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My MockDraftArmy draft results: Drafting an ace in the first round

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Ray analyzes his MockDraftArmy draft from Thursday night, and tells you that you can draft a solid lineup of hitters if you draft an ace in the first round.

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I am on the massive email that Howard Bender from Fantasy Alarm and SiriusXM Fantasy sends out every week, and was happy to participate in last night's @MockDraftArmy 10 mock draft. Howard is keeping his own ADP over at Fantasy Alarm and you should make it a routine to go check it out. Why you ask? Because Howard makes sure there are representatives from the industry in all of his mock drafts, so you get a better ADP representation than some other sites that allow drafters to turn on the auto-draft and walk away. The information from those drafts are not helpful. Howard also makes sure that everyone in the draft room is actually drafting and is not auto-drafting for the same reason. So, make sure you check out his ADPs over at Fantasy Alarm.

So, once I found out that I had the 6th slot in the 15 team mock draft, I decided that if Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw fell to me at the six spot, I would grab him and then see what kind of roster I could build by drafting an ace with my first round pick. There are some fantasy writers out there who write that owners who draft an ace in the first round are telling you they can't find good pitching later in drafts. Wrong. Others write that if you draft an ace in the first round, you are "scared". WHAT??

So, the draft starts and, of course, Mike Trout is the first player taken. I think that all mock drafts should just start with Trout already in the first spot in the draft, because I have not seen a draft where he wasn't taken at 1. Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen is drafted at 2, followed by Paul Goldschmidt, Giancarlo Stanton and Carlos Gomez. I was up, and I pondered for a second on taking Jose Abreu or Billy Hamilton (kidding!!!!), but went with Kershaw. I don't need to explain my choice, as I would have taken him in the 3 spot as well.

So, here is a look at the rest of my team, with analysis to follow. My strategy was to see what kind of lineup I could draft after taking an ace in the first round. I think I fared pretty well.

Pos

Player

Round

C

Pinto, Josmil (MIN) (C,U)

21

C

Hundley, Nick (COL) (C,U)

23

1B

Fielder, Prince (TEX) (1B,CI,U)

4

2B

Walker, Neil (PIT) (2B,MI,U)

11

SS

Castro, Starlin (CHC) (SS,MI,U)

5

3B

Headley, Chase (NYY) (3B,CI,U)

17

MI

Alcantara, Arismendy (CHC) (2B,MI,U,OF)

18

CI

LaRoche, Adam (CWS) (1B,CI,U)

9

U

Carter, Chris (HOU) (U)

8

OF

Braun, Ryan (MIL) (U,OF)

2

OF

Springer, George (HOU) (U,OF)

3

OF

Gordon, Alex (KC) (U,OF)

6

OF

Revere, Ben (PHI) (U,OF)

10

OF

Saunders, Michael (TOR) (U,OF)

19

P

Kershaw, Clayton (LAD) (SP)

1

P

Cole, Gerrit (PIT) (SP)

7

P

Latos, Mat (MIA) (SP)

12

P

Quintana, Jose (CWS) (SP)

13

P

Doolittle, Sean (OAK) (RP)

14

P

Casilla, Santiago (SF) (RP)

15

P

Gausman, Kevin (BAL) (SP)

16

P

Alvarez, Henderson (MIA) (SP)

20

P

Bauer, Trevor (CLE) (SP)

22

You can find the complete results in the link below:

MockDraftArmy 10 results

Quick Thoughts

After taking Kershaw in the first round, I wanted a the best hitter available in the second round. Sounds easy, right? Well, for me, the best hitter available was Braun, but that didn't jive with the rankings on Real Time Sports, so I thought about a few other hitters including Justin Upton, Hanley Ramirez and Bryce Harper, but felt that Braun will be 100% healthy this season for the first time in about two years. Playing injured last season, he still put up decent stats -  hitting .266 with 19 home runs, 68 runs scored, 81 RBI and 11 stolen bases.

My third round pick was Astros outfielder George Springer. I think you know by now I have a man crush on Springer, so I won't go into too much detail here. He put up a 20 home run season in less than half a season of playing time last year. He has the talent to hit 30 home runs and steal 20 bases in 2015, and I think we could be talking about him as a first round pick at this time next year. And possibly before.

After three rounds, I project that I have 50-55 home runs, 160-180 runs scored, 170-180 RBI and about 30 stolen bases from my two hitters. Not bad.

My next pick is a guy who missed most of last season due to neck surgery. My pick was Prince Fielder, and while some think he may be in the decline phase of his career, I think he still has a few good year left in him. To see what he has been up to this offseason, do yourself a favor and and read this piece from Evan Grant. Fielder is working out for four hours per day, so he should be in very good shape for spring training.

In the fifth round, I took Cub shortstop Starlin Castro, as the shortstop position was close to thinning out, and I didn't want to be stuck with some of the next tier shortstops. I am pretty high on Castro this season, for several reasons:

1. I think there is more power to come, especially after GM Jed Hoyer stated the same.

2. Castro might feel some pressure to perform at a higher level with Addison Russell in AAA

3. His stolen base total could reach double digits under manager Joe Maddon

I grabbed Alex Gordon in the sixth round, and while I like the choice, I wasn't as prepared in this round as I should have been, and have to admit I panicked with the time getting to the single digits. Looking back, I would have taken Cubs outfielder Jorge Soler with the pick, but Gordon is as consistent at they come.

I grabbed my second pitcher in the seventh round, as I wanted to grab two starters from my Top 20, and grabbed Pirates starter, and future ace (I think), Gerrit Cole. He took a step up last season, striking out a batter per nine, limited the walks and kept the ball on the ground at a 49% clip. He has all the ingredients to take another step in 2015, especially for a Pirates team that focuses on defense and defensive shifts.

I won't write about every one of my picks, but I was very happy to grab Astros DH, and baseball masher, Chris Carter in the eighth round.I love his power as he should be able to repeat his home run output from last season. That comes with a low BA and lots of whiffs, but the POWER!

I followed the Carter pick with three guys I really like this season - Mr. Consistent Adam LaRoche, speedster Ben Revere, and an under-loved Neil Walker. LaRoche could approach 30 home runs this season in Chicago, Revere will steal 40 bases and hit .290, and Walker put up solid power numbers with a .270 average last season.

I rounded out my pitching with Marlins starter Mat Latos, undervalued Jose Quintana, breakout candidate Kevin Gausman, another Marlins starter Henderson Alvarez who keeps the ball on the ground and puts up solid ERA and WHIP, and another breakout candidate Trevor Bauer.

I waited on closers building up my lineup, but was able to grab Sean Doolittle and Santiago Casilla. Not the top or second tier of closers, but solid closers nonetheless.

When you focus on hitters and pitching, sometimes you have a hole in your lineup, and catcher is a huge hole for me. Like Daniel Kelley advised in his catcher draft day strategy, I treated catchers as my kickers in fantasy football drafts.

I think I accomplished my objective in building a solid lineup and rotation, even though I drafted Kershaw in the first round.

How did I do? Let me know in the comments.