One-Man Mock Draft

Every year I preach the importance of executing a one-man mock draft as an aid in draft day preparation. By taking on the mindset of every owner in your league and going through the exercise of making each and every pick of the draft, you eliminate surprises during the draft, and gain a better understanding on such key variables as position depth and when a "run" on a position is likely to take place.

With the '06 fantasy baseball season upon us, I recently sat down and went through my annual one-man mock process. Having already participated in three industry experts drafts prior to this mock, I felt I had a good grasp of the '06 landscape heading into this draft.

The following is the results of my personal draft, with some analysis mixed in after each six-round segment. I used the traditional roto league set-up of 12 teams and 23-man rosters. For those who play in similar leagues, this should be a reasonable facsimile of what you might see in the early '06 fantasy baseball draft season. Hopefully this will serve as a solid guide, but remember that you'll glean more knowledge by going through the same exercise yourself:

Note: This should not be considered a cheatsheet. It's merely meant to capture tendencies in drafts I've seen thus far (get speed early, skip pitching early, for example).

1-1 Alex Rodriguez, NYY, 3B 2-1 Jason Bay, Pit, OF 3-1 Derek Jeter, NYY, SS
1-2 Albert Pujols, StL, 1B 2-2 Miguel Tejada, Bal, SS 3-2 Andruw Jones, Atl, OF
1-3 Vladimir Guerrero, LAA, OF 2-3 Miguel Cabrera, Fla, OF 3-3 Pedro Martinez, NYM, SP
1-4 Mark Teixeira, Tex, 1B 2-4 Todd Helton, Col, 1B 3-4 Juan Pierre, ChC, OF
1-5 Manny Ramirez, Bos, OF 2-5 Ichiro, Sea, OF 3-5 Chris Carpenter, StL, SP
1-6 Derrek Lee, ChC, 1B 2-6 Chone Figgins, LAA, 3B 3-6 Travis Hafner, Cle, UT
1-7 Carl Crawford, TB, OF 2-7 Jose Reyes, NYM, 2B 3-7 Lance Berkman, Hou, OF
1-8 David Ortiz, Bos, 1B 2-8 Alfonso Soriano, Was, 2B 3-8 Aramis Ramirez, ChC, 3B
1-9 Johan Santana, Min, SP 2-9 Gary Sheffield, NYY, OF 3-9 Jeff Kent, LAD, 2B
1-10 David Wright, NYM, 3B 2-10 Jimmy Rollins, Phi, SS 3-10 Grady Sizemore, Cle, OF
1-11 Bobby Abreu, Phi, OF 2-11 Chase Utley, Phi, 2B 3-11 Carlos Beltran, NYM, OF
1-12 Michael Young, Tex, SS 2-12 Victor Martinez, Cle, C 3-12 Jake Peavy, SD, SP
4-1 Joe Mauer, Min, C 5-1 Fr. Rodriguez, LAA, RP 6-1 Rich Harden, Oak, SP
4-2 Carlos Delgado, NYM, 1B 5-2 Scott Podsednik, ChW, OF 6-2 Eric Gagne, LAD, RP
4-3 Ryan Howard, Phi, 1B 5-3 Barry Bonds, SF, OF 6-3 Roy Halladay, Tor, SP
4-4 Rafael Furcal, LAD, SS 5-4 Billy Wagner, NYM, RP 6-4 Hideki Matsui, NYY, OF
4-5 Randy Johnson, NYY, SP 5-5 Jhonny Peralta, Cle, SS 6-5 Felipe Lopez, Cin, SS
4-6 Carlos Lee, Mil, OF 5-6 Joe Nathan, Min, RP 6-6 Adam Dunn, Cin, OF
4-7 Roy Oswalt, Hou, SP 5-7 Huston Street, Oak, RP 6-7 Chipper Jones, Atl, 3B
4-8 Mariano Rivera, NYY, RP 5-8 B.J. Ryan, Tor, RP 6-8 Paul Konerko, ChW, 1B
4-9 Carlos Zambrano, ChC, SP 5-9 Johnny Damon, NYY, OF 6-9 Julio Lugo, TB, SS
4-10 Eric Chavez, Oak, 3B 5-10 Jorge Cantu, TB, 3B 6-10 Chad Cordero, Was, RP
4-11 Brad Lidge, Hou, RP 5-11 Morgan Ensberg, Hou, 3B 6-11 Dontrelle Willis, Fla, SP
4-12 Richie Sexson, Sea, 1B 5-12 Marcus Giles, Atl, 2B 6-12 Coco Crisp, Bos, OF

Round 1-6 Analysis
Position Count: 20 OF, 10 SP, 9 RP, 9 1B, 8 3B, 8 SS, 5 2B, 2 C, 1 UT
Offense rules the early rounds. As you can see from the position count, with only 10 starters taken, not every team in this mock had drafted a starting pitcher within the top six rounds. This is a fantastic year for pitching depth -- especially high-ceiling youngsters available late. Owners would be advised to take one staff "anchor" early on, and concentrate the rest of the early rounds building up the offensive weaponry, especially in those shallow spots like shortstop, second base, and catcher (but only Victor Martinez or Joe Mauer this early).

