Last week, I participated in a mock draft with the team at Fantasy Phenoms. With the seventh pick in the draft, I expected to have my choice of the top outfielders. While there are plenty of everyday outfielders available in any round, the depth of top outfielders doesn't appear very deep. By "very deep", I really mean loaded with power. There seems to be no shortage of outfielders with 20 HR power. It is the 30+ HR area that seems lacking.
With this belief, I wanted to make sure to get a couple of top ones. Here are the results of my power-focused draft (Round, Overall selection, Position Player Team).
R1,#7 OF Ryan Braun MIL: Braun is my top outfielder of choice in the second half of the first round. He has the AVG Grady Sizemore lacks along with a better track record of hitting 35+ HRs - a skill much rarer post-PED testing. Additionally, he swipes double-digit steals.
R2,18 SS Jimmy Rollins PHI: I have taken considerable flack for taking Rollins late in the first round, but he is too good to pass at this spot. Regardless of the dip in Runs and HRs last season, he continues to steal bases at levels that make-up for the power drop. Remember Jose Reyes stole 56 to Rollins' 47 in 150 more plate appearances. A rebound will occur with a full season of games.
R3,31 1B Adrian Gonzalez,SD: At this spot, I was deciding amongst Gonzalez, OF Matt Kemp and OF Curtis Granderson. For the same reason I took Braun, I grabbed the Padres 1B. He hit one fewer HR in 2008 than Albert Pujols did. Gonzalez is a legitimate run producer.
R4,42 OF Curtis Granderson,DET: Matt Kemp was gone by this pick, Fortunately, Granderson wasn't. Like Rollins, Granderson missed 20+ games but still produced 112 runs while hitting 26 doubles, 13 triples, 22 HRs and stealing 12 bases. More important, he increased his walks to 71 from 52. I would not be surprised to see a Grady Sizemore-like leap in production.
R5,55 SP Roy Halladay,TOR: I decided to bypass the Big Three in hopes of landing Brandon Webb or Roy Halladay. Webb had been selected right before my Granderson pick, so I was on edge hoping Halladay would last another twelve picks. Lucky me. May those 200+ Ks repeat!
R6,66 OF Hunter Pence,HOU: This choice came down to Pence or Jermaine Dye. I gambled on age and SB. At 35, I fear Dye will break down this season.
R7,79 SP Cliff Lee,CLE: I reached here and should have taken Scott Kazmir or James Shields.
R8,90 SS Jhonny Peralta,CLE: Peralta is one of a few legitmate 20+ HR middle infielders. At 26, there is still room for growth. If he stays at clean-up, I expect him to cross the 100 RBI barrier.
R9,103 SP Matt Cain,SF: Always on the lookout for Ks from my earlier round pitchers, I took a chance the bad luck that afflicted Cain in the Wins department last season doesn't re-appear.
R10,114 3B Ryan Zimmerman,WAS: Should I have waited a couple more rounds for Adrian Beltre? Maybe, but I couldn't help thinking a full season of Zimmerman lives up to the 2008 pre-season hype.
R11,127 OF Torii Hunter,ANA: Why hope for growth from Lastings Milledge when the certainty of Torii Hunter is available? He was the best OF left. The ones taken right after him? Raul Ibanez, Nick Swisher, Nelson Cruz, Adam Jones and Pat Burrell.
R12,138 RP Jonathan Broxton,LA: This marks the time when I begin adding closers. Despite the Dodgers flirting with Trevor Hoffman, I don't think there is anyone to take Broxton's job in the Dodgers' 'pen. An 80 K closer is my kind of value at this point.
R13,151 C Chris Iannetta,COL: Is skipping one of the top 6 catchers for Iannetta in the 13th round worth it? I think so. FWIW, I would have taken Soto in the 7th round, but he was selected right before my selection.
R14,162 2B Jose Lopez,SEA: Like Jhonny Peralta, you think Lopez is younger than he is. At 25, he can get better than the career high 17 HRs and 89 RBIs he set last year. And if he just matches it? Perfectly fine.
R15,175 1B Pablo Sandoval,SF: A reach? Maybe, but the man can hit, and there is no one in San Francisco to push him to the bench if he starts slowly.
R16,186 RP Brian Wilson,SF: Despite adding Jeremy Affeldt and Bobby Howry, Wilson's job isn't threatened. A little better luck, Wilson's ratios will more closely match his high saves totals.
R17,199 SP Andrew Sonnanstine,TB: Not too shabby for the 199th player taken.
R18,210 OF Carlos Gomez,MIN: I was debating Gomez or Denard Span here. Span was taken the pick prior, so it is Gomez' 50 SB/1o HR upside.
R19,223, SP Wandy Rodriguez,HOU: Just looking for good match-up pitcher here - 2.99 ERA at home. The 8.6 K/9 doesn't hurt either.
R20,234, OF Cameron Maybin,FLA: A possible 20 HRs and 30+ SBs in the 20th round is good. I worry about a .250-ish AVG though.
R21,247, RP Chris Volstad,FLA: The Marlins are making a concerted effort to improve their team defense. It can't hurt the 2nd year groundballer.
R22,258, C Ramon Hernandez,CIN: An odd pick here as the draft format was set for one starting catcher with a reserve. It wasn't intended, but I am beginning to like it a lot. FWIW, keep in mind that Hernandez was available here. A move to Great American Ballpark should make Ramon as near a lock for 15 HRs at the position as there is. How many is Matt Wieters a lock for?
R23,271, SP, Gil Meche,KC: After consecutive seasons with an ERA under 4.00 in the AL, the 150+ Ks in three consecutive years topped by a career high 183 last season was too hard to pass-up here. I would have taken Seattle Mariners' closer Aaron Heilman if it weren't for Meche.