It's only October but The Fantasy Man is already prepping for Fantasy Baseball 2009. The first order of business? A 2009 CBS Fantasy Baseball League of Champions Slow Mock Draft. Champions and Experts from all over the country who have won CBS fantasy leagues are getting a chance to participate in this mock draft with some of the CBS guru's like Eric Mack and David Gonos. Throw in Jeff Boggis from Fantasy Baseball Empire and the infamous Todd Zola from FantasyBaseball.com and you have yourself a 'helluva' mock draft!
Click this link to view the participants and to keep track of our picks as we complete the draft.http://fantasynews.sportsline.com/fantasybaseball/story/11012417
Team Fantasy ManThis draft has been a little funny with some players going off the board ridiculously early and some players you'd expect to be gone, were still there. What I like about expert leagues is that most of these guys like to take risks. Since most experts think they know all the secret information about players or they have insane "man-crushes", they like to jump on the young guys with potential much too early. Normally, The Fantasy Man drafts like that, but after this past season, I am gearing myself more towards durable and consistent players who have proven themselves. I know, that's what everyone says, but each pick I make in this draft will be a smart one with a reason behind it....I hope. Sometimes I'll say it's the potential, but most times you'll get a legit reason why, especially in the first 10 or so rounds. In most cases, there is some mix of durability or consistency in numbers year in and year out with all my picks. Then again, once you see how my pitching staff is shaping up, you can probably throw that last sentence out the window. I'm just a sucker for undervalued superstars! Just wait until you see what this pitching staff looks like when its all said and done. So here, I will keep track of this draft and my team and hopefully get you the insight you need to complete a better draft when it's your turn this spring.
The Draft is now Complete!Feel free to post your comments on my picks as some already have. Please be a little more descriptive than just "I don't agree with that pick". Give us a reason why so we can talk about it in hopes that we can all learn from this experience heading into 2009.
Round 1 - Jimmy Rollins
I had the 11th pick in the draft so with the wraparound I was confident I could take anyone. I had Ryan Braun, Ryan Howard, Prince Fielder, Jimmy Rollins, Matt Holliday, Miguel Cabrera, Josh Hamilton and David Ortiz in my queue since the beginning as the guys I thought would drop to 11th. Ryan Howard went 5th, Braun went 8th and Hamilton was picked before me. At first, my initial thought was I'd load up on power with Howard/Fielder. I thought their low batting averages would let them last into the early 2nd. i was wrong as I originally thought Rollins would already be gone by 11 as well. I was wrong again. So I decided to take Rollins as I was sitting there comparing him to Grady Sizemore Your going to get some similar numbers in BA, R, SB, and maybe RBI's. Sizemore will hit more HR but Rollins plays at a weak fantasy position this year. Plus, Sizemore was nabbed at 9th so Rllins was an easy pick. I don't expect Rollins to hit 30 HR and I think 20 will be close if he doesn't crap out like he did this year. What I really wanted was the 35-40 SB with the 120+ runs at the weak position.
Round 2 - Matt Holliday
Todd Zola went and picked Cabrera and Ian Kinsler, leaving me the opportunity to choose between Prince Fielder, Mark Teixiera, Matt Holliday and David Ortiz. I took Holliday. I felt like regardless of what happens, Tex, Fielder, and Papi could and should all easily hit 35 HR with a ton of RBI, etc. But, they all carry a little baggage. Tex always seems to slump in the 1st half, Papi is recovering from that wrist injury and has been atrocious in the playoffs at the plate, and Fielder had what we feel in fantasy circles as a down year. Holliday also had somewhat of a down year as he failed to hit 30+HR, but he still hit .320+ with 28 SB and 25 HR. He was hurt a bit, nagging injuries, and the Rockies just did not have that explosiveness this season which I think were all factors. Throw in the frustrating contract talks and I think that contributed to a down season for Holliday. Anyway, I couldn't pass up the high average with the 30+/100+/20+ potential. He won't steal 30 and even 25 might be a stretch in 2009, but if he steals 15-20 and goes 30/100 with a .320 BA, then I made the right choice.
Round 3 - Carlos Quentin
This was an all upside pick here. This dude hit 36 HR in only 480AB while only striking out 80 times and adding 7 SB. He's an OBP/OPS hog and certainly has .300+ potential. Quentin was hot all year and honestly this pick was going to be between Ichiro Suzuki and Big Papi who both were still up on the board. As it turned out, everyone though Quentin was picked in the 2nd round, but Geoffrey Precourt I guess decided he wanted Manny Ramirez instead so they reversed that pick and threw Quentin back in the draft. Since we are working off 2007 rankings (2008 not updated yet), Quentin was listed a few pages down in the rankings. So once everyone thought he was gone, nobody cared to look and notice he was still there. Lucky me I guess. So now, instead of Ichiro, I grab the big time power potential who proved he can mash, finally. The low K rate is what was attracting along with his age of course. So now, since I had more power, I was hoping to steal Ichiro with my 4th pick on the wrap around. I would have had 3 OF's already but the boost in overall numbers in BA, SB, and R with Ichiro's consistency would allow me to concentrate on more power and pitching over the next few picks.
