Fantasy Baseball 2014: Full 12-Team, 25-Round Mock Draft, Version 2.0

Jason CataniaMLB Lead WriterMarch 12, 2014

Fantasy Baseball 2014: Full 12-Team, 25-Round Mock Draft, Version 2.0

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    Getting Andrew McCutchen with the fifth overall pick ensures that all five categories are covered.
    Getting Andrew McCutchen with the fifth overall pick ensures that all five categories are covered.Associated Press

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

    With fantasy baseball drafts underway everywhere in recent 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 where 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 in order to get a better understanding of trends in roster construction and each player's average draft position (ADP).

    The point? To learn something while having some fun.

    With all of the above in mind, after enjoying a 15-team, 23-round mock draft last month, yours truly gave it another go by joining in on a more recent—and less intensive—mock with a bunch of fellow fantasy baseball fanatics.

    What follows is a look at how everything shook out.

The Participants

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    Clatyon Kershaw went in the first half of Round 1 in this mock. Is that too soon?
    Clatyon Kershaw went in the first half of Round 1 in this mock. Is that too soon?Gregory Bull/Associated Press/Associated Press

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

    This mock draft was held on March 11 via ESPN Fantasy Baseball's mock draft lobby. As opposed to the whopping 15 teams picking 23 players each for a total of 345 last time around, this time there were 12 teams drafting over 25 rounds for 300 players in all.

    Here's a rundown of the names of the teams that participated, in order of their respective draft slot:

    1. Swervin Lane 2 Lane
    2. Team Giusti
    3. Team Young
    4. Team Calixto
    5. Jason Catania, Bleacher Report@JayCat11
    6. Team O'Connell
    7. Team hughes
    8. Team Costa
    9. Team Fiorella
    10. Team moore
    11. Team stegemoller
    12. Team Selander

Scoring and Settings

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    After leading the majors in homers and RBI last year, Chris Davis has turned into a first-rounder.
    After leading the majors in homers and RBI last year, Chris Davis has turned into a first-rounder.Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press

    As for 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.

    Again, there were 25 rounds, and the lineup positions are as follows: one each for catcher, first base, second base, third base, shortstop, middle infield, corner infield and utility; five outfielders; nine pitchers of any sort (starters and relievers); and three bench spots.

    Got all that?

    Oh, and yours truly scored the fifth overall pick, which turned out rather well out of the gate when a certain someone fell to that slot.

    Mock on!

Round 1

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    Carlos Osorio/Associated Press
    OWNERPICKPLAYERPOSITION(S)
    Swervin Lane 2 Lane1Miguel Cabrera1B/3B
    Team Giusti2Mike TroutOF 
    Team Young3Paul Goldschmidt1B 
    Team Calixto4Clayton KershawSP 
    Team Catania5Andrew McCutchenOF 
    Team O'Connell6Carlos GonzalezOF 
    Team hughes7Chris Davis1B 
    Team Costa8Adrian Beltre3B 
    Team Fiorella9David Wright3B 
    Team moore10Jacoby EllsburyOF 
    Team stegemoller11Prince Fielder1B 
    Team Selander12Hanley RamirezSS 

      

    Analysis

    My Pick: Andrew McCutchen, OF

    I was surprised but not shocked when McCutchen fell outside the top four picks, which is where he most often gets selected, so I had no hesitation snatching him up at No. 5. This way, I began building my team with a poor man's Mike Trout—a five-category contributor in his prime who fills one of five outfield spots.

     

    Other Picks

    While I wouldn't have taken Clayton Kershaw before Cutch—it's so important to get hitting early—the reigning Cy Young winner has been going in the first round in most drafts because of his consistent dominance. The only choice that I would criticize here, then? David Wright at No. 9 overall is just way, way too early for a guy on the wrong side of 30 who has had issues staying healthy.

Round 2

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    Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press
    OWNERPICKPLAYERPOSITION(S)
    Team Selander13Ryan BraunOF
    Team stegemoller14Yu DarvishSP
    Team moore15Edwin Encarnacion1B
    Team Fiorella16Carlos GomezOF
    Team Costa17Adam WainwrightSP
    Team hughes18Robinson Cano2B
    Team O'Connell19Troy TulowitzkiSS
    Team Catania20Adam JonesOF
    Team Calixto21Felix HernandezSP
    Team Young22Bryce HarperOF
    Team Giusti23Joey Votto1B
    Swervin Lane 2 Lane24Yasiel PuigOF

     

    Analysis

    My Pick: Adam Jones, OF

    I was shocked when Robinson Cano dropped out of Round 1...and then continued to fall and fall. As a result, I started to get excited with the possibility that I could land a legitimate first-rounder—which Cano clearly is—in the middle of Round 2.

    Alas, he went two picks prior to mine, but I was more than happy to get Jones, who gives me a second uber-productive outfielder who will go big in runs, homers and RBI while also helping in average and steals. I also debated taking Bryce Harper or Joey Votto, who each went within two of the next three picks after mine.

