The Arrival of the Mock Draft Army and an ADP Analysis of its First Draft

I think we can all agree that, when it comes to doing your prep work, there are numerous benefits to participating in a variety of mock drafts. You learn the player pool more thoroughly, who the sneaky sleeper picks still are, which players are consistently rising and which are falling, and what kind of team you can build from whatever position you draw on draft day. But obviously not every mock allows you to learn all of that each time.

Sometimes you don’t have enough participants so you have to endure computer players and sometimes you get people who are only interested in mocking the first 10 rounds and go to auto-pick for the duration of the draft. In both cases, your draft becomes a slave of the site’s default rankings and it’s pretty safe to assume that not everyone thinks so highly of every site’s default rankings. Sometimes, like so many trolls on these wacky interwebz,  you even get people who, for whatever inane reason they may have, select certain players just to disrupt the general flow. It makes no sense to me either, but it happens nonetheless. Those mocks end up being an exercise of futility as you never end up learning what you were hoping to learn when you started.

But it doesn’t always have to be that way.
Welcome to the RotoWire Mock Draft Army.

What has been put together is a series of mock drafts that will run from now through the end of March. Our goal is to bring you the valuable experience of a high quality mock draft made up of a combination of industry experts and dedicated participants who are looking to hone their drafting skills prior to the big day. Each mock draft will have at least half of its participants as experts and the rest of the field filled out by readers, Twitter followers and listeners to the RotoWire show on SiriusXM Fantasy Radio. Mock Draft Army mocks will be announced over the weekend to the experts and after we fill our quota of industry folk, the drafts will be opened to the public. Together, we will help each other understand the different trends that are occurring in drafts this spring and figure out which strategy works best for you in a particular style of league.

Tuesday night was the very first draft done by the Mock Draft Army and according to all of its participants, it was a rousing success. We whipped through a 12-team, 28-round 5x5 mixed league snake-style draft in just under two hours all the while chatting up picks, discussing draft value, highlighting current events and, of course, the general ribbing that tends to ensue when you put a group of baseball nerds together in a competitive situation.

What’s even better is that several of the industry folk will be writing up their draft experiences so that you have a better understanding of their strategy and rationale for each selection. The amount of detail they cover will be entirely up to them, but you, the readers, should be able to take plenty out of each write-up. What I’m going to do here today is compare the ADP from the first Mock Draft Army experience with that of the NFBC as those drafts are coming soon. We’ll focus on the outliers as those picks are usually the ones that require the most explanation and understanding.

I won’t be doing every single player of every round as that would be even more cumbersome than my long-winded introduction here, so what I’ve done is broken the draft down into four four-round breaks – We’ll look at Rounds 1-4, 9-12, 17-20 and 25-28. That should give you a strong enough look, and if you’re feeling cheated, you can, of course, look at the full draft results right here.

You get the first two sections today with the other two coming on Friday…

Rounds 1-4

Player Pos Team Drafted NFBC ADP % Diff
Miguel Cabrera 3B DET 1 2.04 104.00%
Ryan Braun OF MIL 2 2.04 2.00%
Mike Trout OF LAA 3 2.00 -33.33%
Matt Kemp OF LAD 4 5.89 47.25%
Robinson Cano 2B NYY 5 4.49 -10.20%
Albert Pujols 1B STL 6 7.30 21.67%
Andrew McCutchen OF PIT 7 6.24 -10.86%
Carlos Gonzalez OF COL 8 10.55 31.88%
Joey Votto 1B CIN 9 8.51 -5.44%
Jose Bautista OF TOR 10 19.39 93.90%
Prince Fielder 1B DET 11 10.09 -8.27%
Paul Goldschmidt 1B ARI 12 49.36 311.33%
Jay Bruce OF CIN 13 43.65 235.77%
Giancarlo Stanton OF FLA 14 15.07 7.64%
Bryce Harper OF WAS 15 29.04 93.60%
Justin Upton OF ARI 16 21.49 34.31%
Buster Posey C SF 17 15.10 -11.18%
Adrian Beltre 3B TEX 18 20.19 12.17%
Troy Tulowitzki SS COL 19 16.08 -15.37%
Josh Hamilton OF LAA 20 14.17 -29.15%
Evan Longoria 3B TB 21 20.63 -1.76%
Justin Verlander SP DET 22 14.87 -32.41%
Hanley Ramirez SS, 3B LAD 23 19.72 -14.26%
Jose Reyes SS TOR 24 21.44 -10.67%
Dustin Pedroia 2B BOS 25 25.93 3.72%
Jason Heyward OF ATL 26 28.13 8.19%
David Wright 3B NYM 27 25.24 -6.52%
Jacoby Ellsbury OF BOS 28 33.73 20.46%
Chase Headley 3B SD 29 37.84 30.48%
Clayton Kershaw SP LAD 30 16.13 -46.23%
Edwin Encarnacion 1B TOR 31 27.24 -12.13%
B.J. Upton OF ATL 32 42.83 33.84%
Ian Kinsler 2B TEX 33 30.97 -6.15%
Cliff Lee SP PHI 34 50.25 47.79%
Starlin Castro SS CHC 35 36.33 3.80%
Anthony Rizzo 1B CHC 36 97.00 169.44%
Stephen Strasburg SP WAS 37 13.94 -62.32%
Ben Zobrist 2B TB 38 49.16 29.37%
David Price SP TB 39 29.81 -23.56%
Adam Jones OF BAL 40 30.63 -23.43%
Yadier Molina C STL 41 70.70 72.44%
Jason Kipnis 2B CLE 42 58.91 40.26%
Yoenis Cespedes OF OAK 43 39.90 -7.21%
Allen Craig 1B STL 44 51.30 16.59%
Adrian Gonzalez 1B LAD 45 33.71 -25.09%
Matt Holliday OF STL 46 46.31 0.67%
Billy Butler 1B KC 47 44.28 -5.79%
Adam LaRoche 1B WAS 48 126.02 162.54%

