Mock Draft Episode II: Aiming For Average

After being lucky enough to have our friends and colleagues over at The Hardball Times invite me in for yet another mock draft (courtesy of Mock Draft Central), I jumped at the chance to take a new approach. You can find the full results of the draft here.

In my previous “expert” mock draft, I expressed my intent to go for power, even to the point of burning myself in areas of batting average and pitching. In one regard, last night’s draft was similar to the first: once again pitching took a back seat to my hitters. Rather than focus on big power and RBIs, yesterday I strived to go the opposite way and aim for average hitters with lesser power but had the chance to steal more bases. The draft was set up identical to a standard ESPN 5x5 rotisserie redraft leagues with  the exception of having a second catcher and thus 27 roster spots.

Position Name Team Pick
C A.J. Ellis LA R19 P6
C John Jaso OAK R21 P6
1B Adrian Gonzalez LA R3 P6
2B Jose Altuve HOU R9 P6
3B Brett Lawrie TOR R6 P7
SS Everth Cabrera SD R20 P7
OF Carlos Gonzalez COL R1 P6
OF Curtis Granderson NYY R2 P7
OF Jay Bruce CIN R5 P6
OF Ben Revere PHI R16 P7
OF Austin Jackson DET R8 P7
MI Kyle Seager SEA R14 P7
CI Nick Swisher CLE R7 P6
UTIL Allen Craig STL R4 P7
BN Todd Frazier CIN R15 P6
BN Logan Forsythe SD R27 P6
BN Peter Bourjos ANA R24 P7
P Jeff Samardzija CHC R10 P7
P Jarrod Parker OAK R11 P6
P Doug Fister DET R17 P6
P Mike Fiers MIL R18 P7
P Cory Luebke SD R22 P7
P Jason Grilli PIT R12 P7
P Sergio Romo SF R13 P6
P Sean Marshall CIN R23 P6
P Ryan Cook OAK R25 P6
BN Antonio Bastardo PHI R26 P7

The Bad
In my eyes, my biggest mistake was hands down having three bench position players. I should have a maximum of one there. The very nature of position player vs. pitcher is that position players accrue their value every day, whereas pitchers — even relievers — build their value in single game instances, often relatively few times per week. By cycling starters and relievers in out based on match ups and reliever usage, I can maximize my roster’s limited active space. Of course I can trade one of my many outfield eligible players for a starter, but to exit the draft and more or less be forced to make a trade is clearly not an ideal situation.

Once again, I didn’t take a pitcher until the 10th round. And then I took a pitcher in the 11th, 12th, and 13th round as well. Once the 13th round was clear, I ended up avoiding taking a pitcher for the next three straight rounds. If I could do it over again, I would take more pitchers there. My 14-16 round picks are Seager, Frazier, and Revere, respectively. Of those three players, probably only Frazier would have been gone by the time I picked in the 17th. Grabbing so many position players in the mid-to-late rounds really hurt the looks of my pitching staff. Mixed league pitching is very deep but my rotation is one huge question mark. I think I’ll tweak my draft strategy this year and mix in a pitcher around the 7th round from now on. Consider this a lesson learned.

The Good
Average and steals shouldn’t be an issue at all. Going into a draft and executing the main points of the plan is hard to complain about. Via the MDC projections, my starters would have finished with 11.0 points in average and 9.0 points in steals. Match that with my bench scoring of 9.0 points in average and 12.0 in steals and I would have to call my execution of the pre-draft plan a smashing success. Albeit unintentionally, I happened to draft a very strong ERA/WHIP team as well. I once again strayed from standard mantra and drafted two players who figure to close coming out of spring training in Grilli and Romo. Add in high strikeout relievers in Cook, Bastardo, and Marshall and I have a team that could really surprise in strikeouts as well as ratios.

Waiting on catchers paid off for me in this draft as well. Rolling with Jaso and Ellis — neither of who will do much for my average — but both get on base and should score an acceptable amount of runs for me. Both of them could even hit double digit home runs for me. Given their catcher eligibility and the rounds that I was able to grab them in, I must stress that waiting on catchers is something that just makes sense, even in two catcher leagues.

The Grade
In so far as having a plan and sticking to it, I would give myself a solid A. Everything that I set out to do was accomplished. Of course, this isn’t just a purely academic exercise (other than the fact that it is a mock setup of a fake team…but I digress) as there are many variables to consider. Going too far with a plan is a real threat and taking too many position players to fill out my rosters is a mistake that I can’t forgive myself for. For the second straight expert league draft, my rotation leaves much to be desired. Overall, I give myself a B- grade, as my absolute need to unload at least two position players for an ace pitcher is all too clear.