     

    Other Picks

    It's interesting to see Ryan Braun climbing up draft boards this month now that he's shown once again that he can, you know, hit. I have no problem with an owner grabbing him anywhere in Round 2, but I wouldn't want to risk taking him with my first choice.

    Seeing four pitchers go by the end of Round 2 seemed a bit much, as the only two who typically come off the board by this point are Kershaw and Yu Darvish. Nothing against Adam Wainwright and Felix Hernandez, but they're closer to the next batch of starters than they are to those top two, in my opinion.

Round 3

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    Darron Cummings/Associated Press
    OWNERPICKPLAYERPOSITION(S)
    Swervin Lane 2 Lane25Cliff LeeSP
    Team Giusti26Evan Longoria3B
    Team Young27Ian DesmondSS
    Team Calixto28Max ScherzerSP
    Team Catania29Jason Kipnis2B
    Team O'Connell30Stephen StrasburgSP
    Team hughes31Giancarlo StantonOF
    Team Costa32Dustin Pedroia2B
    Team Fiorella33Freddie Freeman1B
    Team moore34Alex RiosOF
    Team stegemoller35Shin-Soo ChooOF
    Team Selander36Ian Kinsler2B

      

    Analysis

    My Pick: Jason Kipnis, 2B

    I have Kipnis well inside my top 30 overall, because he's a 20-homer, 30-steal candidate who should reach 90 runs and RBI with a solid batting average at a position where there are maybe only two or three other elite hitters. Getting him at No. 29, then, was more than all right by me. I had also been eyeing Evan Longoria, who went at No. 26.

     

    Other Picks

    Not to harp on this, but with Cliff Lee, Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg going in the first half of Round 3, that made—count 'em—seven pitchers gone within the first 30 selections. That is too, too many.

    If you've been following my work over the past month, you know I'm not a fan of Alex Rios, so there's no way I would have taken him within about 30 picks of No. 34. I also felt it was too soon for Ian Kinsler, who is not only injury-prone and perhaps over the hill, but he also will no longer be playing in the hitter-friendly Rangers Ballpark. I did, however, like the selection that was sandwiched between that pair: Shin-Soo Choo.

Round 4

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    Morry Gash/Associated Press
    OWNERPICKPLAYERPOSITION(S)
    Team Selander37Jose FernandezSP
    Team stegemoller38David PriceSP
    Team moore39Jose ReyesSS
    Team Fiorella40Jose BautistaOF
    Team Costa41Justin UptonOF
    Team hughes42Buster PoseyC
    Team O'Connell43Albert Pujols1B
    Team Catania44Chris SaleSP
    Team Calixto45Craig KimbrelRP
    Team Young46Hunter PenceOF
    Team Giusti47Justin VerlanderSP
    Swervin Lane 2 Lane48Elvis AndrusSS

      

    Analysis

    My Pick: Chris Sale, SP

    If I'm being honest here, I was about to take Justin Verlander over Sale, who was queued up at the top of my next-to-draft list when the clock struck 0:00. It's not that I didn't want Sale—again, I had him queued up for a reason—but I'm buying in on a Verlander return to form, which could make him a top-three SP in 2014.

    I'm not sure if Sale can quite get to that level, especially while being stuck on a better-but-still-not-good White Sox team that might limit his wins total. Either way, I knew I wanted one of the remaining two best arms after so many had gone by my turn.

    By the way, this is the point at which the mock went from fast-paced-but-fun to downright frantic, as picks started being made within 10 seconds. Trying to keep track of everything at such an elevated rate would come back to bite me in a bit, as we'll get to later on.

     

    Other Picks

    Frankly, most of the players in this round seemed to be taken rather early, from the three Joses (Fernandez, Reyes and Bautista) to Justin Upton, Buster Posey, Albert Pujols, Hunter Pence and Elvis Andrus. I'm also not going to be the guy in drafts who gets Craig Kimbrel, because I won't waste—er, use—a pick within the first five or six rounds on a player who predominantly contributes to only one category.

Round 5

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    Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
    OWNERPICKPLAYERPOSITION(S)
    Swervin Lane 2 Lane49Eric Hosmer1B
    Team Giusti50Joe MauerC/1B
    Team Young51Starling MarteOF
    Team Calixto52David OrtizUTIL
    Team Catania 53Wil MyersOF
    Team O'Connell54Zack GreinkeSP
    Team hughes55Jay BruceOF
    Team Costa56Madison BumgarnerSP
    Team Fiorella57Yoenis CespedesOF
    Team moore58Yadier MolinaC
    Team stegemoller59Anibal SanchezSP
    Team Selander60Aroldis ChapmanRP

     

    Analysis

    My Pick: Wil Myers, OF

    Here is where I made a conscious decision to go a different route from the previous mock draft I participated in, as I was more focused on targeting young hitters with less experience but more upside rather than older, more proven bats.

    I debated Myers, Jay Bruce and Yoenis Cespedes for almost the entire 45 seconds I had to choose, and I decided to throw a little caution to the wind and gamble on the potential of last season's AL Rookie of the Year. I didn't see any of the three as a bad decision; this is my OF3 we're talking about.