The Reaches

The two biggest reaches in this cross-section came from RotoGraphs’ David Wiers at the wheel after the first round. There is definitely a growing popularity for Paul Goldschmidt who, according to the NFBC data is coming off the board near the tail-end of the third/early fourth round, but Wiers obviously didn’t think he would make it back to him with so many picks in between. The Jay Bruce selection also has me scratching my head as he is typically a mid to late third round pick as well and there was probably a strong chance that he made it back to Wiers at the 36th pick. With the exception of Justin Verlander, there is not a single player in round two that I would have taken Bruce over.

While the top first basemen are a hot commodity at the beginning of most drafts, this crew just went nuts, despite the incredible depth found at the position. Wiers did it again when he took Anthony Rizzo more than 60 picks earlier than where he usually goes in drafts. The pick seemed unusual given the proven talent that was still on the board and the fact that he already had Goldschmidt, but he definitely started a bit of a panic amongst the rest of the draft room. After his selection, three more first basemen came off the board sending Mastersball’s Pasko Varnica into a state of panic which compelled him to grab Adam LaRoche almost 80 picks ahead of his usual ADP.

Yadier Molina continues to climb up ADP trend reports as he is, once again, being taken way above his usual place in drafts. He’s pushing your usual rising backstops down in drafts which is certainly helpful to those of us who like to wait on the position, but for those who are eyeing the Cardinals catcher for this year, you may have to look elsewhere as a third or fourth round selection just seems too high and I don’t recommend it given the depth found at the position this year as well as the greater injury risk that seems to go hand-in-hand with catchers.

Fell Like a Stone

Ask anyone who has been doing a whole mess of mock drafts and they’ll tell you that starting pitching is just so incredibly deep this year that you can easily wait on the position. That’s always good for pitching hounds as the opportunity to bulk up on aces grows, but it comes at the expense of some serious hitting potential. But this group was not made up of pitching hounds at all as Stephen Strasburg (-62.32%), Clayton Kershaw (-46.23%) and Justin Verlander (-32.41%) had the three biggest drops in comparison to their NFBC ADP. While I, personally, wouldn’t have made those selections, it’s hard to fault anyone for doing so just based on the value you are probably getting here. Maybe not so much with Verlander at the tail-end of the second round, but Eric, from Fantasy Baseball Submission and our good buddy Mr. Wiers certainly hauled in some nice value with a mid-third for Kershaw and a turn-pick of Strasburg at the fourth, respectively.

A couple of other guys who fell and could prove to ultimately gain value by doing so are Josh Hamilton (-29.15%), Adrian Gonzalez (-25.09%) and Adam Jones (-23.43%). Of course, Hamilton will need to stay healthy and produce like he did in the first half of last year, A-Gone needs to recoup some of that lost power and Jones, well, he just needs to repeat what he did last season. Unfortunately, Jones would have to put up Braun-type numbers to turn the same profit he did last season. Not that he can’t, but it’s pretty doubtful.

