Fantasy Baseball 2015: B/R Expert's Final 25-Round Mock Draft, Version 3.0
Forget your chores and homework or your nine-to-five responsibilities and honey-do list. Your fantasy baseball draft is happening, like, more or less now. (That is, if you haven't had it already.) So nothing is more important than preparing for your player picking.
(OK, maybe fundamental stuff, like food consumption and basic hygiene, but you get the idea.)
What's the best way to prep? Well, hopefully, you have printed out or bookmarked the Bleacher Report Draft Cheat Sheet, reviewed the B/R 300 position rankings, checked in on both batches of sleepers and read up on the top rookies.
But perhaps the most enjoyable activity is partaking in a mock draft. You know, just your basic practice of picking players for the fake version of baseball that we all love so much.
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).
Besides, it's plain fun.
Back in mid-March, I participated in a mock draft and wrote all about it. But player values change all the time—practically daily—due to performances, injuries and transactions. That's why it's time to recap another mock.
What follows is a look at how everything went down.
- Team a
- Team Newcomer
- Team Catania (Jason Catania)
- master batters
- Team Caughlan
- Team Lopez
- Team Kelly
- Team Oates
- Tea Litschgi
- Team Berkhout
- Team Johnson
- Team harvey
Before getting to the picks, let's look at the pickers.
Held on March 26 through ESPN Fantasy Baseball, this was a public mock draft for a 12-team league. Here's a rundown of the names of the teams that participated, in order of their respective draft slot:
As you can see, I landed pick No. 3.
Scoring and Settings
As for the other information you should know, this mock was set up for a make-believe league that uses standard five-by-five rotisserie scoring: BA, R, HR, RBI and SB for hitters, W, ERA, WHIP, K and SV for pitchers.
The 22 lineup positions are as follows: one each for catcher, first base, second base, third base, shortstop, middle infield, corner infield and utility; five outfielders; and nine pitchers of any sort (starters and relievers).
There were also three spots for bench players, meaning 25 rounds—and 300 picks—in total.
|Team a||1||Clayton Kershaw||SP|
|Team Newcomer||2||Mike Trout||OF|
|Team Catania||3||Giancarlo Stanton||OF|
|master batters||4||Andrew McCutchen||OF|
|Team Caughlan||5||Paul Goldschmidt||1B|
|Team Lopez||6||Troy Tulowitzki||SS|
|Team Kelly||7||Carlos Gomez||OF|
|Team Oates||8||Edwin Encarnacion||1B|
|Team Litschgi||9||Anthony Rizzo||1B|
|Team Berkhout||10||Jose Abreu||1B|
|Team Johnson||11||Robinson Cano||2B|
|Team harvey||12||Miguel Cabrera||1B|
My Pick: Giancarlo Stanton, OF
I went into this mock wanting to take a slightly different approach, make some selections I might not in a league that actually counts, just to see what happens. That started with taking Stanton, who is the third player on my board—but he's behind Andrew McCutchen. In other words, I went off chalk, figuring I would grab his 30-plus home runs rather than Cutch's more all-around game. That would force me to snag some stolen bases later on, for instance.
This isn't a points league, so taking Clayton Kershaw—the top pitcher—with the first pick is, uh, ill-advised. I also was surprised to see the injury-prone Troy Tulowitzki go not only in the first round but in the first half of the first round.
|Team harvey||13||Jose Bautista||OF|
|Team Johnson||14||Yasiel Puig||OF|
|Team Berkhout||15||Jose Altuve||2B|
|Team Litschgi||16||Felix Hernandez||SP|
|Team Oates||17||Adam Jones||OF|
| Team Kelly||18||Max Scherzer||SP|
|Team Lopez||19||Ryan Braun||OF|
|Team Caughlan||20||Michael Brantley||OF|
|master batters||21||Adrian Beltre||3B|
| Team Catania||22||Ian Desmond||SS|
| Team Newcomer||23||Hanley Ramirez||SS/OF|
|Team a||24||Chris Sale||SP|
My Pick: Ian Desmond, SS
In all honesty, I wasn't enamored with this pick, but that's because I wasn't excited about any of the players on the board at this point, particularly the hitters. Given the options, I chose to lock up the shallow shortstop spot with a perennial 20-20er. (Remember that whole thing about going after stolen bases?) For the record, had Adrian Beltre not been taken right before my turn, he would have been mine.