    In what was otherwise a quiet chat room during the draft, this pick was one of the few that elicited an angry response, meaning I had snaked someone's selection.

     

    Other Picks

    I actually liked the takes of Zack Greinke and Madison Bumgarner here; to me, they're both underrated in fantasy. I'm not as high on regression candidate Anibal Sanchez as others, so seeing him go inside the first 60 picks feels like it could leave no margin for value.

    Starling Marte also went about 20 spots too soon, because although he's been helpful in runs and steals, he will only be helpful in runs and steals. Also, his ultra-aggressive approach at the dish is going to lead to a lower average than last year's .280, and he lacks the power to bring much in homers and RBI.

Round 6

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    Joel Auerbach/Getty Images
    OWNERPICKPLAYERPOSITION(S)
    Team Selander61Allen Craig1B/OF
    Team stegemoller62Matt CainSP
    Team moore63Josh Donaldson3B
    Team Fiorella64Kenley JansenRP
    Team Costa65Adrian Gonzalez1B
    Team hughes66Ben Zobrist2B/SS/OF
    Team O'Connell67Ryan Zimmerman3B
    Team Catania 68Matt HollidayOF
    Team Calixto69Matt Carpenter2B/3B
    Team Young70Greg HollandRP
    Team Giusti71Matt KempOF
    Swervin Lane 2 Lane72Brandon Phillips2B

     

    Analysis

    My Pick: Matt Holliday, OF

    Look, about that whole spiel I just gave about youth and upside...well, I simply couldn't pass up Holliday at this stage after I had considered him, albeit briefly, in the previous round. He's 34, and at some point, he'll have his cliff season—but come on, the dude hits every year. An average around .300 with 22-25 homers and 90 RBI and 90 runs is pretty much a lock. Plus, allow me to introduce you to my outfield so far: McCutchen, Jones, Myers and Holliday. Look out!

     

    Other Picks

    Josh Donaldson was a great story in 2013, but he'll have to be an even better story in 2014 in order for him to be worth pick No. 63 overall. If you buy into the whole 27-year-old-break-out thing, that's your prerogative, but I see a solid player who is better in real life than fantasy, because he might not be better than slightly above average in any category.

    I feel pretty much the same way about Ben Zobrist, who derives about 40 percent of his value from being eligible at three positions, including shortstop. That's helpful, but if he fails to top 12 homers and/or steals as well as 80 runs and/or RBI, is he really that great? By the way, those are the numbers he didn't surpass last year.

Round 7

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    Gregory Bull/Associated Press
    OWNERPICKPLAYERPOSITION(S)
    Swervin Lane 2 Lane73Kyle Seager3B
    Team Giusti74Gerrit ColeSP
    Team Young75Alex CobbSP
    Team Calixto76Carlos BeltranOF
    Team Catania77Mark Trumbo1B/OF
    Team O'Connell78Jean SeguraSS
    Team hughes79Joe NathanRP
    Team Costa80Carlos SantanaC/1B(/3B)
    Team Fiorella81Mike MinorSP
    Team moore82Starlin CastroSS
    Team stegemoller83Jason HeywardOF
    Team Selander84Masahiro TanakaSP

      

    Analysis

    My Pick: Mark Trumbo, 1B/OF

    In need of a first baseman, and figuring that a little more power (OK, a lot more power) never hurt a fantasy owner, I snatched Trumbo, who has mashed at least 29 homers in each of his first three full seasons, including a career-high 34 in 2013. I'd bet another 30-homer campaign is on the docket, and with his move from pitcher-friendly Angel Stadium to hitter-friendly Chase Field, Trumbo could set another career-best mark in 2014.

     

    Other Picks

    Try as I might, I just can't get on board the Alex Cobb train. I'm not denying that he's good, but any pitcher who relies so much on offspeed stuff and movement can be prone to wild fluctuations from year to year, or even start to start. I'll be shocked if he comes close to matching his 2.76 ERA or 8.4 K/9 from last year. He's more of an SP4 in my book, but going 75th overall requires him to be at least an SP3.

    One pick I did like? Jean Segura, mainly because I nearly took him over Trumbo given my need for a shortstop. I'm not sure his second full season will be quite as good as his first, especially in the power department, but I do think he's capable of hitting for average, scoring lots of runs and swiping 40 bases in an underrated Milwaukee lineup.

Round 8

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    Alex Brandon/Associated Press
    OWNERPICKPLAYERPOSITION(S)
    Team Selander85Brian McCannC
    Team stegemoller86Alex GordonOF
    Team moore87Homer BaileySP
    Team Fiorella88Aramis Ramirez3B
    Team Costa89Jayson WerthOF
    Team hughes90Trevor RosenthalRP
    Team O'Connell91Jose Altuve2B
    Team Catania92Gio GonzalezSP
    Team Calixto 93James ShieldsSP
    Team Young94David RobertsonRP
    Team Giusti95Everth CabreraSS
    Swervin Lane 2 Lane96Mat LatosSP

      

    Analysis

    My Pick: Gio Gonzalez, SP

    Gonzalez is an easy top-20 starter—heck, he's in my top 15—so to grab him in Round 8 of a draft where a ton of pitching was taken early is a coup. He's a 200-strikeout arm who will post an above-average ERA and WHIP, and the Nationals have to be better this year, which means he should top last season's 11 wins—even if he doesn't exactly match the 21 wins he recorded in 2012. He'll slot in just fine behind Sale.

