A fantasy baseball mock draft -- from the year 2015
The year is 2015. The cyborgs are winning the war against the humans, and the New York Yankees failed to sign cyborg T-800 to a $500 million contract to be the primary DH. But luckily, some humans were able to sneak away to begin their 2015 fantasy baseball draft.
Welcome to the future.
Twelve fantasy baseball writers from around the Coca-Cola-sponsored Internet sat down to mock out which players will get drafted in the first round of a 12-team Rotisserie draft for the 2015 season. For those spectators from 2013, this mock draft should give you a clear idea of what the keeper value is of some current veterans, as well as some youngsters on the rise.
With each draft pick, I'll share some of my thoughts from 2013, as well as some of the writers' opinions on the picks.
1. OF Bryce Harper, Washington Nationals
I wonder if Harper would still be the No. 1 pick over Mike Trout, had this draft been held a couple of weeks ago. Derek VanRiper of RotoWire.com, who had the No. 1 pick, said it would have been the same.
"For me, Harper over Trout is a reflection of how our industry evaluated both players as prospects with respect to their long-term value before 2012," VanRiper said. "I have some doubts about Trout maintaining his 2012 combination of power and speed in the long run. I think Trout will be an outstanding five-category player; he could have 15 homers with 50 steals annually, or he may develop into more of a 30-30 type. With Harper I feel there's more certainty about his contributions in the power categories -- 40-plus home runs with 15-20 stolen bases going forward, and power is ultimately a more difficult category to address with the league-wide decline in home runs in recent seasons."
2. OF Mike Trout, L.A. Angels of Anaheim
I wasn't as high on Trout to begin this season, but a couple of seasons from now, I may lean towards drafting him first overall. My fears of him taking a step back in his sophomore season had more to do with his surroundings than they did his talent. Anyone going from a young prospect to the "next Mickey Mantle," as many had tabbed him by the end of 2012, was sure to have many outside influences affecting his offseason. His 2014 season will be better than his sophomore season.
MLB.com's Cory Schwartz took Trout at No. 2. "Trout was arguably the No. 1 overall pick this year, so in two years -- during which time I expect he'll validate his ultra-elite power-speed combination, consistent average and massive run production -- he'll be the slam-dunk top choice," said Schwartz. "Oh, and in his age-24 season in 2015, he won't even be in his prime yet!"
3. OF Andrew McCutchen, Pittsburgh Pirates
I had the third pick in this mock draft of the year 2015, when baseball bats are made out of the last trees on earth. I figured Harper and Trout would go in the first two picks, although I was wrong on the order. I loved getting 'Cutch as the best of the rest. In 2015 I anticipate he'll be coming off of back-to-back-to-back 30/20 seasons; he has the ability to steal 30-plus bags and the power to hit 35 homers, and he'll be 28 years old entering 2015 -- right in his prime.
The only other player I even considered in this spot was Giancarlo Stanton, who I project will be hitting in Flushing, New York, for his home games in 2015.
4. OF Giancarlo Stanton, Boston Red Sox
Nick Raducanu of FantasyTrade411.com took Stanton with the fourth pick. In an interesting turn, he projected that the Red Sox will acquire Stanton in a Josh Beckett/Hanley Ramirez-type deal with the Marlins.
"After years of rotting away in Miami's Double-A lineup, Stanton took to his new surroundings well by hitting 58 HRs in his first year in Boston," said Raducanu. "The Fenway faithful were a little restless when the front office traded away über prospects Xander Bogaerts and Allen Webster, but the sight of watching Stanton [repeatedly] launch homers over the Green Monster has turned Ben Cherington into a Yawkey Way Gahd!"
Stanton could lead the league in homers for five consecutive seasons depending on where he lands. Note: that five-year string won't start this year in Miami.
5. OF Justin Upton, Atlanta Braves
Upton's big question mark was how he will perform with his new team. We know he's talented and we know he's inconsistent, but what happens when he switches jerseys? Many players completely turn inward (see Carl Crawford, Jayson Werth, Adam Dunn, etc.) and many take a while to adjust to the new city and contract (see Albert Pujols).