One other thing to note about these early rounds is that my first closer run came mid-way through the fourth round when Mariano Rivera went off the board. Eight of the nine closers taken in these six rounds had their names called within a 19-pick range. This has been common among the real experts drafts that I've already partaken in. I always advocate not starting a closer run, but to make sure you get in on the action when the frenzy begins and get one of those top-tier closers before they run out.

7-1 Mark Prior, ChC, SP 8-1 Bobby Jenks, ChW, RP 9-1 Jorge Posada, NYY, C
7-2 Hank Blalock, Tex, 3B 8-2 Jim Thome, ChW, 1B 9-2 Edgar Renteria, Atl, SS
7-3 Rickie Weeks, Mil, 2B 8-3 Trevor Hoffman, SD, RP 9-3 Josh Beckett, Bos, SP
7-4 Troy Glaus, Tor, 3B 8-4 Scott Rolen, StL, 3B 9-4 Tom Gordon, Phi, RP
7-5 Melvin Mora, Bal, 3B 8-5 Brian Giles, SD, OF 9-5 Aubrey Huff, TB, OF
7-6 Vernon Wells, Tor, OF 8-6 Jason Varitek, Bos, C 9-6 Eddie Guardado, Sea, RP
7-7 Ben Sheets, Mil, SP 8-7 Andy Pettitte, Hou, SP 9-7 Bartolo Colon, LAA, SP
7-8 Brian Roberts, Bal, 2B 8-8 John Smoltz, Atl, SP 9-8 Pat Burrell, Phi, OF
7-9 Francisco Cordero, Tex, RP 8-9 Mark Buehrle, ChW, SP 9-9 Armando Benitez, SF, RP
7-10 J. Isringhausen, StL, RP 8-10 Jeff Francoeur, Atl, OF 9-10 Torii Hunter, Min, OF
7-11 Felix Hernandez, Sea, SP 8-11 Derrick Turnbow, Mil, RP 9-11 Jim Edmonds, StL, OF
7-12 Matt Holliday, Col, OF 8-12 Ken Griffey Jr., Cin, OF 9-12 Chad Tracy, Ari, 1B
10-1 Bob Wickman, Cle, RP 11-1 Zach Duke, Pit, SP 12-1 Adrian Beltre, Sea, 3B
10-2 Brandon Webb, Ari, SP 11-2 Randy Winn, SF, OF 12-2 Ryan Freel, Cin, 2B
10-3 Kenji Johjima, Sea, C 11-3 Ryan Dempster, ChC, RP 12-3 Bill Hall, Mil, SS
10-4 Jason Schmidt, SF, SP 11-4 Rocco Baldelli, TB, OF 12-4 Prince Fielder, Mil, 1B
10-5 Jason Giambi, NYY, 1B 11-5 Cliff Floyd, NYM, OF 12-5 Todd Jones, Det, RP
10-6 Brian Fuentes, Col, RP 11-6 Clint Barmes, Col, SS 12-6 Placido Polanco, Det, 2B
10-7 Jonny Gomes, TB, OF 11-7 Brett Myers, Phi, SP 12-7 Tim Hudson, Atl, SP
10-8 Mike Gonzalez, Pit, RP 11-8 Ivan Rodriguez, Det, C 12-8 Justin Morneau, Min, 1B
10-9 Tad Iguchi, ChW, 2B 11-9 Freddy Garcia, ChW, SP 12-9 Roger Clemens, Hou, SP
10-10 Javy Lopez, Bal, C 11-10 John Patterson, Was, SP 12-10 Willy Taveras, Hou, OF
10-11 Barry Zito, Oak, SP 11-11 N. Garciaparra, LAD, SS 12-11 A.J. Burnett, Tor, SP
10-12 Mark Loretta, Bos, 2B 11-12 Cliff Lee, Cle, SP 12-12 Jason Lane, Hou, OF

Round 7-12 Analysis
Position Count: 19 SP, 15 OF, 13 RP, 6 2B, 5 1B, 5 3B, 5 C, 4 SS
In these middle rounds, the amount of starters taken was nearly double that of the early rounds. With the focus on offense early, there'll be big name arms available that will be just too enticing to pass up at this point in the draft. Also, expect more second-tier closers to come off here. There are many unstable closer situations across the league, meaning that the remaining stoppers that provide any kind of certainty will be tapped out at this point – through my 12 rounds, 22 closers are off the board.