     

    Other Picks

    Selections I liked: Trevor Rosenthal, the last of the potential 100-strikeout closers, is a great value at No. 90; James Shields, a consistent workhorse and an SP2, is just as nice at No. 93; and Everth Cabrera, who might swipe 50 bases at the shallow shortstop spot, is hard to beat at No. 95 (I nearly grabbed him because I'm still sans SS).

    Selections I didn't like: Alex Gordon (No. 86), a solid-at-best outfielder who might hit 15 homers, might steal 12 bases, might score 90 runs, might knock in 80or might do none of that; Aramis Ramirez (No. 88), who is about 87 years old now and coming off a season wrecked by a knee injury and, more recently, surgery on his colon that has set him back in camp; and Jose Altuve (No. 91), a useful 2B whose power production is limited by his own bat and whose overall fantasy production is limited by his surrounding lineup.

Round 9

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    Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press
    OWNERPICKPLAYERPOSITION(S)
    Swervin Lane 2 Lane97Jonathan LucroyC
    Team Giusti98Martin Prado2B/3B/OF
    Team Young99Pedro Alvarez3B
    Team Calixto100Jordan ZimmermannSP
    Team Catania101Jose Abreu1B
    Team O'Connell102Jered WeaverSP
    Team hughes103Desmond JenningsOF
    Team Costa104Shelby MillerSP
    Team Fiorella105Kris MedlenSP
    Team moore106Doug FisterSP
    Team stegemoller107Chase Utley2B
    Team Selander108Josh HamiltonOF

      

    Analysis

    My Pick: Jose Abreu, 1B

    The hype has been building on Abreu, which can make him a scary pick if he's taken too soon, especially given that he's never played a major league game in his career. But at No. 101 overall, I'll take a shot that he's a potential 30-plus-homer guy in year one. Besides, if he works out, I can always shift him to 1B and Trumbo to OF, or I could trade one of them for a need during the season.

     

    Other Picks

    Martin Prado is having himself quite the spring training, and I prefer his versatility here to that of Zobrist three rounds earlier. If I'm going to credit myself for Abreu, I might as well throw some praise on the Pedro Alvarez pick, since they might be very similar players. I also really liked the value on Jordan Zimmermann (No. 100), Desmond Jennings (No. 103) and Shelby Miller (No. 104).

    On the other hand, I can't support the selection of Kris Medlen one pick later given that he is currently dealing with elbow ligament damage, according to Mark Bowman of MLB.com. Even if he can avoid surgery, I'm staying far, far away from him.

Round 10

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    Steven Senne/Associated Press
    OWNERPICKPLAYERPOSITION(S)
    Team Selander109Victor MartinezUTIL
    Team stegemoller110Wilin RosarioC
    Team moore111Michael CudyerOF
    Team Fiorella112Aaron Hill2B
    Team Costa113Koji UeharaRP
    Team hughes114Jim JohnsonRP
    Team O'Connell115Billy HamiltonOF
    Team Catania116Glen PerkinsRP
    Team Calixto117Shane VictorinoOF
    Team Young 118Domonic BrownOF
    Team Giusti119Anthony Rizzo1B
    Swervin Lane 2 Lane120Billy ButlerUTIL

     

    Analysis

    My Pick: Glen Perkins, RP

    I needed some saves, and all of the top closers were long gone by this point—except for the excellent-but-underappreciated Perkins, so I took the plunge just to stay afloat in the saves category. For the record, I would have gone with Perkins ahead of Koji Uehara and Jim Johnson, but I didn't have to because the two latter players went back-to-back a few picks beforehand.

     

    Other Picks

    As an owner who had been keeping one eye on the catchers, I can appreciate the Wilin Rosario selection, especially at No. 110. And as an owner who had been noticing a growing need for speed, I may well have taken Billy Hamilton had he not gone right before it was my turn. I'm not sure the rookie will hit much, but Round 10 is late enough that it doesn't hurt to try and find out.

    The other choice I really liked this round was Anthony Rizzo, who has the upside in him to hit .270-.280 with 30 homers. He's still so young (24), and while he has a lot he needs to improve upon, that also means he has a lot of time to get better. In fact, he should have been taken a round or two earlier, and I had contemplated him when I went with Abreu.

