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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.