Last night's mock draft went as well as one would expect. (Thanks to the guys at Mock Draft Central. Here is a link that opens a spreadsheet with the results. Criticize. Please.) I was happy to grab Phillies 1B Ryan Howard with my first selection, #5 overall. I was leaning towards another Phillie, 2B Chase Utley, with that pick on the assumption that Pujols, Soriano, Santana and Howard would be gone. yes, I would have taken Utley ahead of ARod and Reyes.
With a slot or two difference, the first three rounds were non-controversial. However, the fourth round ushered in the serious second-guessing. Twins MVP runner-up Joe Mauer was taken. This round also brought the first closer taken, Angels' fireballer Francisco Rodriguez. Starting pitchers began to seriously come off the board, too. Roy Halladay was selected three picks before my own second-guessable, SS Rafael Furcal. I was going to take the low-strikeouts Blue Jays ace or Rockies 3B Garrett Atkins with my pick, but Atkins was also selected before my pick came-up.
To defend my Furcal selection, I look at the players taken after him and before my next second-guessable, 3B Ryan Zimmerman. Of those taken, I may have taken SP Brandon Webb or Carlos Zambrano, but wouldn't that then open me up to the criticism of taking starting pitchers too early?
I selected Nationals 3B Ryan Zimmerman in the 5th round, #45 overall. He provides across the board production, and, most important, his age provides me the comfort that the SBs totals will remain in the double digits. He will continue to hit in the heart of the order so the RBI opportunities will remain. At this point, the player taken after this pick, but prior to my next selection, that I may have taken was SS Michael Young.
With five of the 9 starting hitter slots filled, I made the conscious decision to fill-out my pitching staff with as many solid #1-level pitchers as possible. Hence my run on Jason Schmidt, John Smoltz, CC Sabathia, Matt Cain and Barry Zito with the hiccup of 2B Brandon Phillips sleected between Cain and Zito.
At this point, I had filled the heart of my team and went after the closers (Lidge, Dotel, Torres) and the best-available hitters with an eye towards 20/20 (Mike Cameron and Chris Young). In the 16th round, I couldn't pass-up Jays' DH Frank Thomas. The upside of a repeat of 2006 was too difficult to ignore. I also grabbed two high K SP fliers in the perrenial tease Daniel Cabrera and Twins ROY candidate Matt Garza.
Overall, the depth of the league and the size of the rosters played a large part in the decisions I made. If there were two more OF slots, a MM and a CR, then I would have passed on the starting pitcher tactic and grabbed a couple more hitters before filling out my staff.