Fantasy Baseball

Fantasy Baseball 2014: Full 15-Team, 23-Round Mock Draft, Version 1.0

Jason CataniaMLB Lead WriterFebruary 28, 2014

Fantasy Baseball 2014: Full 15-Team, 23-Round Mock Draft, Version 1.0

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    When this guy is your top pick in a mock draft, it helps a whole lot.
    When this guy is your top pick in a mock draft, it helps a whole lot.Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Practice makes perfect—even when it doesn't really count.

    With fantasy baseball drafts about to start in earnest over the next few weeks, it's important to prepare for the big day. Reading up on the top-150 players this year is one way to do so, as is checking out the position rankings and some key sleepers.

    Nothing, though, beats doing a mock draft. That's when a group of like-minded fantasy baseball folks gather over the Interwebs to participate in a process of player procurement, pick by pick, for practice.

    The idea is to simulate a real fantasy baseball draft to get a better understanding of trends in roster construction and players' average draft position (ADP).

    The point? To learn something while having some fun.

    With all of the above in mind, yours truly joined in on a recent mock draft with a bunch of fellow fantasy baseball writers. What follows is a look at how everything shook out.

     

The Participants

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    Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press

    Before we get to the picks, here's some background.

    This mock draft was held on Feb. 20 via Real Time Fantasy Sports and was set up by Howard Bender, the proprietor of RotoBuzzGuy.com and the strict yet self-deprecating general of his so-called Mock Draft Army, a project created to bring fantasy writers and readers together to get a more genuine sense of ADPs.

    Here's a list of the nine fantasy writers who participated, in alphabetical order, as well as their site affiliations and Twitter handles:

    And here's a rundown of the six readers who joined in to help keep those of us who do this for a living on our toes:

    • Tom G.
    • Tyler K.
    • Shawn L.
    • Mark O.
    • Byron T.
    • Johnny S.

     

Scoring and Settings

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    Rick Scuteri/Associated Press

    Now, as for the other information you should know, this mock was set up for a make-believe league that uses standard 5x5 rotisserie scoring: BA, R, HR, RBI, SB for hitters; W, ERA, WHIP, K, SV for pitchers.

    There's 23 rounds and no bench, which means everyone starts, so you best not get stuck with a schlub in your lineup or rotation.

    The lineup positions are as follows: one each for first base, second base, third base, shortstop, middle infield, corner infield and utility; two catchers (as opposed to the standard one); five outfielders; and nine pitchers of any sort (starters and relievers).

    Got all that?

    To get a real sense of—and a full look at—the draft, here is the final board laid out in all its majestic, color-coded, 15-team, 23-round entirety. Opening that bad boy up is the best way to follow along as we cover each round along with some analysis.

    Oh, and yours truly scored the second overall pick, which couldn't have worked out any better, as you're about to find out.

    Mock on!

     

Round 1

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    Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press
    OWNERPICKPLAYERPOSITION(S)
    Andrew Miller1Miguel Cabrera1B/3B
    Jason Catania2Mike TroutOF
    Tony Mauriello3Paul Goldschmidt1B
    Tyler K.4Andrew McCutchenOF
    Byron T.5Chris Davis1B
    Mark O.6Hanley RamirezSS
    Tim Heaney7Carlos GonzalezOF
    Tom G.8Robinson Cano2B
    Rodric Richenberg9Adam JonesOF
    Shawn L.10Ryan BraunOF
    Michael Pichan11Bryce HarperOF
    Johnny S.12Adrian Beltre3B
    David Kerr13Troy TulowitzkiSS
    Nick Shlain14Clayton KershawSP
    Howard Bender15Prince Fielder1B

     


    Analysis

    My Pick: Mike Trout, OF

    With pick No. 2, I was all set to take whichever of Miguel Cabrera or Trout didn't go first overall. Landing the latter helped cover all five categories with elite production while also filling one of five OF spots. It doesn't get any better than that.

     

    Other Picks

    It's hard to be critical of any first-round pick in a mock that is 15 teams deep, because if you don't take a guy you want the first time around, there's no guarantee he'll be there in Round 2. Think of this as the Bryce Harper Rule, which is why Michael Pichan grabbed him at No. 11 rather than risking that he would be gone by No. 20.

    That said, I thought Hanley Ramirez and Carlos Gonzalez came off the board a few slots early—I want stability with my top player—and Clayton Kershaw and Prince Fielder look like beauts at the back end of the round.