The only selection that jumps out to me as way too early? Ryan Braun, who would have to be something close to the player he was in 2012—or three years ago now—to earn a top-20 take. Now that he's 31 and unlikely to run all that much, I don't see that happening.
|Team a||25||Stephen Strasburg||SP|
|Team Newcomer||26||Josh Donaldson||3B|
|Team Catania||27||Bryce Harper||OF|
|master batters||28||Freddie Freeman||1B|
|Team Caughlan||29||Starling Marte||OF|
|Team Lopez||30||Anthony Rendon||2B/3B|
|Team Kelly||31||Buster Posey||C|
|Team Oates||32||Justin Upton||OF|
|Team Litschgi||33||George Springer||OF|
|Team Berkhout||34||David Price||SP|
|Team Johnson||35||Corey Kluber||SP|
|Team harvey||36||Madison Bumgarner||SP|
My Pick: Bryce Harper, OF
I went with my second consecutive Washington Nationals hitter, but not by design. (Although, I do like the Nats, as does most everybody.) Truth be told, I was so hoping Josh Donaldson would make it to me, but I was foiled by one pick—again!
I fully realize that this could be a terrible choice if Harper doesn't take "the leap" in 2015 because otherwise I'm paying for potential rather than production. Am I super confident in that? No. Do I think he's more likely to (finally) break out than not? Yes.
Anthony Rendon, a fringy first-rounder at the outset of spring before his knee started acting up, could be nice value at No. 30 overall. Then again, it might be even more unlikely than it already was that he will repeat his 17 stolen bases from a year ago, which puts more onus on his power.
And if you know me by now, you know I can't get on board with taking Buster Posey this early, even though he's the top fantasy backstop by far.
|Team harvey||37||Zack Greinke||SP|
|Team Johnson||38||Albert Pujols||1B|
|Team Berkhout||39||Jose Reyes||SS|
|Team Litschgi||40||Jacoby Ellsbury||OF|
|Team Oates||41||Cole Hamels||SP|
|Team Kelly||42||Adrian Gonzalez||1B|
|Team Lopez||43||Corey Dickerson||OF|
|Team Caughlan||44||Johnny Cueto||SP|
|master batters||45||Evan Longoria||3B|
|Team Catania||46||Carlos Gonzalez||OF|
|Team Newcomer||47||Jordan Zimmermann||SP|
|Team a||48||Jon Lester||SP|
My Pick: Carlos Gonzalez, OF
Another risky pick. CarGo's injury history always gives me pause, and it did here, too. But it also allowed him to drop to the point where the reward (a 20-20 campaign with a .300 average) was worth the risk (No. 46 overall) in my mind.
You'll notice that almost all of the top-tier starting pitchers are gone by now, as Zack Greinke, Cole Hamels, Johnny Cueto, Jordan Zimmermann and Jon Lester all were plucked by the end of Round 4. None of them were bad picks, but once they were gone, I more or less decided I would ignore pitching until Round 10 to see if I still could concoct a quality rotation.
|Team a||49||Aroldis Chapman||RP|
|Team Newcomer||50||Victor Martinez||DH|
|Team Catania||51||Billy Hamilton||OF|
|master batters||52||Yoenis Cespedes||OF|
|Team Caughlan||53||Ian Kinsler||2B|
|Team Lopez||54||Chris Davis||1B|
|Team Kelly||55||Kyle Seager||3B|
|Team Oates||56||Nolan Arenado||3B|
|Team Litschgi||57||Jason Kipnis||2B|
|Team Berkhout||58||Jonathan Lucroy||C|
|Team Johnson||59||Matt Kemp||OF|
|Team harvey||60||Carlos Santana||1B|
My Pick: Billy Hamilton, OF
I'm really not a huge fan of steals-only hitters, but I thought it would be a good way to load up on a category that is easy to compile—and easy to trade away as needed. Hamilton has some growth potential, especially in batting average with his wheels and in runs scored with a healthy Cincinnati Reds lineup, and he's a valuable commodity for his elite production in a single category.
