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15 Team Mock Draft, NFBC Prep

I joined Howard Bender and the Mock Draft Army last week as we sank our teeth into a 15 team roto mock draft.

MLB: Milwaukee Brewers at St. Louis Cardinals Billy Hurst-USA TODAY Sports

I had the pleasure of representing Fake Teams in one of Howard Bender’s mock drafts from which he aggregates ADP data. Howard is a fantastic fantasy baseball mind, as I’m sure many of you know, and he kills it over at FantasyAlarm.

Needless to say, this was with some of the big guns in the industry, including Lawr Michaels and Pat Wisniewski both of Mastersball. Intimidating? To some, sure, but I’ve gotten my feet wet in the high profile ‘mock drafting’ world with the guys over at CBS Sports. I’m more interested in seeing other owner’s strategies for the coming year; we all know there isn’t one way to win a fantasy baseball league.

This mock was an entrance exam of sorts to my first 15-team NFBC league for the coming season. While I would give myself a passing grade, as with most mocks, it’s more about getting a feel for who to target when. My excitement to dig into some live drafting in high-stakes fantasy for the first time this season is tough to contain. This mock only added fuel to my fire.

Results

Being fresh to the 15-team format, I expected there to be a lot of struggle to build a team that I liked from both the offensive and pitching perspective. I ended up with the 7th pick, smack in the middle of the 15 team crop. This is a great spot to draft in as I didn’t have to factor in too much decision on whether I wanted to reach for guys I knew I would have no shot of drafting. That exact conundrum makes some of the picks in 15 teamers a bit more volatile.

Here is what I ended up with (full results will be at the bottom of this post)...

You’ll immediately realize that this team has average problems. I wouldn’t bank of any of my bats hitting well over the .300 mark save Lorenzo Cain, or some BABIP luck with Arenado. My tendency in roto is to go with legitimate power early, even in an environment where home runs are up, 30 home run players with average padding near the .300 window are pretty scarce.

Story and Odor likely won’t hit .275, the expectation for them to combine for 50 homers up the middle on a team is unmatchable. Both these guys possess risk due to their strikeout rates catching up with their fantasy-relevant stats, but I took a risk on the beauty I saw in filling middle infield early. Being one who always shies away from positional scarcity, it was definitely a unique move for me to plug those two positions early. Fangraph’s Steamer has my top four picks projected for 114 total home runs, needless to say I would expect to finish top 5 in the category potential in R/HR/RBI is truly mesmerizing with my first four picks.

15 team leagues also surprisingly allow for a lot of value in players who fall.

Stephen Strasburg at 97 overall is a fantastic example of exactly that. Sure he possesses some of the steepest uncertainty among starting pitchers, but when he has been on the mound over the last few years, strikeouts and wins are the product. In a roto league where the value of groundball pitchers takes a clear hit, I don’t particularly understand the reasoning behind Aaron Sanchez, Masahiro Tanaka, and Marcus Stroman all going before Strasburg. The floors may be higher, but if you give each a Steamer projected season, more times than not Strasburg will finish well above the pack. Even if Strasburg gives you less innings, in a Rich Hill-esque situation, those innings will be more valuable. It’s a quantity versus quality argument, and in roto leagues, quality wins a good majority of the time.

Starting pitcher philosophy as a whole was heavily influenced by one team, on the board as ‘Chris J’, who went four pitchers with his first four picks. The depletion of the SP commodity at such an early stage, made everybody else follow suit in grabbing their ace early. The best pitcher on the board at the start of round five was Cole Hamels, who currently goes about 25-30 spots later than he did in this draft. I was one of the last five teams to draft an SP and ended up with Carlos Carrasco, a player hyped last year that many have backed off on after a season I am only encouraged by.

When you see Steven Matz and Matt Harvey on the board past 200 overall, realization sets in that the draft room may have just been afraid of injury risk at a position that already possesses such in unexpected doses. My staff is based upon hoping for healthy 2017s, and I’m oddly confident that if this played out, I would be more than happy to gamble on these arms holding up.

Keon Broxton is the last guy I’ll point out before leaving you to analyze the draft yourself - and hopefully post some thoughts below!

I made mad dash past the 10th round to rev up my outfield, as George Springer was my only asset at the time and outfield depth isn’t the easiest thing to score this year. I don’t particularly like my Lorenzo Cain and Yasmany Tomas picks, but they’re much more tolerable as I was glad to nab Broxton at pick 217. It’s hard for a player’s value to balloon when they’re on a mediocre team like the Brewers, but a player with 20/20 potential right around his ADP is a great fit for this already low average team. The 40% hard hit rate isn’t going away, and he’s a more efficient base stealer than teammate Jonathan Villar by about 13%. I can only imagine good things for Broxton in 2017 and was more than happy to get him where I did.

Feel free to follow me on Twitter, @LanceBrozdow, and post any questions / comments / topics you would like to discuss below. Always open to some conversation!