Round 11

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    Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press
    OWNERPICKPLAYERPOSITION(S)
    Swervin Lane 2 Lane 121Will VenableOF
    Team Giusti122Michael Wacha SP
    Team Young123Francisco Liriano SP
    Team Calixto124Brett Lawrie 3B
    Team Catania125Manny Machado 3B
    Team O'Connell126Mike Napoli 1B
    Team hughes127Pablo Sandoval 3B
    Team Costa128Sergio Romo RP
    Team Fiorella129Matt Adams 1B
    Team moore130J.J. Hardy SS
    Team stegemoller131Daniel Murphy 2B
    Team Selander132Cole Hamels SP

     

    Analysis

    My Pick: Manny Machado, 3B

    Yes, Machado may well start the season on the disabled list, but by all accounts, his recovery from offseason knee surgery has gone well; he's been running the bases at 70 to 80 percent, per Eduardo Encina of The Baltimore Sun. Getting him at such a discount because of that—No. 125!—was just too good to pass up. Even if I have to find a filler third baseman later in the draft or off the waiver wire for a week or two, I'll still get to enjoy five good months of a rising star.

Round 12

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    Gregory Bull/Associated Press
    OWNERPICKPLAYERPOSITION(S)
    Team Selander133Jason GrilliRP
    Team stegemoller134Brandon Moss1B/OF
    Team moore135Hyun-Jin RyuSP
    Team Fiorella136Hisashi Iwakuma SP
    Team Costa137Julio Teheran SP
    Team hughes 138Chase Headley 3B
    Team O'Connell139Jon Lester SP
    Team Catania140Salvador Perez C
    Team Calixto141Matt Moore SP
    Team Young142Brandon Belt1B
    Team Giusti143Alexei RamirezSS
    Swervin Lane 2 Lane144Jeff Samardzija SP

        

    Analysis

    My Pick: Salvador Perez, C

    I much prefer to wait as long as possible and get a capable starting catcher, preferably one who is still in the top 10 or so. As a high-average hitter who has more in his stick than we've seen so far—especially as a part of that young, ever-improving Royals one-through-nine—Perez is just that.

Round 13

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    David Goldman/Associated Press
    OWNERPICKPLAYERPOSITION(S)
    Swervin Lane 2 Lane145R.A. DickeySP
    Team Giusti146Matt Wieters C
    Team Young147Jonathan Papelbon RP
    Team Calixto148Coco Crisp OF
    Team Catania 149Wilson Ramos C
    Team O'Connell150Nelson CruzOF
    Team hughes151Alfonso Soriano OF
    Team Costa152 Leonys Martin OF
    Team Fiorella153 Jurickson Profar 2B
    Team moore154Addison Reed RP
    Team stegemoller155 Asdrubal Cabrera SS
    Team Selander156Steve Cishek RP

     

    Analysis

    My Pick: Wilson Ramos, C

    OK, here's where the rapid-fire speed of the draft messed me up. In a one-catcher league like this, I never would have selected a second backstop, let alone with the pick right after I'd just taken my first catcher. But because most owners in the mock had turned on auto-pick by now, the eight spots between my picks in Rounds 12 and 13 went by very quickly.

    Ramos had been in my queue because, until my previous choice, I still needed a catcher. Then, when I wasn't fast enough on the mouse to rummage through the shortstops to fill the lone remaining open spot in my starting lineup, the clock ran down and, well, Ramos joined my team. It's not the worst choice in the world, because I do like him as a potential top-10 catcher, but again, this was anything but the plan.

Round 14

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    Christian Petersen/Getty Images
    OWNERPICKPLAYERPOSITION(S)
    Team Selander157 Hiroki Kuroda SP
    Team stegemoller158Will Middlebrooks 3B
    Team moore159Andrew Cashner SP
    Team Fiorella160CC Sabathia SP
    Team Costa161Curtis GrandersonOF
    Team hughes162Jedd Gyorko 2B
    Team O'Connell163 Xander Bogaerts SS
    Team Catania164Jed Lowrie 2B/SS
    Team Calixto165C.J. Wilson SP
    Team Young166 Andrelton Simmons SS
    Team Giusti167Carl Crawford OF
    Swervin Lane 2 Lane168Torii Hunter OF

     

    Analysis

    My Pick: Jed Lowrie, 2B/SS

    My frustration from the time-forced selection last time around was only doubled when the player I had meant to take in Round 13 was chosen—with the pick right before mine in Round 14! That's right; I had been searching for Xander Bogaerts when the computer gave me Ramos, and then the Red Sox rookie got plucked right out from under my nose. Seriously?!

    To recover, I went with the safe and somewhat versatile Jed Lowrie, who should be fine as my starting SS, even though his upside might be a repeat of his solid 2013 campaign. If he can come close to repeating that production, though, then the way all this played out might not sting so much in the end.

Round 15

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    Kathy Willens/Associated Press
    OWNERPICKPLAYERPOSITION(S)
    Swervin Lane 2 Lane169Matt GarzaSP
    Team Giusti170Grant Balfour RP
    Team Young171 Kendrys Morales1B
    Team Calixto172Jason Castro C
    Team Catania173Zack Wheeler SP
    Team O'Connell174Rafael Soriano RP
    Team hughes175Adam Lind 1B
    Team Costa176Tony Cingrani SP
    Team Fiorella177Dan Haren SP
    Team moore178Casey Janssen RP
    Team stegemoller179B.J. Upton OF
    Team Selander180Josh Reddick OF

     

    Analysis

    My Pick: Zack Wheeler, SP

    I like what Wheeler showed in his first half-year in the bigs, especially in regard to how he got better as the season progressed; he produced a 48-to-23 strikeout-to-walk ratio and only three homers allowed over his final nine starts, as opposed to a 36-to-23 strikeout-to-walk ratio and seven homers allowed in his first eight contests.

