CINCINNATI, OH - SEPTEMBER 16: Joey Votto #19 of the Cincinnati Reds connects for a two run single during the game against the Milwaukee Brewers on September 16, 2011 at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Brewers defeated the Reds 6-3. (Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images)
I was reading a few of the sites I read on a daily basis on Thursday, and found the results for an NL-Only Mock Draft over at Rotowire's free site Rotosynthesis. Rotosynthesis is similar to Fake Teams as they cover the four major fantasy sports. They have some excellent fantasy writers over at Rotosynthesis/Rotowire including Dalton Del Don, Jeff Erickson and Bernie Pleskoff, among others.
The mock draft was a 10-team draft with 14 hitters and 9 pitchers. After a quick review of the draft, I came to one conclusion: the National League is very weak in hitting talent. Wow.
Here is how the first round went:
1. Joey Votto, CIN
2. Matt Kemp, LAD
3. Roy Halladay, PHI
4. Justin Upton, ARI
5. Troy Tulowitzki, COL
6. Carlos Gonzalez, COL
7. Hanley Ramirez, MIA
8. Clayton Kershaw, LAD
9. Jose Reyes, MIA
10. Mike Stanton, MIA
This might be the first time I have ever seen 3 teams dominate the first round of an NL-Only league draft.
- The Marlins had 3 players taken in the first round-Reyes, Ramirez and Stanton
- The Rockies had 2 players taken in the first round-Tulowitzki and Gonzalez
- The Dodgers had 2 players taken-Kemp and Kershaw
- 5 players were from the NL West, the weakest division in the National League
- 4 players were from the NL East, the toughest division in the National League
- 5 players were from teams who lost 89 or more games in 2011
As I have stated several times in the past, the National League has lost Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder to the AL, along with Ryan Braun and Ryan Howard missing at least the first two months of the season, so the first round looks especially thin with these guys missing. But, in no surprise to me, Braun was selected with the third pick in the second round of this draft.
When guys like Pablo Sandoval and Miguel Montero get taken in the second and third round respectively, it becomes all too clear that fantasy owners participating in NL-only leagues many want to try the CARS strategy I proposed a few days ago. Its not a strategy for everyone, as most fantasy owners go into their drafts attempting to draft the most balanced team they can.
Here are a few more surprises:
- Rickie Weeks and Buster Posey being drafted before Tim Lincecum in the third round. Don't reach for these two hitters with Lincecum on the board.
- Drew Stubbs and Jason Heyward were drafted before Cliff Lee. Two guys with questions marks heading into spring training ahead of the 3rd best starter in the NL?
- Craig Kimbrel was drafted in the 4th round. Don't draft a closer in the 4th round.
- Paul Goldschmidt was drafted in the fourth round ahead of Lance Berkman and plenty of excellent starting pitchers including Zack Greinke, Stephen Strasburg and Madison Bumgarner.
- Dee Gordon, who I like a lot, was drafted in the 5th round ahead of Shane Victorino, Andre Ethier, and Chris Young. It just seems a bit too early to be drafting Gordon, but he does have 50 stolen base potential.
- Kenley Jansen was drafted in the 11th round. Javy Guerra was drafted 10 rounds LATER, showing us that I am not the only writer who thinks Jansen can eventually take the Dodgers closer job this season. I do think Guerra will start the season as the Dodgers closer though.
- Johan Santana was drafted in the 16th round ahead of Jhoulys Chacin, Edwin Jackson, Ted Lilly and Ryan Dempster. These guys certainly aren't aces, but they should make at least 10 more starts than Santana this season with a few more wins, and plenty more strikeouts.
This exercise was informative for me since I participate in one NL-Only redraft league, but it was also stunning to me that so many questionable hitters were taken so early in the draft. The idea of reaching for players like Paul Goldschmidt and Dee Gordon so early tells us the talent pool in the National League thins out quickly, and owners should look elsewhere rather than reach for players without established track records in the major leagues.
I am seriously thinking about using the CARS strategy in my NL-only league this season and will let you know how I make out toward the end of March.