Fantasy Baseball 2013: Mid-Spring Training Mock Draft, Round-by-Round Analysis
Spring Training has hit the halfway point, and we're starting to get an idea of what to expect for fantasy baseball in 2013.
To give you an idea of what the player rankings currently look like, we're bringing you this mock draft. But before you dive in, here are two points to keep in mind.
1. This mock was run through CBS Sports, and it was set up as a 5X5 rotisserie, 10 team league.
To spare you some time, we're covering just the first 10 rounds in depth. The final slide is a summary of interesting takeaways from the final 14 round.
2. The player rankings were much more favorable towards hitters. Keep in mind that you should expect pitchers to go a little sooner than they did in this mock.
As an example, Jon Lester wasn't picked until the final round. Yes, he had setbacks in 2012, but not enough to justify that big a dip in stock. So keep in mind that overall pitchers deserve more respect.
there seems to be some confusion, and that's on me. I was just one of these 10 teams (pick No. 2 in odd rounds, pick No. 9 in even rounds). I should have made that clearer.
That is why I tried my best to point out which picks were absurd, and which were a little too good to be true. Sorry for the confusion folks, and hope this helps to clear things up.
1. Mike Trout
There's really no surprise here. Trout had a solid rookie year, and maybe his lack of experience makes him a risk. But his upside is ridiculous, and if he's half as good as last year it'll be enough to justify this pick.
2. Matt Kemp
After an injury-plagued 2012, Kemp is still a first rounder. He's having a slow spring, and even though he doesn't have a hit, he's still hitting the ball hard. Good for at least a 30-30 season if healthy.
3. Miguel Cabrera
Cabrera isn't going to get you any steals, but he's still a solid four category player. And boy does he excel in those four categories. Last year's Triple Crown winner shouldn't make it further than this.
4. Ryan Braun
There seems to be a bit of apprehension around Ryan Braun this season. He continues to be linked to PEDs, and his future remains in flux. He could be a No. 1 pick, but don't be surprised if he falls out of the Top 10.
5. Clayton Kershaw
A pitcher is always a risky pick in the first-round. Even a guy as consistent as Kershaw carries his own fantasy risks. But if you're going to take an ace in the first round, might as well be this guy.
6. Josh Hamilton
This is probably the riskiest pick in this first round. Hamilton is a force when he's on the field, but he spends too much time off it with injuries. Given how Pujols struggled early last year in L.A.'s super lineup, who knows how Hamilton will adapt.
7. Giancarlo Stanton
Stanton is a solid three category player, excelling in power, RBI and runs. He hit .290 last year, but he has to prove he can keep that up. Stanton has speed, but he's yet to utilize it (16 career stolen bases).
8. Albert Pujols
Pujols took some steps back last year, and struggled for the better part of the first half. And yet he still finished with at least 30 home runs and 100 RBI. This pick would look a lot better if he could get back to hitting .300.
9. Andrew McCutchen
If you're stuck drafting on the back-end of the first round, this is the guy to take. McCutchen had a great season last year, and could be a 30-30 player this season. Add in 200 hits (he had 194 last year) and you've got a fantasy stud.
10. Prince Fielder
Hard to agree with this pick, especially in a 10 team draft. Fielder had a solid first year in Detroit, but it was underwhelming compared to years past. Definitely some better options in Round 1.
11. Justin Upton
12. Joey Votto
Votto had an underwhelming 2012, hitting just 14 home runs. But he was also limited to 111 games, in which he had 44 doubles and 94 walks. Oh how quickly fantasy owners forget.
13. Robinson Cano
2012 saw Cano post career highs in home runs (33) and OPS (.929), and yet he's fallen this far? Fantasy baseball's best second baseman (even with no steals potential) deserves a first round look.
14. Adrian Gonzalez
15. Yoenis Cespedes
Cespedes looked as good as advertised in his rookie year, and should be considered a lock for a 20-20 season. Whether he can consistently contribute in the other three categories is yet to be seen. He's a big reach this early.
