Fantasy Baseball 2014: Mock Draft Review; Rounds 6-10

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Well, that was fun.

The first five rounds of my mock were chalk-full of information, and to be honest, I enjoyed every second of writing it up. Luckily, drafts are longer than five rounds, so more writing for me, more reading for you.

We have a great relationship, no?

Round 6

Pick

Player

Position

Team

6.01 Hunter Pence OF Giants
6.02 Matt Carpenter 2B Cardinals
6.03 Kyle Seager 3B Mariners
6.04 Kenley Jansen RP Dodgers
6.05 Ben Zobrist 2B Rays
6.06 Allen Craig 1B/OF Cardinals
6.07 Jean Segura SS Brewers
6.08 Joe Mauer C/1B Twins
*6.09 Carlos Santana C/DH Indians
6.10 Matt Kemp OF Dodgers
6.11 Anibal Sanchez SP Tigers
6.12 Greg Holland RP Royals

 

Overview: Two relief pitchers in round six kind of makes me want to throw up, but I guess the owners say the other two closers go early and were scared. You’ll never see me draft a closer this early, but hey, everyone is different. I also wasn’t a huge fan of the Kyle Seager pick, simply because after the top tier crop of third basemen, you are pretty much taking a shot in the dark. Besides, Seager’s current ADP is around pick 110, so I think he still would have been there at the turn. Not to mention, there were still plenty of high upside guys available such as Manny Machado (pair with another due to injury) and Nolan Arenado, who could be grabbed way later.

I also think that, for where he was taken, Matt Kemp serves as pretty decent value. He probably won’t be ready for the season, but there’s no doubt that when healthy, this guy is a top-10 talent in the league. He’ll bat in a favorable spot in a premiere lineup, so RBI and runs will be there. Not to mention, he is one of the few power hitters that can contribute in steals, too.

My Pick: I owned Carlos Santana last year, and was very pleased with the production out of him. So when I still saw him on the board towards the back end of round six, I was thrilled. Here’s a guy who has 20-plus home run power just waiting to be brought to fruition, but has also increased on his contact rate in each of the last two seasons. The Indians will likely move him to a DH role, but haven’t thrown out the idea of him at third base, seeing as he’s seen some time there over the course of his career. The array of eligible positions you can use him in is terrific for fantasy, and if he’s moved to DH, less injury concerns arise, too.

Round 7

Pick

Player

Position

Team

7.01 Mike Minor SP Braves
7.02 Starlin Castro SS Cubs
7.03 Jason Heyward OF Braves
7.04 Matt Holliday OF Cardinals
7.05 Cole Hamels SP Phillies
7.06 Wil Myers OF Rays
7.07 Mark Trumbo 1B/OF Diamondbacks
7.08 Gerrit Cole SP Pirates
7.09 Homer Bailey SP Reds
7.10 Mat Latos SP Reds
7.11 James Shields SP Royals
7.12 Matt Cain SP Giants

 

Overview: All the pitchers. That pretty much summarizes round seven, as seven of the 12 picks were used on arms, rather than bats. A few guys are worth mentioning, in particular. Like Cole Hamles, who has been dealing with some biceps struggles, has been making “tremendous progress”, but will not be ready for Opening Day. However, I don’t mind drafting him here, as he is a top-10 pitcher in terms of talent. Will the Phillies score runs? Who knows, but when he’s on, he’s elite.

There’s also Mat Latos, who is recovering from offseason knee surgery. He has yet to be cleared to throw, but stated that he is pleased with what seems to be rapid progress. Make sure you continue to keep tabs on these arms before draft day. Other than that, not a whole lot to talk about here. Some guys value filling up their fantasy rotation relatively early, while I sit back and wait for the young arms.

My Pick: Sniped. Absolutely sniped. One pick until my turn, I had my eyes on him, and just like that, Jason Heyward was gone, out of my life again. I love Heyward, and whoever drafted him, a big “You Suck” and kudos goes out. Heyward is my biggest post hype sleeper for 2014, and I think this kid is going to be a star in this league. Injuries have held his breakout back, but the guy is healthy now, serving as a legitimate 20/20 candidate. Not to mention the Braves are planning on batting him leadoff, making for terrific RBI and run potential.

Still, I can’t be too upset in snagging a guy like Matt Holliday, who doesn’t get talked about a whole lot, but is as consistent as they come. In fact, according to ESPN, he and Miguel Cabrera are the only players in baseball to hit at least .290 with 20 home runs in each of the last eight seasons. That’s pretty darn safe to me.

Round 8

Pick

Player

Position

Team

8.01 Jonathan Lucroy C Brewers
8.02 Carlos Beltran OF Yankees
8.03 Jose Altuve 2B Astros
8.04 Aramis Ramirez 3B Brewers
8.05 Pedro Alvarez 3B Pirates
8.06 Jered Weaver SP Angels
8.07 Gio Gonzalez SP Nationals
8.08 Jayson Werth OF Nationals
*8.09 Everth Cabrera SS Padres
8.10 Masahiro Tanaka SP Yankees
8.11 Alex Gordon OF Royals
8.12 Jordan Zimmermann SP Nationals

 

Overview: I felt that Jonathan Lucroy may have been a bit of a reach, but the improvements he continues to make may say otherwise. In 2013, Lucroy continued to improve on his contact rate, driving the ball down field, rather than just hitting pop ups. He also improved on his walk rate, while cutting his strikeout rate over the past two seasons, showing growth at the plate. This allowed him to finish as a top-10 fantasy catcher last year, and should be a safe option this year. Heck, he may do even better if he can add from an impressive nine steals from a season ago.