Round 4 - David OrtizWould you know it, Ichiro was picked right after Quentin. So now I was praying that Big Papi would make it through to me in the 4th and he did. Now I had Quentin, Holliday and Ortiz as my big power guys. I'm comfortable with that but one or two more 30+ guys would be nice to grab. I certainly feel that Ortiz will bounce back this year. I mean, how can he not? I know he has a wrist injury to fully recover from but this was a no brainer for me. Ortiz is an instant .290/40/120+ guy and you'd have to be crazy to think that he won't rebound in 2009 with a full healthy year. I also realize that Manny is gone, but Papi is still a monster!
Round 5 - Russell Martin
This was an easy one as I had Joe Mauer and Martin in my queue, then I had a bunch of pitchers. I figure if these guys were gone, I'd load up on 2-3 SP's. Actually, Jon Papelbon was the first on that list of pitchers but both Papelbon and Mauer went ahead of me, so I grabbed Martin. Good solid numbers this year and was a top 36 pick last year, so I felt I was getting a great value in the late 5th for a top 3 fantasy catcher who has an opportunity to possibly hit next to Manny in the lineup. Plus, Martin is durable which played a huge part in this decision where as Mauer would have been much more risky for not much more fantasy stats.
Round 6 - Josh BeckettBeckett was really the only elite SP still on the board when I picked on the wraparound. I think the fact that he's been slightly injured these past few weeks has put this stigma around Beckett which has dropped him down in rankings these past few weeks. Oh well, lucky me I guess. Last year we were picking Beckett in the lte 3rd in some leagues. This again was another nice value and a good start to my staff. I figured I'd better start now because SP's will start flying off the board. But, guys like Curtis Granderson, Alex Rios, Chipper Jones, etc., are still on the board and it was hard not to pick these guys who also seem a bit undervalued as these are also players who were being picked in the 3rd and 4th rounds in last years draft and are still young! Plus, go and compare Matt Kemp's numbers to Alex Rios' in 2008. Not much different right? Rios is older and Kemp has a higher ceiling but look at that big difference making Rios a bit undervalued.
Round 7 - Carlos Pena
Fact is, I was all ready to take an SP like John Lackey or Dice-K but I just couldn't pass up the 40HR/120RBI potential. Sorry, call me a bonehead but here is another guy that is undervalued because of the slump he was in this year (and suffered an injury). He has serious power potential in the middle of his prime. Simply couldn't pass this up! Period! Plus, plenty of solid middle-tier SP's available for later picks. You'll see what I have up my sleeve after a few more rounds.
Round 8 - Derek Jeter
Duh. No Brainer. 3/4's of my infield is complete and I got the most consistent and most durable .300/15/75/15 hitter in the game. I simply made this pick for peace-of-mind!
Round 9 - Joba Chamberlain
Pitchers are starting to fly right now and all the elite's are gone. Next is the "soon-to-be elite's! So since I'm a Yankee homer and Joba is my new favorite role model, I couldn't pass him up here. He has electric stuff and the Yankees just this weekend said he'll "probably" be a starter in 2009, and that's good enough for me! So I made the pick and got market value. As long as he stays healthy, I made a great choice here. Then, I go to work for the day, I come home and find out Joba got arrested with a DUI. Nice job! Thanks man! ..... still my favorite role model though. He apologized right away, so I forgive him and will give Joba a second chance on my fantasy team!
Round 10 - Rich Harden
At this point, my offense was solid and I only had Beckett and Joba for a staff. My first thought was saves. With Brad Lidge gone by the end of the 8th and Bobby Jenks still on the board, my finger was on the draft button. BUT, I thought about it for a second and thought that Rich Harden also has electric stuff. When he's healthy, he's amazing and essentially I am getting another Joba Chamberlain type a round later. So assuming both Joba and Harden stay healthy, I have two amazing SP's with amazing potential in my rotation. Again, too hard to pass up. Plus, still plenty of closers I can grab in the next round.
Round 11 - Ben Sheets
So here is what I was saying in the intro. I wanted consistency and durability and my last 3 picks were Joba, Harden and Sheets! I might as well draft Mark Prior next! I didn't stay true to my word but how can Ben Sheets, after picthing 198 Ip in 2008 still be on the board at the end of the 11th round? We all know he's elite when healthy and his numbers this year were great despite a few less K's than normal. Again, I thought about a closer but the elites are gone. Now I can't wait to see what the next pick will bring....
Round 12- Aaron Harang
How could I pass up Harang here? I always like proven players who either had a down year or are coming back from injury and Harang fits the bill perfectly. He's a candidate for 200K/200IP with an ERA under 4 and a WHIP under 1.30 and that's a bit undervalued I think in round 12. Plus, now my staff is nasty looking if everyone stays healthy, which could be a long shot.
