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2/16/2007 05:29:00 PM
Mock Draft Exercise 2
Jason Giambi still ranks as a solid first base option after hitting 37 homers last season. If your league counts on-base percentage, he's even more valuable.
Pitchers and catchers have barely reported to camp and I already have two mock drafts under my belt. This time around, it was a 23-round, 15-team, mixed-league 5x5 draft with a number of other fantasy experts on the MockDraftCentral.com site.
With the larger number of teams involved, depth does become an issue, although you're not scrambling for players at the end like you would in an AL- or NL-only league. However, with 15 teams involved, there is a lot of waiting between picks, especially if you're at the ends of rounds, like I was with the 12th overall pick. There's a lot more time for the players you're targeting in a particular round to go before your turn, so it's always good to have a few options in mind.
In this particular draft, my target for a number of rounds would go one or two picks before my turn, so I learned how to come up with alternates quickly to varying degrees of success.
Here's the rundown of my picks. The full draft results can be found here. Remember that I drafted 12th in the first round, fourth in the second round, then had to wait 23 more picks before round three.
Round 1 (12th overall)David Ortiz, DH, Red Sox: I was torn between him and David Wright. Big Papi may not run, but he will continue to put up monster stats everywhere else.
Round 2 (19)Carlos Lee, OF, Astros: He should love hitting in Minute Maid Park, but the question is if he'll continue to run.
Round 3 (42)Andruw Jones, OF, Braves: I had my eye on Chone Figgins for steals, maybe a round later, but he was gone three picks before me. So I opted for the Braves slugger in a contract year.
Round 4 (49)Brandon Webb, P, D'backs: He was one of my picks in the last mock draft, and things fell nicely for me to take the reigning NL Cy Young winner to anchor my pitching staff.
Round 5 (72)Bill Hall, SS, Brewers: I considered Huston Street to give myself some saves, but he went just before me, so I went with Hall's 35 homers and shortstop eligibility.
Round 6 (79)Jason Giambi, 1B, Yankees: Plenty of possibilities here, so I played it somewhat safe with Giambi, who won't have to worry about playing the field much this season.
Round 7 (102)Dan Uggla, 2B, Marlins: There are doubts that he can repeat last year's rookie season, so he slipped a bit. I have no problems with him after the 100th pick.
Round 8 (109)Bobby Jenks, P, White Sox: I waited for a closer and still got a pretty decent one in Jenks.
Round 9 (132)Curt Schilling, P, Red Sox: I hoped to get Jeff Francoeur, but he went a few picks before. Then the pick before mine was my next choice in Mike Cameron. The outfielders didn't look that great after that, so I changed gears and added the steady Schilling to the rotation.
Round 10 (139)Chris Ray, P, Orioles: There was a closer run and I'm smack in the middle of it, getting Ray just after Tom Gordon and Takashi Saito and just before Brad Lidge, Eric Gagne and Octavio Dotel. Lots of question marks in that group.
Round 11 (162)Chad Tracy, 3B, D'backs: I thought about jumping into the run on catchers, but opted to fill third base instead with a solid bat.
Round 12 (169)Dave Roberts, OF, Giants: I have lots of power, but the speed is questionable. So getting Roberts seemed to be a necessity, especially with Scott Podsednik going a few picks earlier.
Round 13 (192)Andy Pettitte, P, Yankees: Figured it was time to get more pitching, and Pettitte should be fine returning to the Bronx.
Round 14 (199)Jason Kendall, C, A's: Needed a catcher at some point, and all the potential No. 1s were gone. Plus Paul LoDuca went off the board a couple of picks earlier.
Round 15 (222)Brian Giles, OF, Padres: Again a player I targeted (Freddy Garcia) went off the board one pick before me. So I scrambled for a fourth outfielder, hoping Giles has one good season left in him.
Round 16 (229)Armando Benitez, P, Giants: Could use a third closer, even one with as many question marks as Benitez.
Round 17 (252)Marcus Giles, 2B, Padres: Like clockwork, my target for the round (Kenny Lofton) goes the pick before me. Once again, I scramble to pick up the other Giles brother, hoping for a rebound.
Round 18 (259)Jon Garland, P, White Sox: I'm a bit surprised he was around this late.