I quite liked this round of choices, as I like all of Victor Martinez, Yoenis Cespedes, Ian Kinsler (three Detroit Tigers!), Chris Davis, Kyle Seager, Nolan Arenado, Jason Kipnis, Matt Kemp and Carlos Santana. As for the selections of closer Aroldis Chapman at the top of the round and catcher Jonathan Lucroy near the bottom, they're not out of place so much as not my fantasy cup of tea at this stage.
|Team harvey||61||Dustin Pedroia||2B|
|Team Johnson||62||Matt Harvey||SP|
|Team Berkhout||63||Craig Kimbrel||RP|
|Team Litschgi||64||Adam Wainwright||SP|
|Team Oates||65||Starlin Castro||SS|
|Team Kelly||66||David Ortiz||UTIL|
|Team Lopez||67||Sonny Gray||SP|
|Team Caughlan||68||Nelson Cruz||OF|
|master batters||69||Jeff Samardzija||SP|
|Team Catania||70||Prince Fielder||1B|
|Team Newcomer||71||Greg Holland||RP|
| Team a||72||Kole Calhoun||OF|
My Pick: Prince Fielder, 1B
With the starter-worthy first basemen dwindling, I decided it was time to grab Fielder, who could bounce back and put up a 30-homer, 90-RBI season if everything goes right. He's still only 30 years old, and he gets to hit in the Texas Rangers' park half the time.
Matt Harvey might be able to earn the 62nd overall pick, but that's assuming absolutely everything—from his health to his command to his innings total—goes perfectly. Basically, taking him this high is buying at an absolute peak, which is not recommended.
I also saw Starlin Castro as a major reach at No. 65. He's not going to hurt owners (though he did in 2013), but he doesn't hit for a ton of power and has been running less and less, so there's no reason to jump on him this early, even in the improved, enticing Chicago Cubs lineup.
|Team a||73||Brian Dozier||2B|
|Team Newcomer||74||Julio Teheran||SP|
|Team Catania||75||Christian Yelich||OF|
|master batters||76||Chris Carter||UTIL|
|Team Caughlan||77||James Shields||SP|
|Team Lopez||78||Hunter Pence||OF|
|Team Kelly||79||Alexei Ramirez||SS|
|Team Oates||80||Kolten Wong||2B|
|Team Litschgi||81||Jason Heyward||OF|
|Team Berkhout||82||Kris Bryant||3B|
|Team Johnson||83||Gerrit Cole||SP|
|Team harvey||84||Alex Gordon||OF|
My Pick: Christian Yelich, OF
I very much like Yelich in 2015, and I think he went a round (or maybe even two) later than he should have. I see him taking another step forward this year, but even if he doesn't, there's plenty to like about a .280 hitter with 10-12 homers, 20-25 steals and upward of 90 runs scored.
One thing I didn't love immediately after this take is that it locked up my five-man outfield already, through just the first seven rounds. Because I was operating more from a best-available approach rather than a position-scarcity one, I happened to fill a position that I typically like to leave with one or two openings until later, when I can draft based on category need.
I had been considering Brian Dozier for second base, and had he dropped two more spots, he would have been just as good a value and covered a position I needed more.
Chris Carter is one of the more volatile draft picks around, as I have seen him go as early as this round and as late as Round 20 in other mocks. The power is for real, but so is the .220 batting average. He's basically taking over for Adam Dunn.
You'll notice Kris Bryant, he of the monstrous prospect hype and even more monstrous spring, comes off the board at No. 82. I actually could see him being worth that in the end, but I'm not going to pay that price to find out.
|Team harvey||85||Masahiro Tanaka||SP|
|Team Johnson||86||Mookie Betts||OF|
|Team Berkhout||87||Pablo Sandoval||3B|
|Team Litschgi||88||Matt Carpenter||3B|
|Team Oates||89||Gio Gonzalez||SP|
|Team Kelly||90||Marcell Ozuna||OF|
|Team Lopez||91||Joey Votto||1B|
|Team Caughlan||92||Todd Frazier||1B/3B|
|master batters||93||Matt Holliday||OF|
|Team Catania||94||Devin Mesoraco||C|
|Team Newcomer||95||Tyson Ross||SP|
|Team a||96||Mark Melancon||RP|
My Pick: Devin Mesoraco, C
Looking back, this was my did-I-really-make-this-pick pick. I like Mesoraco plenty—he's my No. 3 catcher—because I believe in his 20-homer power, and I do see a strong Reds lineup if some of the big bats stay healthy (Joey Votto, Jay Bruce).
But I don't normally grab a backstop this soon. I think Mesoraco in Round 8 is a better value than Lucroy in Round 5, though.