Rounds 9-12

Player Pos Team Drafted NFBC ADP % Diff
Jonathan Papelbon RP PHI 97 90.65 -6.55%
Chris Sale SP CHW 98 70.28 -28.29%
Carlos Beltran OF STL 99 118.27 19.46%
Roy Halladay SP PHI 100 86.70 -13.30%
Mark Teixeira 1B NYY 101 66.49 -34.17%
R.A. Dickey SP NYM 102 67.79 -33.54%
Miguel Montero C ARI 103 96.56 -6.25%
Max Scherzer SP DET 104 76.57 -26.38%
Johnny Cueto SP CIN 105 91.22 -13.12%
Ian Kennedy SP ARI 106 134.66 27.04%
Cameron Maybin OF SD 107 216.54 102.37%
CC Sabathia SP NYY 108 73.96 -31.52%
Adam Dunn 1B CHW 109 167.31 53.50%
Fernando Rodney RP TB 110 118.52 7.75%
Neil Walker 2B PIT 111 170.18 53.32%
Rickie Weeks 2B MIL 112 107.69 -3.85%
Kyle Seager 3B SEA 113 159.73 41.35%
Ryan Howard 1B PHI 114 113.71 -0.25%
Shane Victorino OF BOS 115 109.89 -4.44%
Jordan Zimmerman SP WAS 116 92.25 -20.47%
Yovani Gallardo SP MIL 117 90.44 -22.70%
David Ortiz DH BOS 118 145.89 23.64%
Martin Prado 3B ARI 119 103.08 -13.38%
Mat Latos SP CIN 120 91.45 -23.79%
Ike Davis 1B NYM 121 119.01 -1.64%
Tom Wilhelmsen RP SEA 122 159.69 30.89%
Matt Moore SP TB 123 97.45 -20.77%
Rafael Soriano RP WAS 124 139.66 12.63%
Aroldis Chapman SP CIN 125 86.06 -31.15%
Jesus Montero C SEA 126 118.92 -5.62%
Dan Haren SP LAA 127 146.43 15.30%
Curtis Granderson OF NYY 128 46.15 -63.95%
Nelson Cruz OF TEX 129 116.45 -9.73%
Sergio Romo RP SF 130 157.52 21.17%
Alfonso Soriano OF CHC 131 213.06 62.64%
John Axford RP MIL 132 162.36 23.00%
Joe Nathan RP TEX 133 136.76 2.83%
Hiroki Kuroda SP NYY 134 163.07 21.69%
Norichika Aoki OF MIL 135 143.80 6.52%
Torii Hunter OF DET 136 201.18 47.93%
Josh Reddick OF OAK 137 162.63 18.71%
Carl Crawford OF LAD 138 125.17 -9.30%
Ben Revere OF PHI 139 158.55 14.06%
Brandon Morrow SP TOR 140 121.83 -12.98%
Ichiro Suzuki OF NYY 141 176.46 25.15%
Derek Jeter SS NYY 142 147.58 3.93%
Angel Pagan OF SF 143 169.31 18.40%
Andre Ethier OF LAD 144 160.49 11.45%

Just Too Darn Early

So the biggest reach, and a pick that drew tremendous criticism in the chat area, was Munson15’s ninth round selection of Cameron Maybin who was taken more than 100 picks higher than where his NFBC ADP is at. Now personally, and I’ve said this before, I love Maybin. I think his skill set is awesome and I truly believe that, one day, he’s going to put it all together and be exactly who the Marlins thought they were getting when they traded Miguel Cabrera for him years ago. Unfortunately, that belief has been my Achilles heel in fantasy over the past few years and it could be the same for my man, Munson15 if Maybin doesn’t deliver. Granted, the outfield was starting to look pretty thin if you were just looking at the default rankings on Mock Draft Central, but scroll further and further down and I’m sure Munson15 would have realized that it was ok to wait. Still, I don’t hate the pick as much as everyone else did. The only thing is that, in order to turn a profit, he needs to go 15-40 at the minimum and bring that batting average north of .260, at the very least.

Munson15 obviously didn’t do himself any favors when he reached on Alfonso Soriano with an 80-pick reach on what is usually a 213.06 ADP. Again though, he only had Giancarlo Stanton and Maybin rostered and outfielders were flying off the board in between his picks. It’s why we do the mocks, people. Guaranteed, Munson15 learned from the experience and all will be right when he’s sitting there on his actual draft day.

Other significant reaches included Adam Dunn (+53.50%), Neil Walker (+53.52%), Torii Hunter (+47.93%), Kyle Seager (+41.35%), and yes, even I stretched things a little when I took my first closer, Tom Wilhelmsen, a good 37 picks before he usually goes. What can I say? I’m a sucker for quality closers with good job security, it was the 11th round and we were on the cusp of a big closer run as another three came off the board before my next pick.

Surrendering to Gravity

It’s just not a good time to be a Yankee or a Yankee fan as Curtis Granderson (-63.95%), Mark Teixeira (-34.17%), and CC Sabathia (-31.52%) lead the way for biggest fallers in this part of the draft.  Grandy and Tex are obvious, as both are looking at a 10-week absence due to injury and really, with CC’s knees and all that weight he’s carrying, it’s no wonder people aren’t buying this year.

R.A. Dickey (-33.54%) is getting zero respect this year. Zero. When as the last time you saw a guy win the Cy Young award and then fall to the ninth round in your fantasy draft? I’m not buying him either, especially with the hitter’s park at home and the fact that Tim Wakefield helped train most of the AL East hitters for all those years.

More pitchers continued to drop, so there were really no surprises. If there’s no demand for them on the market, then it doesn’t matter what kind of strikeout potential Aroldis Chapman and Chris Sale have. Waiting on pitchers was a strong theme through the entire draft, so seeing most of them fall way beneath their ADP isn’t a shock. In fact, you should track the ADP of pitchers when you are drafting for real because that will tell you if waiting is going to benefit you significantly or if you should act a little sooner than you normally would.

The second half of this will be out on Friday morning and if you’re looking for more write-ups on this draft, definitely check out my blog,, as well as anyplace at which some of the other mockers write.

And if you’re looking to join in on the action, follow me on Twitter -- @rotobuzzguy – and look for the #MockDraftArmy over the next couple of days.


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