A Draft In Review

Edit: The entire draft can be found in this Google document set up for your viewing pleasure.

The RotoGraphs crew has already finished one (slow) mock draft, and while there has been plenty of position and round based evaluation, what follows is a team evaluation. I’ll be the first to admit my mistakes and I’m not too proud to laugh at them either.

My final team is as follows, displayed in standard ESPN format. While normally 25 man rosters is the norm, I’ll have two empty BN spots. I would have filled those spots with two relievers.

Position Player Round Taken
C Alex Avila 19
1B Adam Dunn 8
2B Jose Altuve 6
3B Ryan Zimmerman 3
SS Jimmy Rollins 7
OF Josh Hamilton 2
OF Austin Jackson 5
OF Andrew McCutchen 1
OF Curtis Granderson 4
OF Norichika Aoki 15
UTIL Jedd Gyorko 16
CI David Freese 12
MI Marco Scutaro 14
P Yovani Gallardo 9
P Jeff Samardzija 10
P Jon Lester 11
P Lance Lynn 13
P Hisashi Iwakuma 17
P Brandon League 18
P Ernesto Frieri 20
P David Robertson 21
P Mike Fiers 23
BN Sean Marshall 22

The Bad
In retrospect, there were plenty of mistakes made. Probably the two most glaring is seeing myself breaking my arms trying to reach for both a third basemen and a second basemen too early. Panic-drafting a third basemen in the third round when plenty of other choices were still available much later in the draft is an inexcusable mistake. When it comes to Altuve, my eyes got big for those steals and that average. Making a grab for Jedd Gyorko so early is regretful as well. I think he’d be there in the 25th round. I still think he’ll see plenty of time with the San Diego Padres this season, but to spend a mid round draft pick on him is over zealous at best.

On the pitching side of things, any strikeouts that I’m missing by not taking an elite starter — not to mention no pitcher at all until the 9th round — should be counter-balanced by my late round choices with those relievers and Frieri. My pitching staff is hands down the question mark on this team, but for good reason: pitchers spring up left and right, it is rare to find a position player worth streaming or one who catches lightning in a bottle. I’ll risk my pitching staff on the waiver wire, but give me hitters. Luckily I now realize that in mixed leagues I can afford to wait on middle infielders and continue to spend big on outfielders.

The Good
My plan was to take power above all else, fill in steals and average where I could, to wait on pitchers and to avoid expensive and established closers altogether.. To say that I accomplished that would be an understatement. Going from 2012′s totals, my team has plenty of home run power and I took four players with 30 or more steals last season in McCutchen, Aoki, Altuve, and Rollins. Points in batting average will be low or middle of the pack, but I feel like I should lead the league in both home runs and RBIs. To be middle of the road in average and a tick above average in steals is something I can deal with. My blend of lead-off type hitters as well as mashers should provide me with plenty of runs as well. All things told, I’m not happy how my offense was drafted, but the end justified the means. I really like this offense. I was very happy to wait on a catcher for so long — nothing out of the ordinary there for me — but especially happy to take a solid player like Avila there.

My two favorite picks have to Granderson in the 4th and Aoki in the 15th. I think I lucked out on each one to grab them in their respective places. Fiers in the 23rd is also a pretty solid pick there. Hard to complain about that K% so late in the draft.

My plan of not taking pitchers was easy to execute, but I was pleasantly surprised that a lot of players that I really like for 2013 were all available. I guess so goeth the nature of mixed leagues. Paying for saves isn’t something I’ll ever really do, so being able to grab just one in League (even with Jansen breathing down his neck) is just fine, especially at that price.

The Grade
Overall this was a mixed bag of results, just like real drafts. I’ve learned some valuable lessons here (particularly about waiting on my middle infielders) and I hope you have as well. I’m usually my toughest critic, and I would give myself a C+ or B- on this draft. The good outweighed the bad, but the mistakes were awfully glaring in retrospect. Given the way the rest of the league drafted, I think I would finish in the top 5, potentially breaking through with the right moves or with a little luck on the production front.




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36 Responses to “A Draft In Review”

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  1. soamx says:

    Mccutchen and Hamilton I feel were good picks at 1 and 2
    Zimmerman in the 3rd is a reach
    Granderson in the 4th is a reach
    Jackson in the 5th is good
    Altuve in the 6th is really silly
    Rollins in the 7th is ok. Could maybe have waited a round or two, but I don’t know how much SS talent was still on the board
    Dunn in the 8th is really silly
    Freese at 12 I like, but why take him at 12 when you already drafted zimmerman?Probably shouldn’t have wasted a 3rd round pick on a guy you don’t trust that much.
    Gallardo, Lester and Lynn are all guys I’d try to stay away from unless they dropped too far, don’t like any of those picks. Lester is on a steady 3 year decline, his rates and velocity aren’t particularly encouraging. Gallardo hasn’t shown any improvement, actually regressed last year with his walk rate and Lynn well he might not even be in the rotation, if he is, I like him to have a solid year.
    I like the Fiers, Iwakuma and Samardijiza picks more
    I like how you closed the draft out getting Avila, Gyorko, and Aoki with late picks.