Round 19 (282)Mike Lowell, 3B, Red Sox: There appear to be more useful third basemen than first basemen to fill the corner infield spot.
Round 20 (289)Chad Billingsley, P, Dodgers: Let's actually get someone with upside on the roster.
Round 21 (312)Reed Johnson, OF, Blue Jays: Filling out the No. 5 outfield spot with someone marginally useful.
Round 22 (319)Scott Linebrink, P, Padres: I like picking up a top-flight setup man late in the draft to stabilize the ERA and WHIP and maybe fall into some vulture wins or emergency saves.
Round 23 (342)Dioner Navarro, C, Devil Rays: Finding a second catcher in a mixed league isn't as awful as an AL- or NL-only league, but there's still lots of digging.
Keith Foulke retires with 190 career saves but had none for the Red Sox in 2006.
You can scratch one potential closer off the list for this season. Keith Foulkedecided to retire instead of entering the season as the likely front-runner to get the saves for Cleveland. Injuries caught up with him the past couple of years and he lost the closer's job in Boston to Jonathan Papelbon last season, but he appeared on track to turn things around in the Indians bullpen.
With Foulke out of the picture, Joe Borowski is the front-runner for saves after he racked up a career-high 36 for the Marlins last season. Borowski also had a 33-save season for the Cubs in 2003 but flamed out early in 2004 and was bouncing around the league before Florida salvaged him last year. So while there's a bit of a track record, be cautious in drafting him. (For example, I picked him for $10 in a long-running NL-only auction league last year.)
One reason not to go overboard on Borowski is that the Indians do have a number of decent young arms in the bullpen who might now enter the closer's race. Rafael Betancourt had three saves last season, Tom Mastny had five late in the year, and Fausto Carmona had been considered for the role but struggled at times. The Indians also picked up veterans Roberto Hernandez, Aaron Fultz and Cliff Politte, although they probably aren't in the mix. However, you never know who might emerge during the spring.
And speaking of injured veterans, Nick Johnson has been slow to recover from the broken leg that ended his season last September; estimates now are that he won't return until June. That's a big blow for someone who finally is coming around as solid major-league hitter and an even bigger blow for a Nationals team starved for offense.
Johnson's value takes a big hit if he's only available for a half-season, and right now there aren't many enticing options behind him. The Nationals have veterans Robert Fick and Travis Lee around, and they can also look at minor leaguer Larry Broadway as well.
Nomar Garciaparra tied for the Dodgers team lead with 20 homers last season.
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
A little bit of youth and a few overachievers in this final crop of sleepers and busts.
Sleeper -- Orlando Hudson: There are plenty of youngsters on the squad who could come up big this year (Stephen Drew, Chris Young, Miguel Montero), but I'll go with the steadily improving Hudson, whose average, homers and RBIs seem to rise every year. He could get lost in decent second base class, but a steady .285-18-70 line is not bad to have.
Bust -- Doug Davis: He's sported a .500 record each of the last three years, but last season his ERA rose more than a run (3.84-4.91) and his WHIP took a big leap as well (1.30-1.51) thanks to 102 walks. And now he's going to Arizona to find his game again. There's only so much a crafty lefty can do.
Sleeper -- Willy Tavarez: Already a nice pick because of his steals, he's improved his value tremendously after being dealt to Colorado, where his average should be on the rise. If his bat does improve in Colorado, he won't need to worry about losing any playing time like he had been in Houston.
Bust -- Todd Helton: Health issues caught up to Helton last season, who isn't among the elite first basemen anymore despite playing at Coors. He nearly was dealt to the Red Sox this winter, and his future with the team beyond this year is actually up in the air.
Los Angeles Dodgers
Sleeper -- Jonathan Broxton: The big guy (listed at 288 pounds) struck out 97 in 76 1/3 innings last year but likely starts the season as the setup man to Takashi Saito. However, the Dodgers' closing situation has changed numerous times last year, and if Saito should falter, Broxton would slide into the role nicely. You can still use his K's, even as a middle reliever.
Bust -- Nomar Garciaparra: He doesn't qualify at shortstop anymore, so those 20 homers and .300 average are nice but nothing spectacular for a first baseman. Plus, he's still got the injury-prone label on him, and there's the fact that he hit just .229 after the All-Star break (after going .358 before it).