Round 2

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    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
    OWNERPICKPLAYERPOSITION(S)
    Howard Bender16Jason Kipnis 2B
    Nick Shlain 17Jacoby Ellsbury OF 
    David Kerr18Evan Longoria 3B 
    Johnny S.19Joey Votto 1B 
    Michael Pichan 20Carlos GomezOF 
    Shawn L.21Buster PoseyC/1B 
    Rodric Richenberg 22Edwin Encarnacion 1B 
    Tom G.23David Wright3B 
    Tim Heaney 24Alex RiosOF 
    Mark O.25Dustin Pedroia 2B 
    Byron T.26Jose ReyesSS 
    Tyler K.27 Yasiel Puig OF 
    Tony Mauriello 28Jay BruceOF 
    Jason Catania 29 Yu Darvish SP 
    Andrew Miller30 Giancarlo StantonOF 

     

     

    Analysis

    My Pick: Yu Darvish, SP

    Because the position is so darn deep, I wasn't looking to take a pitcher with my second pick, but we reached the point in the draft at the end of Round 2 where no hitter stood out in particular, and landing a player with the potential for a sub-3.00 ERA, 1.00 WHIP and 250 strikeouts was hard to pass up. The only downside to this pick is that it more or less forced me to go all out on bats with my next several selections, as you'll see.

     

    Other Picks

    While Evan Longoria, Joey Votto and Carlos Gomez were all strong picks at Nos. 18-20, I can't get behind drafting a catcher this early—even one capable of MVP production, like Buster Posey—since you're paying such a steep price and will lose 10-15 games of production by default.

    The other choice that struck me as out of place? Alex Rios at No. 24 overall. I'm not a Rios fan, simply because he's prone to seasons of terribleness (see: 2011, 2009). Even though that's not likely to happen in the Rangers dynamic lineup, there were all sorts of players—even among OFs—that I would have taken ahead of him.

Round 3

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    Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press
    OWNERPICKPLAYERPOSITION(S)
    Andrew Miller31Jose BautistaOF
    Jason Catania32Shin-Soo Choo OF
    Tony Mauriello33Adam Wainwright SP
    Tyler K.34Freddie Freeman 1B
    Byron T.35Matt Carpenter 2B/3B 
    Mark O.36Justin Upton OF 
    Tim Heaney37Albert Pujols1B 
    Tom G.38Jean Segura SS 
    Rodric Richenberg39Ian DesmondSS 
    Shawn L.40Josh Donaldson3B 
    Michael Pichan41Mark Trumbo 1B/OF 
    Johnny S.42Yoenis Cespedes OF 
    David Kerr43Matt Holliday OF 
    Nick Shlain44Hunter PenceOF 
    Howard Bender45David Price SP 

     

     

    Analysis

    My Pick: Shin-Soo Choo, OF

    With my third pick, I took my second Ranger in a row and second outfielder overall. Choo is a perennial 20-20 achiever who should hit for a solid average and score at least 100 runs batting atop the Rangers order. I briefly debated going with Matt Carpenter instead but felt more confident in Choo's proven ability, and I felt like I was on the right track when Carpenter went only three picks later.

     

    Other Picks

    This round was heavy on OFs—seven of 15 picks—so there was a run on the position pretty early. Outfield is deep, but it's not that deep, and if you want at least two studs, you'll need to aim to get them by Round 4 in most drafts.

    To me, the pick with the most risk here was Josh Donaldson. I'm just not sure what to expect from him in 2014 after his out-of-nowhere breakout year at age 27, and at No. 40 overall, he basically needs to repeat last year's performance for the price to be worthwhile.

     

Round 4

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    Ed Zurga/Getty Images
    OWNERPICKPLAYERPOSITION(S)
    Howard Bender46Madison BumgarnerSP 
    Nick Shlain47Jose Fernandez SP 
    David Kerr48Allen Craig 1B/OF
    Johnny S.49Cliff Lee SP 
    Michael Pichan50Max Scherzer SP 
    Shawn L.51Pedro Alvarez 3B 
    Rodric Richenberg52Felix Hernandez SP 
    Tom G.53Justin Verlander SP 
    Tim Heaney54Matt KempOF 
    Mark O.55Ryan Zimmerman 3B 
    Byron T.56Wil Myers OF 
    Tyler K.57Chris Sale SP 
    Tony Mauriello58Stephen Strasburg SP 
    Jason Catania59Eric Hosmer 1B 
    Andrew Miller60Carlos Santana C/1B(/3B)

     

     

    Analysis

    My Pick: Eric Hosmer, 1B

    In need of my first non-OF hitter, I found Hosmer to be the most attractive given his breakout potential this season coming off a strong second half in 2013. I also like that he's a high-average hitter with 20-25-homer power who also chips in double-digit steals at first base, a spot where speed is traditionally nonexistent.

     

    Other Picks

    Got SPs? Nine of the 15 selections in Round 4 were arms, and admittedly, this is where I felt a bit foolish for taking Darvish so early; I really like all of these starters as SP1s, and this round proved that you can wait a bit and still get a staff anchor.

    If memory serves me, Matt Kemp was a mis-pick, but we rolled through, so don't read too much into that one. The other choice I didn't get? Pedro Alvarez at No. 51, which is a heck of a lot of stock to put into hoping for another 35-40 home runs given the low average they're tethered to.

