Charlie Saponara of FantasyBaseball365.com got a bunch of experts together for a mock draft last night. Yours truly may not have acquitted himself as well as he’d hoped. He blames the fact that his eyes are permanently crossed after editing 1083 player caps for the Second Opinion this weekend, but no-one wants to hear his excuses — especially now that he’s talking about himself in third person. The. Worst.
What had happened was: a little wobble, one botched pick, and you end up looking at a few spots on your roster with the stank eye. One wobble can bring the train down — and in this case Martin Prado might have been the one-man wobble, or maybe not. Maybe it started earlier.
Since I had the turn, let’s just assess the draft by every two picks.
Could have done this turn in my sleep, and I actually recommend it as a draft slot. This is a middle infield with a ton of upside in a year where shortstop looks like it might be really terrible. No problems here.
Picking a pitcher this early is never easy, but it felt like the draft was pushing elite pitching early — Haren was only the ninth pitcher picked, and in that context I have no problem with taking him there. Once I saw that one of my favorite ‘late aces,’ David Price, was already gone, I sorta panicked. That was the first wobble — I would have been fine with Yovani Gallardo, Zack Greinke or Jon Lester as my first pitcher, and if Haren had been in the draft pool, I likely would have gotten one of them in round five. Bruce? It’s a five-outfield league and he should hit 30. Wanted power and an outfielder and he seems fine here.
But that pitcher pick really came back to bite me.
I have no complaints about these picks. Once Paul Konerko was gone, I realized that I needed a first baseman pretty badly, and “Hunter Pence at first base” was still out there — even if he doesn’t add a ton of power via an improved fly ball rate in 2012, he’ll be fine. And in a two-catcher league, getting a stud at the position in the sixth round seems just about right — especially 11 picks after Brian McCann.
So no real problems with the pick. That doesn’t mean I wasn’t already cursing my screen. I was hoping to pick Brett Lawrie with my fourth round pick, but when I picked the pitcher, I was stuck with only one position player pick, and the outfield seemed like more of a need. Then, in the next two rounds, Lawrie, Aramis Ramirez, and Pablo Sandoval all went, and I was angry.
Two lessons here. 1) Just because everyone else is picking pitching early, you don’t have to. 2) If you like a player, don’t worry about ADP too hard, take him. If you think Lawrie has the floor a .280 20/20 third baseman — and I do — then he’s a fine fourth-round pick. If you think pitching early is suspect because pitchers hit the DL more often and for longer than hitters, and there are only two pitching ‘positions,’ — and I do — then it’s fine to wait to pick the 12th-best ace. Just get one of the better number twos.
Fine place for two guys that could bounce back into star status. Hudson should strike more guys out this year based on his swinging strike rate, and Heyward just needs to be healthy for a year worthy of a second outfielder in a five-outfielder league. Heyward went between Drew Stubbs and Jayson Werth, and Hudson went between Matt Cain and Josh Beckett. Just right.
The wobble is still there, though: I thought, with Alex Rodriguez and Kevin Youkilis still on the table — and both looking old — that one would make it back to this pick. When they didn’t, the fear began to grip me. I had a ‘problem position’ suddenly.
Looking back, I’m just happy I didn’t start panicking earlier. Well, the run on outfielders in round nine (Brett Gardner, Cameron Maybin, Ichiro Suzuki, and Lance Berkman) sorta made me nervous, but I like Logan Morrison this year. .280 and 25 shouldn’t be too difficult for him. And Papelbon’s strikeout rate makes him an elite closer that can help pad my strikeout category — that’s fine for double digit rounds.
Still no third baseman.
After taking a shot at an ace in the SP3 spot — a shot that most of the draft room was okay with — the panic finally got to me. Even though both Prado and David Freese were on the draft board, and most people had third basemen, I picked Prado, thinking he could play in the outfield if I got another third baseman later. This decision cost me more than any other decision in the draft.
But I missed out on Jason Kipnis. That one hurt. At 12.7, in a draft with an MI slot, Kipnis might have been the steal of the draft. We’ve been writing about how Kipnis is a better investment for the price than Dustin Ackley, and I’ve been drinking the kool-aid. One of stupid Freese or Prado would have dropped to me here, and I would take Jason Kipnis and Martin Prado over Chris Carpenter and Martin Prado. Yup, this one made me angry.
Love my pitching. Hate my third baseman.
Cozart is a decent Kipnis-lite, but he’s older, was considered less of a prospect, and just doesn’t have the same upside. Love my outfield. Still hate my third baseman.
So I needed a backup MI and a backup third baseman — all because I didn’t pick Brett Lawrie earlier in the draft. So I picked Ryan Roberts here, which is fine, but the dude is 31 already and could easily disappear again like he did all those years before last year. What if I was happier about my situations around the infield? I might have taken a catcher, or a better utility bat (Justin Morneau?).
(As for Chris Perez, yes, I know, but my favorite late-draft sleepers like Addison Reed and Kenley Jansen were already taken by all the pros in this room. Say what you will about Perez — and I’ll join in — but he’s still the incumbent closer. If this draft had a bench, I would have drafted Vinnie Pestano and felt good about my three closer situations, as I think Pestano is the clear number two.)
No problems with the actual players here — but, combined with my picks in the 19th and 20th, I still didn’t have my second catcher… and I only liked one catcher left on the board.
23.1 Ryan Hanigan
Crap. Jonathan Lucroy went at 22.2 and with it went my decent number two. Since Devin Mesoraco is a rookie on a Dusty Baker team, Hanigan might surprise this year. And really, you don’t want to pick a second catcher too early or anything. But Lucroy and Carlos Lee might have been better than Reimold and Hanigan, if a little lite on upside.
So, I learned some things, and the team is decent, but has those obvious flaws:
C Buster Posey (6.1)
C Ryan Hanigan (23.12)
1B Eric Hosmer (5.12)
2B Dustin Pedroia (2.1)
3B Martin Prado (12.1)
SS Hanley Ramirez (1.12)
MI Zack Cozart (17.12)
CI Ryan Roberts (19.12)
OF Jay Bruce (4.1)
OF Jason Heyward (7.12)
OF Logan Morrison (9.12)
OF Lucas Duda (13.12)
OF Colby Rasmus (18.1)
Util Nolan Reimold (22.1)
P Dan Haren (3.12)
P Dan Hudson (8.1)
P Jonathan Papelbon (10.1)
P Tommy Hanson (11.12)
P Chris Carpenter (14.1)
P Jordan Walden (15.12)
P Chris Sale (16.1)
P Chris Perez (20.1)
P Clay Buchholz (21.12)