May Mock: A fantasy baseball '16 draft do-over

We are at roughly the quarter pole of the '16 fantasy baseball season, a decent enough sample size to work with as the Yahoo fantasy baseball brain trust decided to re-evaluate the roto landscape by way of a 10-round mock draft exercise.

We had each of our six participating pundits - special thanks to Rotowire's Chris Liss for joining the usual Yahoo roto voices - playing the owner for two separate teams in order to simulate a 12-team draft environment. And we put no position requirements/restrictions on this draft, so the results would give us a better idea of how players' values are currently being viewed without the bias of having to weigh position need into the process. So here is an at-a-glance breakdown of our at-the-moment mock draft (with some of my commentary thrown in to spots where it seemed most appropriate):

 

Altuve leaps into the top 5 (Getty)
Altuve leaps into the top 5 (Getty)

ROUND 1

 1. Clayton Kershaw, LAD, SP -- 88:4 K-to-BB ratio - in leagues with Innings Pitched caps, like the Yahoo default, Kershaw makes perfect sense as the No. 1 choice. (Chris Liss 1)

2. Bryce Harper, Was, OF --  (Chris Liss 2)

3. Mike Trout, LAA, OF --  (Dalton Del Don 1)

4. Jose Altuve, Hou, 2B -- As a three-category speed stud, he was good enough to go top 15 on average in preseason drafts. After showing big power for the past six weeks (9 HR), he's taken his stock into the top 5. (Dalton Del Don 2)

5. Manny Machado, Bal, 3/S --  (Brandon Funston 1)

6. Nolan Arenado, Col, 3B --  (Brandon Funston 2)

7. Jake Arrieta, ChC, SP -- If Kershaw is an acceptable No. 1 overall pick, then Arrieta should be, as well. In his past 220 IP (comprising 31 starts going back to the beginning of June '15), he owns a 25-2 record, with a 1.23 ERA, 0.79 WHIP and 224 strikeouts. Just read that stat line again, because it's beyond ridiculous.  (Scott Pianowski 1)

8. Josh Donaldson, Tor, 3B --  (Scott Pianowski 2)

9. Paul Goldschmidt, Ari, 1B --  (Andy Behrens 1)

10. Anthony Rizzo, ChC, 1B --  (Andy Behrens 2)

11. Miguel Cabrera, Det, 1B --  (Michael Salfino 1)

12. Giancarlo Stanton, Mia, OF --  (Micheal Salfino 2)

 

ROUND 2

 1. Carlos Correa, Hou, SS --  (Salfino 2)

2. Ryan Braun, Mil, OF --  (Salfino 1)

3. Mookie Betts, Bos, OF --  (Behrens 2)

4. Noah Syndergaard, NYM, SP -- His average fastball is a league-high 98 mph (no other starter is within 1 mph of him). Heard ESPN's Jayson Stark mention that he's thrown 100-plus mph fastballs over 40 times this season, while rest of the league combined has five such heaters. At 23 years old, he might be the most valued real-life pitching commodity in professional baseball. (Behrens 1)

5. Kris Bryant, ChC, 3/O --  (Pianowski 2)

6. Edwin Encarnacion, Tor, 1B --  (Pianowski 1)

7. Stephen Strasburg, Was, SP --  (Funston 2)

8. Robinson Cano, Sea, 2B -- He's back in the top 20 here (and currently No. 6 overall in the Y! game). Maybe we shouldn't have penalized him so much (No. 51.6 ADP in preseason Yahoo drafts) for one bad half-season of baseball (first three months of '15) in the past eight years.   (Funston 1)

9. Chris Sale, ChW, SP --  (Del Don 2)

10. Madison Bumgarner, SF, SP --  (Del Don 1)

11. Max Scherzer, Was, SP -- Consensus No. 2 overall SP pick fell to No. 7 in this draft, though Liss picked him right before his 20 K game, which means he probably would be back in the top 5, at least, had we to do this again - 20 K can go along way towards erasing any lingering doubts about a rocky start - and in talking to Dalton Del Don, he conceded that he would have at least taken him instead of Bumgarner if he were to get a re-do. (Liss 2)

