Fangraphs Mock Draft Results: Drafting Clayton Kershaw in the First Round

Elsa

Ray discusses the draft strategy he used in the recent Fangraphs mixed league fantasy baseball draft, after drafting Clayton Kershaw in the first round.

On Monday night, I joined 17 other industry writers/experts in the Fangraphs mixed league mock draft over on Couch Managers. It was an 18 team, 5 x 5 category, 25 round draft with the following roster spots:

25 roster slots: C, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, MI, CI, 5OF, UT, 2SP, 2RP, 5P, 3BN

The participants were as follows:

Eno Sarris, FanGraphs
JP Breen, FanGraphs
Brad Johnson, FanGraphs
Scott Spratt, FanGraphs
Paul Swydan, FanGraphs
Jack Weiland, FanGraphs
Colin Zarzycki, FanGraphs
Andy Behrens, Yahoo
Ben Carsley, Baseball Prospectus
Derek Carty, DerekCarty.com
Matthew Dewoskin, FP911
Steve Gardner, USAToday
Ray Guilfoyle, FakeTeams
Peter Kreutzer, AskRotoman
Michael Pichan, Fantasy Alarm
DJ Short, RotoWorld
Brett Talley, TheFantasyFix
Derek Van Riper
, RotoWire

I had the 7th pick in the draft, and going into the draft I decided I was going to take Clayton Kershaw if he was still available at the 7 spot. Well, he was. If an Andrew McCutchen or Paul Goldschmidt had fallen to me for some reason, I would have taken either of them over Kershaw, but since they were already taken, I stuck with my decision to draft Kershaw.

I have been talking about drafting Kershaw in the first round all offseason, so I decided to put that strategy into action.

You can find the complete draft results in this link below:

Fangraphs mock results

Here is a round-by-round look at my draft results:

1.7

Clayton Kershaw

SP

2.3

Jay Bruce

OF

3.43

Matt Kemp

OF

4.66

Mark Trumbo

1B

5.79

Pedro Alvarez

3B

6.102

Desmond Jennings

OF

7.115

Alex Cobb

SP

8.138

Jed Lowrie

SS

9.151

Francisco Liriano

SP

10.174

Jim Johnson

RP

11.187

Clay Buchholz

SP

12.21

B.J. Upton

OF

13.223

Jason Castro

C

14.246

Corey Hart

1B

15.259

Chris Owings

SS

16.282

John Axford

RP

17.295

Kevin Gausman

RP

18.318

Justin Ruggiano

OF

19.331

Corey Luebke

SP

20.354

A.J. Pollock

OF

21.367

Dan Uggla

2B

22.39

Burch Smith

SP

23.403

Henry Urrutia

DH

24.426

Marcus Semien

3B

25.439

Dylan Bundy

SP

Quick Thoughts

I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised with how the draft ended up. I was able to draft power and speed, although I gave up batting average after drafting Bruce, Trumbo and Alvarez in rounds 2, 4 and 5. All three can provide 30 home runs and 90-100 RBI in 2014, and when you factor in that only 14 hitters hit 30 or more home runs last season, I was glad to grab three of them.

Anytime you draft the best pitcher in the game with the seventh pick in an 18 team league, you are bound to miss out on the top-tier hitting talent, and that is what happened when my second pick came around. I considered taking Freddie Freeman or Shin-Soo Choo over Bruce, but went with the big time power hitter who has hit 30+ home runs in each of the last three seasons.

I took a bit of a gamble with my third pick, as there are plenty of questions about the health of Matt Kemp's ankle, and he probably will start the season on the disabled list, as the Dodgers have four outfielders and there is no need to rush him like they/he did last season when the team was battling for NL West title. I see him missing a few weeks to start the season, maybe even a little more, but he should be back to his old self this season. He is already lifting weights, so the shoulder should not be a hindrance to his power this season.

My next two picks were Mark Trumbo and Pedro Alvarez, who combined to his 70 home runs and drive in 100 runs last season, albeit with batting average of .234 and .233 respectively. With batting average out the window, I decided to focus on starting pitching and speed with my next few picks grabbing two Rays, Desmond Jennings and Alex Cobb. I am pretty high on Cobb this season, as I could see him building on his breakout season in 2013. Jennings may never reach the potential many thought he had, but he is still a solid bet for double digit home runs and 30 stolen bases.

With the second base pickings getting thin, I grabbed Jed Lowrie with my eighth round selection, he of the .290 batting average and 15 home runs last season. I then grabbed my third starting pitching in the ninth round, Pirates starter Francisco Liriano, followed by my first closer, Jim Johnson. Liriano had a come back season in 2013, pitching like an ace in Pittsburgh's pitcher-friendly PNC Park. Johnson moves to Oakland this season, and I think we can see another 45-50 save season from him, as their ball park plays to his weakness of giving up too many fly balls.

I grabbed Red Sox starter, Clay Buchholz, with my 11th round pick, and considered a few other starting pitchers here as well, including Justin Masterson, C.J. Wilson, and Chris Archer, but went with the pitcher who I think was doctoring the ball last season. How does he sweat so much in 40 degree weather?

To fill out my outfield, I grabbed another low batting average hitter in B.J. Upton. I think he will have a nice bounce back season in 2014. He can't get any worse, can he?

I filled my catcher slot with Jason Castro, a guy who had a breakout season in 2013, and hits plenty of line drives, so the batting average could stay in the .260-.270 range in 2014. I was happy to add Corey Hart, and his 25 home run bat in the 14th round. I think he presents solid value that late in an 18 team mixed league draft.

I think many of the draft participants forgot about new Indians closer John Axford, as I was able to draft him in the 16th round after closers like Latroy Hawkins, Nate Jones and Tommy Hunter fell off the board. I see Axford saving more games than all three of those closers this season.

Eno Sarris was a little upset that I grabbed Orioles pitching prospect Kevin Gausman with my 17th round pick, as he threatened to pause the draft and delete everyone's pick so he could draft him with his 17th round pick.

The rest of my draft was what you would expect in an 18 team mixed league draft: nothing exciting. But, I will say that I really like White Sox infield prospect Marcus Semien as a late round pick in mixed leagues this season. I think he could be playing every day by June, if not sooner. ZiPS projects him to hit 15 home runs and steal 15 bases with full time duty this season.

So, how did I do? Where did I go wrong in my draft? What did you like? Let me hear it in the comments section.

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