San Diego Padres
Sleeper -- Josh Bard: While he only played sparingly behind Mike Piazza, Bard posted a .922 OPS and a .333 average in 249 at-bats. Now that Piazza is in the American League, Bard likely has the starting job and could put up solid stats with regular work (although don't expect the same OPS).
Bust -- Brian Giles: He can still draw a ton of walks, but he doesn't have the same power he used to have, nor is his average anything special. While he used to a solid fantasy star in years past, it will be interesting to see if he or brother Marcus will put up better stats.
San Francisco Giants
Sleeper -- Tim Lincecum: The 10th overall pick in last year's draft out of the University of Washington, Lincecum has great stuff and a weird delivery. He's already being pegged as a future closer, and that could come sooner rather than later, depending on Armando Benitez's situation.
Bust -- Ray Durham: The threat for steals is no longer there, but Durham stunned many by hitting a career-high 26 homers and 93 RBIs last season at age 35. It's hard to believe he'll come close to matching those stats this year, so bid accordingly.
Craig Biggio should reach 3,000 hits this season, but his fantasy value isn't the same as it used to be.
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
There are a number of interesting pitching scenarios in this group of sleepers and busts:
Sleeper -- Kerry Wood: With Ryan Dempster a gigantic question mark as the Cubs closer, Wood will get his chance to earn the job this spring. His stuff in short bursts can still be effective and take less toll on his arm. If he shines in spring training, his price could go way up. However, his spring is off to a slow start after hurting himself falling in a hot tub.
Bust -- Jacque Jones: He tied a career-high with 27 homers last season and hit .285 after two straight years in the .250 range. However, his low walk rate (35 in 533 at-bats) could mean his average takes a hit, and there are rumblings that he could get traded, especially with prospect Felix Pie looking for a spot.
Sleeper -- Bill Bray: The Reds' bullpen situation is very much in flux with guys like David Weathers and Mike Stanton in line for saves. However, Bray, acquired in that big deal from the Nationals, may actually have the best stuff to be the closer. Plus, he's just 23, so he's got lots of upside.
Bust -- David Ross: He was one of the biggest surprises at catcher last season by hitting 21 homers in just 247 at-bats. He can show power in spurts, but it's hard to believe he can carry this over a whole season as a starter.
Sleeper -- Luke Scott: One of the better midseason callups last year, he hit .388 in July and August and hit just .268 in September, but that's also when he had six of his 10 homers and 21 of his 37 RBIs. Imagine if he could put the average and homers together over a full season.
Bust -- Craig Biggio: He's hit 71 homers the past three seasons, and he's just 70 hits away from 3,000. While he'll reach that milestone, it could take him longer than expected to get there as his average and on-base percentage took a big hit last year. Just hope the power still remains.
Sleeper -- Dave Bush: A popular sleeper pick this season as his WHIP (1.14) didn't match the ERA (4.41). The 38:166 BB:K ratio was most impressive as were three complete games and two shutouts. If the control is the same, his ERA likely drops and he could win 15 games.
Bust -- Ben Sheets: Last year's stats in limited action were pretty good, especially the 116 K's against 11 walks. And I'd bid high on him based on those stats and his reputation. But he's only logged 39 starts the past two seasons, so there's that risk of injury lingering.
Sleeper -- Ronny Paulino: He quietly racked up 442 at-bats for the Pirates and hit a solid .310. He's still got room to grow, and maybe he'll score a few more runs with Adam LaRoche added to the lineup. I'll take a .300 average from a catcher at a cheap price.
Bust -- Freddy Sanchez: It seems hard to believe he won the NL batting title last year with a .344 average, not to mention driving in 85. While he's proving to be a nice hitter, it seems hard to believe he'll be in this range again this year, although it won't be surprising if he's still around .300.
St. Louis Cardinals
Sleeper -- Adam Wainwright: He could be part of the starting rotation or he could close if Jason Isringhausen is still ailing. Wainwright's versatility is both a blessing and a curse. He'd go for much more as a closer, but if he moves between the rotation and the bullpen, he can rack up nice stats cheaply.
