took Bumgarner, 6 more stud SP's went. Knowing I had back to back picks and then another huge wait, I felt it was necessary to get another stud to pair with Bumgarner. deGrom was the top guy on my board and then there was a drop in tier, so this ended up being an easier decision than expected.
- Yoenis Cespedes (Round 5.01, Overall pick 49): Shifting my need back to hitting, Cespedes was the top guy I had ranked and again was a relatively easy selection for me here. This early I'm not looking at any positions to fill or stats to acquire, I still want the maximum projected value and he was the guy still on the board for me.
- Ryan Braun (Round 6.12, Overall pick 72): Honestly, I felt like this was my first steal of the draft. I understand he's a bit older and played through injuries last year, but he's not washed up by any stretch. I had him ranked very close to Cespedes, and getting him essentially 24 picks later was a great deal. A number of younger upside guys were chosen while Braun fell and I was happy to take him.
Adrian Beltre (Round 7.01, Overall pick 73): Similar to my Bumgarner pick, I had a tough time with this one. My other consideration was Kenley Jansen. I'm a big fan of at least 1 elite closer if possible and none were off the board yet. I was almost certain the run would start this or next round and if I didn't take one, I would risk missing out. I took that risk and filled my 3B slot with another guys that's a bit past his prime, and while I expect regression, I still project Beltre to put up solid numbers.
Mark Melancon (Round 8.12, Overall pick 96): My assumption was correct and the top tier closers did go in the next few picks. While Melancon isn't in my top tier, he's close and I took him to anchor my bullpen staff. I almost went with David Robertson instead, still debating that I should have, but happy anyways with this pick.
- Anthony Rendon (Round 9.01, Overall pick 97): I'm banking on a bit of a bounce back with Rendon this season. All of last year was essentially a wash for him, but lets not forget how successful and on the rise he was in 2014. This kid is only 25, and should be primed to score a ton of runs in what should be a much better Nationals lineup this season.
- Lance McCullers (Round 10.12, Overall pick 120): At this point pitching was going off the board a bit more quickly and I wanted to lock up my third SP. He was the top SP left on my board and I really liked what I saw out of him last year. There is some risk here, but I also think the upside is worth it with this kid.
- Salvador Perez (Round 11.01, Overall pick 121): In a two catcher league, I'm fine with taking 2 bleh catchers, however I have Perez ranked higher than most. He hits in a good Royals lineup and I think he has a much higher floor than most other catchers out there. He also gets a significant amount of at bats compared to most other catchers.
- Hector Rondon (Round 12.12, Overall pick 144): Since I took Melancon in the 8th, a number of other closers went off the board. Looking at what was left, there were only a couple left that I felt were safe and reliable options. I also knew if I didn't take Rondon here, I would have no shot later in the draft. This seemed like the most logical pick at the time.
Scott Kazmir (Round 13.01, Overall pick 145): I had a choice here of a starter or a number of other batters I had queued up. I felt that the risk of missing out on a SP was greater than missing out on the hitters I had queued, so I went with my 4th starter. Then the decision came down to which one? Kazmir, Jeff Samardzija, and Hisashi Iwakuma were in my queue. I opted with Kazmir for a few reasons. Iwakuma's recent injury history scared me a bit, and I just don't have confidence I know what I'm getting out of Samardzija other than a good K/9 rate. Kazmir going to the NL on a good team seemed safest to me.
- Josh Reddick (Round 14.12, overall pick 168): What I felt was another steal. He was in my queued group of bats when I took Kazmir and a perennially under-rated plate. Reddick doesn't do anything elite, but does everything well. 20 HR's, 10 SB, and .285 is very realistic in my opinion this year for Reddick.
- Matt Duffy (Round 15.01, Overall pick 169): Another guy that was in my queue in round 13, I love Duffy for this year. I expect much of what we saw from him last year and 15/15/.285 is in play for him. Another 5 tool type of player I want late.
Evan Gattis (Round 16.12, Overall pick 192): The big whoops of the draft. Lesson learned, don't answer a conference call while drafting. Gattis is a fine player and I'm fine with him on my team for the stats I projected for him, but (and this is a big but), I thought when I took him that he had catcher eligibility... he did not. I initially though: "Wow, Perez and Gattis at catcher, that has to be the best pair in the draft". Then I saw him in my utility slot. Again, I'm fine with him, 25+ HR upside in round 16 works, but not what I thought I was drafting. Had I noticed he was only DH eligible, I would have likely taken Dustin Pedroia instead.
- Jhonny Peralta (Round 17.01, Overall pick 193): Now getting a bit later, I needed to ensure that I started filling out all of my roster spots. In my rankings, after Peralta, there was a pretty big drop off in SS talent, so I went with him.
- Jaime Garcia (Round 18.12, Overall pick 216): As we approached the last few rounds of the draft, I started to look at the positions I still needed to fill and really began to fill my queue with options. Garcia is a guy that I'm higher on than most. I liked his stuff last year and I like that he's on a very good team with a very good pitching coach. He should have a ton of opportunity to succeed and this was an upside pick for me.
- Arodys Vizcaino (Round 19.01, Overall pick 217): While I don't think Vizcaino is a tremendous talent, he was one of the few closers left on the board and I wanted a third. I thought if I pass here, I might miss out on a third closer, so this was another easy pick.
Melky Cabrera (Round 20.12, Overall pick 240): I really wanted Josh Harrison to fall to me here, but that wasn't the case. I'm super high on Harrison and looking back should have taken him a few rounds sooner. That said, I'm still happy with Melky. He has always been a very good contact hitter and as a 5th OF, should hit in a good spot in the White Sox order.
- Daniel Murphy (Round 21.01, Overall pick 241): Stunned he was here this late, a wonderful middle infield option. I know fully well I'm not getting the Daniel Murphy what was in the playoffs last year, but I am going to get a very solid player in what I expect to be a good Nationals lineup.
- Yadier Molina (Round 22.12, Overall pick 264): Needed a second catcher (whoops), took the top guy I had ranked left. I don't love it, but Ican live with it.
- Marco Estrada (Round 23.01, Overall pick 265): With my last pick I took my 6th starter and Estrada was the best of a meh looking pitchers.
When everything was over, I took a step back and looked at my team as a whole. Just at first glance, my first thought wasn't great. I thought it was a boring squad with not a ton of upside. I didn't really take any of the big name prospects that everyone was tripping over themselves to get. But then I thought more about it, and I was really able to get some great values because of my patience.
Let's take a deeper look at my projected stats:
For a deeper look at my projected pitching stats:
So very much different than first glance, I ended up quite happy with the team I drafted. Outside of the Gattis mistake, things went very well.
Finally, and not something I put a ton of stock into, there was a link to the FantasyPros.com draft analyzer once the draft completed. I very much understand these analyzers don't always provide accurate projections, however if there is any one I would put some trust into, it's FantasyPros. Their logic using experts consensus rankings and projections is one of the best methods of draft research available in my opinion. That said, here are the results :)
Thanks again to Howard Bender for hosting this mock draft and thanks to all that participated. It was very fun and I'm already looking forward to the next one.