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LABR Experts Mixed League Draft: Taking a Closer Look

Ray Guilfoyle takes a closer look at the recent LABR Experts Mixed League draft that took place on Tuesday night, and sees plenty of value in several late round picks.

Al Bello

The LABR Experts Mixed League draft results are out and after taking a closer look, there are several guys drafted in the last 2-3 rounds that I think can provide some value for fantasy owners this season. The draft took place on Tuesday night, a lot earlier than I expected, and the draft went 29 rounds. That's right - 15 teams, 29 rounds, 435 players drafted.

Most standard fantasy leagues are 12 teams and go 23 rounds, so 276 players are drafted. That's nothing when compared to the 435 players drafted in the LABR draft on Tuesday night. In standard leagues, the free agent pool includes some players that will add value once the games begin. In the LABR draft, I imagine the free agent pool looks like the free agent pool in my 12 NL-only league. The pickings are thin....really Manute Bol thin.

So, last night I took a close look at the draft and found several guys that I think will outperform their draft round this season. Let's take a look:

1. Jhoulys Chacin, COL - Chacin was drafted in the 28th round by Doug Anderson from DFS Edge, and I think he could return to his pre-2012 form in 2013. Chacin pitched through an injury last season, landing on the DL, making just 14 starts going 3-5 with a 4.43 ERA. After returning from the DL, Chacin made 9 starts, covering 44.1 innings pitched, and put up a 2.84 ERA in those 9 starts. He gave up one run or less in 6 of his 9 starts, looking more like the starter who put up a 3.28 ERA in 2010 and 3.62 ERA in 2011.

2. Dee Gordon, LAD - Gordon was drafted in the 25th round by Derek Van Riper from Rotowire. As it stands now, Gordon will probably start the season in AAA Albuquerque, with Hanley Ramirez manning shortstop to open the season. Most Dodger fans are hoping that doesn't last long, as Ramirez is not a shortstop anymore. All Gordon needs is for manager Don Mattingley to come to his senses and move Ramirez back to third base, opening up a starting role for him. Gordon had trouble making contact last season, but was an excellent contact hitter in the minors. Any semblance of a return to the skills he showed in the minors and Gordon could easily steal 40 bases in a full time role.

3. Mark Melancon, PIT - the Pirates traded closer Joel Hanrahan to the Red Sox this offseason for a package of major league and minor league players. Included in that deal was former Astros closer Mark Melancon. You remember him. He's the same guy who gave up 5 home runs and 11 earned runs in his first two innings of the 2012 season, thus earning a demotion to Pawtucket, resulting in some owners saying something that sounds like that. Melancon was drafted in the 29th round by Grey Albright and Rudy Gamble from Razzball. He returned in June and showed some glimpses of his old form. In Pittsburgh, he will be the set up man for new closer Jason Grilli, so his chances are good that he gets some save chances in 2013. Melancon is the owner of a 8.20 K rate, 2.40 walk rate, and 50% ground ball rate, all solid peripheral stats for a closer.

4. Andy Pettitte, NYY - Pettitte was drafted in the 24th round by Derek Van Riper from Rotowire, and I guess you can say that I liked his LABR draft. Pettitte should outperform this draft round in 2013 if he can pitch like he did in 12 starts last season. In those 12 starts, Pettitte went 5-4 with a 2.87 ERA, 3.48 FIP, 3.27 xFIP, an 8.24 K/9, and a 56% ground ball rate. His strikeout rate was his best since 2006. Pretty good for a 40 year old pitcher.

I will have more analysis of this draft on Friday or this weekend.