Mock Draft: Punting HR

A little while ago I did a mock draft where I punted AVG. Pleased with those results, I tried again to do something I have never done in a real draft. This time I punted homers. Unlike last time, this was not a private draft. This was just a regular draft over at Mock Draft Central where I took over an AI team at the last minute.

I can see you shaking your heads now. There is no way to punt HR because you will end up finishing at or near the bottom in RBIs, too. That is certainly a possibility. But even if the team has no chance of winning, let’s see how it would look. It is always good to test out an hypothesis, just to confirm that the conventional wisdom is indeed correct.

This was a 12-team, mixed Yahoo! Style Draft in which I had the 11th pick. Here is my team:

Tim Lincecum (ADP 12)
Carl Crawford (15)
Ichiro Suzuki (39)
Dustin Pedroia (38)
Jon Lester (59)
Lance Berkman (60)
Chone Figgins (79)
Ricky Nolasco (106)
Torii Hunter (99)
Chad Billingsley (120)
Carlos Marmol (137)
James Shields (128)
Yunel Escobar (152)
Jorge Cantu (168)
James Loney (180)
Chad Qualls (208)
Todd Helton (196)
Mike Gonzalez (192)
AJ Pierzynski (235)
Nick Johnson (266)
Wade Davis (288)

You can quibble with the selections of Berkman and Hunter and if they really fit into a punt HR strategy. I thought Berkman was just too good of a value to pass up at pick #62. I wanted Bobby Abreu but he got picked two slots ahead of me (when I ended up taking Figgins) and I ended up taking Hunter. The James projections give Berkman 31 HR and Hunter 24. The next highest projection is Jorge Cantu’s 18.

So, how did this team rate? This team was picked to finish first, with a total of 86 points. The second place team had 76.5 points. The individual category projections were as follows:

AVG – 12
HR – 1
RBI – 1
SB – 11
R – 9.5
W – 11
S – 6.5
K – 12
WHIP – 11
ERA – 11

Because it was a Yahoo! Style Draft, they graded both the starting lineup of 16 and the 5-man bench. My bench came in 10th place with a score of 56.

Theoretically, a team can punt HR, finish last in RBIs too and still win, as this draft shows. I certainly would not try this in a real draft. But it is interesting to see how a team that ignores power can be a productive one, at least on paper.

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All about supply and demand. Scarce power hitters make Crawford (the 6th best 5×5 producer in 2009) fall to the second round. Doesn’t surprise me at all that you were able to finish near the top in 7 of 10 categories.

Why wouldn’t you try it in a real draft? What’s the worst thing that can happen? ;-)