RotoWire Experts Mock Draft -- Where the Popular Guys Go
If you’ve been following along so far this offseason, you’ll know that I have been paying close attention to what I refer to as “trendy picks”. If not, it’s simple – every season, the fantasy pundits out a few sleepers and talk them up fairly often here on the web or in the fantasy baseball magazines that have been hitting shelves recently. The readers, in turn, start paying more and more attention to these formerly low-profile players and suddenly the value that they once had as an unknown is now all but destroyed as more and more people start taking them earlier in drafts. Too early is often the case.
So for today, I just want to take a quick look as to where some of these trendy picks went in the RotoWire Experts mock draft that took place this past Wednesday. The initial assumption is that the “experts” should know well enough to wait on many of these guys, but I suppose we all know what happens when we assume….
|Player||Pos||Team||Drafted||NFBC ADP||Diff||MDC ADP||Diff|
Allen Craig, 1B/OF STL – Though fairly unproven for the most part, Craig continues to climb in the ADP rankings no matter who is doing the drafting. I say unproven only because he’s yet to play en entire season in the majors and at 29 years old, is hardly some young buck. He’s also made four major trips to the DL in the last two years, but now that the Cardinals have apparently decided to give him full-time work, everyone is jumping all over him. It’s true that he has shown to have a big bat when healthy, but it’s a relatively small sample size at the big league level for most guys his age. Still, as you can see, even the experts are in love with him regardless as he went 34th in their draft, a massive leap above his NFBC ADP and still a slight increase to where he’s going on Mock Draft Central.
Paul Goldschmidt, 1B ARI – OK, I’ll admit it. I’m one of those guys who loves Goldy and should the opportunity arise, I would snatch him up for myself as well. However, the fact that he’s going in the second round at MDC is, to me, a bit of a reach. He’s got tremendous power potential and can steal double-digit bases, but you have to be realistic and know that first base is loaded with plenty of young talent and a power guy like Anthony Rizzo goes much later, as does a power/speed combo like Eric Hosmer. He was taken 41st overall in this draft, a spot that isn’t too much of a reach (late third round), but I would still prefer to grab him closer to his NFBC ADP in the early fourth.
Kris Medlen, SP/RP ATL – Here’s a real interesting case as I’m always a proponent of waiting on starting pitching in your draft. However, Medlen has a strong allure to him, not just because of his diominance on the hill last season, but because he also has the eligibility as both a starter and a reliever. He’ll be a staple in the Braves rotation this season, but if your league distinguishes between SP and RP in your roster requirements, Medlen has added value, especially for those who don’t like fishing for relievers and would rather get a leg up in wins, strikeouts, innings pitched or quality starts. There was no specific position designation for pitchers in this draft so seeing him go 69th overall is a bit of a reach when you look at his ADP from the NFBC and over at MDC. That, unfortunately, is probably the way it’s going to go this season as Medlen’s popularity continues to soar.
Matt Moore, SP TB – Moore was actually one of the trendy picks last season as his playoff performance in 2011 really put him on the radar for most fantasy owners. This year, after a solid yet not spectacular rookie campaign, he continues to be a popular pick as many are expecting him to improve his performance from last year and develop into one of the league’s stronger, more consistent hurlers. Going 98th in this draft puts him right on par with where he is going in the NFBC, however, in comparing to the MDC data, he was an apparent reach by almost 40 picks. I’ll have to side with the NFBC numbers here though, as many drafting on MDC are really adhering to what most experts are saying with respect to the depth of starting pitching and how you should wait on it. In some cases they are waiting a bit too long.
Josh Rutledge, SS COL – With just how thin the shortstop position is again this year, Rutledge’s popularity is soaring. He emerged last year as a fantastic middle infield option as he did a tremendous job replacing an injured Troy Tulowitzki last season and is now being given the opportunity to slide over to second base and play full-time. That, obviously, increases both his value and appeal as he will soon have some highly-coveted dual-eligibility. But still, for the most part, Rutledge is not a proven commodity. I think he’ll do just fine this year, but given the lack of track record, I’m more inclined ot use him as my middle infielder rather than my starting shortstop or second baseman. Should he excel, then great, but should he stumble, it is going to limit what you can do if you need to replace him. Being taken with the 118th pick in this draft was far too much a reach.
Salvador Perez, C KC – Gulty as charged. It was I who took Perez in this draft with the 14th pick of the eighth round which translated to the 119th pick. He dropped a bit, compared to the NFBC data, and went nearly 20 picks sooner than his ADP at MDC indicates. Full disclosure, this has been exactly where I have been taking my first catcher in two-catcher leagues. I usually end up with Wilin Rosario, but he went somewhere crazy like the fifth round in this draft. Perez has always been my number two choice though so I was happy to get him where I did. He won’t hit for the same power as Rosario, but he’ll beat him in average for sure. In my own little two-catcher league happy place, owning both is my ideal. Unfortunately in the 20-odd mock drafts I have done, that has never been the case. Thank goodness for auctions though!
Jason Grilli, RP PIT – We’ve all heard both sides of the closer debate, but no matter which side of the fence you’re on, everyone has to admit that when the closer run happens, it really happens. You can see five or six guys go in a single round depending on how deep into your draft it occurs, so once it does, sometimes ADP is just cast aside altogether. In this case, Grilli went with the 183rd pick (13th round) right after five other closers came off the board in the 12th and early 13th. Though he might be a reach in the eyes of the NFBC drafters, he went right around where he normally does at MDC which is usually where you see a lot of these secondary closer runs.
Matt Harvey, SP NYM – The bottom line is that Harvey looked absolutely insane last year during his brief stint in the majors. He stood out even more as the Mets were a relative disaster and the New York media was looking for anything to keep the fans from completely abandoning ship. But Harvey, who has massive strikeout potential and could easily be great with a slight bit of improved command, seems like a strong choice at the 188th pick. It looks like a happy medium between NFBC and MDC numbers and should probably be close to where you should target him in most drafts.
Marco Estrada, SP MIL – Similarly to Harvey, Estrada’s popularity stems from big strikeout numbers in a limited amount of time in 2012. He threw almost 140 innings but he was off so many people’s radar, that it was the quietest debut season for anyone not a Brewers fan. Being selected with the 206th pick is a pretty accurate place for him to go right now. It’s right on par with the NFBC ADP and while it may look like a bit of a reach on MDC, you have to remember that nearly every pitcher is going later than they really should and given Estrada’s popularity now, you may have to make a jump by a round or two to get him.
Adam Eaton, OF ARI – Earlier in the offseason, Eaton rose fairly quickly through the ADP rankings, but has reached a plateau for the most part as the Diamondbacks have suddenly loaded up on slap-hittting, speedy outfielders. He is still penciled in as their starting center fielder, but with so many other similar players competing, he is losing his appeal. Should someone within the organization step up and say that Eaton is the starter and the job is his to lose, then I’m sure his ADP would climb, but until that day comes, he is going right where he should be going.
Howard Bender has been covering fantasy sports for over a decade on a variety of web sites. You can follow him on Twitter at @rotobuzzguy and for more detailed questions, thoughts or comments, you can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.