    Will there be a Matt Harvey-like breakout here in 2014? No. But could Wheeler have a takes-the-leap season? As my SP3, I'm counting on it.

Round 16

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    Kathy Willens/Associated Press
    OWNERPICKPLAYERPOSITION(S)
    Team Selander181Adam EatonOF
    Team stegemoller182Christian Yelich OF
    Team moore183Danny SalazarSP
    Team Fiorella184Huston StreetRP
    Team Costa185Sonny Gray SP
    Team hughes186Michael Bourn OF
    Team O'Connell187A.J. Pierzynski C
    Team Catania188Austin Jackson OF
    Team Calixto189Brian Dozier 2B
    Team Young190Brett Gardner OF
    Team Giusti191Ernesto Frieri RP
    Swervin Lane 2 Lane192Patrick CorbinSP

      

    Analysis

    My Pick: Austin Jackson, OF

    Other than middle infield, the only other starting spot I needed to fill by this stage was my fifth outfielder. Jackson might not ever become the player he looked like he was turning into at this time a year ago, but he's a safe bet to reach double digits in both homers and steals, and he's 90-plus runs scored in the bank. And if he does enjoy a next-level-up breakout at age 27, I'll get to enjoy it, too.

Round 17

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    Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
    OWNERPICKPLAYERPOSITION(S)
    Swervin Lane 2 Lane193Bobby ParnellRP
    Team Giusti194Johnny Cueto SP
    Team Young195Jake Peavy SP
    Team Calixto 196 Khris Davis OF
    Team Catania 197Chris Tillman SP
    Team O'Connell198Clay Buchholz SP
    Team hughes199Justin Masterson SP
    Team Costa200Dan Straily SP
    Team Fiorella201Fernando Rodney RP
    Team moore202A.J. Burnett SP
    Team stegemoller203Marco Estrada SP
    Team Selander204Mike Moustakas 3B

     

    Analysis

    My Pick: Chris Tillman, SP

    With Wheeler in as my rotation upside play, I thought it was time to go with a safer pick. Tillman, to be honest, isn't the very definition of "safe," but he did cross the 200-inning barrier last year while whiffing 179 batters. Even if his ERA bumps a tick closer to 4.00 and his WHIP nudges toward 1.30, that'll do as my fourth starting arm. I did also consider Clay Buchholz and Justin Masterson, who went over the very next picks.

Round 18

20 of 28

    Morry Gash/Associated Press
    OWNERPICKPLAYERPOSITION(S)
    Team Selander205Mark Teixeira1B
    Team stegemoller206 Norichika Aoki OF
    Team moore207John Axford RP
    Team Fiorella208Jimmy Rollins SS
    Team Costa209Jonathan Villar SS
    Team hughes210Drew Smyly SP/RP
    Team O'Connell211 Neftali Feliz RP
    Team Catania212Jim Henderson RP
    Team Calixto213Jarrod Parker SP
    Team Young214Howie Kendrick2B
    Team Giusti215Alejandro De Aza OF
    Swervin Lane 2 Lane216Erick Aybar SS

     

    Analysis

    My Pick: Jim Henderson, RP

    After taking Perkins in Round 10, I sat and waited on closers as long as I could while still ensuring that I'd get one I believe in.

    Despite having no real experience closing games in the majors until a month into 2013, this hard-throwing 31-year-old proved he could do the job by sporting great numbers (2.70 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 11.3 K/9) and converting 28-of-32 attempts. I like Henderson about as much as Neftali Feliz, who went one pick earlier, and much more than John Axford—the man Henderson replaced last year—who went five picks earlier.

Round 19

21 of 28

    Kathy Willens/Associated Press
    OWNERPICKPLAYERPOSITION(S)
    Swervin Lane 2 Lane217Lance LynnSP
    Team Giusti218Ervin Santana SP
    Team Young219John Lackey SP
    Team Calixto220Corey Hart 1B/OF
    Team Catania221Chris Archer SP
    Team O'Connell222Jose Veras RP
    Team hughes223Ivan Nova SP
    Team Costa 224Nick Swisher 1B/OF
    Team Fiorella225Nate Jones RP
    Team moore226Nolan Arenado 3B
    Team stegemoller227Rex Brothers RP
    Team Selander228Alexander Guerrero2B

     

    Analysis

    My Pick: Chris Archer, SP

    Archer is very much in the same mold as Zack Wheeler—a young, hard-throwing righty who was a top prospect with some promising success in his first real taste of the bigs in 2013. I don't expect the 25-year-old to match the 3.22 ERA or 1.13 WHIP he put up in 23 starts last year, but if he can maintain the control he showed (2.7 BB/9), there's a lot to like about him as my SP5 with the upside of an SP3/4.