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    • Realist says:

      You’re silly for saying Granderson is a reach in the 4th. Very silly. Don’t forget, defense doesn’t matter in fantasy. His RBI, run and HR totals are easily forgotten, and I think he’ll get some more SB’s than he did last year. At least a few more, 15ish.

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    • Ray says:

      Zimmerman in the 3rd is a reach? what does he not do? hits for average and power in the middle of one of the better lineups in the game.

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      • David Wiers says:

        Yeah, I think he is a bit of a reach too, it was a panic-grab. If he’s healthy, he fits there, it’s just that he seemingly has a hard time giving owners 150 games.

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    • David Wiers says:

      Granderson is a reach in the fourth? His ADP is 32.

      I grabbed Freese for my CI slot.

      Dunn was a reach but again, I prioritized power.

      If anything, I took Gyorko way too early.

      The pitchers are clearly the biggest question mark (I think I mentioned that a few times) but I never draft pitchers early, especially in mixed leagues. There isn’t a point to it. I’ll gladly take hitters for the first 8-9 rounds and not look back.

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      • soamx says:

        Maybe reach isn’t the right word for granderson, since he’d likely have been gone by your next pick. I just think he’ll continue to regress, based on his increasing strikeout rate and declining speed, there was probably a better OF available here.
        Zimmerman talent wise is worth a 3rd, but he misses significant time every season.

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    • supershredder says:

      lol this soamx guy is a doofus!

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      • soamx says:

        Dave agrees with most of my assessments
        The pitching staff is ugly.
        Zimmerman, Altuve and Dunn were reaches.
        The only one we disagree on is Granderson. I think he’s in for continued regression.
        He’s a dead pull hitter, pitchers have adjusted the way they pitch to him and his strikeout rate went way up last year.
        In addition to that, his speed has declined significantly which will hurt his average(an average that couldn’t really afford to continue to dip) and he’s no longer contributing steals.

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  2. mdecav says:

    That starting pitching staff is fugly.

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  3. MustBunique says:

    Love Aoki that late, and Avila could bounce back. Nice job not spending on a C.

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  4. Howard Bender says:

    Definitely like the Aoki pick as well. Should post great value as a 15th round selection.

    I don’t necessarily think that Zimmerman was that much of a reach in the third if you believe that you can get a full season out of him. The position, on the whole, thins out fairly quickly in drafts and you just have no idea if you’re going to be able to snag a decent enough guy further down. Injuries are injuries and just because Zim has been hit doesn’t mean that he won’t be able to put up a 25-plus HR season if he stays healthy. Longoria hasn’t been discounted as much and he’s been killing his owners with the dings and dents as well.

    Even if Grandy regresses and hits only 35 home runs, he’s still a great value in the 4th in a standard 5×5 roto league.

    I’m as much of a sucker for Dunn as I am for overloading on speed and was bummed that you grabbed him. He was on my list and thought he might go a round or two later as not many people like drafting him.

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  5. d_i says:

    Round doesn’t help if we don’t know the number of teams. How many teams? I like to compare to my league but I need to calculate the ADPs associated.

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  6. ML says:

    I agree with the pitching strategy; never looks good after the draft but it’s something that can easily be streamed through free agency, especially in public leagues. I was able to snatch some top guys down the stretch last year from teams that burned through their innings before september.

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    • David Wiers says:

      Bingo. Took the words right out of my mouth.

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    • NBH says:

      I used to subscribe to that theory – you can get an ace in R7 or R8 – but in today’s pitching heavy environment I feel that you need two aces to really compete. It’s hard to do well in ERA /WHIP if you don’t have at least one dominant SP. And the more competitive the league, the less likely you will be able to stumble across a waiver wire gem – everyone is looking for quality waiver wire pitching.

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  7. JonathanAicardi says:

    The only picks I don’t like are Austin Jackson, who is a BABIP dip away from hitting .260, and Adam Dunn. Jackson’s just one of those guys who is far more valuable to a real team than a 5×5 fantasy team (and this is a trap many players fall into) since he’s not particularly strong beyond runs and BA and again, BA will fluctuate with him and may even effect his runs to top it off. As a 5th rounder, I can see him hurting you much more than Gyorko or your pitching staff. You might’ve gone with a pitcher there instead of AJ. Marco Scutaro is a similar player. (albeit a much cheaper one) I’m not sure what your plan was there.

