Fantasy Baseball Tumbling Dice: Slower (and tastier) than mock turtle

by Lawr Michaels, MastersBall.com on February 28, 2012 @ 09:18:34 PDT

 


Four score, and uh, no extra days ago, the first pick - Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp - was made by Rotowire's Jeff Erickson, kicking into motion the MLB.com Industry Experts Mock Slow Draft.

Atlanta Braves 3B Chipper Jones
Even Chipper warrants consideration

The whole thing started long enough ago for Ryan Braun to be plucked by Joe Sheehan as the eighth pick of the third round, a spot he would never fall to today. The draft began before Yu Darvish (round 12, pick 5) appeared for a first look, before rumors of Bryce Harper (round 15, pick 9) getting a major league shot this year surfaced, and before Yoenis Cespedes (round 19, pick 7) signed with Oakland.

And, while it would be of value to discuss individual teams and picks, since the draft is 30 total rounds - and we are only three selections into this final phase - I thought I would note some of the players selected after round 23, a point at which teams should have populated a standard roster.

So, starting with round 24, let's look at the five most intriguing selections (and also note that this is just a 13 team league, meaning it will be shallow by NFBC standards).

  • Round 24: Denard Span (#3), Chipper Jones (#6), Allen Craig (#8), Jose Tabata (#12) and, Edinson Volquez (#13). All of these late rounds define crap shoot, but, Chipper, this late? And Span, who was one of the next big things just a few years ago? Not to mention Tabata was hurt a lot of 2011, but he could still swipe 30 bases. But, my favorite of these picks is Craig, for though he is coming off knee surgery, if he can get 400 at-bats this year, will deliver some solid totals.
  • Round 25: Jason Bay (#1), Brett Anderson (#3), Francisco Liriano (#6), Domonic Brown, and J.D. Martinez (#13). Poor Jason Bay. But, how did Liriano slip so far based upon a bad Minnesota year all around? I actually took Anderson, which is a gamble, but I love both Martinez and Brown this late.
  • Round 26: Jerry Sands (#4), Alfonso Soriano (#6), Ryan Ludwick (#8), Erik Bedard (#10), and Leonys Martin (#11). Two great potential power guys in Ludwick and Soriano, each of whom could bang 20-plus taters which is a terrific value. Offset them with Sands and Martin, two young sticks with potential. Throw Bedard in the middle (if he repeats 2011, then again serious value) and again, lots of potential point producers so late.
  • Round 27: Ryan Vogelsong (#1), Sergio Romo (#2), A.J. Burnett (#5), Jeff Niemann (#6), and Carlos Zambrano (#12). I think this is actually the most intriguing round of all. I am not any more set on Vogelsong coming close to repeating his 2011 numbers than my draft mates, but based upon his good 2011, hard to figure how the Giant could fall below Liriano, for example? Likewise, Burnett and Zambrano could pay off well here, but should they flame, the investment is so small it is benign. But what is it about Niemann that folks don't like? Should have snatched him up sooner. And, I have to say that Zach Steinhorn nabbing Sergio Romo just when I had him queued killed me. In case you did not notice, Romo, who has the best slider in the National League, put up Eckersley-type numbers the last two years, and he should get the ball if Brian Wilson needs a break.
  • Round 28: James Loney (#2), Nyjer Morgan (#6), Fautino De Los Santos (#9), James McDonald (#11), Phil Hughes (#12). A starting first sacker, in Loney, at pick #354? I grabbed McDonald, a personal fave, and Hughes on a comeback could be a fine value, as Yankee players always seem to hold their own. Morgan clearly provides some speed possibilities, but with the Oakland closing gig up in the air, the hard throwing De Los Santos could be the real sleeper here.
  • Round 29: Raul Ibanez (#2), Vinnie Pestano (#6), Jacob Turner (#8), Josh Collmenter (#9), and Drew Pomeranz (#12). Ibanez, now a Yankee, could pop 20 homers in the House that Ruth Built Redux. And, the troika of Turner, Collmenter, and Pomeranz are all really fun picks. But, Pestano, who looks like the Tribe closer, was a steal. He was even before Chris Perez got hurt, just like Romo, his NL equivalent.

There is something liberating about making those late round picks: something that suggests we all agree these guys are gambles, and hopeful point serendipities. And, with that lack of pressure - for taking a chance on a guy like Liriano this late does not seem like much of a gamble - the fun part of fantasy baseball gets some emphasis.

There is also something odd about a draft taking this long. For, if most mocks make us feel the pressure of making a pick in 90 seconds, having a day to make a selection can be even more disconcerting. Either way, the exercise is a good one.

By the way, Mastersball mate Zach Steinhorn - who also writes for MLB.com, opines about his late picks in the draft on his Sunday piece, Bargain Hunting.

Hey, now you can get me on Twitter @lawrmichaels!

You can also subscribe now to the Mastersball Platinum Package, and get the edge that has led to three Tout Wars titles, eight NFBC crowns, two Scoresheet Championship teams, a KFFL title, and a Fantasy Pro 911 title over the last three years. Go to the Platinum Page for further information.

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About Lawr Michaels, MastersBall.com

Lawr Michaels has been a player in the fantasy baseball industry since he began writing for John Benson in 1993. He has written for STATS, Inc, was the first fantasy columnist for CBS Sportsline, and has appeared in numerous journals and on websites. In 1996, he founded CREATiVESPORTS, a staple for serious fantasy players, which he merged into Mastersball in 2010.

Over the years, Lawr has participated in a wide variety of playing formats and won numerous titles, including AL Tout Wars crowns in 2001 and 2009. Along with his Mastersball duties, Lawr works for MLB.com as a statistician.

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