I see some regression in stolen bases for Todd Frazier this year after he somehow swiped 20 in 2014, but I don't know how he fell this far. Maybe the reason I took Mesoraco is because I had Frazier all queued up to be my starting third baseman, and then he was sniped two picks prior.
|Team a||97||Jay Bruce||OF|
|Team Newcomer||98||Jacob deGrom||SP|
|Team Catania||99||Ryan Zimmerman||1B/3B/OF|
|master batters||100||Dee Gordon||2B|
|Team Caughlan||101||Trevor Rosenthal||RP|
|Team Lopez||102||Manny Machado||3B|
|Team Kelly||103||Garrett Richards||SP|
|Team Oates||104||Evan Gattis||C/OF|
|Team Litschgi||105||Carlos Carrasco||SP/RP|
|Team Berkhout||106||Mark Trumbo||1B/OF|
|Team Johnson||107||Cody Allen||RP|
|Team harvey||108||Jorge Soler||OF|
My Pick: Ryan Zimmerman, 1B/3B/OF
Like I said, I had been hoping to get Todd Frazier to fill my still-empty third base position, so when he didn't make it to me, I decided to go for the next hot cornerman on my list. Zimmerman is yet another injury risk (and yet another National) for my club, but if he's healthy, he's a fantasy starter, which is what I need at this point. Plus, the fact that he'll be eligible at three positions doesn't hurt.
Had I known that Dee Gordon would have lasted until pick No. 100 compared to the 51st overall selection I used on Billy Hamilton, I would have swapped the latter for the former, especially given that my club still doesn't have a second baseman.
|Team harvey||109||Brandon Moss||1B/OF|
|Team Johnson||110||Jake Arrieta||SP|
|Team Berkhout||111||Leonys Martin||OF|
|Team Litschgi||112||Dellin Betances||RP|
|Team Oates||113||Alex Wood||SP/RP|
|Team Kelly||114||Brett Gardner||OF|
|Team Lopez||115||Hisashi Iwakuma||SP|
|Team Caughlan||116||David Robertson||RP|
|master batters||117||Kenley Jansen||RP|
|Team Catania||118||Chris Archer||SP|
|Team Newcomer||119||Alex Cobb||SP|
|Team a||120||Hyun-Jin Ryu||SP|
My Pick: Chris Archer, SP
Ladies and gents, here's my first pitcher. I was the last owner to grab an arm, as you likely noticed by now.
No, Archer isn't a legitimate No. 1 to lead a fantasy rotation, but he really came into his own last year with a 3.33 ERA, 1.28 WHIP and 173 strikeouts in 194.2 innings. At 26, he's ready to blow past 200 innings and whiff about that many batters. He has it in him to be a top-20 starter.
Because I finally started looking at pitchers in this round, I liked the takes of Jake Arrieta, Dellin Betances, Hisashi Iwakuma and David Robertson at this rather reduced rate.
|Team a||121||Homer Bailey||SP|
|Team Newcomer||122||Elvis Andrus||SS|
|Team Catania||123||Lance Lynn||SP|
|master batters||124||Koji Uehara||RP|
|Team Caughlan||125||Matt Adams||1B|
|Team Lopez||126||David Wright||3B|
|Team Kelly||127||Michael Wacha||SP|
|Team Oates||128||Huston Street||RP|
|Team Litschgi||129||Salvador Perez||C|
|Team Berkhout||130||Steve Cishek||RP|
|Team Johnson||131||Jimmy Rollins||SS|
|Team harvey||132||Jonathan Papelbon||RP|
My Pick: Lance Lynn, SP
Now it's time to load up on starters to ensure I compile enough wins and, especially, strikeouts to make up for eschewing arms for the first nine rounds.
Lynn doesn't get much love in fantasy, but he's a steady 200-inning pitcher who will provide production in all four starter-related categories. Even if his 2.74 ERA from 2014 regresses, I trust his 3.37 FIP since 2012 and his ability to push 180-190 strikeouts.
|Team harvey||133||Gregory Polanco||OF|
|Team Johnson||134||Yan Gomes||C|
|Team Berkhout||135||Charlie Blackmon||OF|
|Team Litschgi||136||Doug Fister||SP|
|Team Oates||137||Mat Latos||SP|
|Team Kelly||138||J.D. Martinez||OF|
|Team Lopez||139||Yadier Molina||C|
|Team Caughlan||140||Daniel Murphy||2B|
|master batters||141||Glen Perkins||RP|
|Team Catania||142||Howie Kendrick||2B|
|Team Newcomer||143||Alex Rios||OF|
|Team a||144||Andrew Cashner||SP|
My Pick: Howie Kendrick, 2B
A quick excursion back into the hitter pool to pick up Kendrick. I needed a second baseman and was worried that the new Los Angeles Dodger would go soon, given that Daniel Murphy went just before. Kendrick is consistent, which is a good trait to have at an otherwise shallow and volatile position. He's not the kind of flashy performer who will win a league for you, but sometimes it's better to be safe than sorry.