Round 20

22 of 28

    Alex Brandon/Associated Press
    OWNERPICKPLAYERPOSITION(S)
    Team Selander229Nick Markakis OF
    Team stegemoller230Rick Porcello SP
    Team moore231Colby Rasmus OF
    Team Fiorella232Miguel Montero C
    Team Costa233Ben Revere OF
    Team hughes234Tommy Hunter RP
    Team O'Connell235Evan Gattis C/OF
    Team Catania236Anthony Rendon 2B
    Team Calixto237Michael Brantley OF
    Team Young238 Yovani Gallardo SP
    Team Giusti239Joaquin Benoit RP
    Swervin Lane 2 Lane240Bartolo Colon SP

      

    Analysis

    My Pick: Anthony Rendon, 2B

    Middle infield was the final starting position on the offensive side that I needed to fill, and I was fine with waiting to fill that spot by seeing what the draft gave me.

    As it turns out, Rendon, a 23-year-old former top prospect who looked capable as a rookie (.265 BA, 40 R, 7 HR, 35 RBI in 351 AB), could be a pretty nice late-round gift. Injuries have always been a concern for the 2011 No. 6 overall pick, but if he stays healthy, Rendon's bat could turn him into a fringe top-10 2B.

Round 21

23 of 28

    Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports
    OWNERPICKPLAYERPOSITION(S)
    Swervin Lane 2 Lane241Oscar Taveras OF
    Team Giusti242Cody Allen RP
    Team Young243Tim Lincecum SP
    Team Calixto244Justin Smoak 1B
    Team Catania245Nick Castellanos 3B/OF
    Team O'Connell246Ryan Howard1B
    Team hughes247Tyler Clippard RP
    Team Costa248Todd Frazier 3B
    Team Fiorella249Dexter Fowler OF
    Team moore250Nate Schierholtz OF
    Team stegemoller 251Alex Wood SP
    Team Selander252Mark Melancon RP

     

    Analysis

    My Pick: Nick Castellanos, 3B/OF

    The parade of youngsters continues with one of this year's top prospects.

    The 22-year-old Castellanos was impressive in an aggressive assignment to Triple-A in 2013 (.276 BA, 18 HR, 76 RBI), and he has been flashing more pop this spring. With the Opening Day third base gig in a still-potent Tigers lineup all but locked up, Castellanos can be my fill-in until Machado is ready. After that, he could be shiny-new-toy trade bait if he gets off to a hot start, or simply a solid backup at both 3B and OF.

Round 22

24 of 28

    David Goldman/Associated Press
    OWNERPICKPLAYERPOSITION(S)
    Team Selander253Jake McGeeRP
    Team stegemoller254Danny Farquhar RP
    Team moore255Kelly Johnson 2B/3B/OF
    Team Fiorella256George Springer OF
    Team Costa257Stephen Drew SS
    Team hughes258Dillon Gee SP
    Team O'Connell259Brandon Beachy SP
    Team Catania260 Rajai Davis OF
    Team Calixto 261Jhonny PeraltaSS
    Team Young262Devin Mesoraco C
    Team Giusti263Eric Young Jr.OF
    Swervin Lane 2 Lane264Chris Carter 1B/OF

     

    Analysis

    My Pick: Rajai Davis, OF

    With news that Andy Dirks, Davis' platoon partner in left field in Detroit, will be out for a couple months after back surgery, this speedy Davis shouldn't have any trouble stealing a bunch of bases at the outset of the year. That will help me build up some headway in the SB category, which was the one offensive area I felt was lacking a bit—until now.

Round 23

25 of 28

    Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press
    OWNERPICKPLAYERPOSITION(S)
    Swervin Lane 2 Lane265 LaTroy HawkinsRP
    Team Giusti266Kyle Lohse SP
    Team Young267Chris Johnson 3B
    Team Calixto268Angel Pagan OF
    Team Catania269 Ubaldo Jimenez SP
    Team O'Connell270 Avisail Garcia OF
    Team hughes271Jesse Crain RP
    Team Costa272Neil Walker 2B
    Team Fiorella273A.J. Griffin SP
    Team moore274Wade Miley SP
    Team stegemoller275Adam LaRoche 1B
    Team Selander276 Taijuan Walker SP

     

    Analysis

    My Pick: Ubaldo Jimenez, SP

    Still searching for some quality and quantity on the SP front, I found Jimenez readily available and enticing enough at this late stage to take a flyer on him. If he looks good early, he could be an SP2/3, much like he was over the second half of 2013 (1.82 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 10.7 K/9). If he turns back into an enigmatic pumpkin, it's not going to cost me much in Round 23.