This portion of the draft is also likely to be where the remaining catchers that you can get even reasonably excited about are going to be called out. Jason Varitek, Jorge Posada, Javy Lopez, Kenji Johjima and Ivan Rodriguez fell here. After this, you may as well forget about a potential "impact" backstop. Finally, while most of the top-shelf quality has dried up among the infield positions, you can still get good value here in the outfield. The 10th, 11th and 12th rounds produced quality contributors in Jonny Gomes, Randy Winn, Cliff Floyd, Rocco Baldelli, Willy Taveras and Jason Lane.

13-1 Scott Kazmir, TB, SP 14-1 Jermaine Dye, ChW, OF 15-1 Shawn Green, Ari, OF
13-2 Mag. Ordonez, Det, OF 14-2 Chris Ray, Bal, RP 15-2 C.C. Sabathia, Cle, SP
13-3 Jose Valverde, Ari, RP 14-3 John Lackey, LAA, SP 15-3 Joe Blanton, Oak, SP
13-4 Noah Lowry, SF, SP 14-4 Ramon Hernandez, Bal, C 15-4 A.J. Pierzynski, ChW, C
13-5 Doug Davis, Mil, SP 14-5 Dan Haren, Oak, SP 15-5 Luis Gonzalez, Ari, OF
13-6 G. Anderson, LAA, OF 14-6 Khalil Greene, SD, SS 15-6 Rod Barajas, Tex, C
13-7 B.J. Upton, TB, SS 14-7 Craig Biggio, Hou, 2B 15-7 L. Hernandez, Was, SP
13-8 Javier Vazquez, ChW, SP 14-8 Mike MacDougal, KC, RP 15-8 Carlos Guillen, Det, SS
13-9 Kevin Mench, Tex, OF 14-9 Bobby Crosby, Oak, SS 15-9 Kevin Millwood, Tex, SP
13-10 Robinson Cano, NYY, 2B 14-10 Chris Shelton, Det, 1B 15-10 Mike Sweeney, KC, 1B
13-11 Mike Piazza, SD, C 14-11 Michael Barrett, ChC, C 15-11 Mark Mulder, StL, SP
13-12 Keith Foulke, Bos, RP 14-12 Ronnie Belliard, Cle, 2B 15-12 Jon Garland, ChW, SP
16-1 Nick Swisher, Oak, OF 17-1 Jon Lieber, Phi, SP 18-1 Kerry Wood, ChC, SP
16-2 J. Bonderman, Det, SP 17-2 Chad Orvella, TB, RP 18-2 Reggie Sanders, KC, OF
16-3 Curt Schilling, Bos, SP 17-3 Garrett Atkins, Col, 3B 18-3 Ryan Doumit, Pit, C
16-4 Preston Wilson, Hou, OF 17-4 Moises Alou, SF,OF 18-4 Luis Castillo, Min, 2B
16-5 Aaron Rowand, Phi, OF 17-5 Matt Cain, SF, SP 18-5 Bengie Molina, FA, C
16-6 Geoff Jenkins, Mil, OF 17-6 Shea Hillenbrand, Tor, 1B 18-6 Chris Reitsma, Atl, RP
16-7 Jason Kendall, Oak, C 17-7 Dan Johnson, Oak, 1B 18-7 Jose Guillen, Was, OF
16-8 Paul Lo Duca, NYM, C 17-8 Brad Radke, Min, SP 18-8 Javier Valentin, Cin, C
16-9 Sean Casey, Pit, 1B 17-9 David Weathers, Cin, RP 18-9 Mike Lieberthal, Phi, C
16-10 J. Contreras, ChW, SP 17-10 Jacque Jones, ChC, OF 18-10 Yadier Molina, StL, C
16-11 Alex Rios, Tor, OF 17-11 Joe Borowski, Fla, RP 18-11 Johnny Estrada, Ari, C
16-12 Ervin Santana, LAA, SP 17-12 Lyle Overbay, Tor, 1B 18-12 Pedro Feliz, SF, 1B

Round 13-18 Analysis
Position Count: 20 SP, 15 OF, 13 C, 8 RP, 7 1B, 4 2B, 4 SS, 1 3B
Two things stand out prominently in this later round segment. First, there was only one 3B taken off the board (note: some others may be eligible at 3B, but I'm going by where they were drafted at in this mock). The hot corner has decent top-end depth this year, but the backend is light, and only Colorado's Garret Atkins was deemed worthy here. Secondly, 13 catchers found homes in Rounds 13-18 as owners will be likely to take care of the second catcher hole with any full-time able body left.