In hindsight, seeing Yan Gomes, who I have ranked just one spot behind Devin Mesoraco in the catcher rankings, go in Round 12—and 40 picks after I took Mesoraco—makes me shout an obscenity.
Also? Even though I wasn't in the market for outfielders after having loaded up on them early, I like the selections of Gregory Polanco and J.D. Martinez in this round.
|Team a||145||Chase Utley||2B|
|Team Newcomer||146||Fernando Rodney||RP|
|Team Catania||147||Drew Storen||RP|
|master batters||148||Rusney Castillo||OF|
|Team Caughlan||149||Lucas Duda||1B|
|Team Lopez||150||Yordano Ventura||SP|
|Team Kelly||151||Zach Britton||RP|
|Team Oates||152||Joaquin Benoit||RP|
|Team Litschgi||153||Josh Harrison||3B/OF|
|Team Berkhout||154||Melky Cabrera||OF|
|Team Johnson||155||Anibal Sanchez||SP|
|Team harvey||156||Francisco Liriano||SP|
My Pick: Drew Storen, RP
I'm worried neither about Storen's recent surgery on his left (non-throwing) hand—he's already due back, according to Chris Johnson of MASNSports.com—nor the incorrect narrative that he can't cut it as closer because of a pair of October blowups. Rather, I see 40 saves waiting to happen from a guy with a 2.94 ERA and 1.13 WHIP in his career on a stacked Nationals team.
|Team harvey||157||Eric Hosmer||1B|
|Team Johnson||158||A.J. Pollock||OF|
|Team Berkhout||159||Collin McHugh||SP|
|Team Litschgi||160||Jered Weaver||SP|
|Team Oates||161||Ben Revere||OF|
|Team Kelly||162||Neil Walker||2B|
|Team Lopez||163||Ian Kennedy||SP|
|Team Caughlan||164||Wil Myers||OF|
|master batters||165||Erick Aybar||SS|
|Team Catania||166||Jose Quintana||SP|
|Team Newcomer||167||Adam LaRoche||1B|
|Team a||168||Justin Morneau||1B|
My Pick: Jose Quintana, SP
Back to the starters. Quintana is in my top 30 for his under-the-radar strong 2013-14, in which he put up a 3.42 ERA, 1.23 WHIP and 7.7 strikeout-to-walk ration (K/9). Knowing that arms like him still would be available at pick 166 is a huge reason why my strategy to wait on SPs should work out just fine.
|Team a||169||Brian McCann||C|
|Team Newcomer||170||Aramis Ramirez||3B|
|Team Catania||171||Justin Verlander||SP|
|master batters||172||Jayson Werth||OF|
|Team Caughlan||173||Ben Zobrist||2B/SS/OF|
|Team Lopez||174||Shin-Soo Choo||OF|
|Team Kelly||175||Michael Pineda||SP|
|Team Oates||176||Jose Fernandez||SP|
|Team Litschgi||177||Pedro Alvarez||1B/3B|
|Team Berkhout||178||Joc Pederson||OF|
|Team Johnson||179||Jake McGee||RP|
|Team harvey||180||Dallas Keuchel||SP|
My Pick: Justin Verlander, SP
OK, I'll bite. Verlander was plain bad last year, what with a 4.54 ERA and 1.40 WHIP that both actively hurt any owner who continued to start him. I know we've seen the best of him, but between the fact that he still threw 200 innings (for the eighth straight year) and posted a much nicer 3.74 FIP, I'll gamble he'll be better in 2015, at least enough to serve as a quality fourth starter. Especially if he's now fully recovered from the core-muscle surgery he had over the previous winter.