Round 5

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    Jim Cowsert/Associated Press
    OWNERPICKPLAYERPOSITION(S)
    Andrew Miller61Anibal SanchezSP 
    Jason Catania62Elvis Andrus SS 
    Tony Mauriello63Starling Marte OF 
    Tyler K.64David Ortiz UTIL 
    Byron T.65Adrian Gonzalez 1B 
    Mark O.66Joe Mauer C/1B 
    Tim Heaney67Wilin Rosario 
    Tom G.68Alex Gordon OF 
    Rodric Richenberg69Ian Kinsler 2B 
    Shawn L.70Zack Greinke SP 
    Michael Pichan71Craig KimbrelRP 
    Johnny S.72Gio Gonzalez SP 
    David Kerr73Anthony Rizzo 1B 
    Nick Shlain74Yadier Molina
    Howard Bender75Jason Heyward OF 

     

     

    Analysis

    My Pick: Elvis Andrus, SS

    Can you tell I like me some Rangers? Andrus is the third member of that club on my roster and the second offensive player. And while I didn't plan on loading up on Rangers, if there's one team to do so with hitters, it would be Texas. Andrus will be elite in both runs scored and stolen bases, and I got him two rounds after Jean Segura and Ian Desmond, two other high-end SS. That's value.

     

    Other Picks

    At No. 71, Craig Kimbrel came off the board a bit later than I would have guessed, which makes him much more palatable at this point. I still think you'll need to grab him by pick No. 50 or so in most drafts, though.

    The only take I was less than enthused by here was Alex Gordon. He's fine, but I don't quite get the love for a guy who doesn't excel in any single category. If he were to go .270-18-75 with 80 runs and 10 steals, would that be such a surprise—and would it make you all that happy?

     

Round 6

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    Rick Scuteri/Associated Press
    OWNERPICKPLAYERPOSITION(S)
    Howard Bender76Kyle Seager 3B 
    Nick Shlain 77Manny Machado 3B 
    David Kerr78Brian McCann 
    Johnny S.79Jayson Werth OF 
    Michael Pichan 80 Aroldis Chapman RP 
    Shawn L.81Ben Zobrist 2B/SS/OF 
    Rodric Richenberg 82Carlos Beltran OF 
    Tom G.83Desmond Jennings OF 
    Tim Heaney 84Jose Abreu 1B 
    Mark O.85Cole Hamels SP 
    Byron T.86Jonathan Lucroy 
    Tyler K.87 Gerrit Cole SP 
    Tony Mauriello 88Brett Lawrie 3B 
    Jason Catania 89Josh Hamilton OF 
    Andrew Miller90Mike Minor SP 

     

     

    Analysis

    My Pick: Josh Hamilton, OF

    In my defense, I snatched Hamilton prior to the news of his calf strain that's expected to keep him out for two weeks and could cost him the start of the regular season. Regardless, as long as he can stay relatively healthy (again, that might be asking too much now), I like Hamilton to bounce back. Hey, he can't be worse than he was in 2013—can he?

     

    Other Picks

    I particularly liked the Jose Abreu decision. Call it a hunch based on what we've seen from other recent Cuban imports (i.e., Yoenis Cespedes, Yasiel Puig), but I think Abreu could explode onto the scene in Year 1.

     

Round 7

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    Gregory Bull/Associated Press
    OWNERPICKPLAYERPOSITION(S)
    Andrew Miller91 Everth CabreraSS 
    Jason Catania 92Pablo Sandoval 3B 
    Tony Mauriello 93Salvador Perez 
    Tyler K.94 Domonic Brown OF 
    Byron T.95Martin Prado 2B/3B/OF 
    Mark O.96Austin Jackson OF 
    Tim Heaney 97Matt Cain SP 
    Tom G.98Curtis Granderson OF 
    Rodric Richenberg 99Jose Altuve 2B 
    Shawn L.100Jordan Zimmermann SP 
    Michael Pichan 101Nolan Arenado 3B 
    Johnny S.102Julio Teheran SP 
    David Kerr103Jedd Gyorko 2B 
    Nick Shlain 104Billy Hamilton OF 
    Howard Bender105Michael Cuddyer OF 

     

     

    Analysis

    My Pick: Pablo Sandoval, 3B

    Drafting a second injury-prone player in a row probably wasn't so savvy in hindsight, but Panda is a when-he-plays-he-hits type. Because 3B was running thin after Kyle Seager, Manny Machado and Brett Lawrie went in the previous round and I had a need at the position, I went for it. Sandoval is also in better shape this year—a contract year, by the wayand he has been great before.

     

    Other Picks

    Even with 3B thinning out, Nolan Arenado was a little too much of a reach for my taste at No. 101. Meanwhile, one pick before that, Jordan Zimmermann is fantastic value as a very strong SP2.

    Perhaps the biggest mystery in fantasy baseball this year is Billy Hamilton, who could more or less push his owners to the top of the stolen base category by himself—or be back in Triple-A by June. At this stage, that's a gamble worth taking.