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You can catch David spouting off about baseball, soccer, esports and other things by following him on twitter, @davidwiers.

35 Responses to “Mock Draft Episode II: Aiming For Average”

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  1. Scott says:

    Grandy and Bruce seem to go AGAINST your AVG/SB drafting philosophy….swisher to a certain extent to. Who else were you considering when you made those picks?

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    • David Wiers says:

      Yes, they do go against my overall strategy but I still needed a respectable level of home runs. I figured if I could eek out 5.0-6.0 points in home runs then the other parts of my offense should be 9.0+.

      For who else I was considering, I really wanted Bourn in 6th. I thought about reaching for Reyes in the second, but I picked too early for me to be comfortable with that. Sure enough, Reyes was taken with the last pick in the 2nd round.

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  2. Comments about the offensive draft strategy withheld, but Fister in the 17th round is a steal.

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  3. theojd says:

    Fister in rd 17 looks like an absolute steal to me.

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  4. Paul says:

    Cabrera and Seager are not going to help in the BA category either…

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  5. Lil' Hank Conger says:

    Aiming for average –> drafts Curtis Granderson in the 2nd. /fail

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      • Lil' Hank Conger says:

        You are the suck.

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      • David Wiers says:

        Thanks for the input.

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      • Lil' Hank Conger says:

        This team hit 1976/7142=0.276673201 last year. Way to aim for average. LoL /sarcasm.

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      • David Wiers says:

        Good sir, context is important.

        The league hit .255 as whole last year.

        We’ll remove all pitchers hitting from that line. Doing that moves the needle to a league wide .259 average.

        Now, I’m willing to concede that not every single player is fantasy relevant, that should be obvious. Without digging too deep and really going bonkers with the data mining, let us “drop out the bottom” and magically boost the fantasy-league wide average to .269. Boosting 10 points of average is more than double the difference that the all batters vs non pitchers did. I would call that more than fair.

        That brings us to .269 vs my team’s last year average of .276 batting average.

        LoL indeed.

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      • Lil' Hank Conger says:

        What leagues do you play in where .276 will win the BA category.? Just admit that your initial plan was to “aim for average” but then you forgot what you were doing after the first round (possibly drunk?)… That is an honorable and respectable explanation.

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      • David Wiers says:

        You’re the best. I hope you stick around.

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  6. tylersnotes says:

    waiting on pitching until the 10th round, and planning to punt saves, is to me a bad idea if your strategy is to sleep on power. You’ve got a really versatile offense, but based on the depth that you mined in the later rounds it seems to me this team could become much better if you drafted elite pitching somewhere between rounds 4 and 8. Drafting 2 top 15 pitchers instead of Craig and Swisher would have made a huge difference, especially since you proved that there was high-ceiling talent available in the second half of the draft. you could do worse than todd frazier as your CI, rather than on your bench.

    Is there a link to the full draft results somewhere? I didn’t see it at tht

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    • David Wiers says:

      Yeah, I totally agree that *not* taking a SP1 early really put me behind the 8-ball. In both mock drafts I’ve valued offense a bit too much, and had these been real leagues, I would have loved my hitters but my pitchers would be a huge question mark.

      I can’t believe I whiffed on linking to the completed draft. Edited.

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      • tylersnotes says:

        i had expected to see more of the other managers sleeping on pitching too, but that doesn’t appear to be the case.

        as far as a mock draft, i would say this is pretty much a success. I don’t see any point in evaluating a team at the end of a mock draft, rather than evaluating a strategy. it looks like you went in with a strategy and stuck to it to the letter, which is the only way to learn how well it will work.

        as such, as much fun as it is to try to poke holes or look for steals in mock draft results, this type of article outlining strategy and what did/didn’t work is a lot more valuable to read. -almost- worth the man hours it is costing my employer.

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      • David Wiers says:

        Thanks, appreciate it.

        Yeah, doing a mock draft just for the sake of doing one isn’t *that* helpful to me. Seeing what I can get and when is the most important fact.

        I might do a few public mock drafts, just to get the pulse of the non-Ottoneu/prospect/writer crowd.

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  7. rotowizard says:

    Too many question marks. The entire infield is too reliant on young players that could see a production dip (albeit with legitimate upside). The OF is very strong but not enough to over come the pitching staff. There are A LOT of players that have to work out for this team to be a true contender. In a 12 team mixed league draft that staff is decidedly mediocre. Unless this IF repeats or improves on it’s numbers from last season, it’s difficult to see this OF overcoming the lack of quality in the pitching staff. Again, this is purely my opinion compared to my drafting preference. Some may prefer the upside of many young players as opposed to the sure thing a guy like Aramis Ramirez can provide at 3B, as an example. I just don’t like have ‘too’ many of those players when there are many other question marks surrounding a team.