Bust -- Chris Duncan: There's no doubting the power (22 homers in 280 at-bats last season), but how long can that hold up over a full year? Plus, his awful defense could cost him at-bats and even games along the way.
Tim Hudson had a career-worst 4.86 ERA last season.
Atlanta Braves Sleeper -- Kelly Johnson: He’s the front-runner to replace Marcus Giles at second base, and he has 20-homer potential. He may not have the same overall game as Giles, but he could be a nice middle infield choice in NL-only leagues -- and could move up the list with more at-bats.
Bust -- Tim Hudson: He’s never really emerged as the dominant force in Atlanta, and last year he stumbled to a 13-12 mark with a 4.86 ERA and a mediocre 79:141 BB:K ratio. He’s still good for double-digit wins, especially with an improved bullpen behind him, but he’s no longer a top option anymore.
Florida Marlins Sleeper -- Taylor Tankersley: Joe Borowski and his 36 saves are in Cleveland, so someone has to close games, and the young Tankersley is the early leader in the closer race in Florida. Tankersley was a solid setup man last year, and if Borowski can put up those stats, so can Tankersley.
Bust -- Dan Uggla: There are a handful of players who could be due for the sophomore jinx, but Uggla seems to be the one many people believe will drop off this season. Uggla stunned many by hitting 27 homers last season, but batted only .221 in September. I still have him ranked as one of the top second basemen, but there are doubts that he doesn’t have much of a ceiling (he was a 26-year-old rookie last year) and could be due for a decline.
New York Mets Sleeper -- Mike Pelfrey: The Mets’ rotation is still in flux heading into camp, so there is plenty of room for some prospects and dark-horses to make the staff. Leading the way is Pelfrey, one of their top prospects who did win two games but was roughed up a bit in four starts last season. He has solid stuff and a good spring could elevate his value. Pelfrey is ahead of Philip Humber right now in making the rotation.
Bust -- Shawn Green: What happened to all that power he used to have? And he doesn’t even steal that many bases anymore either. He was mediocre when he joined the Mets late last season, and he’s not guaranteed a starting job this spring, especially with Lastings Milledge still itching for a spot. You’ll be lucky to get 20 homers from him.
Philadelphia Phillies Sleeper -- Aaron Rowand: His first season in Philly was marked by notable injuries involving his chasing down fly balls, but he still had double digits in homers and steals. He can be a 20-homer, 15-steal guy if he can stay off the DL. Rowand may come at a bargain in the right places.
Bust -- Tom Gordon: While he still has the stuff to rack up saves, you have to wonder if he can hold up the entire season. On the other hand, the Phillies don’t have many options behind Gordon to get saves, so it’s not like his job will be in jeopardy, although there is that age issue.
Washington Nationals Sleeper -- Nook Logan: There are plenty of spots up for grabs in Washington this season, with center being one of them. Enter Logan, who flashed some speed with Detroit and then played some center for Washington late last year. Many owners are looking for cheap steals, and this could be a place for it.
Bust -- Nick Johnson: His status for Opening Day is still up in the air after breaking his leg late season, and his penchant for injury has to give you pause. That’s unfortunate because the on-base machine found a power stroke last season. He still has upside, but the injury risk will hurt his value.
Howie Kendrick hit .285 in 267 at-bats for the Angels last season.
John W. McDonough/SI
Continuing on with the list of potential sleepers and busts in the AL West. Of course, your mileage may vary.
Los Angeles Angels Sleeper -- Howie Kendrick: A popular sleeper pick heading into this season, Kendrick hit .285 playing both first and second after a midseason call-up in 2006. To contend for a batting crown this season, he must stick on the big-league roster coming out of spring training. His versatility is helpful for fantasy owners.
Bust -- Mike Napoli: The 16 homers were a huge surprise last season, but after the All-Star break, he went deep just five times and hit only .164. Can he repeat the power if he gets enough playing time behind the plate? Even if he does, he can sink your batting average.
Oakland A’s Sleeper -- Rich Harden: Sometimes it's worth taking a risk on a player with an injury history if there's the potential for huge stats when healthy. That would apply to Harden, who logged just 46 2/3 innings last season because of an elbow injury. But he has ace stuff when healthy. Let the injury woes push his value down then pounce to fill at No. 3 starter spot.