Round 13 - Jensen Lewis
I had to break down and get a closer at some point and Lewis provides enough upside for me to pick him at 13. He was lights out in September so I think he'll emerge as closer in 2009.
Round 14 - Mark Reynolds
Some might say Reynolds is a stretch but I have some solid batting average players so I went strictly for power at 3B. I don't care about the K's here or the potential bad average as I just wanted the 30+ potential HR's.
Round 15 - Jose Lopez
Did you know Lopez was fourth in the majors with 191 hits? He batted .290 with only 67 K. Lopez quietly hit 17 HR with 98 RBI and he's only 25. I need a 2B and with Rickie Weeks (I refuse to pick) and Placido Polanco left on the board as the only decent second basemen left, Lopez was an easy choice.
Round 16 - Yadier Molina
I was hoping for Bengie Molina but he was picked right in front of me. Yadier was second in the league in BA at .304 and only 29 K in 444 AB. I like guys with a low K rate and Molina is still only 26. I like his upside with potential to break out 10-15 HR.
Round 17 - Mike Lowell
Need a CI and I had Carlos Guillen, Mike Lowell and Hank Blalock qued up. Guillen lasted until the early 17th, I snapped up Lowell and Blalock went right after me. I took Lowell because I feel he'll bounce back and deliver a .280/20/90 type of season. His number were actually decent in his shortened injury-plagued season (except for his BA), so I think a healthy season could produce the above mentioned results making Lowell a somewhat safe pick here, safer than Hank Blalock who has more power potential.
Round 18 - Adam Jones
I still had 3 OF slots left and I love the upside of Jones. His numbers look like poop at first glance and that's good for those of you in need a of a nice sleeper that has a nice combo of power/speed. Jones showed in the minors that he could potentially be a 20/20 guy, so the upside is there. He's only 23 and he was absolutely terrible most of the first half, which really hampered his overall numbers. Jones was also was out for the month of August with an injury but he did heat up in June and July where he hit 5 of his 9 HR. Jones was clearly an upside pick here.
Round 19 - Michael Bourn
This one is a bit risky. Bourn clearly has 50+ SB potential but he was clearly atrocious at the plate in 2008. He did however hit .281 in September so there is some light at the end of the tunnel. If he leads off again in 2009, I'll feel like I made a good pick. Plus, I clearly need another big time SB threat as Jimmy Rollins was my only SB guy.
Round 20 - Frank Francisco
Again, the solid closers are all off the board. Francisco was solid late last year for Texas and is still young enough to have some upside. I feel like he'll start he season at closer. Otherwise, I'm looking at Kevin Gregg, Saloman Torres, Troy Percival, etc. I was actually looking at Mike Gonzalez but he was gone too.
Round 21 - Chris CarpenterEveryone knows Carpenter was a top5 SP going into the 2007 season but ended up busting up his elbow. He looked solid in his return late in 2008 and I like his chances of making a solid comeback in the rotation in 2009. Worst case scenario, he ends up as a closer. Unlikely, but I can't lose here. Carpenter as an 8th SP on this squad is insane!
Round 22 - Nelson R. Cruz
Who can ignore what Cruz did in the minors in 2008! CBS has been dubbing Cruz a "Quadruple-A" player for the last 2 years. I'd say if a guy can hit .330+ with 39 HR in AAA and then come up and hit 7 HR in 115 AB while batting .330 in the majors in September, then he's worth a look on my team in this mock draft. Again, still plenty if other serviceable OF's on the wire if Cruz craps out. However, there is .300/25+/90+ potential just oozing out here, especially with Hank Blalock testing free agency! Big time sleeper in my book!
Round 23 - Jonathan SanchezWhy is Sanchez still on the board here? probably because of his inconsitency in 2008 and the fact that the Giants stink! Still, this guy is oozing with potential the way Rickie Weeks oozes with potential, and then disappointment. Sanchez is still young, posses the potentially fantastic K/IP rate, and is yet another fantastic sleeper option for 2009!
Team Fantasy Man (As of right now!)
C - Russell Martin R5
C - Yadier Molina R16
1B - Carlos Pena R7
2B - Jose Lopez R15
3B - Mark Reynolds R14
SS - Jimmy Rollins R1
MI - Derek Jeter R8
CI - Mike Lowell R17
OF - Matt Holliday R2
OF - Carlos Quentin R3
OF - Adam Jones R18
OF - Michael Bourn R19
OF - Nelson R. Cruz R22
DH - David Ortiz R4
P - Josh Beckett R6
P - Joba Chamberlain R9
P - Rich Harden R10
P - Ben Sheets R11
P - Aaron Harang R12
P - Jensen Lewis R13
P - Frank Francisco R20
P - Chris Carpenter R21
P - Jonathan Sanchez R23