16. Troy Tulowitzki
Unlike Cano, Tulo deserves this demotion outside of the first round. The shortstop hasn't appeared in 150 since 2009, and played in just 47 last year (posting an .846 OPS). Can he stay on the field?
17. Carlos Gonzalez
Consistency at the plate could propel Car-Go into the first round, but until that he's a solid second rounder. Even with his power slip last season, expect at least a 20-20 season.
18. Jay Bruce
19. Dustin Pedroia
It's a tough toss up between Pedroia and Kinsler as fantasy's No. 2 second baseman. While both struggled last season, Pedroia has consistently been the better five category player.
20. Evan Longoria
As you'll see in the next round, there's a lot of ways to go this early at third base. Longo has arguably the most upside at the position, but he's got to stay healthy.
21. Starlin Castro
22. Chase Headley
The 28-year-old Headley had a career year last season, and there's no reason to think he can't keep it up in 2013. And unlike most third basemen, he can help contribute in all five categories.
23. Jacoby Ellsbury
This is a hard pick to justify this early. Ellsbury has upside, but it's impossible to ignore his 2012. Injuries played a part last season, but they don't explain his .152 point drop in slugging percentage.
24. Edwin Encarnacion
25. Ian Kinsler
26. Jason Heyward
27. Adrian Beltre
It's no surprise Adrian Beltre and David Wright were picked back-to-back, and it's pretty much a fantasy tossup between the two. But while the younger Wright may have higher upside, Beltre has consistency.
28. David Wright
29. Jose Reyes
30. Ryan Zimmerman
31. Bryce Harper
This seems like the right spot for Harper. Everyone knows the potential is there, but he still has to prove that he can be consistent at the Major League level.
32. Jose Bautista
33. Allen Craig
34. Jose Altuve
This pick is far from sensible. Altuve will contribute in steals and should be a factor in average—the .340 OBP's a little disconcerting—but he's essentially a non-factor in home runs and RBI.
35. Mark Trumbo
36. Justin Verlander
37. Paul Goldschmidt
Some may view this as a reach, but it's actually a nice pick. Goldschmidt was two steals away from a 20-20 season last year, which is a rare feat at first base. He'll be a five category stud by year's end.
38. Alex Rios
39. Stephen Strasburg
Strasburg looked healthy last season, and he's a solid ace for any fantasy team. To say he can be the next Justin Verlander could be an understatement. Isn't that a scary thought.
40. David Price
41. Craig Kimbrel
And we have out first fantasy reliever. Just like taking a pitcher in the first round, taking a reliever this early is a point of contention amongst fantasy players. But if you have to take a closer this soon, might as well be the best out there.
42. Matt Cain
43. Buster Posey
It's surprising that Buster Posey didn't go sooner than this. He proved last year that he's healthy after his grueling 2011 injury, all while putting up insane numbers for a catcher. Could 30 homers be on the way?
44. Adam Jones
45. Yadier Molina
Unlike Posey, there's no justification for taking Molina this early. The 29-year-old had a career year in 2012, but he's far from a fantasy elite—even at catcher.
46. Ian Desmond
If Desmond's .511 slugging percentage from last year is for real, than this is a great pick. If it wasn't, than this could be one of the worst reaches of the draft.
47. Billy Butler
48. Cole Hamels
49. Jered Weaver
50. Cliff Lee
51. Brandon Phillips
52. Adam Wainwright
Wainwright is one of this year's best sleepers. The ace struggled at times last season after recovering from TJ surgery, but he pitched well down the stretch. Definitely someone to watch.
53. Aramis Ramirez
54. Shane Victorino
55. Gio Gonzalez
Gonzalez seems to have finally gotten over his control issues, posting a career low 3.4 BB/9 in 2012. However, he still struggles to pitch deep. 21 wins is huge, but 199.1 innings in 32 starts is disappointing.
56. Matt Holliday
57. Alex Gordon
58. Melky Cabrera
Even with the move to Toronto, Cabrera is a risky pick this early. Until he can prove that he can play at a high level post-PEDs, you would be smart to steer clear.