    You like Adam Dunn in that he is what he is, but the days of hitting even .260 appear to be over. You could consider him a three category player but that’s disregarding how much he hurts you in batting average, so even there you’re downgrading to a 2.5 cat player just to get the most playing time out of him. It’s not a tragedy at the 8th round, but given the risks you took with Zim, Jackson and Granderson leading up to that, you could’ve done better. Halladay and Peavy were still on the board, for example. So was Mark Trumbo, Konerko and David Ortiz, who get you the dingers without the BA drain. If you’re looking at similar player to Dunn, you might have even gone Ike Davis instead as he’s younger and at least has the possibility of recovering some batting skill.

    But as for Granderson, I find him hard-pressed to deliver another .058 babip on flyballs with his power and his pop-up/fb rate being under 10%, which makes him a real nice value grab there for all the other stuff he gives you. And while Zimmerman was a reach, Freese gives you excellent depth at a weak position, in which case the risk on Zimmerman returning to form is one you can sit on for a while. On the whole, I think your team is well suited to contend, but if you can flip Jackson for a top starter, I say you do it before he has the opportunity to be exposed. Same for Dunn or Scutaro. My guess is you can find an easy Scutaro facsimile on the waiver wire anyway.

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    • David Wiers says:

      You’re worried about Austin Jackson’s BABIP? I’d worry about his plate discipline regressing before his BABIP.

      Yeah, I did reach on Dunn, but I swoon over power.

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  8. JonathanAicardi says:

    I’m not worried about his babip on high-medium-low level. His babip will be high, but it has to be enormously high to keep his average up to where it’s useful. He just doesn’t hit enough balls over the fence to compensate for that, so he could babip at .350, but be an average hitter. That takes a lot of his value away fantasy-wise. His plate discipline is obviously related to how well he hits overall, but his BA, what you collect as a fantasy owner, has swung largely by how often his balls find the field.

    All in all you did nicely though, especially waiting on pitching. Swydan on the other hand nabbed four SP’s aces in his first handful of rounds. Verlander, Darvish, Gio and Cueto? Oh my. He’s a guy you can get to take Jackson if you guys were to actually play this league.

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  9. kid says:

    Collecting great hitters is absolutely the way to go; you will find lots of perfectly usable pitchers as the year progresses (as somebody else noted). Team looks perfectly fine to me for a 12-team league, with the caveat that you’ll have to be scanning FA to keep an eye out for emerging SP.

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  10. Ruki Motomiya says:

    Leaving aside that I like to take one good pitcher relatively early on(I don’t find pitching as easy to stream as everyone else seems to, but maybe that’s me being bad at finding talent), I find a few things in this draft questionable.

    Most notably, Josh Hamilton. He’s a prime candidate for regression: His ISO was almost .050 more than his career, historically speaking he’s been a bit iffy in playing many games, his BB%/K% aren’t encouraging and career-wise he has a somewhat large leftie/righty split(106 wRC+ vs. 146, .200 ISO vs. .266, 6.4% BB% vs. 9.2%, 23.3% K% vs. 18.1%) which means playing him every day can be bad. Assuming you didn’t want to grab Justin Verlander due to not wanting to grab a pitcher, Jose Bautista hits for power, doesn’t have poor splits, has a much more promising BB%/K% and has had a relatively consistant .ISO compared to Hamilton. In exchange, you lose a bit of average. If Bautista’s injury frightens you, you can chance E3, though that’s potentially more risky…Justin Upton should have his ISO rebound and while he isn’t liable to slug quite as many as Hamilton, he’ll also provide a lot more value running and is more stable, though you lose RBIs. Bryce Harper will likely raise his HRs and RBIs with hopefully more games and a year of experience and while he’s unlikely to have the same HR ceiling as Hamilton, he’s still steady for HR power with surplus SBs and less risk. Matt Holliday is a slighly lower ceiling but much less risky Josh Hamilton. And while it’s optimistic to suugest, you could have taken speed and tried to get Jay Bruce later for similiar power to Hamilton.

    The pitching choices are riduculously risky. Lester has been in decline for a while and just posted his worst FIP in a full season and his second worst xFIP. He plays in a tough divsion. Anibal Sanchez has a fine K%, is going to be playing in a weaker division, has a stronger team behind him (standard ESPN scoring counts wins), his ERA isn’t likely to be absurdly higher than Lester’s…Josh Johnson is strictly better than Lester and has played 183+ innings 3 of the last 4 years. So why Lester over Johnson or Sanchez? Iwakuma and Samardizja seem a bit risky to me: Admittedly I might just be more down on Samardizja than most and I’d say it’s a fine pick objectively, Iwakuma is 31, his MLB starting sample size is small, it’s unlikely he has a true talent 7.25 K/9(He hasn’t had a K/9 of more than 7.1 since 2007 and it’s been below 7.0 since 2008 and that’s against Japanese level hitters, before consideration of his 2011 shoulder injury knocking his fastball to 87-91 MPH range) and the Mariners bringing the fences in could adversely affect him…though that might be negible.