12. Andrew McCutchen, Pit, OF --  (Liss 1)

 

ROUND 3

1. Chris Davis, Bal, 1/O --  (Liss 1)

2. Starling Marte, Pit, OF --  (Liss 2)

3. Xander Bogaerts, Bos, SS --  (Del Don 1)

4. Jose Bautista, Tor, OF --  (Del Don 2)

5. Jose Fernandez, Mia, SP --  (Funston 1)

6. Yoenis Cespedes, NYM, OF -- In 91 games in a Mets uniform, .285, 29 HR, 76 RBI, 61 R, 5 SB. I'll admit, part of me wanted to pass on him if only to to watch Mr. Pianowski, renowned Cespedes skeptic, be forced to wrestle with the decision to draft or pass on him (Funston 2)

7. Buster Posey, SF, C --  (Pianowski 1)

8. Jose Abreu, ChW, 1B --  (Pianowski 2)

9. Carlos Gonzalez, Col, OF --  (Behrens 1)

10. George Springer, Hou, OF --  (Behrens 2)

11. Michael Brantley, Cle, OF -- Five solid roto reasons to love Brantley, but I suspect this would have been a much tougher trigger to pull if we were playing this draft out given the shoulder issues (currently back on the DL) (Salfino 1)

12. J.D. Martinez, Det, OF --  (Salfino 2)

 

ROUND 4

1. Christian Yelich, Mia, OF -- Quite a move up the charts for Yelich, who went, on average, at No 123.4 in preseason Yahoo drafts. He's still a prolific ground pounder, which should keep the batting average in lofty territory, though we should probably expect a regression in his current .525 SLG%, which is more than 100 points above his career average (.418) (Salfino 2)

2. Aroldis Chapman, NYY, RP -- First closer off the board, the formerly suspended Chapman goes pick No. 38 overall, starting a closer run that will see 10 more stoppers come off the board within the next 23 selections -  (Salfino 1)

3. Charlie Blackmon, Col OF --  (Behrens 2)

4. Todd Frazier, ChW, 3B --  (Behrens 1)

5. Rougned Odor, Tex, 2B -- Has certainly packed a punch in that Texas lineup (bah, bum, bump!) (Pianowski 2)

6. Eric Hosmer, KC, 1B --  (Pianowski 1)

7. Kenley Jansen, LAD, RP --  (Funston 2)

8. Wade Davis, KC, RP --  (Funston 1)

9. Joey Votto, Cin, 1B --  (Del Don 2)

10. Nelson Cruz, Sea, OF --  (Del Don 1)

11. Corey Kluber, Cle, SP --  (Liss 2)

12. David Price, Bos, SP -- It's easier to not sweat a 6.00 ERA when it comes with a 12.19 K/9 rate and a 2.55 FIP (Liss 1)

 

Britton: bad starter, elite closer (Getty)
Britton: bad starter, elite closer (Getty)

ROUND 5

1. Zach Britton, Bal, RP -- You might never know in what rotation the next great closer is toiling - Britton 4.86 ERA, 1.49 K/BB rate in 250 IP as a starter, 1.72 ERA, 4.05 K/BB in 162 IP as a reliever (Liss 1)

2. Mark Melancon, Pit, RP --  (Liss 2)

3. Hector Rondon, ChC, RP --  (Del Don 1)

4. Craig Kimbrel, Bos, RP --  (Del Don 2)

5. Adrian Beltre, Tex, 3B --  (Funston 1)

6. Jacob deGrom, NYM, SP --  (Funston 2)

7. Ian Kinsler, Det, 2B --  (Pianowski 1)

8. Gerrit Cole, Pit, SP --  (Pianowski 2)

9. Matt Kemp, SD, OF --  (Behrens 1)

10. David Robertson, ChW, RP --  (Behrens 2)

11. Jeurys Familia, NYM, RP --  (Salfino 1)

12. Trevor Rosenthal, StL, RP --  (Salfino 2)

 