Another highlight of the round was the foreign import everyone is talking about, Masahiro Tanaka. The new Yankee draws many comparisons to Hisashi Iwakuma, which excites fantasy owners after the year he put together in Seattle. Round eight was pretty good value for a guy being drafted on average with the 71st overall pick in ESPN leagues. If his spring debut was any indication, this kid is going to be good. Tanaka threw two scoreless innings while striking out three batters during his first outing. The guy induces a ton of groundballs and terrific control, possessing the upside to finish among the top-20 fantasy pitchers.

My Pick: I love speed, so when I noticed I still hadn’t drafted a shortstop, I decided on Everth Cabrera, who was a top-40 overall player on ESPN’s Player Rater prior to his 50-game suspension. You aren’t drafting him for his bat, but rather for his eyes and legs. Cabrera is an elite base-stealer, posting the third-most swipes (81) over the last two seasons. Meanwhile, he is sporting a 9.5 percent walk rate for his career to go along with a .355 on-base percentage. A guy capable of stealing 40 bases with that type of on-base consistency is welcome on my team any day.

Round 9

Pick

Player

Position

Team

9.01 Desmond Jennings OF Rays
9.02 Shelby Miller SP Cardinals
9.03 Kris Medlen SP Braves
*9.04 Josh Hamilton OF Angels
9.05 Hisashi Iwakuma SP Mariners
9.06 Wilin Rosario C Rockies
9.07 Aaron Hill 2B Diamondbacks
9.08 Shane Victorino OF Red Sox
9.09 Doug Fister SP Nationals
9.10 Michael Cuddyer OF Rockies
9.11 Anthony Rizzo 1B Cubs
9.12 Chase Utley 2B Phillies

 

Overview: Not going to lie, I wasn’t a fan of Desmond Jennings going with the top pick of round nine. Injuries and a platoon have had him meddling fantasy owners, and with more proven guys still on the board, I just don’t see it. However, there is still time for him to breakout, as he is only 27-years old, and he did, after all, swung at five percent fewer strikes, while boosting his walk rate last year. There’s hope, and the upside is vastly there. I just felt he could have been had at the turn, but if you like a guy, you take him. Simple as that.

But for the most part, the majority of these players were selected right around their ADP.

My Pick: I’ll be honest. I’m not even that big on Josh Hamilton. He’s slipping and is no longer the MVP caliber player of year’s past. He saw his home run totals cut in half last season to 21, while watching his slugging percentage drop a whopping 145 points. The plate discipline has hurt him, as no player in baseball has swung and missed at pitches outside the strike zone more than Hamilton’s 209 times over the last two seasons. However, I don’t have a problem with getting him about 10 picks later than his ADP, or as my third outfielder. The risk is there, but it’s not like I had to invest a whole lot into him. He is still a career .295 hitter, and the power is still there. He could turn out to be a major draft day value.

Round 10

Pick

Player

Position

Team

10.01 Trevor Rosenthal RP Cardinals
10.02 Billy Butler DH Royals
10.03 Brian McCann C Yankees
10.04 Brett Lawrie 3B Blue Jays
10.05 Manny Machado 3B Orioles
10.06 J.J. Hardy SS Orioles
10.07 Daniel Murphy 2B Mets
10.08 Domonic Brown OF Phillies
*10.09 Billy Hamilton OF Reds
10.10 Matt Adams 1B Cardinals
10.11 Will Venable OF Padres
10.12 Martin Prado 3B Diamondbacks

 

Overview: This round was all about third base for me. It features Manny Machado, a burgeoning star in this league, who was one of the best third basemen in the league last year until an ugly knee injury. You rarely see players carted off on a stretcher, so it’s a concern, for sure, but there is no denying the kind of upside he has. His 51 doubles last year was among the top-three in baseball, showing that there is more power to be had than his 14 home runs suggests. He may or may not be ready for Opening Day, forcing owners to pair him with another player just in case. But considering he was drafted a whole round later than he should have been, I love this pick.

Meanwhile, Brett Lawrie, who folks have been waiting for to have that breakout season, continues to serve as perhaps the top post-hype sleeper in fantasy. The tools and talent are there, but his sometimes reckless style of play gets him hurt, as he battled rib, ankle and oblique injuries last year. Still, he matched his home run total from 2012 (11), despite seeing 78 fewer plate appearances. This is the type of guy I’d target if I miss out on one of the elite third basemen.

My Pick: I was sniped again, as my true love was for Domonic Brown. The guy has limitless upside and elite power. 30 home runs will be in his future, for sure, However, I can’t say I was upset to settle for a guy I’m very bullish on this year in Billy Hamilton. He showed flashes during his 13 starts last season, stealing 13 bases during that span. That’s what you are looking for out of him — steals. The guy set the minor league record for steals in a season (155) in 2012. He’ll be batting leadoff in a very good lineup, and if he can consistently get on base (.429 OBP last year), 80 steals isn’t out of the question. Heck, neither is 100, for that matter. He should score plenty of runs, too.

Adam Pfeifer is a featured fantasy sports columnist for Rant Sports.

You can follow him on Twitter @aPfeiferRS.

 


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