     

Round 8

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    Jeff Roberson/Associated Press
    OWNERPICKPLAYERPOSITION(S)
    Howard Bender106Greg HollandRP 
    Nick Shlain 107 Xander Bogaerts SS 
    David Kerr108Mat Latos SP 
    Johnny S.109Billy Butler UTIL
    Michael Pichan 110Mike Napoli 1B 
    Shawn L.111 Andrelton Simmons SS
    Rodric Richenberg 112 Kenley Jansen RP 
    Tom G.113Brandon Belt 1B 
    Tim Heaney 114 Koji Uehara RP 
    Mark O.115Matt Moore SP 
    Byron T.116Homer Bailey SP 
    Tyler K.117Chase Headley 3B 
    Tony Mauriello 118 Jurickson Profar 2B 
    Jason Catania 119Shelby Miller SP 
    Andrew Miller120Carl Crawford OF 

     

     

    Analysis

    My Pick: Shelby Miller, SP

    Look, just because the Cardinals forgot about Miller last October doesn't mean fantasy owners shouldn't remember him this March. This is a 23-year-old who dominated to the tune of 15 wins, a 3.06 ERA, 1.21 WHIP and 169 strikeouts in 173.1 innings—and that was as a rookie. With the reins coming off in Year 2, he's a definite SP2 candidate, which is exactly where he fits in my rotation after I took Darvish all the way back in Round 2.

     

    Other Picks

    Had Homer Bailey fallen to me—he went three picks earlier—I would have plucked him over Miller, so I endorse that choice.

    I can't say the same for Andrelton Simmons or Carl Crawford, neither of whom are needle-movers in fantasy. At least the former might show 20-homer pop at SS, a position that was running low; the latter might be lucky to top 25 steals, and he plays a position where there were still better options.

     

Round 9

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    Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press
    OWNERPICKPLAYERPOSITION(S)
    Andrew Miller121Alex CobbSP
    Jason Catania122Matt Wieters 
    Tony Mauriello123Joe Nathan RP 
    Tyler K.124Evan Gattis C/OF 
    Byron T.125James Shields SP
    Mark O.126Jon Lester SP 
    Tim Heaney127Aramis Ramirez 3B 
    Tom G.128Kris MedlenSP 
    Rodric Richenberg129Shane Victorino OF 
    Shawn L.130Brandon Phillips 2B
    Michael Pichan131Aaron Hill 2B 
    Johnny S.132Howie Kendrick2B 
    David Kerr133Starlin Castro SS 
    Nick Shlain134Leonys Martin OF 
    Howard Bender135Trevor Rosenthal RP 

     

    Analysis

    My Pick: Matt Wieters, C

    If there's one lineup that is nearly as fantasy-friendly as that of the Rangers, it's the Orioles'. This being a two-catcher league, I selected the backstop I saw as the last of the second tier at the position. Wieters has his faults, namely batting average, but if he produces what he normally does in home runs over the past three seasons22 (2011), 23 (2012), 22 (2013)he'll add some power to my lineup, which I felt was lacking in that category.

     

    Other Picks

    How James Shields and Jon Lester lasted until picks 125 and 126 is a mystery to me, as both are SP2s.

    I also felt that Shane Victorino, Brandon Phillips, Aaron Hill and Starlin Castro—who were all taken within a five-pick stretch in the second half of Round 9—each presented great value where they were selected. 

     

Round 10

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    Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press
    OWNERPICKPLAYERPOSITION(S)
    Howard Bender136Wilson Ramos
    Nick Shlain 137Doug Fister SP 
    David Kerr138Michael Wacha SP 
    Johnny S.139Alfonso Soriano OF 
    Michael Pichan 140Danny Salazar SP
    Shawn L.141Brandon Moss 1B/OF
    Rodric Richenberg 142 Hisashi Iwakuma SP 
    Tom G.143Victor Martinez UTIL 
    Tim Heaney 144Daniel Murphy 2B 
    Mark O.145Dexter Fowler OF 
    Byron T.146Francisco Liriano SP 
    Tyler K.147Jeff Samardzija SP 
    Tony Mauriello 148Glen Perkins RP 
    Jason Catania 149Chase Utley 2B 
    Andrew Miller150J.J. Hardy SS 

     

     

    Analysis

    My Pick: Chase Utley, 2B

    After Brandon Phillips, Aaron Hill and Howie Kendrick got popped in succession last round, and Daniel Murphy went five picks before mine in this round, I knew I wanted Utley, who I deemed as far and away the best 2B still out there—and frankly, better than some of the aforementioned players. He's old (35) and an injury-risk, but if he can give me 130-140 games, he'll find a way to hit .270-.280 with 15-plus home runs and double-digit steals. To round out my infield, I'll take it.

     

    Other Picks

    As we enter the middle rounds of the draft, many of the picks are either need- or upside-based. To that end, I like just about all of these takes, particularly Doug Fister, Michael Wacha, Danny Salazar, Glen Perkins and J.J. Hardy.

    If there's one to call out, it would probably be Dexter Fowler, who always seems to show flashes of brilliance before ultimately disappointing his owner.

