Troy Tulowitzki and Charlie Blackmon are riding a Rocky Mountain high. (USAT)
So here's how this works. Each Monday, the Yahoo fantasy crew jumps on a conference call to discuss the week that was/will be. As part of this process, we've decided to include a short mock draft - roughly, one-eighth the size of a normal draft, I shall call it mini mock. This week's mini mock draft (five rounds) is a draft of only those MLB players that have nine or more home runs (a total of 25 players through May 18). There's a lot of surprising names in that mix. Let's see how they rate with the experts in terms of rest-of-season 5x5 fantasy value ...
Round 1 Pick 1 — Troy Tulowitzki, Col, SS (Brandon Funston)
Funston says – We're going to look back at Tulo's career and wonder just how prolific he would have been had he just been able to sustain reasonable health. Could Tulo finish '14 with a line of .330, 40 HR, 115 RBI and 115 R? Certainly. After all, that's basically his numbers over his last 166 games (since start of '13). Of course, that's going to require him to play a full season (150-plus games), something he hasn't done since '09.
Round 1 Pick 2 — Paul Goldschmidt, Ari, 1B (Andy Behrens)
Behrens says – The obvious No. 2 pick after Tulo, the obvious No. 1. Goldy is the rare 5-category first baseman, plus he's off to a huge start.
Round 1 Pick 3 — Yasiel Puig, LAD, OF (Brad Evans)
Big Noise says – He’s a strong five-cat contributor with a seemingly limitless ceiling. His increase in walks percentage and ISO are encouraging signs he’ll continue to grow. Roughly another 20 homers and 10 steals are in my fearless forecast.
Round 1 Pick 4 — Giancarlo Stanton, Mia, OF (Dalton Del Don)
3D says – He’s batting .318 while on pace to finish with 43 homers and 155 RBI. Stanton would easily be a top-10 pick in a draft held today.
Round 1 Pick 5 — Brian Dozier, Min, 2B (Scott Pianowski)
Pianowman says – I could talk and tweet about Dozier all day, and often do. It drives me nuts when some pundits consider him a one or two-month wonder; Dozier has been a dynamic fantasy producer for a year now. Dozier versus Robinson Cano is a legitimate argument; otherwise, I don't see any second sacker I'd take over Dozier for the remainder of 2014.
Dozier's pop probably won't stick at his current level, but again it's a year-old story - it's not going to vanish completely. More walks, less strikeouts, clear ownership of the leadoff spot, a stolen-base spike. Hall of Famer Paul Molitor is part of the story - he's tutored Dozier on the craft of base running. Even if Dozier bats around .250, everything else makes him a bankable stud. Category juice for the win.
Minnesota's Bull Dozier has plowed a path to the top 5 of the Yahoo fantasy game. (USAT)
Round 2 Pick 1 — Josh Donaldson, Oak, 3B (Pianowski)
Pianowman says – Maybe I should have taken Carlos Gomez, though I always feel you can find outfielders on the cheap (I didn't like his Wonderlic answers, either). Donaldson bats third in the AL's best offense, and while the home park doesn't do favors for any bat, the Swinging A's are far and away MLB's top-scoring club on the road.
Round 2 Pick 2 — Carlos Gomez, Mil, OF (Del Don)
3D says – Now one of MLB's premier speed/power threats, Gomez's OPS has risen for the fifth straight season, currently sitting at a career high .924.
Round 2 Pick 3 — Jose Abreu, CWS, 1B (Evans)
Big Noise says – The DL stint is a major bummer, but all indications suggest he should be back when first eligible in early June. His K:BB split is unsettling, but his .335 ISO and legendary power exuded in the Cuban League suggest his torrid 15 HR start is no fluke. An additional 20-25 bombs is a near guarantee.
Round 2 Pick 4 — Jose Bautista, Tor, OF (Behrens)
Behrens says – As long as Bautista remains healthy (not a given with Jose), then he can maintain the current pace. Of the players remaining on the board, I consider him the most likely to hit 40 bombs. Bautista has also been a beast in OBP formats (.433), as his 38 walks lead the A.L.
Round 2 Pick 5 — Adrian Gonzalez, LAD, 1B (Funston)
Funston says – I liked him a lot coming into this season even though I assumed his prolific power days were well behind him given that he averaged just 20 home runs the past two seasons. But, even without power upside, he was still hitting for a high average while driving in 100-plus runs a year. Now that the power has returned, Gonzalez has to be considered a top 5-7 fantasy first baseman.
Toronto duo Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion have showed an impressive display of power in '14. (USAT)
Round 3 Pick 1 — Albert Pujols, LAA, 1B (Brandon Funston)
Funston says – The Albert Pujols we knew and loved in St. Louis is no longer. But the Angels version still isn't that bad. If he can avoid injury, his ceiling is probably what he did in his first season in SoCal (.285/30/105/85).
