3.13 Todd - Chris Sale: Very happy to take my second rated pitcher as the eighth arm off the board.
3.14 Dan - Craig Kimbrel: Only because of the timing of this mock and the uncertainty of other closers this early in the year.
3.15 Tim H - Shin-Soo Choo: Don't really care where this category stuffer ends up this offseason. (Would greatly appreciate Cincinnati keeping him around, though.)
Don: There were 36 hitters taken in the three rounds. Arguably, the following players were among the top 25 offensive producers in a 5x5 format this year -- Hunter Pence, Michael Cuddyer, David Ortiz, Jayson Werth, Alfonso Soriano and Matt Holliday. None of them were chosen, but they do have something in common ... they're all in their 30s.
Todd: Could this finally be the year that pitching deservedly is drafted earlier?
Where would you take Albert Pujols?
Bogaerts: not a popular pick?
Nick: Wherever I'm willing, I wouldn't expect to end up with Pujols. I'm more concerned because he didn't have surgery. That body has taken too much abuse.
Dan: I won't take Pujols. We keep an Oldsmobile around because it's ours and has been for years. We're attached. Pujols is that Oldsmobile without the attachment.
Perry: I would take Pujols at a point in the draft where I was swinging for upside -- not counting on him to be a foundation but a possible contributor assuming the rest helps him mentally and physically (obviously the price/position could go up dramatically next spring if he is "hitting like Albert").
Tim H: If Albert falls to, say, Round 4 in a 12-teamer, I'd give it a shot, but I wouldn't go any sooner than that, and at 1B, there are plenty of better upside plays. Even though I think he can reach 30 homers again, picking him feels like settling.
Lawr: Probably take Albert Rounds 7-9, along with the other first basemen who have .280-17-80 potential. Which is most. Would I take Brandon Moss before him? I know rhetorical, but, who had a better year?
Tony: I am probably a bit more bullish on Pujols, but truly only "a bit." Although he is not getting surgery and starting from scratch (which by the way, agree with a previous comment made), I do think there is good rebound potential for next year. Can he return to even 80-90% of his once elite value? Highly doubtful. But, I could envision another 30 HR, 100 RBI season after he presumably rehabs well this offseason. I would probably take a shot at him anywhere after approximately the 40th spot in the draft and be comfortable assuming the risk of a 2013 Josh Hamilton-esque season.
Which of the following would you draft first: Xander Bogaerts, Billy Hamilton or Oscar Taveras?
Nick: I'd draft Bogaerts most confidently -- great skill set -- but Hamilton could easily be the biggest money earner. I have my doubts about whether Taveras will have a sizable impact given that Matt Adams will probably man first and Allen Craig will probably play in the outfield, replacing the departing Carlos Beltran. There are too many unknowns regarding Taveras' situation -- if you draft now, he'd be a probable steal because of the upside, but by the time ST is underway and he's tearing it up, he may be overvalued.
Dan: This time of year, I stay away from Taveras, partially because the Cards could load up and Taveras could repeat at Triple-A, partially because I have a hard time spelling his name.
Bogaerts is the only player in MLB history who has a name starting with "X" who isn't named Xavier. ... What was the question again?
Hamilton is the only player in fantasy history whose owners are just as happy not seeing his name in the lineup. He's so fast that he can turn out the bedroom lights and be in bed before the light goes out. ... Not because of his quickness, he bought "The Clapper."
Perry: Who has a job and who is back polishing their bat in Triple-A? I think Taveras is most likely that guy while Hamilton is more likely roaming the outfield and base paths in the Queen City. Bogaerts is the most likely to have a job on opening day but I would take Hamilton ahead of him if both were in The Show.
Tim H: Taveras will be up sometime around the summer if a spot opens up. He'll probably need to get his footing under him again after rehab. Give me Hamilton's category dominance over Bogaerts, whom I don't think will be necessarily good in any column yet. When I start considering these two, I'd want the most ready commodity to contribute somewhere. Hamilton, even in part-time work, will be worth it in the middle to late rounds. Talent finds at-bats, after all.
Lawr: Taveras, I suspect, because I think he is the closest to being able to do it all.
Tony: My vote would be to select Hamilton. Anyone who can steal two bases on pitchouts -- albeit, against the Triple-A Astros -- possesses an exorbitant speed skill in the same conversation with Rickey Henderson and Lou Brock. Regardless of whether Choo re-signs with the Red Legs or not, I think Hamilton finds his way into a role next year and obviously has enormous fantasy upside. The Cardinals have such a talented system and I need to see the playing time implications on Taveras before I believe he's worth a selection over Hamilton.
Todd: I agree with Lawr with respect to Taveras and his skill set. If he's on the Cards opening day roster and starting I may take a shot. I may be in the minority, but I'm not jumping on the Hamilton bandwagon. Goofy as this may seem, I don't think you need a player swiping 70-100 bases to win. So if Taveras is in the minors, Bogaerts would be my guy.
Focusing primarily on the science of player valuation and game theory starting in 1997, Todd Zola and Mastersball carved out an important niche in the fantasy industry. In 2006, Todd became the Research Director for fantasybaseball.com, and in 2009, he relaunched Mastersball and is now a managing partner.
Todd competes in Tout Wars and the XFL, and has been a multiple-time league champion in the National Fantasy Baseball Championship. He has been a contributor to the fantasy content at MLB.com and SI.com, is a frequent guest on Sirius/XM and Blog Talk Radio and is an annual speaker at the spring and fall First Pitch Forum symposiums.