     

Round 11

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    Jeff Roberson/Associated Press
    OWNERPICKPLAYERPOSITION(S)
    Andrew Miller151Will Venable OF 
    Jason Catania 152Jhonny PeraltaSS 
    Tony Mauriello 153 Hyun-Jin Ryu SP 
    Tyler K.154Anthony Rendon 2B 
    Byron T.155Patrick Corbin SP 
    Mark O.156Christian Yelich OF 
    Tim Heaney 157Andrew Cashner SP 
    Tom G.158Jed Lowrie 2B/SS 
    Rodric Richenberg 159Sonny Gray SP
    Shawn L.160Darin Ruf 1B/OF 
    Michael Pichan 161Matt Adams1B
    Johnny S.162Jered Weaver SP
    David Kerr163Johnny Cueto SP
    Nick Shlain 164Coco CrispOF
    Howard Bender165Ben RevereOF

     

     

    Analysis

    My Pick: Jhonny Peralta, SS

    In a round with plenty of youngsters who possess upside (i.e. Anthony Rendon, Christian Yelich, Sonny Gray) but are also unproven over full seasons, I went the safe route with Peralta, who provides the added benefit of filling my MI spot and bringing some more power to my lineup. His strong 2013 season was interrupted by the Biogenesis suspension, but he's a great fit in St. Louis, where the lineup should boost his stats.

Round 12

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    Leon Halip/Getty Images
    OWNERPICKPLAYERPOSITION(S)
    Howard Bender166 Masahiro Tanaka SP 
    Nick Shlain 167Michael Brantley OF 
    David Kerr168Sergio Romo RP 
    Johnny S.169Alexei Ramirez SS 
    Michael Pichan 170Brad MillerSS 
    Shawn L.171Adam Lind 1B 
    Rodric Richenberg 172 Kendrys Morales 1B 
    Tom G.173 Norichika Aoki OF 
    Tim Heaney 174 Asdrubal CabreraSS 
    Mark O.175CC Sabathia SP 
    Byron T.176Lance Lynn SP 
    Tyler K.177Ryan Howard1B 
    Tony Mauriello 178B.J. UptonOF 
    Jason Catania 179Mark Teixeira1B 
    Andrew Miller180Justin Masterson SP

     

     

    Analysis

    My Pick: Mark Teixeira, 1B

    In hindsight, I should have taken Masahiro Tanaka with my last pick (Peralta), simply because No. 166 seems really, really low for what could be an SP2. Plus, I'd had Tanaka queued up for a few rounds already and just never pulled the trigger.

    Instead, I settled for Teixeira, on the hopes that he can have a healthy 2014 and replicate something close to 25 home runs and 80-90 RBI. Again, my search for power continues.

     

Round 13

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    Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press
    OWNERPICKPLAYERPOSITION(S)
    Andrew Miller181Neil Walker2B
    Jason Catania182Nelson CruzOF 
    Tony Mauriello183Yan Gomes 
    Tyler K.184Jimmy Rollins SS 
    Byron T.185C.J. WilsonSP 
    Mark O.186Rafael Soriano RP 
    Tim Heaney187Marco Estrada SP 
    Tom G.188Will Middlebrooks3B 
    Rodric Richenberg189David Robertson RP 
    Shawn L.190Addison Reed RP 
    Michael Pichan191Corey KluberSP 
    Johnny S.192Miguel Montero C
    David Kerr193Grant BalfourRP 
    Nick Shlain194Chris Carter 1B/OF 
    Howard Bender195Oswaldo ArciaOF 

     

     

    Analysis

    My Pick: Nelson Cruz, OF

    As I said, I was on a quest for power during this portion of the draft, and Cruz—who actually was still a free agent at the time, which is possibly part of the reason I got him this late—is always a threat for 25-30 home runs. Now that he's an Oriole, he'll also get to keep hitting amid a potent lineup in a hitter-friendly ballpark.

      

Round 14

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    Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports
    OWNERPICKPLAYERPOSITION(S)
    Howard Bender196Todd Frazier3B
    Nick Shlain 197Steve Cishek RP 
    David Kerr198Casey Janssen RP 
    Johnny S.199A.J. Pierzynski
    Michael Pichan 200Michael Bourn OF 
    Shawn L.201Jason Castro 
    Rodric Richenberg 202Alejandro De Aza OF 
    Tom G.203Ernesto Frieri RP 
    Tim Heaney 204Jason Grilli RP 
    Mark O.205Nick Swisher1B/OF 
    Byron T.206Brett GardnerOF 
    Tyler K.207 Khris Dvis OF 
    Tony Mauriello 208Matt Dominguez 3B 
    Jason Catania 209Jonathan Papelbon RP 
    Andrew Miller210Justin Morneau1B 

     

     

    Analysis

    My Pick: Jonathan Papelbon, RP

    I took my first closer, who just so happened to be the fifth one selected in Round 14 alone. Papelbon is not the top-tier stopper he was two or three years ago, but he's still good for 30 saves with a respectable ERA and good WHIP. Even if he's traded midseason, Papelbon is likely to remain in the ninth inning for his new team. I prefer him to the other four RPs that went ahead of him because he still gets it done and has the least chance of losing the gig.