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    • David Wiers says:

      I don’t disagree that my rotation is mediocre, but I actually like my infield. I know what I have in Gonzalez, Allen, and Swisher. Cabrera and Altuve are my speed guys, with Seager chipping in 10 or so SB as well. I would say the biggest infield question mark is Frazier, but we know that he will be the starting third baseman for a very good team in a very good home park. Forsythe was my pick only because MDC wouldn’t let me take Chris Carter for some reason.

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      • Ian says:

        Swisher in the 7th feels like a reach, especially with the SP’s still available there, or C’s like Montero and Martinez that could have really helped both your AVG strategy, and won’t hurt you with counting stats.

        I’d grade your draft a B. Some of the picks I really like. Others I don’t, and there’s some personal bias against a few guys I just really don’t like for 2013.

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      • David Wiers says:

        I’m pretty content with my catchers.

        I probably reached for Swish a little bit, but 20+ home runs and 90+ RBIs in the 7th isn’t like I broke my arm reaching for him.

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  8. DrBGiantsfan says:

    My shadow draft:

    1. Robinson Cano- doesn’t steal bases but gives you great BA with power and has the biggest positional advantage.

    2. Bryce Harper- Likely to support you BA a lot more than Granderson and will contribute in all other categories.

    3. Jason Heyward- AGone is on the wane and Heyward is a rising 5 category stud.

    4. Allen Craig- With Cespedes coming off 1 pick ahead of you, I’ll stick with Craig here.

    5. Michael Bourn- Much better average and steals here and you can afford to give up the power at this point.

    6. Brett Lawrie- I like this pick here. He has some post-hype sleeperishness to him.

    7. Jonathan Papelbon- I don’t like Swisher here due to low BA. Also, not in love with SP options. I’d go with the stud closer.

    8. Austin Jackson- Meets your goals well here.

    9. Jose Altuve- Also meets your goals here.

    10. Jeff Samardzija- Like this pick.

    11. Jarrod Parker- Like him too.

    12. Matt Harvey- I think he’s poised for a huge season.

    13. Jonathan Lucroy- I don’t think Romo can handle the closer gig all season. Lucroy doesn’t give you much power but is terrific for BA.

    14. Alcides Escobar- .300 BA with 30 SB’s is much better here than what Seager gives you.

    15. Homer Bailey- Another SP I think is poised for a huge breakout.

    16. Ben Revere- Agree with the pick. Great for both BA and SB’s.

    17. Doug Fister- Agree with several other commentators. Great pick here.

    18. Addison Reed- Nothing wrong with Fiers but you need another closer so go with Reed instead.

    19. Hisashi Iwakuma- Love pitchers from Seattle, SF, Oakland, Dodgers and Padres.

    20. Everth Cabrera- OK, I’ll give you this one. Not great for BA but gotta love the SB potential, especially this late in the draft.

    21. Carlos Gomez- Also not great for BA but not terrible either and very underrated in other categories. Jaso will be a platoon catcher.

    22. Yasmani Grandal- misses first 50 games but should be terrific after that. Small chance of getting additional punishment for involvement in Miami drug lab, though.

    23. Sean Marshall- agree with pick.

    24. Kyuji Fujikawa- good bet to take over closer role in Chicago. Bourjos doesn’t do much for you.

    25. Jose Veras- Might be a better bet to keep closer role in Houston than Cook is to gain the role in Oakland.

    26. Oscar Tavares- If you are going to stash a position player on your bench, this is the guy!

    27. AJ Griffin- Griffin is s steal hear. Not sure what Forsythe gives you. Juan Pierre would be a consideration too.

    Not absolutely sure that fills all the roster spots, but that’s my shadow draft based on BPA.

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  9. Peter says:

    I think you probably couldve also just punted closers entirely if you’re getting grilli and romo before the 15th round. If you had nabbed them after the 15th round, it wouldve made more sense to me.

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  10. Mike says:

    Dont like the risk of AGonz at all, bad park to hit in, shown for long enough that the shoulder has sapped the power. 1B is too deep to take that on

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    • David Wiers says:

      I don’t view him as much of a risk at all. I owned him when he played in San Diego and he produced plenty enough there, so the park doesn’t worry me much. He might not have another 40 home run season, but 20 home runs and 50 doubles is a real possibility. I can live with that.

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