Monday, February 8, 2010

Mock draft. February 09, 2010.

Fantasy baseball season is upon us! And prepping always helps. It doesn't matter if you're a wide-eyed rookie or a seasoned vet; if you have a general sense of how the draft will play out, you're at an advantage. I usually take six to eight hours out of one day per season and dedicate it to drafting a blueprint, going over the draft several times (three or more), and roughly etching out the details of each round (for example, I lay it out on a chart. Picks 1-12: what I expect to get, who I expect to be there, specific targets, complementary numbers. Then I do the same for picks 13-24. And so on).

During a mock draft, get used to jumping to the next pick instantly after you've made your selection. It's similar to basketball -- you take your shot and regardless of the outcome, all at once, you divert your attention to the next play, be it crashing the boards for an offensive rebound or heading back on D.

Here's what's scribbled on my pad:

NFBC (National Fantasy Baseball Championship) Format - 15 teams, 23 picks per

R1 P6 - Straight-forward decision: Braun or teammate Fielder.

R2 P10 - Missed out on Reyes. Add some speed w. Upton. Go 1B next pick.

R3 P6 - Happy to snag Youkilis. All-round goodness. Safe floor. More reliable than Berkman (who I'm a proponent of) and Sandoval would feel like a reach here.

R4 P10 - Approaching pick, OF on my mind (see: settings. It's deep).
-Berkman/Granderson/Abreu. Grand over Berkman hurt my soul, but play the settings accordingly.

R5 P6 - How do you *not* gamble w. Manny in the fifth? He's been a professional hitter throughout his entire career. Has he lost it? Is the drop-off a reality? We'll find out. Delighted w. the value regardless.
- Manny over Lester, Carlos Lee.
- Difficult format to time rotation building.

R6 P10 - Could use Hunter's speed if he falls to me. And he does. No faith in Carp.
- Filling up 4/5 OF spots @ this juncture ... I'm thrilled.

R7 P6 - Landed Beckett here (over Nolasco, Hamels, Gallardo). Pleased.

R8 P10 - Had Jose Lopez penciled in, queued ... but upon quick glance @ Alexei Ramirez's player page, feelings for Lopez aborted. Adds speed, SS dimension.

R9 P6 - Dilemma: Jose Lopez, Lackey, Lilly. Went with Lopez simply because, scrolling down, MI options were uninspiring. Not completely sold on Lackey for '10.

R10 P10 - Perennially-consistent arm, Lilly, still available. Easy click.

R11 P6 - Franklin snagged the pick before me. Consideration: Franklin, Montero, Napoli.

R12 P10 - Could use a little more speed. Early targets - Beltre (CI) or Weeks (MI).
- Beltre. A-Cab, O-Cab, Weeks still available; could afford to wait on MI.

R13 P6 - Not completely sold on Dempster, Floyd coming into '10. DLR a toss-up, too.
- Looking forward, SPs unimpressive.
- Gavin Floyd flashed signs of absolute brilliance last season. Frankly, satisfied w. selection.

R14 P10 - Ryan Doumit. Considered DLR here but Coors (pitchers ... erm, not trying to make an alcohol-referenced joke here) always drives fear in me. Plus, Sanchez (SF) available later on.

R15 P6 - Kerry Wood was taken w. under 9 seconds left on the clock. A hurried pick. I spent so much time fighting myself on DLR/Niemann/Slowey at this spot, the clock forced my hand. Needed a closer so this pick worked out, came out much better than initial closer who caught my eye, Capps.

R16 P10 - Slowey highlighted, Sanchez of SF selected. Either was suffice.
- Sanchez: Favorable park tempting. If he catches your eye, those favorable park conditions will be your weakness. Trust me on this.

R17 P6 - LaRoche fills my Util. In roto, never sweat streaks if the player in question is even halfway proven. The numbers will be there.
- Playing for contract in 2010.

R18 P10 - Solidify speed cat w. Fowler. A steal, in my mind. No pun intended.

R19 P6 - Matt Thornton contributes outstanding ratios as a middle reliever. You need a few of these guys on your roto roster to alleviate the damage of less-than-elite closers. Otherwise, you won't sleep well. Trust the guy who generally refrains from nabbing a closer in the first 11 or 12 picks. Not fun. Long nights. Hard drinks.

- Thornton has the ability to close.

R20 P10 - Dotel is slated to close for the Bucs. Alternative options (for them) underwhelming.

R21 P6 - Gregg. Three-way battle in T.O. Bringing him in showed they lack confidence in Downs, Frasor. Downs goes Frasor.

R22 P10 - Kaz Matsui should rebound with a healthy Berkman, an emerging Pence (I say this every year), Lee and Bourn. Threat on the bases. Fowler can now split bench time w. a masher reserve ... of course, "masher" used loosely when you're 22 deep. The 'Stros ranked ninth in the league in steals so taking a flier on him this late to fill a MI spot was an effortless decision, really.

R23 P6 - Latos or Volquez were considered here. Went with Latos 'cause everyone's been hyping the kid. Not that he'll be a stud this year, but he has the potential to be a truly productive player.

Let me preface this by saying I rarely come out of a draft even 80% confident with my virtual imaginary roster. Overall, though, truthfully I don't think I could have come out better here. Maybe it's the nine trophies captured last season in as many leagues talking (doubt it), but I really, really like this assembled team. It features a few of my favorites, of course, but in a 5x5 15-teamer, I feel this team would be a lock for a top 3 finish. It has to work the wire for saves, though. Add a couple of reliable MRs to keep the ratios competitive. Unfortunately they cut the 7 additional spots that would have been reserved for a bench.

Know your format and settings. If your league emphasizes heavily on outfielders, likewise to this one, be prepared to target outfielders at times when you otherwise wouldn't. Hypothetically, an outfielder could become more valuable than an infielder despite what the stats say.

I won the Roto Arcade Pro-Am last season playing this setting. It was intriguing, definitely a worthwhile experience. I fully endorse this kind of setting. If you have the patience, you'll be rewarded handsomely.

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