RotoExperts.com's Adam Ronis took Upton with the fifth overall pick. "People forget that Upton is currently just 25 years old," said Ronis. "He has been in the majors since 2007, and he'll be entering his peak years, as he will turn 28 in August of 2015. Upton will also be playing for his contract that year. I expect him to bat around .290 with the chance for .300 along with 100 runs, 35-40 home runs, 110-115 RBI and 25-30 stolen bases."
6. 3B Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers
Cabrera was considered one of the top picks in many 2013 drafts, and he'll still be just 32 years old in 2015. The third base position should be getting a decent injection of youth in the next few years, so it'll be interesting to see if the position becomes deep once again. The Tigers are usually aggressive in acquiring bats, so there's little doubt this offense will still be strong around the slugger. KFFL.com's Nicholas Minnix is banking on another big year from Cabrera in his 13th season.
7. 2B Jedd Gyorko, San Diego Padres
This is definitely a pick that will raise the most eyebrows in 2013, considering we haven't seen much from Gyorko at the major league level yet. But second base is a thin position, and Robinson Cano, the current fantasy stud at that position, will be 32 years old in 2015.
"By Draft Day 2015, we will have seen two full seasons from Gyorko, who showed skill in power and batting average in the minors," said CBSSports.com's Nando Di Fino. "I'm not sure he'll stick at second base, but we could be looking at a .290 average and 30-35 home runs as a baseline for Gyorko two years from now."
8. SS Jurickson Profar, Texas Rangers
There's little argument that Profar is one of the best hitting prospects of 2013, and he's expected to push his way into the lineup sometime this summer. He'll be 22 years old in 2015, and at that time the Rangers' lineup will be built around his bat. SI.com's Eric Mack was happy to get the prospect with the eighth overall pick -- the first shortstop off the board.
9. OF Jason Heyward, Atlanta Braves
Will Heyward, at 25 years old and in his sixth major league season, have reached his potential in 2015? A slow start to the 2013 season has some rolling their eyes once again, but he's a major cog in the Braves' offense; also, keep in mind he's adjusting to a few new teammates. Paul Sporer of BaseballProspectus.com took Heyward here, and he noted that he's not sure if Heyward will hit his peak by 2015.
10. SS Starlin Castro, Chicago Cubs
Castro might have some problems at the plate, but he also has power and speed, with 20-20 potential at Wrigley Field. Tim Heaney, of KFFL.com, likens Castro to being the next Hanley Ramirez -- if that's true, then he'll likely have a huge 2014 with a disappointing 2015.
11. OF Ryan Braun, Milwaukee Brewers
Another former top overall draft pick that hangs on to still be a first round pick in 2015. Braun, who will be 31 years old in 2015, has played in over 150 games in each of the past five seasons, and could do so again in 2013. But Neil Parker of 101FantasyTips.com notes that, in this weird futuristic mock draft, Braun could be coming off a restful 2014 season, in which he was suspended for most of it for PEDs.
12. SS Troy Tulowitzki, Colorado Rockies
Now here's a player who's draft position hasn't changed much from 2013 to '15. If we're still waiting on him to stay free of injuries for back-to-back seasons, then picking him here might not make sense. But Jeff Mans of FantasyAlarm.com pegs Tulo to stay healthy for the next few years.
It's interesting to see three shortstops and two second basemen taken in the first round. And what's with the five outfielders going off the board one after another? Do we really feel comfortable taking the fifth-best outfielder over the best player at any other position? Also, take note that the only team with two players going in the first round is the Atlanta Braves -- will 2015 be their year to return to the top?
These are all questions we hope to answer in about 23 months from now. We hope you enjoyed the first round of this draft, and we welcome you to see the next few rounds of the 2015 Fantasy Baseball Mock Draft here.
May you live long and perspire. (Sweat is currency in the future.)
David Gonos is the author of "101 Fantasy Baseball Tips" and he writes about fantasy sports at DavidGonos.com. He has been writing online since 2000.