KFFL Editors Nick Minnix and Ryan Dodson took part in a mock draft Tuesday, Feb. 13, and we thought we would break down how it went. The draft was a live draft with 45 seconds between picks. There were 15 teams and 23 rounds, with no bench slots. We needed two catchers, one each at first base, second base, third base, shortstop, corner infielder, middle infielder and utility; five outfielders and nine pitchers were also required. KFFL had pick No. 13.
The following companies took part: FantasyBaseball.com, Mock Draft Central, Insider Baseball - Fantistics, Fantasy Sports Magazine, SportsBlurb, Fanball, RotoWire, RotoWorld, Yahoo! Sports, Sporting News, Baseball HQ, Sports Illustrated, Talented Mr. Roto and Creative Sports.
Below is the compilation of who KFFL drafted.
We really wanted Cleveland Indians outfielder Grady Sizemore when we selected at pick No. 13, but we couldn't pass on New York Mets third baseman David Wright. However, Sizemore went at No. 15, and we took Boston Red Sox outfielder Manny Ramirez at 18. He has been undervalued all offseason, and we took him at a feasible spot. We were a bit surprised Indians catcher Victor Martinez was still on the board after Minnesota Twins catcher Joe Mauer went 16 picks before we took V-Mart. We were even more surprised to grab Los Angeles Angels closer Francisco Rodriguez at pick 4:3, when Twins closer Joe Nathan went seven picks earlier. Starting pitchers with No. 1 production were really starting to fade, and we took Tampa Bay Devil Rays ace Scott Kazmir at pick No. 73. Altogether, we were pleased with our first five selections. They were safe picks and valued appropriately.
We took Boston Red Sox shortstop Julio Lugo in the sixth round and originally planned to use him at second base. With his average draft pick being a few picks higher, we liked the value. The really good value came when we nabbed Oakland Athletics 1B/OF Nick Swisher for our first baseman. There wasn't a lot left at first, and Pittsburgh Pirates first baseman Adam LaRoche, who was selected right after Swisher, was the next best. Getting Swisher there was great. Colorado Rockies outfielder Willy Taveras went right before we could select him in the eighth round, so we went with Los Angeles Dodgers second baseman Jeff Kent to fill our second base slot. At the end of the ninth round, we landed underrated Milwaukee Brewers starter Chris Capuano as our No. 2 starter. He was taken roughly 15 picks later than average. You can see that some owners here were getting too cute with their picks and reaching for potential, while we stuck with sure picks. We took Cincinnati Reds outfielder Ryan Freel in the 10th round to make up for the steals we weren't able to select in the previous round.
These were the rounds you really started noticing the gaps between experience and fanfare. Seattle Mariners outfielder Raul Ibanez's statline last year was: .289-33-123-103 on a bad team. He's not likely to repeat that, but to get him 46 picks after his average draft selection was huge. We saw him on the board for a few rounds and thought briefly about taking him, but the wait paid off. We selected Reds starter Bronson Arroyo 15 picks after his average position in the 12th round to be our No. 3 starter. Rockies outfielder Brad Hawpe, a big-time sleeper last year that most are quiet on, fell to us 30 picks lower than his average position. At this point, we felt we needed a closer because the crop was getting extremely thin, so we took closers with our next two picks. Florida Marlins stopper Taylor Tankersley (whom Dodson picked to be Rookie of the Year this year) and Tampa Bay Devil Rays closer Seth McClung, who showed flashes in his late-season closing stint, were the next best choices.
We saw Washington Nationals first baseman Nick Johnson (leg) available to play corner infield, fully knowing about his broken leg. This was before he came out last week and said he may not play until June. We took him 62 picks after his average draft position. Looking back at it now, we probably should have taken Kansas City Royals first baseman Ryan Shealy. However, 62 picks after his average selection evens it out a bit. Atlanta Braves starter Tim Hudson was available at pick No. 253. He was absolutely brutal last season, but this was a risk we felt was low and had high potential. He has resumed his offseason workouts that he underwent with Oakland, and there is zero buzz on him. This wasn't a popular choice within the draft, and some went as far to criticize the selection. Well, we feel he's going to rebound, especially with the elite bullpen behind him now. St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Jim Edmonds was staring at us 33 picks after his average position, and we took him as our final outfielder. At pick No. 283, we were surprised to see a pitcher that averaged 16 wins over the last three seasons. Nonetheless, we took Detroit Tigers starter Kenny Rogers in a no-risk situation. We followed him up with Indians sophomore starter that we predict big things from, Jeremy Sowers, 15 picks after his average draft slot.
In these final three rounds, with 15 teams in this draft, there was very little left that was desirable. However, Chicago Cubs outfielder Matt Murton was there for our utility spot. He's a player that can hit close to 25 homers and steal close to 20 bags with an average in the .280 range. There were two rounds to go and we needed a catcher as well as a middle infielder. We brainstormed as to which position we'd be able to fill in the last round. We wanted Rockies catcher Javy Lopez and thought we could get him in the last round. We took Mariners designated hitter Jose Vidro to play the middle infield slot. Lopez was gone and so was nearly every other catcher that would get significant playing time. We decided to take Angels catcher Jeff Mathis, who could see a good chunk of the catching duties with a hot spring. This wasn't ideal, but with three picks left in the entire draft, we were inclined to do so.
This draft summed up the trends that are taking place in fantasy baseball today. Rookies and younger players have dominated the past few seasons. However, there is a lot of risk involved in selecting young players. We stuck to our plan of drafting for value and proven production. That's what we ended up with - a good valued, proven fantasy roster.
View the draft details here.
Dodson is a KFFL Contributor and has been with KFFL since 2002.