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Draft Strategy: Waiting on SB – An Ode to the Readers

With a fair amount of attention paid to my Michael Bourn man-crush piece and so many of you saying how you prefer to grab power early and wait on speed, I decided to put your methodology into action and see where it took me. In another industry mock draft that took place just last night, I painfully resisted the urge to take Bourn, picked around the available speed and made a few different choices. While I cannot divulge the full results of the mock draft out of respect for the site that will be using it as part of its upcoming draft kit, I can discuss a few things in relation to my selections and this particular topic.

The draft was a 23-round, 12-team, mixed league 5×5 draft with an 18-man starting roster (C, 1B, 2B, SS, 3B, 3 OF, 2 UTIL, 2 SP, 2 RP, 4 P) and five bench spots. With just 12 teams and only eight pitching slots, I knew I could easily wait on drafting starters and went with my old “no pitchers within the first five rounds” method. Probably could have even waited six or seven, but that’s another story. So knowing I wasn’t touching speed or pitching early, I focused on power and, even though it was just 12 teams, some position scarcity as well.

I wasn’t exactly sure how long I would wait, but I targeted a few guys whose ADP was fairly “high” and that I saw go relatively late in previous drafts. Maybe people tend to forget about him or they just don’t have confidence in his ability to either retain the job all year or repeat last season’s success, but I sort of like Padres shortstop Everth Cabrera and threw him into my queue. Not only does he have a 245 ADP on Mock Draft Central and a 225 ADP in NFBC play, but he also received a bit of an endorsement from Bud Black who said the job was his to lose since prospect Jedd Gyorko was likely to be at the keystone.

Another player, who also happens to be a favorite of mine and maybe a bit of an Achilles heel in fantasy is Cabrera’s teammate Cameron Maybin. His stolen bases took a significant drop last season, but he still swiped 26 and had 40 just the year before. He’s one of those guys I continue to draft with a sigh and say “someday,” but really, I do believe that he has the tools to succeed and return to the 40-plus stolen base range this season. He’s got a 143 ADP on MDC but then a 231 ADP over in the NFBC. Given his name, the hype he once had and where he’s gone in the handful of mocks I’ve already done, I figured I would have to lean towards the MDC side on this one. Not to mention, in another industry mock I did, there was plenty of positive chatter from some very respectable names when I snagged him in the 14th round.

While I had grabbed a couple of guys capable of swiping maybe 10 bags each in my earlier rounds, I didn’t want to risk losing out completely on a potential burner. With outfield thinning out, I grabbed Maybin in the 13th round. It’s possible that I could have gotten him a round or two later, but I really didn’t see anyone else on the board that I truly coveted and couldn’t wait. As for Cabrera, he was easy pickings in the 19th round as there were still a handful of shortstops that were surprisingly still available in the later rounds. In the 20th I found Starling Marte available, and he too is capable of 12-15 steals.

So all in all, the method of waiting on steals went ok, in my opinion. I’ve got solid power, a respectable pitching staff, and if this mock were to turn into an actual league, I would definitely remain competitive in the steals category. I would, however, have to fill in with some waiver guys like a Jarrod Dyson or Tony Campana later on in the season to make a jump as the category always seems to be quite movable each year, but that’s definitely doable, provided I wouldn’t have to drop someone I like off my bench. But that’s too difficult to predict at this point. Once the draft kit comes out (I’m told first week of next month) and my entire team is revealed, we can re-visit and get some more thoughts on the matter.