|Team harvey||181||Andrew Miller||RP|
|Team Johnson||182||Alcides Escobar||SS|
| Team Berkhout||183||Phil Hughes||SP|
|Team Litschgi||184||Xander Bogaerts||3B/SS|
|Team Oates||185||Oswaldo Arcia||OF|
|Team Kelly||186||Hector Rondon||RP|
|Team Lopez||187||Brandon Belt||1B|
|Team Caughlan||188||Russell Martin||C|
|master batters||189||Martin Prado||3B/OF|
|Team Catania||190||Jhonny Peralta||SS|
|Team Newcomer||191||Matt Cain||SP|
|Team a||192||Joe Mauer||1B|
My Pick: Jhonny Peralta, SS
Confession: I really wanted Xander Bogaerts as my starting middle infielder, and I thought he would fall to me here. I thought wrong. So I went with Jhonny Peralta, whose actual production might be something like Bogaerts' upside for 2015. Funny how that works.
|Team a||193||Rougned Odor||2B|
|Team Newcomer||194||Francisco Rodriguez||RP|
|Team Catania||195||Mike Napoli||1B|
|master batters||196||Jake Odorizzi||SP|
|Team Caughlan||197||Sean Doolittle||RP|
|Team Lopez||198||Ken Giles||RP|
|Team Kelly||199||Adam Eaton||OF|
|Team Oates||200||Rick Porcello||SP|
|Team Litschgi||201||Carlos Beltran||OF|
|Team Berkhout||202||Neftali Feliz||RP|
|Team Johnson||203||Aaron Sanchez||SP/RP|
|Team harvey||204||Joe Nathan||RP|
My Pick: Mike Napoli, 1B
Having just covered the middle, I figured it was about time to fill my corner infield spot, too. Napoli is being wildly overlooked in drafts because he's coming off a down year and is now 33 years old. But I see a hitter who should have no problem reaching 20 home runs—he hit that mark six straight seasons prior to his 17 in just 119 games in 2014—and who will benefit in runs and RBI from being in the middle of a stacked Boston Red Sox order.
|Team harvey||205||Matt Wieters||C|
|Team Johnson||206||Scott Kazmir||SP|
|Team Berkhout||207||Taijuan Walker||SP|
|Team Litschgi||208||Wade Davis||RP|
|Team Oates||209||Danny Salazar||SP|
|Team Kelly||210||Shelby Miller||SP|
|Team Lopez||211||Coco Crisp||OF|
|Team Caughlan||212||Austin Jackson||OF|
|master batters||213||R.A. Dickey||SP|
|Team Catania||214||Jenrry Mejia||SP/RP|
|Team Newcomer||215||Jedd Gyorko||2B|
|Team a||216||Jean Segura||SS|
My Pick: Jenrry Mejia, SP/RP
I find myself landing Mejia in a lot of the mocks I have done. Sure, his peripherals (3.65 ERA, 1.48 WHIP) are far off from what you might want from a closer, but as a reliever in 2014, his ERA was 2.72 and he tallied 28 saves. Plus, his starter's repertoire should play up in one-inning stints. As for the looming return of Bobby Parnell? I was never all that high on him even before he had Tommy John surgery.
|Team a||217||Lorenzo Cain||OF|
|Team Newcomer||218||Danny Santana||SS/OF|
|Team Catania||219||Kevin Gausman||SP|
|master batters||220||Luke Gregerson||RP|
|Team Caughlan||221||Drew Smyly||SP|
|Team Lopez||222||Tyler Clippard||RP|
|Team Kelly||223||Steve Pearce||1B/OF|
|Team Oates||224||Danny Duffy||SP|
|Team Litschgi||225||Curtis Granderson||OF|
|Team Berkhout||226||Brett Lawrie||2B/3B|
|Team Johnson||227||Travis d'Arnaud||C|
|Team harvey||228||Matt Garza||SP|
My Pick: Kevin Gausman, SP
You should know by now my great affinity for Gausman, whose pedigree, stuff and flashes of success make him one of this year's true breakout candidates. If he merely repeats last year's 3.57 ERA, 1.31 WHIP and 7.0 K/9, I'll take it, but I think there's more in there now that the kid gloves are about to come off.
