I’m Mocking You

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As most fantasy players know one of the keys ways to prepare for your draft is by doing mock drafts. My cash league this year is drafting on the 23rd (I’ll be updating everyone on that throughout the season) and in preparation for that I’ve been doing some mock drafts. I’m going to give you a peak inside here, and explain a bit of my draft strategy. Hopefully theres some helpful tips and hints!

First off when you’re doing mocks in preparation for a specific league, I find it best to draft from the position you will be occupying in your league. I’ve got the second pick in my league, so that’s where I went in this mock. It was a surprisingly good one, without many of the problems you find in Yahoo! drafts the majority of the time. There were no participants on auto draft, nor were any making silly picks which ruin the process. One disclaimer to make in this process is to not try to take mock draft results as gospel, people in your league will all rank players differently than the random internet folk you’re mocking with, so have fun with it and try out different strategies. Just don’t go into one expecting to be able to nail down exactly when and where you’ll be able to draft player X or pitcher Y. So without further ado, here’s how I did, the settings were 12 team league, 5X5 roto, and standard rosters:

1.2 Ryan Braun 

As you’ll know if you check out my previous post I’m a big Ryan Braun fan. I would take Braun #1 overall if I had that pick, and as Trout went number 1 this pick was a no brainer for me. I wouldn’t fault anyone for taking Trout or Miguel Cabrera here if they were available, to each his own. Braun has elite level skills and will put up elite level numbers, not to mention I think he has a solid chance at going 30/30 again.

2.11 Justin Upton

Drafting at the top means a long wait to make your second pick, however I was quite happy to find Justin Upton sitting here waiting for me at 23. I’m a big believer in him this year. I mean he’s only 25 and is only 1 season removed from a 31 homer, 21 steal season. He’s going to be batting in an exciting young Atlanta lineup with brother B.J and Jason Heyward. I like Justin to return to his 2011 form and post a top-20 fantasy season from the outfield. When he’s at his peak he’ll help you across all 5 categories. 

3.2 José Reyes

Reyes was one of the Jays big offseason additions and I think he’s poised for another great year. He proved last year in Miami that he can stay health, appearing in 160 games for the Marlins. He has top level speed stealing 40 bags last year, and batting at the top of the Toronto lineup he should have the opportunity to put up similar numbers. Not to mention batting in front of the likes of Melky, Edwin Encarnacion and Joey Bats. As long as Reyes can stay healthy (which is somewhat of a big if considering the turf at Rogers Centre) he has the chance to put up huge numbers in Runs, Steals and Average, as well as not hurting you in power or RBI.

4.11 Billy Butler 

Butler broke out last year, finally showing everyone the power we knew he had. He hit 29 homeruns and added 60 points to his slugging percentage. In an exciting young Kansas City lineup he has the chance to keep improving as he’s only 26, even though he’s been up with the Royals since 2007. I think Butler has the ability to put up another 25 HR, 100 RBI season, as well as putting up an average right around .300.

5.2 Yu Darvish 

I normally don’t take pitchers this early in the draft, preferring to wait until later to pick them, however I decided to take a gamble and pick up Yu at pick #50. I absolutely love his upside, and owned him last year in his rookie season. Darvish ranked 3rd in the league in 3 pitch strikeouts last year, behind only Cliff Lee and R.A Dickey, so you know his stuff is dirty. Plus this year with the Astros coming to the AL West Darvish has the opportunity to beat up on a AAA lineup at least 2-3 times, and hopefully more like 4-5. I expect his K numbers to rise a bit this year and his ERA to come down to the mid 3s.

6.11 Brett Lawrie

Lawrie was a huge disappointment to many fantasy players last year who merely extrapolated his performance from 2011 and expected that in 2012. Still for a 2nd year player the numbers he put up were by no means awful. He’ll have the opportunity to hit lower down in a stacked Toronto lineup, and I think that a 20-20 campaign is certainly within his means, he just needs to make less bonehead errors on the basepaths.

7.2 Desmond Jennings 

Des Jennings is another one of these post hype picks if you are starting to pick up a trend. He put up disappointing numbers to many who expected him to be a 30-30 player in his 2nd year. I think he’s a great opportunity this year and I love the tools he brings to the table. You’ll likely still have to deal with hot and cold streaks as he’s still developing, but if you’re patient you could have a 5 tool player at a steal of a draft postion.

8.11 Matt Moore 

My second Ray in a row, and another post hype young gun. Moore struggled in the first half, understandably so for a rookie in the toughest division in baseball. However in the 2nd half he really started to live up to his potential, posting a mid 3 ERA from June on. I really believe that he is in for a breakout similar to teammate David Price had in 2010. Price struggled in his first full year with Tampa in 2009 before breaking out huge in 2010. With Darvish and Moore locked up theres at least 400 Ks locked up.

9.2 Wilin Rosario 

Players like Willin Rosario, Matt Wieters and Sal Perez are reasons why I hesitate to take a catcher like Buster Posey or Joe Mauer early. Rosario has huge power potential, hitting 28 HR in only 426 PA last year. He also plays in Coors Field, which although it is no longer the launching pad it used to be it is still a big plus to hitters.

10.11 Rickie Weeks 

I feel like I’m repeating myself here, but Rickie Weeks was yet another player who disappointed many owners last year. For the first 2 months of the season he was almost unrosterable, hitting right around the Mendoza line. However he really picked it up in the second half and finished with 21 homers and 16 steals. He’s likely to always be an average drag, so bear that in mind, but the counting stat potential is definitely there.

The Upside Guys

11.2 Tim Lincecum 
12.11 Matt Harvey 

13.2 Sergio Romo 

14.11 Greg Holland 

15.2 Coco Crisp 

16.11 Brett Gardner 

17.2 Josh Rutledge

18.11 Trevor Cahill 

19.2 Manny Machado 

20.11 Carlos Mármol  

21.2 Starling Marte 

22.11 Wil Myers 

23.2 Sergio Santos 

I won’t go as depth into these guys as I don’t want to bore you, but you’ll see that there’s a common thread here, all of these players have some sort of upside (well other than Coco, but he’s always been a personal favorite of mine). You have guys like Lincecum and Gardner who are coming off bad years (Performance & Injury respectively) but who I believe can be big contributors again. I take my first closer in round 13 (FEAR THE BEARD), and pick up others in 14, 20 (Carlos MarmLOL) and 23. I’m not a big believer in not chasing saves and I think I got good value here. Then you have young guns like Harvey, Machado and Myers who I all think are poised for great years.

Observations

I’ll be honest with everyone, I love power bats and power arms. I love the power bats assembled on this team as well as the strikeout potential. There is a lot of upside with these players, however also risk. But to win you have to be willing to take risks. I’d rather take lottery ticket players like Machado, Myers and Santos (who I think will close Opening Day for the Jays and never give up the job) than boring one category veterans (Aka Mark Reynolds). I also like to wait to take pitching, and I think I showed here you can still put together a good staff if you wait. Each fantasy player has their own strategy, and each will give different advice. The key is to be prepared going into the draft, and how you do that is up to you. Just don’t let yourself be the person who drafts Curtis Granderson in the 3rd, or ARod & Chris Carpenter at the end of your draft thinking you got steals. Best of luck and happy drafting!

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