ROUND 6

1. Robert Osuna, Tor, RP --  (Salfino 2)

2. Daniel Murphy, Was, 1/2/3 -- Another major mover, Murphy, a playoffs mega-monster in '15, went No. 146.3 in average Yahoo preseason drafts, but No. 62 overall here. No question, hitting right after Bryce Harper (.444 OBP) is the mother of all catbird seats (Salfino 1)

3. Cole Hamels, Tex, SP --  (Behrens 2)

4. Jason Kipnis, Cle, 2B --  (Behrens 1)

5. Jon Lester, ChC, SP --  (Pianowski 2)

6. Matt Carpenter, StL, 2/3 --  (Pianowski 1)

7. David Ortiz, Bos, 1B--  (Funston 2)

8. Adam Jones, Bal, OF --  (Funston 1)

9. Matt Harvey, NYM, SP --  (Del Don 2)

10. Johnny Cueto, SF, SP --  (Del Don 1)

11. Carlos Carrasco, Cle, SP--  (Liss 2)

12. Lorenzo Cain, KC, OF --  (Liss 1)

 

Breakout Story goes No. 74 overall (Getty)
Breakout Story goes No. 74 overall (Getty)

ROUND 7

1. Chris Archer, TB, SP --  (Liss 1)

2. Trevor Story, Col, SS -- Who would have thought a year ago that Colorado shortstop prospect Story would be the toast of early '16, and would be deemed a more prized fantasy asset than then-Rockies All-Star shortstop Troy Tulowitzki (who went to Behrens seven picks down this list)? (Liss 2)

3. Danny Salazar, Cle, SP --  (Del Don 1)

4. Hunter Pence, SF --  (Del Don 2)

5. Brandon Belt, SF, 1/O -- .947 OPS, fourth in the league in Walks - just salt in the wound as I targeted him in every preseason draft and failed to land him in every preseason draft (Funston 1)

6. Francisco Lindor, Cle, SS --  (Funston 2)

7. Dexter Fowler, ChC, OF -- Despite playing five full seasons in Colorado, no place has treated his fantasy numbers as well as Chicago (Pianowski 1)

8. Hanley Ramirez, Bos, 1/O --  (Pianowski 2)

9. Troy Tulowitzki, Tor, SS --  (Behrens 1)

10. Yu Darvish, Tex, SP -- Throwing 97 mph in rehab from Tommy John surgery, Behrens gets a potential bargain at pick No. 82 as Darvish gets set to return to the Rangers rotation (Behrens 2)

11. Jean Segura, Ari, SS -- No. 34 player currently in the Y! game is still BB-averse, but at least he's swinging less often, especially at pitches out of the strike zone (Salfino 1)

12. Victor Martinez, Det, 1B --  (Salfino 2)

 

Patience pays for Herrera (Getty)
Patience pays for Herrera (Getty)

ROUND 8

1. Taijuan Walker, Sea, SP --  (Salfino 2)

2. Byung-ho Park, Min, 1B --  (Salfino 1)

3. Ben Zobrist, ChC, 2B --  (Behrens 2)

4. Gregory Polanco, Pit, OF --  (Behrens 1)

5. Ian Desmond, Tex, S/O -- Could be the Rodney Dangerfield of roto, and Pianowski loves to scoop those guys up at a discount - our community didn't love him during the time he was putting together three consecutive 20/20 seasons from the shortstop position, and we treated him like he had leprosy after he went just 19/13 last season, finishing as the No. 12 roto SS. And here he is playing at a top 20 level in the '16 Y! game, yet falling to No. 89 in this draft.   (Pianowski 2)

6. Odubel Herrera, Phi, OF -- Already has more walks in 140 ABs than he had last season in 147 games (495 AB) - may think it's crazy taking a Rule 5 guy from last season this high, but he's an athletic 24-year-old with great speed and serviceable pop that has shown the patience to see more pitches than everyone save Jose Bautista and Paul Goldschmidt. (Pianowski 1)