|Team harvey||229||Scooter Gennett||2B|
|Team Johnson||230||Nick Castellanos||3B|
|Team Berkhout||231||Marcus Semien||2B/3B/SS|
|Team Litschgi||232||John Lackey||SP|
|Team Oates||233||Yasmani Grandal||C/1B|
|Team Kelly||234||Santiago Casilla||RP|
|Team Lopez||235||Addison Reed||RP|
|Team Caughlan||236||Brad Boxberger||RP|
|master batters||237||Wilin Rosario||C/1B|
|Team Catania||238||Trevor Bauer||SP|
|Team Newcomer||239||Arismendy Alcantara||2B/OF|
|Team a||240||Carl Crawford||OF|
My Pick: Trevor Bauer, SP
I like Gausman more than Bauer right now, but the latter has been catching up to the former in my eyes over the course of the spring, especially considering Bauer hasn't walked a batter in 15.1 frames. It's possible he's still just going to be a maddeningly enigmatic pitcher who teases as much as he tantalizes, but if everything clicks, Bauer could be a No. 3 in fantasy. Like, this year.
|Team a||241||Michael Cuddyer||OF|
|Team Newcomer||242||Wilson Ramos||C|
|Team Catania||243||Brett Cecil||RP|
|master batters||244||Chris Tillman||SP|
|Team Caughlan||245||CC Sabathia||SP|
|Team Lopez||246||Andrelton Simmons||SS|
|Team Kelly||247||Derek Holland||SP|
|Team Oates||248||Billy Butler||1B|
|Team Litschgi||249||Asdrubal Cabrera||2B/SS|
|Team Berkhout||250||Matt Shoemaker||SP|
|Team Johnson||251||Mark Teixeira||1B|
|Team harvey||252||Javier Baez||2B/SS|
My Pick: Brett Cecil, RP
Now that he has been named the closer for the Blue Jays, it's even easier to draft Cecil, who has nasty stuff and a 2.76 ERA and 11.5 K/9 the past two years. While there is at least a little worry over the fact that he hasn't handled the ninth inning before, if he proves he can, Cecil could be a top-10 closer.
|Team harvey||253||Steven Souza||OF|
|Team Johnson||254||Khris Davis||OF|
|Team Berkhout||255||Nathan Eovaldi||SP|
|Team Litschgi||256||Mike Fiers||SP|
|Team Oates||257||Yasmany Tomas||3B/OF|
|Team Kelly||258||Rajai Davis||OF|
|Team Lopez||259||Drew Hutchison||SP|
|Team Caughlan||260||Yovani Gallardo||SP|
|master batters||261||Jeurys Familia||RP|
|Team Catania||262||Brandon McCarthy||SP|
|Team Newcomer||263||Denard Span||OF|
|Team a||264||Chase Headley||3B|
My Pick: Brandon McCarthy, SP
Count me in the camp who sees McCarthy's strong second half last year as very much for real. OK, he's not going to have a 2.89 ERA over a full season, but he finished 2014 with a 3.75 FIP overall, as well as a 1.28 WHIP and 7.9 K/9. That's a reasonable expectation, particularly now that he'll spend a lot of time throwing in pitcher-friendly Dodger Stadium (and AT&T Park and Petco Park, too).
|Team a||265||Ryan Howard||1B|
|Team Newcomer||266||Mike Zunino||C|
|Team Catania||267||Ervin Santana||SP|
|master batters||268||Torii Hunter||OF|
|Team Caughlan||269||Mike Minor||SP|
|Team Lopez||270||Carlos Martinez||SP/RP|
|Team Kelly||271||C.J. Cron||1B|
|Team Oates||272||Aaron Hill||2B|
|Team Litschgi||273||LaTroy Hawkins||RP|
|Team Berkhout||274||Wily Peralta||SP|
|Team Johnson||275||Adam Lind||1B|
|Team harvey||276||J.J. Hardy||SS|
My Pick: Ervin Santana, SP
At this stage, I'm simply stacking solid starters who could prove to be quality No. 4s in fantasy but who also provide the potential to be very good streaming options, like Santana when he pitches at Target Field. The 32-year-old has made at least 30 starts five years running and owns a 3.88 ERA and 1.24 WHIP in that time.