Round 15

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    Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press
    OWNERPICKPLAYERPOSITION(S)
    Andrew Miller211Ivan NovaSP 
    Jason Catania212Yovani GallardoSP 
    Tony Mauriello213Tony CingraniSP 
    Tyler K.214Jim JohnsonRP 
    Byron T.215Michael Pineda SP 
    Mark O.216Nate JonesRP 
    Tim Heaney217R.A. DickeySP 
    Tom G.218Jarrod ParkerSP 
    Rodric Richenberg219Chris Johnson3B
    Shawn L.220Clay BuchholzSP 
    Michael Pichan221Brandon BeachySP 
    Johnny S.222Fernando RodneyRP 
    David Kerr223Torii HunterOF 
    Nick Shlain224Jonathan VillarSS
    Howard Bender225Alcides EscobarSS

     

     

    Analysis

    My Pick: Yovani Gallardo, SP

    I was one of 11 owners to add an arm in this round, so it's pretty clear just how readily available—and how deep—pitching is, especially when you can score a hurler who still has a great shot at 170-plus strikeouts in Gallardo this late. He was shaky in the first half before settling in (3.09 ERA, 1.24 WHIP) over the second half of 2013, and he's also only 28, by the way. I would have liked a better SP3, but I think he can regain that status during certain stretches. 

     

Round 16

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    Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports
    OWNERPICKPLAYERPOSITION(S)
    Howard Bender226 Hiroki Kuroda SP
    Nick Shlain 227Omar Infante 2B 
    David Kerr228 Avisail Garcia OF 
    Johnny S.229Huston StreetRP 
    Michael Pichan 230Brian Dozier2B 
    Shawn L.231Matt GarzaSP 
    Rodric Richenberg 232Josh ReddickOF 
    Tom G.233George SpringerOF 
    Tim Heaney 234 Kole CalhounOF 
    Mark O.235Tim LincecumSP 
    Byron T.236Rex BrothersRP 
    Tyler K.237 Taijuan WalkerSP 
    Tony Mauriello 238Cameron Maybin OF 
    Jason Catania 239Chris TillmanSP 
    Andrew Miller240Adam EatonOF

     

     

    Analysis

    My Pick: Chris Tillman, SP

    Tillman pitched a bit over his head and got a little lucky in 2013, but he still won 16 games and sported a 3.71 ERA, 1.22 WHIP and struck out 179 batters over more than 200 innings. Even with regression factored in, there's room for him to approximate those digits, which makes him a solid fourth starter in a league that is—reminder!—15 teams deep.

     

Round 17

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    Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press
    OWNERPICKPLAYERPOSITION(S)
    Andrew Miller241Adam LaRoche 1B 
    Jason Catania 242 Neftali Feliz RP 
    Tony Mauriello 243Emilio Bonifacio 2B/OF 
    Tyler K.244A.J. BurnettSP 
    Byron T.245Jim HendersonRP 
    Mark O.246Mike Zunino
    Tim Heaney 247Erick Aybar SS 
    Tom G.248Zack WheelerSP 
    Rodric Richenberg 249Chris ArcherSP 
    Shawn L.250A.J. GriffinRP 
    Michael Pichan 251Marlon ByrdOF 
    Johnny S.252Danny Farquhar RP 
    David Kerr253Ian KennedySP 
    Nick Shlain 254Bobby ParnellRP 
    Howard Bender255Josh Johnson SP

     

     

    Analysis

    My Pick: Neftali Feliz, RP

    Nothing against Feliz, who is my second closer to help me stay competitive in the saves category, but this was an almost instantaneous case of buyer's remorse. I was eyeing Zack Wheeler, a breakout candidate in his second year, to continue bolstering my rotation, and when I took my eye off him and turned my gaze instead toward Feliz, Wheeler went six slots later.

     

Round 18

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    Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press
    OWNERPICKPLAYERPOSITION(S)
    Howard Bender256Devin Mesoraco C
    Nick Shlain 257Bartolo ColonSP
    David Kerr258David Freese 3B
    Johnny S.259Mitch Moreland 1B
    Michael Pichan 260 Welington CastilloC
    Shawn L.261Edward Mujica RP
    Rodric Richenberg 262Corey HartOF
    Tom G.263Scott Kazmir SP
    Tim Heaney 264Carlos RuizC
    Mark O.265Nick Markakis OF
    Byron T.266Jarrod Saltalamacchia C
    Tyler K.267Travis d'Arnaud C
    Tony Mauriello 268Zack Cozart SS
    Jason Catania 269 Yasmani Grandal C
    Andrew Miller270Russell MartinC

     

     

    Analysis

    My Pick: Yasmani Grandal, C

    I had been hoping that Devin Mesoraco would drop all the way down to my pick—he had been in my queue for a while—but those hopes were dashed as soon as Round 18 started. Good thing was, in a round where five catchers went before I was on the clock, I was still able to land Grandal, who was next on my list after Mesoraco, at the end of the round.

    Grandal struggled through a suspension and injury in 2013, but this is a 25-year-old former first-round draft pick with a capable bat from both sides. As my second catcher, it is a worthy gamble to believe that something clicks for him in 2014.

