Let’s pick up where we left off yesterday. I went into the draft with a supremely flawed, half-formed list, so—for as many value picks as I could find littered on the draft board—I know my team was composed of many a reach. Part of that is a symptom of expert drafts (if you choose to label it as such); I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who found himself paranoid that a favorite on my list would be snagged well before his ADP, which is partly why I ended up—blinded by his upside—with Lorenzo Cain in the 13th round (Round 13, Pick 5). Where did you guys jump the gun, or see a considerable reach?
The first pick in the draft that I thought was a bit of a reach was Starlin Castro (3.11). Whether you agree with me likely hinges on whether you think Castro can and will take a step forward in 2013. Personally, I think we’ve already seen what Castro is. Without a substantial evolution to his overall approach, and barring an unforeseen power surge, I think Castro’s warts tightly cap his ceiling.
My biggest reach was Shin-Soo Choo at (6.1). He is coming off back-to-back down years that have been mired with injuries and off the field issues. But he has a fresh start in Cincinnati and will also be a free agent at the end of the season. He will have a lot on his plate as he moves to center field, so this was a reach taking him before players such as Chase Headley, Alex Gordon and Brandon Phillips who were drafted later in the round.
Karl de Vries
Is Adam Jones a true 5×5 monster? That’s a question that might not be fully answered until at least the 2014 draft, making my Pacman pick in the third round a bit iffy. I take solace knowing that Jones—now entering his magical age-27 year—posted his best season in 2012, setting career highs in home runs, runs, stolen bases and batting average, and he should provide help in all categories. But on my team, he’d be expected to carry the water of a No. 1 outfielder at that price—the kind of guy who can guarantee 30 homers, 100 RBIs, 20 steals, etc. There’s reason to believe Jones can blossom into an Andrew McCutchen-type player as soon as this year, but he’s still a guy who posts an abysmal walk rate and strikes out too often every year. Such a pick banks heavily on Jones taking yet another step forward, a concerning variable for what should be a slam-dunk decision.
For me, Carlos Santana (3.3) as the second catcher off the board was a bit of a stretch. Santana’s 3.6 percent dip in strikeout rate last season was a good sign, but other than that, there just isn’t much evidence that a true breakout is coming. This being a two-catcher league does justify taking catchers earlier, but for reference, Joe Mauer and Yadier Molina were selected in the fifth round and Matt Wieters and Victor Martinez left the board in the ninth (not that anyone could foresee this). Santana has upside, but taking him this early really limits profit potential.
I think that’s the single most important concept when filling out re-draft rosters, Jesse. There’s such a fine balance between filling your upside quota and cushioning yourself with unsexy, consistent talent. I would be thrilled—in any keeper league—to have Starling Marte (16.8), Mike Minor (18.8), Tyler Skaggs (25.5), and the aforementioned Cain (13.5) on the same roster. And while that group packs a ton of untapped, unseen potential, I passed up, just by way of example, the more proven bunch of Mike Morse (17.4), Shaun Marcum (21.2), Jaime Garcia (26.2), and Brett Gardner (14.5). Some might call that reckless gambling.
Karl de Vries
Paying for last year’s performance can be just as reckless. Take my selection of Buster Posey (2.3) in the 15th slot overall. Yes, it’s a two-catcher league, so I can be forgiven for wanting an anchor there. But it’s a bit of a panic move with five-category heavyweights like David Wright and Justin Upton remaining on the board. There are only so many elite-level catchers out there, sure, but the position is as deep today as it’s been in years, and his position dictates that he’ll be more vulnerable to injury and days off. Dual eligibility at first base will help, but still, this is a guy who will contribute nothing toward steal totals and be hard-pressed to replicate the .368 BABIP that helped make his batting title possible last year.
For me, Carlos Santana (3.3) as the second catcher off the board was a bit of a stretch. Santana’s 3.6 percent dip in strikeout rate last season was a good sign, but other than that, there just isn’t much evidence that a true breakout is coming. This being a two-catcher league does justify taking catchers earlier; still, for reference, Joe Mauer and Yadier Molina were selected in the fifth round and Matt Wieters and Victor Martinez left the board in the ninth (not that anyone could foresee this). Santana has upside, but taking him this early really limits profit potential.
In your everyday draft, I typically have no problem identifying slews of poor selections. This isn’t your everyday draft though, so very few picks jump out to me as obvious mistakes. Take my biggest potential reach, Aroldis Chapman (9.2), a classic risk/reward pick. The first 10 rounds may not be the best time to take the gamble, and a few mitigating factors (including the reports of decreased velocity and the inevitable innings limit) make it questionable; but he has ace upside, and this pick—perhaps a reach, but certainly defensible—is a carefully calculated risk.
I’ll throw out my selection of Cliff Lee (4.1) as a possible reach, given his pedestrian 2012. But even that can be defended; I believe he is due to bounce back along with the rest of the Phillies team. Lee is capable of being one of the most dominant fantasy pitchers in the league, but I recognize that I possibly could have waited another two rounds to grab him.
“Obvious lesson number whatever”: there’s no use in trying to predict the behavior of your draft mate. If you have some trend you identified in a league mate, certainly don’t ignore it; but if you’re blind as I am, trust your gut, and study those average draft positions (even “expert only” ones, as Mock Draft Central offers). It’s the closest you can find to peeking into the average mind. Let’s reconvene tomorrow.