7. Yasiel Puig, LAD, OF -- I'm admittedly a sucker for his physical skills, especially as he's just 25 years old and holds a .837 career OPS in over 1,500 plate appearances. His '16 has been ugly, but I'll definitely take my chances at this point (pick No. 91 overall)  (Funston 2)

8. Adrian Gonzalez, LAD, 1B --  (Funston 1)

9. Kenta Maeda, LAD, SP --  (Del Don 2)

10. Dustin Pedroia, Bos, 2B --  (Del Don 1)

11. Miguel Sano, Min, 3/O --  (Liss 2)

12. Corey Seager, LAD, SS -- Back-to-back Seagers for Liss - the joy of mock drafts. The younger Seager has an .855 OPS in LA, the elder an .844 OPS in Seattle. The middle brother, Justin, has a .592 OPS for Class-A Bakersfield. I guess he's the Cooper Manning of the Seager clan (Liss 1)

 

ROUND 9

1. Kyle Seager, Sea, 3B --  (Liss 1)

2. Gerardo Parra, Col, OF -- He was the easiest sleeper call in preseason drafts, as he was the No. 99 Y! player in the '15 game splitting the season between Milwaukee and Baltimore. Should we really be shocked to see him at No. 72 this season, as a member of the Colorado Rockies? (Liss 2)

3. Drew Smyly, TB, SP --  (Del Don 1)

4. Jeff Samardzija, SF, SP --  (Del Don 2)

5. Felix Hernandez, Sea, SP --  (Funston 1)

6. Maikel Franco, Phi, 3B --  (Funston 2)

7. Zack Greinke, Ari, SP -- The pitcher that nobody wanted to take - falls from 36.2 ADP in preseason to 103 here - fastball at a career low (91.1 mph), but Quality Start in three of past four turns is encouraging, as is 27 K in 26 IP (Pianowski 1)

8. Jose Quintana, ChW, SP --  (Pianowski 2)

9. A.J. Ramos, Mia, RP --  (Behrens 1)

10. Jake McGee, Col, RP --  (Behrens 2)

11. Evan Longoria, TB, 3B --  (Salfino 1)

12. Addison Russell, ChC, 2/3 --  (Salfino 2)


ROUND 10

1. Nick Castellanos, Det, 3B -- Sure, there's some luck going on here (.394 BABIP), but as Fangraph's Eno Sarris explains, there's reason for optimism that his career year will continue to be just that.  (Salfino 2)

2. Welington Castillo, Ari, C -- Maybe could have argued that Jonathan Lucroy should have been the second catcher off the board (he's currently the top backstop in the Y! game), but Welington has 24 home runs in 395 ABs in Arizona, which certainly makes him a justifiable choice (Salfino 1)

3. Adam Eaton, ChW, OF --  (Behrens 2)

4. Santiago Casilla, SF, RP --  (Behrens 1)

5. Stephen Piscotty, StL, OF --  (Pianowski 2)

6. Francisco Rodriguez, Det, RP --  (Pianowski 1)

7. Jason Heyward, ChC, OF --  (Funston 2)

8. Mark Trumbo, Bal,  1/O -- Not sure I don't like him better than Byung-ho Park, taken two rounds earlier, given the environment in which each play - can both hit .250ish with 30-35 home runs? Yes. Can both drive in 100 baserunners? That's where Trumbo plays the Baltimore lineup trump card  (Funston 1)

9. Jung Ho Kang, Pit, 3/S --  (Del Don 2)

10. Aaron Nola, Phi, SP --  (Del Don 1)

11. Justin Upton, Det, OF -- The hitter nobody wanted to take - No. 47.2 ADP in preseason drafts, a nearly Mr. Irrelevant No. 119 here. Unlike Greinke, there's no real strong recent signs of a turnaround for Upton (8 BB, 62 K) save for the fact that he didn't strike out in his last game, which was just the third time that has happened this season (Liss 2)

12. Masahiro Tanaka, NYY, SP --  (Liss 1)