     

Round 19

22 of 27

    Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press
    OWNERPICKPLAYERPOSITION(S)
    Andrew Miller271Rick Porcello SP
    Jason Catania 272Colby Rasmus OF 
    Tony Mauriello 273Cody AllenRP 
    Tyler K.274Stephen DrewSS 
    Byron T.275Junior Lake OF 
    Mark O.276 Melky Cabrera OF
    Tim Heaney 277Drew Smyly SP 
    Tom G.278Ricky Nolasco SP 
    Rodric Richenberg 279Alex Avila
    Shawn L.280Daniel Nava OF 
    Michael Pichan 281Dan HarenSP 
    Johnny S.282 Ubaldo JimenezSP 
    David Kerr283Cody Asche 3B 
    Nick Shlain 284Jose Veras RP 
    Howard Bender285Tommy HunterRP 

     

     

    Analysis

    My Pick: Colby Rasmus, OF

    Rasmus may never live up to expectations that were set for him when he was a consensus top-10 prospect several years ago, but he has shown a knack for hitting the ball out of the park. In a year shortened by injury, the 27-year-old smacked 22 homers in only 458 plate appearances in 2013. His batting average could be .275 or .235, but 25 home runs and 70-plus runs and RBI are attainable.

      

Round 20

23 of 27

    Steven Senne/Associated Press
    OWNERPICKPLAYERPOSITION(S)
    Howard Bender286Alexander Guerrero2B 
    Nick Shlain 287Jon Niese SP 
    David Kerr288Peter Bourjos OF 
    Johnny S.289DJ LeMahieu 2B 
    Michael Pichan 290Nick Castellanos 3B 
    Shawn L.291Kelly Johnson2B/3B/OF 
    Rodric Richenberg 292Hank Conger
    Tom G.293A.J. Ellis
    Tim Heaney 294Dan Straily SP 
    Mark O.295Nick Franklin2B 
    Byron T.296Dayan Viciedo OF 
    Tyler K.297Mike MorseOF 
    Tony Mauriello 298 Denard SpanOF 
    Jason Catania 299John LackeySP 
    Andrew Miller300Luke Gregerson RP

     

    Analysis

    My Pick: John Lackey, SP

    Here is more proof that quality starting pitchers can be had very, very late. Heck, even I don't trust the 35-year-old Lackey to stay healthy and/or repeat his comeback-campaign success (3.52 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 7.7 K/9 in 2013), but at pick No. 299 overall, I'm perfectly OK with giving him a chance.

     

Round 21

24 of 27

    Paul Sancya/Associated Press
    OWNERPICKPLAYERPOSITION(S)
    Andrew Miller301Joaquin BenoitRP
    Jason Catania 302Jose QuintanaSP 
    Tony Mauriello 303Tyson RossSP 
    Tyler K.304Alex WoodSP 
    Byron T.305Jose Iglesias 3B/SS
    Mark O.306Mike Moustakas 3B
    Tim Heaney 307Angel Pagan OF 
    Tom G.308John Axford RP 
    Rodric Richenberg 309Jake Peavy SP 
    Shawn L.310Oscar Taveras OF 
    Michael Pichan 311 Josmil Pinto
    Johnny S.312Mark Melancon RP 
    David Kerr313Ervin SantanaSP 
    Nick Shlain 314Dillon GeeSP 
    Howard Bender315Carlos Quentin OF 

     

     

    Analysis

    My Pick: Jose Quintana, SP

    This 25-year-old might have had the best season you didn't hear a lick about last year: 3.51 ERA, 1.22 WHIP and 164 strikeouts over 200 innings. How often do you find such numbers from someone picked in Round 21?

     

Round 22

25 of 27

    Jim Cowsert-USA TODAY Sports
    OWNERPICKPLAYERPOSITION(S)
    Howard Bender316Tim HudsonSP
    Nick Shlain 317James Loney 1B 
    David Kerr318Wade Miley SP 
    Johnny S.319Chris Denorfia OF 
    Michael Pichan 320Felix Doubront SP 
    Shawn L.321Chris PerezRP 
    Rodric Richenberg 322 Jhoulys Chacin SP 
    Tom G.323 Dioner Navarro C
    Tim Heaney 324 Yordano Ventura SP 
    Mark O.325Jaime Garcia SP 
    Byron T.326 Rajai DavisOF
    Tyler K.327Al Alburquerque RP 
    Tony Mauriello 328Ryan CookRP 
    Jason Catania 329Joakim Soria RP 
    Andrew Miller330Gerardo Parra OF 

     

    Analysis

    My Pick: Joakim Soria, RP

    In MLB, there are 30 teams, so in a fantasy league with 15 teams, basic arithmetic says that each owner should have two closers. Of course, it doesn't all break down quite so neatly, but I figured that between Feliz and Soria, I have the Rangers final three outs locked up. That should help cover my bases by ensuring that, along with Papelbon, I have a realistic shot at 60 saves—enough to keep me at least in the middle of the pack in that category.