Round 24

26 of 28

    RICK SCUTERI/Associated Press
    OWNERPICKPLAYERPOSITION(S)
    Team Selander277J.J. PutzRP
    Team stegemoller278David Freese 3B
    Team moore279Zack Cozart SS
    Team Fiorella280Marlon Byrd OF
    Team Costa281 Yan Gomes C
    Team hughes282 Kole Calhoun OF
    Team O'Connell 283Pedro Strop RP
    Team Catania 284Brad Miller SS
    Team Calixto285 Melky Cabrera OF
    Team Young286Omar Infante 2B
    Team Giusti287Jonathon Niese SP
    Swervin Lane 2 Lane 288Justin Morneau 1B

     

    Analysis

    My Pick: Brad Miller, SS

    Miller is entrenched in a battle with Nick Franklin to be the Mariners' starting shortstop, but after he handled the job well throughout the second half last year as a rookie, the 24-year-old should have the inside track. If he wins the role, there's a chance he will approach 15 homers and 15 steals at a very shallow fantasy position. He is a good backup plan for Lowrie.

Round 25

27 of 28

    Paul Sancya/Associated Press
    OWNERPICKPLAYERPOSITION(S)
    Swervin Lane 2 Lane289Alcides EscobarSS
    Team Giusti290Ian Kennedy SP
    Team Young291Mark Buehrle SP
    Team Calixto292Denard Span OF
    Team Catania293Jose Quintana SP
    Team O'Connell294Matt JoyceOF
    Team hughes295Yonder Alonso 1B
    Team Costa296Russell Martin C
    Team Fiorella297Tim Hudson SP
    Team moore298Ricky NolascoSP
    Team stegemoller299Michael Saunders OF
    Team Selander300Dan Uggla 2B

     

    Analysis

    My Pick: Jose Quintana, SP

    I also snatched Quintana very late in the previous mock, which goes to show two things: One, I must like the 25-year-old southpaw who sported a 3.51 ERA, 1.22 WHIP and 7.4 K/9 in 2013; and two, quality, under-the-radar starters are still out there even as your drafts approach the 300th overall selection. 

Team Evaluation

28 of 28

    Jim Rogash/Getty Images
    POSITIONPLAYERROUND
    CSalvador Perez12
    1BMark Trumbo 7
    2BJason Kipnis 3
    3BManny Machado 11
    SSJed Lowrie 14
    CIJose Abreu9
    MIAnthony Rendon 20
    OFAndrew McCutchen 1
    OFAdam Jones2
    OF Wil Myers5
    OFMatt Holliday6
    OFAustin Jackson16
    UTWilson Ramos13
    PChris Sale4
    P Gio Gonzalez8
    PGlen Perkins10
    PZack Wheeler15
    PChris Tillman17
    PJim Henderson18 
    PChris Archer19 
    P Ubaldo Jimenez23 
    PJose Quintana25
    BENick Castellanos 21
    BE Rajai Davis22
    BEBrad Miller24

     

    Analysis

    Strengths

    Similar to the last mock draft, my outfield is once again the force on this fake fake team. It's hard to do better than McCutchen, Jones, Myers, Holliday and Jackson, a fivesome that covers all five roto categories. I suspect that Holliday—my OF4—could be the OF2 for a handful of teams in this league.

    My infield, though, is still a strong one, thanks to the speed-power ability of Kipnis and the stable power of Trumbo. If either Abreu or Machado overcomes his respective unknown (MLB experience, health), this offense could be a knockout.

    On the pitching side, the top two lefties, Sale and Gonzalez, are staff stalwarts who will keep my strikeouts up and my ERA and WHIP down. If one of Wheeler or Archer steps forward in their first full season, I'll have a rotation that is as good as it is deep.

    The other focus, as previously mentioned, is the youth on this roster. Whereas last time I took older vets like Mark Teixeira and Jhonny Peralta as bounce-back candidates, this mock called for more potential. The only hitter who is older than 29 is Holliday, who remains as consistently productive as it gets, and not a single starting pitcher is north of Jimenez's 30 years old.

     

    Weaknesses

    The most glaring problem? As good as Lowrie was last year, and as much upside as Rendon has, I'm a bit worried that my SS and MI positions may need a more steady, less injury-prone presence. And of course, I would have handled my UTIL position much differently—probably with another infielder for depth—rather than giving it to Ramos, who looks out of place there.

    Outside of Sale and Gonzalez, the pitching could be a little bumpy, because Wheeler, Tillman, Archer and Jimenez might all prove to be inconsistent. And while I really like Perkins, I do have questions about how many saves he'll get pitching for the Twins—and also about how many saves my team might get if Henderson falters, leaving me with only one closer.

    If I were to consider potential trades in the near future, I'd likely be looking to address shortstop and/or middle infield, as well as the closer position and perhaps the stolen-base category. Perhaps the best initial option would be to find an owner who could use an upgrade at catcher and likes Perez—that way, I can simply plug Ramos in at catcher and get something out of that whole mess while also deploying Davis' 40-steal speed at UTIL.

    Otherwise, I shouldn't have a problem pulling off a trade that includes one of my breakout candidates—Abreu, Wheeler, Archer or Castellanos—to fix any positions or categories of need.

     

    Which of my draft picks do you like/dislike the most? Where would you have made a different choice along the way? Swing away in the comments section. 

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