As you well know by now, some dutiful readers of RotoGraphs took it upon themselves to virtually duke it out in an online mock draft, putting to test what we have repeatedly analyzed in the past several weeks — that is, just exactly where should we expect some of our favorite players to be taken?
There is of course a great deal of risk in relying solely on one source for your average draft positions, and while the draft was conducted in Mock Draft Central, having some well informed individuals making the selections instead of what could be third graders and well trained monkeys for all we know, provides us with a nice window for analysis.
For today, third base will be under the microscope.
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The first four picks aren’t terribly surprising, but you can see that if you want Brett Lawrie badly enough, you better be willing to pay for it as he was plucked early in the fourth round, which is about a full round ahead of where he was projecting. If you’re snake drafting and you’re slotted with something like the 7th overall pick or lower, you’re going to have to reach as Lucky Strikes did if you want Lawrie’s services. I’m not saying it’s good or bad – just be prepared – because there’s nothing worse than crying over spilled Brett Lawrie.
Pablo Sandoval also came off the board about a round early, and it’s an interesting pick. Of course, if you’re bullish on the Panda, great – pay for him and pray you don’t see love handles flapping like the jowls of an English Bulldog chasing a ham hock by mid-season. I really don’t have a problem seeing Sandoval go 53rd overall one bit. But objectively – Alex Rodriguez, Aramis Ramirez, and Kevin Youkilis are all still on the board at that point, which creates a bit of an opportunity and a dilemma.
Unless you’re averse to the old men (which is fine) or you’re totally convinced Sandoval is going to significantly outproduce all three (which is fine too), you could throw caution to the proverbial wind, take a guy like Dan Haren (who went next) who was clearly the best starter on the board, and just hope you get one of those four guys with your next pick. Not criticizing the pick, just highlighting what goes through my head during the draft.
Speaking of the old men, A-Rod, Youkilis, and A-Ram all went next, with Youkilis actually being selected ahead of Ramirez, which is a little surprising given his age, his 2011 production, and history of injuries. But it’s a good reminder that you might be looking at ADP, hypothesizing that you can hang around until the 8th round for a third baseman because you can comfortably wait for a risk/reward pick in a guy like Youkilis, only to discover that the depth of the position panicked someone into an early 6th round pick for his services and you’re hung out to dry.
The last pick I’d like to point out is the Ryan Roberts one which kind of represents the hung out to dry notion. While I’m not necessarily bullish on Roberts going forward, I tend to like what The Drew Hensen’s did with his approach to third base. It could be that he was hoping to get a guy like Kevin Youkilis or Aramis Ramirez and simply lost out. But there’s a sizable drop-off from that tier and a lot more question marks start to enter the picture for the remaining third basemen. I’m not going to be thrilled about taking Michael Young or Mark Reynolds in the 8th and 9th rounds because honestly that’s when I’m often scrambling for my second starting pitcher and trying to fill gaps in my outfield. So The Hensen’s seemed to do a modified punt of third base, waiting until Ryan Roberts fell all the way to 222 overall to take him. It could have been that he was going to take one of Edwin Encarnacion or Ryan Roberts, and when E5 was selected 221, it was time to do his business or get off the throne, so to speak.
Lastly, it’s worth noting that while Danny Valencia has an ADP of 332, he went undrafted. So if you’re a Valencia fan, you might be able to take that 332 to the bank and wait for him to the bitter end. Ian Stewart went undrafted too – and perhaps rightly so, but he certainly seems to be a last-round-flyer candidate. Oh, and Chone Figgins went undrafted as well — but, well…yeeah.