The holidays lead to some dereliction of duty on my part, which is why instead of focusing on the National League starters taken in rounds six through ten, this is really more of a catch-up piece. Without further ado, here are the starting pitchers who have come off the board already, the order in which they were taken, and the round and pick at which they were taken.
A few things stand out from the top of the list. First, half of the pitchers taken before Round Seven came from two teams: the Dodgers (Kershaw and Greinke) and the Nationals (Strasburg, Gonzalez, and Zimmermann). In the first ten rounds, the Phillies also contributed three pitchers and the Braves put in a pair; while this isn’t fundamentally different from years past, the fact that nine of the first 19 pitchers taken come from the NL East does not bode well at all for the hitters in that division.
A reminder so that no one asks in the comments: R.A. Dickey is in the AL East now; he went toward the end of the third round.
As someone noted in the comments on Eno’s piece from Monday, Halladay’s fall to the middle of the ninth round might be the steal of the draft. We’ll know more in a few weeks when more mocks are done, but I’m inclined to believe that will end up being more of an artifact of this draft than a consistent feature of 2013 drafts in general. Halladay still has strong name recognition, didn’t suffer a major injury, and still put up workable numbers even in the midst of a down season. The headier the draft room, the more likely Halladay is to slip on lingering concerns about his shoulder health as well as his age, but I strongly suspect he won’t last deep into the ninth round in the average ESPN or Yahoo! public league.
One of the players who is likely to see a wide spread of draft positions — in much the same way that Yoenis Cespedes did last year — is Chapman. The nice thing about Chapman is that, barring injury, his worst case scenario is that he moves back to being an elite closer for a team that looks poised to generate a ton of save opportunities. That’s hardly a bad thing. Yes, if we knew he’d end up in that role, he probably would have been drafted lower than he was, but Craig Kimbrel had already come off the board and Jason Motte went one pick after Chapman, so it isn’t as though he’d be grossly out of phase for being drafted in the first ten rounds if he ends up as a full-time closer rather than a starter. This is just one data point in the vast space of mock drafts, but I suspect Chapman will rise and fall substantially based on his performance as a starter in camp.
Cain’s ascendency to the top of the Giants’ rotation appears to be complete. He was fantastic in 2012 and Tim Lincecum — conspicuously absent from this set of names — is now a far, far riskier pick than either Cain or Bumgarner. This does make Lincecum a candidate to provide unexpected value in a way the others have limited ability to do, but those looking to target the Giants’ top pitcher this year will be looking at Cain and settling for Bumgarner rather than Lincecum for the first time since the drafts prior to the 2008 season.
I can’t decide whether I like grabbing Haren at the end of the seventh round. I like his move to the National League, I think he’ll be better than he was last year, and yet I think I’d rather have Latos or Gallardo, both of whom went shortly after he did. In abstract terms, I feel like the seventh round is good value for Haren, but the depth of pitching this year may mean that he’ll have to fall a round or two further to actually be considered a value pick.