      

Round 23

26 of 27

    Paul Sancya/Associated Press
    OWNERPICKPLAYERPOSITION(S)
    Andrew Miller331Hector SantiagoSP
    Jason Catania332Andre EthierOF 
    Tony Mauriello333Eric Young Jr.OF 
    Tyler K.334Wily PeraltaSP 
    Byron T.335Jackie Bradley Jr.OF
    Mark O.336Tyler SkaggsSP
    Tim Heaney337A.J. PollockOF
    Tom G.338LaTroy HawkinsRP 
    Rodric RichenbergS339Kyle LohseSP 
    Shawn L.340Travis WoodSP 
    Michael Pichan341Brandon MorrowSP
    Johnny S.342Jose TabataOF
    David Kerr343John JasoC
    Nick Shlain344Ryan DoumitC/OF 
    Howard Bender345Brian Roberts2B 

     

     

    Analysis

    My Pick: Andre Ethier, OF

    With Matt Kemp's recovery taking forever after he's undergone about 14 surgical procedures in the past two years (OK, maybe I'm exaggerating—but only a bit), I'm betting that Ethier sees plenty of playing time in center for a very deep Dodgers lineup. Of course, he could also be traded, which would give him a clearer path toward producing his usual .270-.280 average with homers in the mid-teens and sufficient totals in both runs and RBI. Having him as my utility player won't hurt and just might help.

     

Team Evaluation

27 of 27

    Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images
    POSITIONPLAYERROUND
    CMatt Wieters9
    CYasmani Grandal18
    1BEric Hosmer4
    2BChase Utley10
    3BPablo Sandoval7
    SSElvis Andrus5
    CIMark Teixeira12
    MIJhonny Peralta11
    OFMike Trout1
    OFShin-Soo Choo3
    OFJosh Hamilton6
    OFNelson Cruz 13
    OFColby Rasmus19
    UTAndre Ethier23
    PYu Darvish2
    PShelby Miller8
    PJonathan Papelbon14
    PYovani Gallardo15
    PChris Tillman16
    PNeftali Feliz17
    PJohn Lackey20
    PJose Quintana21
    PJoakim Soria22

      

    Analysis

    Strengths

    The strongest aspect of my team is unquestionably my outfield, headed by my top-two position player picks in Trout and Choo. If Hamilton can get and stay healthy enough to make amends for a brutal 2013, then this group will do damage, particularly with 25-homer threats Cruz and Rasmus in the OF4 and OF5 spots.

    There's also quite a lot of stolen-base potential, what with Trout, Andrus, Choo and Hosmer likely to be above-average in the category for their respective positions, and with Utley capable of chipping in 10-15, too.

    On the pitching side, strikeouts should be easy to come by, thanks to Darvish and his 225-250 or so at the top, along with a likely 170-plus from Miller and perhaps one or two of Gallardo, Tillman, Lackey and/or Quintana. Even if those last four fall short of that mark, they all should reach 150 as long as they make most of their starts.

     

    Weaknesses

    The most glaring problem? Injury issues. Rostering hitters like Utley, Sandoval, Teixeira, Hamilton and Cruz, as well as arms like Feliz, Lackey and Soria, is putting a lot of faith in their ability to ward off the DL this season, at least for extended periods.

    That concern is bound to come with the territory when you go after proven players coming off rough seasons due to injury, which isn't a bad approach for unearthing value in a draft, as long as a few of them return to form. For example, imagine how much better my infield will look if Teixeira cracks the back end of the top-10 1Bs or if Sandoval pushes his way near the top-five 3Bs. Both are possible, but even just one happening would be a big lift.

    If I were to consider potential trades in the near future, I'd likely be looking to boost the front of my rotation by obtaining another starter to fit in with Miller as an SP2/SP3 and push everyone else down a notch. Given my numerous bounce-back candidates on offense, I'd imagine that once one or two of those prove they are again back on the map, that would help with such an acquisition.

     

    Best Players Who Weren't Drafted

    To finish up, here's a brief batch of players I considered picking over the final few rounds but never pulled the trigger on—and neither did anyone else: Adam Dunn, 1B; Justin Smoak, 1B; Kolten Wong, 2B; Dan Uggla, 2B; Dustin Ackley, 2B; Matt Davidson, 3B; Derek Jeter, SS; Chris Owings, SS; Josh Willingham, OF; Ryan Ludwick, OF; Nate Schierholtz, OF; Matt Joyce, OF; Raul Ibanez; OF; Martin Perez, SP; Alexi Ogando, SP; Brett Anderson, SP; Tyler Clippard, RP; Jordan Walden, RP; and Carlos Martinez, RP.

    Are you surprised to see any of those names going undrafted? And which of my draft picks do you like/dislike the most? Where would you have made a different choice along the way? Let me know in the comments section.

     

    To read some of the other writers' takes on this particular mock draft, you can find Howard Bender's here and David Kerr's here.

    To talk baseball or fantasy baseball, check in with me on Twitter: @JayCat11

     

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