Bust -- Eric Chavez: Harden is an injury risk who could be a big hit if he's on his game. Chavez is a player who's also dealing with injury issues but doesn't have the same upside anymore. He can still hit 25-30 homers, but the average is a downer and he still can't hit lefties well.
Seattle Mariners Sleeper -- Jose Guillen: He’s coming off Tommy John surgery, so the effectiveness of his throwing arm is in doubt. However, his batting stroke should return. While an array of other injuries also cloud his future, when healthy, he could hit still hit 30 homers, although we'll see what Safeco will throw at him. Get him as one of the last pieces of your outfield and not any earlier.
Bust -- Raul Ibanez: He’s been a quietly productive outfielder for a while, but he surprised many by setting career highs with 33 homers and 123 RBIs last year. But it seems to be a stretch to think he’ll surpass or even match those stats this year. If you’re paying for 35 homers and 120 RBIs, you’ll be disappointed. But if you think 20 homers, 85 RBIs and the same .280-.290 average, you’ll be fine.
Texas Rangers Sleeper -- Nelson Cruz: Carlos Lee isn’t there anymore, but Cruz (also part of the deal with the Brewers) is, and he has a pretty decent bat with some speed as well. He’s in line to start in right for the Rangers, and playing in that ballpark can only help him break through in 2007.
Bust -- Hank Blalock: He should be hitting the prime of his career, but his power numbers have fallen off badly the past couple of years. It almost seems hard to believe he hit 32 homers with 110 RBIs just three seasons ago. He still has enough of a reputation to be chosen high, and he may still turn things around but there are many solid options at the hot corner.
Scott Podsednik stole 40 bases last year but had offseason groin surgery.
Let's continue with the tour of potential sleepers and busts this season. Again, the sleepers are players who could surprise and produce well above their draft-day value while the busts may still turn in big seasons, just not as high as people expect.
Chicago White Sox Sleeper -- Josh Fields: He won't be overtaking Joe Crede anytime soon, but he's been working out in left field most of the offseason and might see extra playing time there with Scott Podsednik undergoing groin surgery. Fields has a solid bat and stole 27 bases in the minors last year. Watch for him at spring training.
Bust -- Scott Podsednik: The groin surgery is supposed to correct some of the leg injuries he's had recently. But if he's not at full speed, his fantasy value takes a big hit since stolen bases are the main reason for getting him.
Cleveland Indians Sleeper -- Ryan Garko: He had 45 RBIs in 50 games last season, but there is no starting job for him just yet with Casey Blake likely starting at first base after the Trot Nixon signing. Blake is good but nothing great, while Garko has a lot of upside. It may take a bit, but Garko could get more at-bats later in the season.
Bust -- Andy Marte: The shine is off a little after he struggled in limited action in the bigs last season (.226 average, .287 OBP). While he appears to be the starting third baseman in Cleveland this season, it's best to tread carefully because you could be disappointed if he doesn't blossom in the star many have already expected. If you treat him as a guy still learning his way around the league and get him cheap, you'll be fine.
Detroit Tigers Sleeper -- Chris Shelton: After that ridiculous April power show, he was barely on the radar and even got sent down to the minors. However, the Tigers still expect him to be the starting first baseman of the future, and it could be sooner rather than later depending on how Sean Casey plays (Casey's contract is up after this season).
Bust -- Sean Casey: Shelton is still lingering around to take his job back, and while Casey had a great World Series, he's now a pretty empty .300 hitter with little power. It's not a great mix for a premium position like first base. Casey isn't horrible, but he's way down the list of useful fantasy first basemen.
Kansas City Royals Sleeper -- Brian Bannister: He appeared in only eight games (starting six) for the Mets last season because of a hamstring injury but had his moments, although the 22:19 BB:K ratio leaves plenty to be desired. He's still a work in progress, but he could be a late-round flyer in AL-only leagues.
Bust -- Reggie Sanders: He just keeps on playing, usually with a different team every year or two. However, while he still has enough game to put up double-digit homers and steals, his playing time could be waning if the Royals move Mark Teahen from third to right in order to find room for top prospect Alex Gordon.