As mentioned in the early round analysis, there are some high-upside young arms to get in this area of the draft. This group is represented by the likes of Scott Kazmir, Matt Cain, Ervin Santana and Joe Blanton. And because pitching depth is so deep, you are going to be able to attain a quality veteran here, if so desired. In this draft, Javier Vazquez, Curt Schilling, Mark Mulder and C.C. Sabathia were some of the established starters to drop.

19-1 Scot Shields, LAA, RP 20-1 Craig Hansen, Bos, RP 21-1 Aaron Harang, Cin, SP
19-2 Mark Ellis, Oak, 2B 20-2 Matt Clement, Bos, SP 21-2 Nick Johnson, Was, 1B
19-3 J.J. Hardy, Mil, SS 20-3 B. McCarthy, ChW, SP 21-3 Jeremy Hermida, Fla, OF
19-4 B. Wilkerson, Tex, OF 20-4 R. Zimmerman, Was, 3B 21-4 Brad Penny, LAD, SP
19-5 David Eckstein, StL, SS 20-5 Raul Ibanez, Sea, OF 21-5 David DeJesus, KC, OF
19-6 Fr. Liriano, Min, SP 20-6 Milton Bradley, Oak, OF 21-6 Tim Wakefield, Bos, SP
19-7 Chris Capuano, Mil, SP 20-7 Jay Gibbons, Bal, OF 21-7 Y. Torrealba, Col, C
19-8 Esteban Loaiza, Oak, SP 20-8 Mike Mussina, NYY, SP 21-8 Scott Linebrink, SD, RP
19-9 Oliver Perez, Pit, SP 20-9 Chris Young, SD, SP 21-9 Josh Willingham, Fla, C
19-10 B. Clark, Mil, OF 20-10 Anthony Reyes, StL, SP 21-10 C. Granderson, Det, OF
19-11 Brian McCann, Atl, C 20-11 Derek Lowe, LAD, SP 21-11 Austin Kearns, Cin, OF
19-12 Orlando Hudson, Ari, 2B 20-12 Mike Cameron, SD, OF 21-12 David Dellucci, Tex, OF
22-1 Dmitri Young, Det, 1B 23-1 Kenny Lofton, LAD, OF
22-2 Wily Mo Pena, Cin, OF 23-2 Kelvim Escobar, LAA, SP
22-3 Odalis Perez, LAD, SP 23-3 Frank Thomas, Oak, UT
22-4 Lew Ford, Min, OF 23-4 Adam Eaton, Tex, SP
22-5 Paul Byrd, Cle, SP 23-5 Jake Westbrook, Cle, SP
22-6 Jarrod Washburn, Sea, SP 23-6 Jeff Weaver, LAD, SP
22-7 Erik Bedard, Bal, SP 23-7 Luis A. Gonzalez, Col, 2B
22-8 Mike Lowell, Bos, 3B 23-8 Brandon Inge, Det, 3B
22-9 Cory Sullivan, Col, OF 23-9 Tom Glavine, NYM, SP
22-10 Greg Maddux, ChC, SP 23-10 Kenny Rogers, Det, SP
22-11 Jeromy Burnitz, Pit, OF 23-11 John Thomson, Atl, SP
22-12 Juan Rincon, Min, RP 23-12 Toby Hall, TB, C

Round 19-23 Analysis
Position Count: 25 SP, 16 OF, 4 RP, 4 C, 3 2B, 3 3B, 2 1B, 2 SS, 1 UT
To quote Jim Morrison, "This is the end." At this point, the emphasis on the selection process comes down to filling roster needs and looking for high-ceiling guys that, if they don't pan out, the cost of their draft pick isn't going to be hurt the team too bad. Because pitching and outfield comprise the most roster spots, they'll dominate this section, and that's a good thing because the depth at each is solid -- pitching more so, but a few good outfielders can be had. The pool of likely closers dried up in the previous rounds, so the four relief pitchers taken in these final rounds represent the top shelf of middle relievers. It appears that there are about a half dozen middlemen worthy of a roster spot as it stands now, with Scott Linebrink, Scot Shields and Juan Rincon the clear-cut cream of the crop.