|Team harvey||277||Miguel Montero||C|
|Team Johnson||278||Jonathon Niese||SP|
|Team Berkhout||279||Alex Rodriguez||3B|
|Team Litschgi||280||Desmond Jennings||OF|
|Team Oates||281||Lonnie Chisenhall||3B|
|Team Kelly||282||Jason Hammel||SP|
|Team Lopez||283||Clay Buchholz||SP|
|Team Caughlan||284||Josh Reddick||OF|
|master batters||285||Kelvin Herrera||RP|
|Team Catania||286||Dexter Fowler||OF|
|Team Newcomer||287||Pat Neshek||RP|
|Team a||288||Derek Norris||C|
My Pick: Dexter Fowler, OF
Fowler has long been a fantasy tease, often enticing owners with hot streaks that prompt "this is the year" hopes, only to disappoint when his performance dips or he gets hurt. While I will acknowledge he still could finagle a 12-homer, 20-steal campaign in a perfect world, I'm more interested in his .378 on-base percentage the past three seasons, which could help him score plenty of runs as the leadoff man in front of Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant and Jorge Soler.
|Team a||289||Marlon Byrd||OF|
|Team Newcomer||290||Kendrys Morales||1B|
|Team Catania||291||James Paxton||SP|
|master batters||292||Tony Watson||RP|
|Team Caughlan||293||Avisail Garcia||OF|
|Team Lopez||294||Mike Leake||SP|
|Team Kelly||295||DJ LeMahieu||2B|
|Team Oates||296||Jed Lowrie||SS|
|Team Litschgi||297||T.J. House||SP|
|Team Berkhout||298||Dalton Pompey||OF|
|Team Johnson||299||Brandon Phillips||2B|
|Team harvey||300||Michael Bourn||OF|
My Pick: James Paxton, SP
One final pitcher to polish things off. Paxton is one of those boom-or-bust players who either will look like a gem of a pick a month from now or will be cast off my roster when his injury history catches up to him again. I'm not tethered to him in any way as the last choice, but I do see the upside from a promising starter who calls Safeco Field home.
With Stanton at the foundation, it's easy to point to power as a strength, especially if one (or more) of the following occurs: Harper breaks out (finally); Gonzalez stays healthy for 120-130 games; and/or one or both Fielder or Napoli bounces back (ideally the former).
Frankly, nine of the 13 starters enter 2015 with a realistic shot of smacking at least 20 home runs, with Kendrick, Hamilton, Yelich and Fowler as the only exceptions. And between that quartet as well as Desmond and maybe even Stanton and Gonzalez, there should be plenty of stolen bases.
Same goes for strikeouts on the pitching side, since all of Archer, Lynn, Quintana and Verlander could approach 175 whiffs (or more). And with my three bench spots filled with starters, I'll be able to stream based on favorable matchups to rack up even more.
On the whole, the pitching staff looks—or at least, feels to me—a little light. Now that is by design, of course, since I actively opted not to select any arm until Round 10. But it would be huge if one of either Archer or Verlander performed like a legitimate top-20 fantasy starter, because there's both depth (Lynn, Quintana, McCarthy, Santana) and upside (Gausman, Bauer, Paxton) beyond those two.
None of the closers are in the first or second tier at the position, so there's going to be a fair amount of finger-crossing to see if at least two of Storen, Mejia and Cecil can maintain the gig all year to keep the saves total competitive. While Storen should be in position to nail down 30-plus by himself given the number of opportunities he'll get from a loaded Washington Nationals team, there's enough to worry about with both Mejia (Bobby Parnell's midseason return?) and Cecil (just six career saves).
Looking at the lineup, batting average appears to be a possible problem area, but that's a difficult category to predict from year to year. And it might have been better to grab a hitter who is eligible at multiple infield positions to serve as a backup/fill-in at first and third base or second base and shortstop. Having no off-day plug-ins won't do me any good, especially with offense being so diminished as is.
Were this mock to be played out in a league, I would be looking to build a robust advantage in steals behind the wheels of Hamilton, Yelich, Desmond and Kendrick, with a little help from Gonzalez, Fowler and Stanton, too. That would make Hamilton, in particular, a very tradeable—and coveted—asset who could be moved to net either another high-end arm or a specific position of need (say, first base if Fielder doesn't pan out).
Additionally, I would be open to swapping one of my five outfielders, each of whom potentially could be top-10-15 at the position. Chances are, one of Harper or Yelich will truly bust out or Gonzalez will regain his former first-round-caliber luster long enough for me to move him before he (inevitably?) hits the disabled list.
This is far from a perfect team, and it's probably a good amount more high-risk/high-reward than I normally would aim for. But the offensive upside, particularly the power, is hard to ignore, which would make this a fun bunch to watch play out—especially if much of that risk turns into reward.
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.
Need more fantasy baseball help? Come pepper me with your questions on Twitter: @JayCat11.