    Admittedly, this draft is still okay and I doubt I’m in a good position to criticise(I’d love to hear what people think I got right/wrong with this!), but there were definitely parts where I thought you choose a player inferior to one directly on the board.

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    • Ruki Motomiya says:

      Also, forgot to ask in this post, heh…where is a good place to do mock drafts for 2013?

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    • David Wiers says:

      Sure Hamilton’s platoon split isn’t great, but a 106 wRC+ is still above average. As a league, MLBers hit just 96 wRC+ against lefties last season. Comparing Hamilton to the league vs lefties still shows that he is capable of good numbers against them. He can be neutralized late in the game by a LOOGY, but most LHB can.

      As for pitchers, I think I’ve made myself pretty clear on what my philosophy is there. In a 12 team mixed league there are plenty of pitchers to choose from. Between breakout seasons, rookies, and standard stream options, pitchers are *much* easier to find than hitters.

      Also, if your picture is Princess Celestia, I think we can be best friends…even though Luna is best Princess.

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      • Ruki Motomiya says:

        Well, as you know, friendship IS magic.

        And the issue with that was more that I felt even though Hamilton is still above average, Bautista is even more above average while being less risky (Hamilton’s hard-to-predict 2012 numbers and all the other issues about him), even if Jose hurts the average a bit more.

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  11. generic baseball fan says:

    A few thoughts:

    I’m not sure about some of your picks due to health/regression concerns, notably Hamilton and Zimmerman. I understand the reluctance to use a top pick on a pitcher, but I would have used a 3rd rounder on an ace to build around. In some respects Zimmerman represents more risks that a top pitcher that you could have selected in the third…

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    • David Wiers says:

      Both pitchers and hitters can be hit by the injury bug. Look at Roy Halladay last year. I traded for him in an expert league and he promptly exploded in my face.

      I took a small risk in Hamilton and Zimmerman, but I’m much more willing to play blackjack on those guys than to play roulette on some pitchers.

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  12. Jason B says:

    Really like Grandy in the 4th, that’s a nice pickup.

    I’ll be interested to see which Jon Lester shows up this year. Old Lester = a steal in the 11th. Last year Lester = yuck. When you weight those probabilities out, 11th round seems about right (although I would probably let someone else take that flier instead of doing it myself).

    I have never heard of your utility guy ever. Which is not evidence of anything, but as you said you may have reached a bit there.

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    • David Wiers says:

      Right, Lester is a pretty big wild card (really, my entire rotation is) but given that he’s in the 11th round, I can stomach that.

      Gyorko is a 24 year old minor leaguer who has jumped two levels every year since 2010. He was a stud shortstop in college, but now he now plays both second and third. He has (what I could call) a better than 50/50 of breaking camp as the starting second baseman for the Padres; Logan Forsythe shouldn’t block him. That being said, yeah, I definitely reached for Gyorko. D’oh.

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      • Jason B says:

        At least if you’re going to reach, you reached in the 16th on a guy you have plugged into the utility spot. If that doesn’t pan out the entire universe of undrafted hitters is available to fill that spot. I would much prefer that than trying to find, say, a C or 2B specifically on in the waiver pool.

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  13. RJ says:

    Honest opinion here, probably one of the worst value drafts I’ve seen this year.

    I understand McCutchen is talented and this is really just preference but I’d be willing to bet a few body parts that he does not turn a profit at the 4th overall pick.

    I’m in the middle of a real draft right now in a national contest and Adam Dunn just went at 11.02…OF A 15-TEAM FORMAT, that’s pick #152; as opposed to the 8.9 gem in this 12-teamer (pick #93), only 59 picks earlier.

    I got Altuve at 6.15 (pick #90), you 6.09 (pick #59). 31 picks!!

    AJax went 7.08 in my draft (pick #98), you 5.04 (pick #52). 46 picks!!!!

    You took Lester at 11.04 (pick #124), my league is at pick #154 and he’s still on the board, that’s 30 picks and counting…

    Glad it was a just a mock draft, I actually like a decent amount of your players (big fan of Samardzija, Freese, & Altuve), you just have no clue on other’s opinions of your favored players right now — accurately judging that is a very important part of the game. I’d be shocked if you finish top half, there’s just not enough here to win, no team is winning a 12-team format this year with Jon Lester & Lance Lynn as their 3rd/4th SP, especially considering you could have no closers come June (or you could have four).

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