59. Anthony Rizzo
60. B.J. Upton
61. Carlos Santana
62. Felix Hernandez
Either fantasy owners are weary of Felix's elbow, or the inconsistencies that plagued him last season. Whatever the case, King Felix is still a steal this late in the draft.
63. Alejandro De Aza
64. Carlos Gomez
65. Will Middlebrooks
If you don't want to spring for a third baseman early on, Middlebrooks is a really good pick later on. The 23-year-old had 15 home runs and an .835 OPS in 75 games last season, and he looks healthy this spring.
66. Matt Wieters
This is the point where we start to see reaches at thin positions. Matt Wieters continues to hit at consistent power levels, but he doesn't have any value in other categories. You'd be smarter to gamble on a sleeper later on.
67. Desmond Jennings
68. CC Sabathia
69. Madison Bumgarner
70. Max Scherzer
71. Shin-Soo Choo
72. Jason Kipnis
Kipnis is a really strong pick here. The second baseman is a four category contributor with a chance at a 20-30 season this year. Last year's .714 OPS is a little suspect.
73. Chris Sale
74. Hanley Ramirez
75. David Freese
76. Michael Bourn
77. Victor Martinez
V-Mart looks healthy so far this spring, and that could make him a steal this late. If he can retain his catcher eligibility, his upside becomes that much higher.
78. Pablo Sandoval
79. Ben Zobrist
80. Freddie Freeman
81. Aaron Hill
82. Elvis Andrus
83. Ben Revere
There's a lot of hype around Ben Rever this year, and it's just not justified. He provides upside in steals and average, but it's hard to look past his zero home runs and .675 OPS from last year.
84. Jimmy Rollins
85. Carl Crawford
86. Yu Darvish
87. Chris Davis
88. Joe Mauer
Despite inconsistent power numbers, Mauer deserves more fantasy respect. He returned to hitting above .300 last year, while posted more than 80 runs and RBI. Definitely a steal this late in the game.
89. Kris Medlen
90. Josh Rutledge
If you're looking for a big sleeper in your infield, look no further. Rutledge qualifies at second and short, and plays at Coors Field. With eight home runs and seven steals in 73 games last year, a 20-20 season is reasonable.
91. Matt Moore
Moore didn't have as dominating a rookie campaign as hoped for in 2012, but he was still a solid pitcher—that 8.9 K/9 wasn't too shabby. Even though the 23-year-old has struggled this spring, he's still a great late round pick for your rotation.
92. Wilin Rosario
Every year it's smart to try and find one catcher who has a lot of upside and is a lock for a late round. Rosario is that guy for 2013. He mashed 28 home runs last year as a rookie. 30 home runs in 2013 is probable, and 40 is possible.
93. Jason Motte
94. Norichika Aoki
95. Fernando Rodney
96. Lorenzo Cain
Cain still has a ways to go to establish himself as a solid fantasy outfielder, but he has lots of upside as a combo power-speed threat. Definitely worth a 10th round pick.
97. Pedro Alvarez
98. Rickie Weeks
It's easy to point out the bad in Weeks' 2012, but there was some good as well. The second baseman hit .230, but still managed 21 home runs and a .728 OPS. A return to form would make him a steal this late.
99. Carlos Beltran
100. Mike Napoli
Here are some interesting takeaways from the final rounds:
Roy Halladay was finally drafted here. Last year's step back, and this year's spring struggles, have Doc's stock plummeting.
The first Yankee not named Cano, Sabathia or RIvera is finally picked. It's outfielder Curtis Granderson, who will be sidelined until at least May with a forearm injury.
Jeff Samardzija, Andre Ethier, C.J. Wilson, Kenley Jansen and Miguel Montero were all drafted this late. All-in-all a good round for steals.
Somehow Brian McCann and Anibal Sanchez fell this far.
Someone takes a gamble on the injured Mark Teixeira, and Jon Lester finally gets nabbed with the second-to-last pick of the draft.