Round 3 Pick 2 — David Ortiz, Bos, UT (Andy Behrens)
Behrens says – Another safety pick, in a mock where I've basically ignored positions. This roster is pretty clearly going to be comprised exclusively of 1Bs and OFs (and UTs). Papi is a lock to be a high-end contributor in AVG and the power cats.
Round 3 Pick 3 — Charlie Blackmon, Col, OF (Brad Evans)
Big Noise says – His emergence is arguably the biggest shocker special of the young year. Eventually his power numbers will slow, but he should finish in the 20/20 range with a .300-plus BA.
Round 3 Pick 4 — Edwin Encarnacion, Tor, 3B (Dalton Del Don)
3D says – He got off to a slow start, with his OPS sitting at just .700 on May 5. But after hitting two home runs over his first 123 at bats, Encarnacion has knocked seven homers over his last 49 ABs. EE was a top-20 fantasy player last season. That he has third base eligibility is a nice bonus as well.
Round 3 Pick 5 — Victor Martinez, Det, 1B (Scott Pianowski)
Pianowman says – We can't promise you a catcher-eligibility tag anytime soon; Detroit's remaining NL visits are tucked into the final quarter of the schedule. But with Martinez's pop returning, what's the big worry? A .331-19-10-25 line plays in any format, and he's even trying to run (2-for-4 on the bases). No one misses you, Jimmy Leyland.
Nelson Cruz has helped ease Baltimore's pain of losing Chris Davis. (USAT)
Round 4 Pick 1 — Nelson Cruz, Bal, OF (Pianowski)
Pianowman says – You have to love that long, pull-happy, uppercut swing. And surely Cruz won't slash .217/.289/.478 in Baltimore forever (thankfully his road numbers are much better).
Round 4 Pick 2 — Justin Upton, Atl, OF (Del Don)
3D says – He’s sacrificed more strikeouts for more fly balls, so if that keeps up, expect his batting average to lower and the nice HR production to hang around. It’s probably a fluke that Upton has only 20 RBI, especially since he’s slugged .595 with RISP. He’s still just 26 years old.
Round 4 Pick 3 — Justin Morneau, Col, 1B (Evans)
Big Noise says – At 33, he’s not drinking meals through a straw. His .258 ISO, friendly home environment and healthy status, assuming it doesn’t change, should lead him to another 15-20 long-balls.
Round 4 Pick 4 — Brandon Moss, Oak, 1/O (Behrens)
Behrens says – I could not have been more wrong here (unless his name was "Danny Salazar"). I had Moss buried in my preseason ranks, a huge mistake. He'll get back to 30 homers, and he's clearly going to hit for a higher average than last year's .256.
Round 4 Pick 5 — Neil Walker, Pit, 2B (Funston)
Funston says – His K rate is at a career-low level, while he's hitting fly balls at the highest clip of his career. Although he's obviously not going to keep up his current power pace, I feel optimistic about him reaching 20-plus home runs for the first time in his career.
Round 5 Pick 1 — Mark Teixeira, NYY, 1B (Brandon Funston)
Funston says – I don't trust that he can stay off the DL the rest of the way, but obviously he has a track record that certainly supports his '14 power play — he's just a couple seasons removed from a run of eight consecutive seasons with 30-plus home runs.
Round 5 Pick 2 — Michael Morse, SF, 1/O (Andy Behrens)
Behrens says — The power here is real, and, unlike most remaining names, he's not currently on the DL.
Round 5 Pick 3 — Mike Olt, CHC, 3B (Brad Evans)
Big Noise says – With only broken commodities Colby Rasmus and Brandon Belt left to choose from, I played the homer card and picked the batting average vampire. If Kris Bryant, who is tearing up Double-A (159-.321-11-34-38-5), doesn’t overtake him in short order, he should be good for another 15 or so blasts and roughly 315 donuts.
Round 5 Pick 4 — Brandon Belt, SF, 1/O (Dalton Del Don)
3D says – Who knows how long he’ll be sidelined with a broken thumb, but it will be at least another 4-5 weeks. Belt has run hot and cold this season, but ultimately, his nine homers and three steals over 35 games have been a nice surprise. Let’s hope the thumb injury doesn’t sap his newfound power after he returns.
Round 5 Pick 5 — Colby Rasmus, Tor, OF (Scott Pianowski)
Pianowman says — Someone has to be Mr. Irrelevant, though a healthy Rasmus would be relevant as part of a sneaky-dangerous YYZ offense.
- Sports & Recreation
- Brandon Funston
- Brian Dozier
- Brad Evans
- Jose Bautista
- Troy Tulowitzki