I participated in the Mock Draft Army 12 team, NL-only mock draft on Friday afternoon with some other industry experts including the host Howard Bender from Fantasy Alarm and SiriusXM Fantasy, Paul Sporer from FanGraphs and several other fantasy site, Lawr Michaels, a long time industry veteran from Matersball, another long time industry veteran Peter Kreutzer from Ask Rotoman and the Fantasy Baseball Guide magazine, and a few others.
Before I get into my draft results, here is a link to the draft results:
And here is how the first round went. I had the 11th pick in the 12 team draft:
1. Andrew McCutchen, Pirates
2. Paul Goldschmidt, Diamondbacks
3. Giancarlo Stanton, Marlins
4. Carlos Gomez, Brewers
5. Anthony Rendon, Nationals
6. Buster Posey, Giants
7. Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers
8. Anthony Rizzo, Cubs
9. Troy Tulowtizki, Rockies
10. Yasiel Puig, Dodgers
11. Ryan Braun, Brewers
12. Ian Desmond, Nationals
I went into the draft with the plan to draft hitting first but wanting to draft one of the top 10 starting pitchers in the National League. In other words, I wanted an ace, and would take one once the ace market began to get thin. As you can see I drafted Braun with my first pick. I gave some thought to taking Bryce Harper there, but thought he might fall to me in the second round. As it turned out, he went with the first pick of the second round, so I guessed wrong. So, with Harper off the board, I gave some thought to drafting Starling Marte and Nolan Arenado there, but since I have been backing Padres outfielder Matt Kemp all offseason, I had to take him there.
I took Kemp with my second round pick in the Baseball Prospectus 15 team mixed experts league mock draft on Thursday night, and some of my followers said I reached with that pick. But, here's what my critics are not considering, a fact that I discovered yesterday in my preparation for Outfielder Week, which kicks off tomorrow:
For the Matt Kemp critics out there, he was one of 10 hitters to hit 25 or more HRs, drive in 80 or more runs and hit .280 or better in 2014— Ray Guilfoyle (@faketeams) February 28, 2015
I watched a lot of Dodger games last season, and he was back to being the Matt Kemp from three years ago in the second half last season. Kemp was a monster in the second half last season, and I think it will carry over into the 2015 season, even playing half of his games in Petco.
Below is my roster:
Starting Slots (23-23)
|C||Susac, Andrew (SF) (C,U)|
|C||Ross, David (CHC) (C,U)|
|1B||Gonzalez, Adrian (LAD) (1B,CI,U)|
|2B||La Stella, Tommy (CHC) (2B,MI,U)|
|SS||Baez, Javier (CHC) (2B,SS,MI,U)|
|3B||Alvarez, Pedro (PIT) (3B,CI,U)|
|MI||Alcantara, Arismendy (CHC) (2B,MI,U,OF)|
|CI||Ruf, Darin (PHI) (1B,CI,U)|
|U||Taylor, Michael (WSH) (U,OF)|
|OF||Braun, Ryan (MIL) (U,OF)|
|OF||Kemp, Matt (SD) (U,OF)|
|OF||Hamilton, Billy (CIN) (U,OF)|
|OF||Pederson, Joc (LAD) (U,OF)|
|OF||Young, Eric (NYM) (U,OF)|
|P||Wainwright, Adam (STL) (SP)|
|P||Cole, Gerrit (PIT) (SP)|
|P||Jansen, Kenley (LAD) (RP)|
|P||Fernandez, Jose (MIA) (SP)|
|P||Giles, Kenneth (PHI) (RP)|
|P||Miller, Shelby (ATL) (SP)|
|P||Garza, Matt (MIL) (SP)|
|P||Kelley, Shawn (SD) (RP)|
|P||Walden, Jordan (STL) (RP)|
As you can see, I focused on hitting in this draft, and I feel I drafted a very solid hitting lineup, and it is obvious I have some question marks in my starting rotation. After taking Braun and Kemp with my first two picks, I grabbed Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez in the third round and Reds outfielder Billy Hamilton in the fourth round. After four rounds, I felt I had a nice core of power and speed, projecting around 80 home runs and 80 stolen bases.
After going hitter-hitter-hitter-hitter in the first four rounds, I drafted Wainwright with the second pick in the fifth round, after the rest of the aces were off the board. Granted, I am weary of Wainwright for a variety of reasons heading into the season due to his offseason elbow surgery, his ab injury in the spring and his reduced strikeout rate in 2014, but I needed an ace and I was willing to balance the risk/reward in the fifth round.
Due to his injury risk, I came right back with Pirates hurler Gerrit Cole in the sixth round, as I think he could put up a breakout season in 2015. He struck out a batter per inning in 2014, and continued to keep the ball on the ground at a 49% clip.
Following the Cole pick, I grabbed the best available closer, Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen. He will miss some time to start the season, but should return to the dominating Jansen from 2014. After the Jansen selection, I took hitters in the next three rounds: Pirates third baseman and soon to be first baseman Pedro Alvarez, Subs SS/2B Javier Baez and Dodgers outfielder Joc Pederson. They all come with risk due, as Baez and Pederson are rookies, with Baez probably the biggest risk due to his high strikeout rate. Pederson comes with risk, as 2015 is his rookie season, and there is a good chance he struggles. This might be a make or break season for Alvarez, as he moves over to first base from third base. If he shows he cannot handle first base, or doesn't rebound at the plate, he could become trade bait at some point this season or next offseason. The Pirates are built to win now and if he cannot rebound from his down 2014, he could lose at bats to Corey Hart during the season.
I won't go through all of my pick, but I filled out my hitting roster with Cubs utility guy Arismendy Alcantara, Nationals outfielder Michael Taylor, Phillies backup Darrin Ruf and catchers Andrew Susac and David Ross. I have previously written about Alcantara, so you know how much I like him this season. Taylor has a chance to start the season on the Opening Day roster with Jayson Werth rehabbing after shoulder surgery. The Nationals outfield has been prone to injury in the past, so he could see 300+ plate appearances in 2015.
So how did I do? Too much risk with Baez, Alvarez, Pederson and Alcantara. Too little pitching?