Minnesota Twins Sleeper -- Boof Bonser: With Francisco Liriano likely out for the year, it's up to this other piece of the A.J. Pierzynski trade to step up for the Twins. Bonser won four of his last six starts and will be counted on to give Minnesota any sort of rotation presence behind Johan Santana.
Bust -- Rondell White: A bit of a cop-out pick, like the Sanders one, but it's interesting that the veteran White is still going to start in left field despite a slew of injuries that have really cut into his production. (Just 99 games and a .246 average last season.) Just because he'll have a regular job right now doesn't mean he has a lot of fantasy value. His best days are behind him, although you can still squeeze out 10-12 homers from him.
Chien-Ming Wang won 19 games last season but had just one more strikeout than Kyle Farnsworth.
To help usher in the opening of spring training camps this week, I'll pick out one potential sleeper and one potential bust from each team. In these cases, sleepers could outdo their draft value and busts could perform below it. Today, I'll start with the AL East.
Baltimore Orioles Sleeper -- Daniel Cabrera: I pegged him as a sleeper last year and he put many teams to sleep with nightmare control (104 walks). But he also threw a one-hitter against the Yankees late in the year. At some point, he's got to get his stuff together, right? Could this be the year? Tread carefully, obviously, but Cabrera will counted on even more with Kris Benson likely done for the year.
Bust -- Corey Patterson: I already mentioned that he could be playing for a decent free-agent contract after this season, so that could get him to play at a higher level. I do like the speed/power combination and have since he was with the Cubs, but that career .297 on-base percentage is still a red flag.
Boston Red Sox Sleeper -- Wily Mo Pena: He has great power (but a lot of strikeouts) but his health hindered his production last year. Now he's backing up the perennially injury-prone J.D. Drew, not to mention that Manny Ramirez and Coco Crisp missed considerable time with injuries last year. Pena could find his way to 400 at-bats and 20-25 homers.
Bust -- Josh Beckett: If you draft him expecting the Beckett who won the 2003 World Series MVP, you'll be disappointed. If you draft him cautiously after a high-win, high-ERA 2006, you'll be in better shape. Allowing 36 homers was an anomaly and another year in the AL will at least get the ERA down, but will the wins go up?
New York Yankees Sleeper -- Kei Igawa: While lots of people will chase after Daisuke Matsuzaka, there likely won't be as much clamoring for the other top Japanese pitcher to come stateside this winter. Igawa may have more question marks than Matsuzaka, but he has lots of potential, especially with the lineup in front of him.
Bust -- Chien-Ming Wang: The 19 wins and 3.63 ERA were great, but how do you explain 76 Ks in 218 innings? And more to the point, with those strikeout numbers (he also had 52 walks mixed in), do you think he can match those stats, especially the wins? Don't pay for him expecting 20 wins. He's a nice fantasy pitcher, especially in 4x4 leagues, but don't go overboard either.
Tampa Bay Devil Rays Sleeper -- Seth McClung: He's penciled in as the closer despite some horrific stats last season (6-12, 6.29 ERA, 1.83 WHIP) but he's as good a choice as any to get saves. And if you get him cheap, he could come through with decent numbers. Being a Devil Ray will almost automatically keep his price down, and thus you can get a bargain.
Bust -- Delmon Young: He could have the makings of a star, but will he be a top-flight fantasy producer this year? He hit .317 with three homers late last season, but that 1:24 BB:K ratio does stick out a bit. Granted, he could be part of a loaded outfield with Carl Crawford and Rocco Baldelli, but in non-keeper leagues, he should go for a fraction of what the other two are making.
Toronto Blue Jays Sleeper -- Lyle Overbay: Always a steady hitter and decent run producer, he improved on his power in his first season for Toronto, slugging a career-best 22 homers (17 at Rogers Centre). He still has decent upside, and there could be more RBI chances as well. First base is very crowded, so you might get him at a bargain.
Bust -- Frank Thomas: The ultimate bargain pick by the A's (and many fantasy leaguers as well) last season as he hit 39 homers with 114 RBIs. Now comes some lofty expectations of years past in a hitter-friendly park. If he's healthy, he could come close to matching last season's stats. But that's a big if since he only played sparingly in 2004 and 2005. A cheap flyer on the Big Hurt last year was great. A healthy investment in a guy who might not be isn't.