My MLB.com Fantasy411 Mock Draft Team
1.06 – Clayton Kershaw (current ADP: 6, taken 6th) – After you get through the first three picks, I would challenge you to find two identical mock drafts with even the same top seven guys in the same order. The long-stated mantra of never taking pitchers in the first round needs to die in 2014. Kershaw should not even slide out of the top ten in any draft. If he does, and you do not take him, you’re making a mistake.
2.10 – Shin Soo Choo (current ADP: 42, taken 25th) – Clearly, I am a bigger fan than most, but I like the park, I like the lineup, and I like Ron Washington giving him a green light to run on the bases.
3.06 – Yu Darvish (current ADP 17: taken 36th) – He was not supposed to be here at this stage in the draft and I did not enter the draft with the intention to take a second pitcher in three rounds, but it’s Yu freaking Darvish. Three rounds into the draft, I have 550+ strikeouts, potentially 40 wins, and strong ratios so I can ignore pitching for a bit and fill out the offense.
4.10 – Josh Donaldson (current ADP 70, taken 55th) – I was beating the Donaldson drum coming into the season last year and rostered him everywhere. So far, I’m doing so again as I am a believer in his offensive consistency.
5.06 – Carlos Santana (current ADP 66, taken 66th) – Less time behind the plate and more time out in the field makes me very much pro-Santana for 2014. Should be able to hold up better throughout the season and help you max out counting categories at a weak position.
6.10 – Carlos Beltran (current ADP 96, taken 85th) – It’s all about the ballpark with Beltran. Yankee Stadium is tailor-made for his swing. Being able to DH will help keep him fresh throughout the season.
7.06 – Jose Altuve (current ADP 90, taken 96th) – This was a pick made for the speed. I needed it as I only had one 20+ steal guy on the roster after six picks, which is the penalty to pay when you take two pitchers early.
8.10 – Brandon Belt (current ADP 138, taken 115th) - I was hoping that Hisashi Iwakuma or Alex Cobb, my two darlings from 2013 drafts, would fall here but both fell a few picks ahead of me. I shifted over to first base with my favorite remaining option at the position.
9.06 – Addison Reed (current ADP 138, taken 126th) – This is where I tend to take my first closer in non-NFBC drafts. Reed showed skills growth last season and moves to a nice situation in Arizona for him.
10.10 – Shane Victorino (current ADP 124th, taken 145th) – I felt an outfielder run was about to commence in the draft and went with the guy who gave me both speed and power. I was wrong because nobody took an outfielder before my next pick.
11.06 – Tony Cingrani (current ADP 150th, taken 156th) – Finally took a third starting pitcher and went with more strikeouts…because I’m a fascist. I still want Cingrani to get another pitch, but he’s done very well throwing >80% fastballs.
12.10 – Grant Balfour (current ADP 187, taken 175th) - This happened the day Balfour signed with the Rays. It would not have mattered as I would have taken him here anyhow. Skills have been very good over the past three seasons and Maddon has already used the “c-word (his phrase, not mine)” with Balfour – and he NEVER used that with Rodney.
13.06 – Brad Miller (current ADP 188, taken 186th) – This is my Josh Donaldson of 2014. I think Miller has double-digit potential for homers and steals at shortstop. It doesn’t hurt he’s an Orlando guy like myself.
14.10 – A.J. Griffin (current ADP 229, taken 205) – I really wanted Marco Estrada here, but he went to Cory Schwartz at 197. I went to the next guy on my list who had some unfortunate HR/FB issues last season and reminds me of James Shields before his breakout in 2008/2009. Love that breaking ball.
15.06 – Khris Davis (current ADP 202, taken 216th – I liked what he did as Braun’s replacement last season. Was happy to get a 20+ homer bat in the 15th round that won’t tank my batting average.
16.10 – Alcides Escobar (current ADP 241, taken 235th) – I needed more team speed and Escobar will run as often as he can get on base under Ned Yost’s lead foot. He is 25 steals in the bank with 30 steal upside.
17.06 – Rick Porcello (current ADP 298, taken 246th) - Went 12-6 with a 3.77 ERA and 1.23 WHIP after May 1 last season. More importantly, K/9 jumped to 7.7 while walk rate was just 2.1. With the new and improved infield defense in Detroit, this has the potential to be fun in 2014.
18.10 – Chris Johnson (current ADP 258, taken 265th) - The guy has a .360 BABIP over the past four seasons so his baseline for regression is slightly higher than the norm. He’s not a pull hitter, so the overshift that helps accelerate regression isn’t present. His BABIP over the past four seasons is second only to Joey Votto.
19.06 – Ryan Hanigan (current ADP 497, taken 276th) – I passed on both Pinto and Conger during the last round because I figured at least one of them would make it back to me on the short turnaround. Oops. I’ll go with Hanigan as he should see 110 games this season, and is better than he was last year at the plate.
20.10 – Wily Peralta (current ADP 383, taken 295th) – I liked several options at this point, but Peralta had the best upside and he posted a 3.15 ERA in the second half along with a 7.7 K/9 and a 1.23 WHIP.
21.06 – Tommy Hunter (current ADP 341, taken 306th) – Saves are saves are saves. I have zero faith that Hunter holds this job all season as he is extremely ineffective against lefties, but the job is clearly his until he gives Showalter a reason to hand the ball off to the next guy (Ryan Webb?)
22.10 – Kelly Johnson (current ADP 312, taken 325th) – He will have eligibility at three positions a week into the season and could hit 20 homers in that park and could even steal 10 bases. This is assuming his defense at third base isn’t completely awful.
23.06 – Robbie Grossman (current ADP 462, taken 336th) – Wanted more late speed, and Grossman impressed after his final recall last season. He was fitted with new contacts while in the minors, and came back up showing more ability to drive the baseball and do things with the bat. Hit .322/.351/.466 after his recall.