Mock Draft: 2009 Rotoworld Mock Draft

Last week, I participated in the 2009 Rotoworld Mock Draft, the full results of which will be featured in their annual draft guide along with some analysis from our friend Nate Stephens. Today, though, I’d like to talk a little about my strategy for the draft and go over some of the more important/interesting picks.

My team

| POS | PLAYER             | ROUND |
| C   | Dioner Navarro     | R18   |
| C   | Kenji Johjima      | R21   |
| 1B  | Carlos Pena        | R7    |
| 2B  | Brian Roberts      | R4    |
| 3B  | Edwin Encarnacion  | R11   |
| SS  | Miguel Tejada      | R10   |
| MI  | Robinson Cano      | R8    |
| CI  | James Loney        | R12   |
| OF  | Matt Holliday      | R1    |
| OF  | Ichiro Suzuki      | R2    |
| OF  | Vladimir Guerrero  | R3    |
| OF  | Curtis Granderson  | R5    |
| OF  | Ryan Ludwick       | R9    |
| UT  | Billy Butler       | R17   |
| SP  | Dan Haren          | R6    |
| SP  | Brett Myers        | R13   |
| SP  | Scott Baker        | R14   |
| SP  | Kevin Slowey       | R15   |
| SP  | Jonathan Sanchez   | R16   |
| SP  | Manny Parra        | R22   |
| RP  | Joey Devine        | R19   |
| RP  | Trevor Hoffman     | R20   |
| RP  | Dan Wheeler        | R23   |

Above, you’ll notice the team that I drafted. Without divulging too many of the details, in this particular mock draft, I sort of had two main objectives: to try out pieces of new strategies and to gather information (in various forms). Parts of the strategy I employed didn’t quite go as I planned, but that’s the purpose of a mock draft—to try these things out before you hold the drafts that mean something. I very much doubt I’ll end up drafting a real team that resembles this one too much, though there are some players in there that a really like, and I think the team as a whole could be competitive.

Interesting picks

Here are the picks that I found to be particularly interesting for one reason or another:
Pick No. 1: Hanley Ramirez
Pick No. 7: Ian Kinsler
Pick No. 8: Grady Sizemore
R2, Pick 5: Chase Utley
R3, Pick 5: Dustin Pedroia
Round 3: Jacoby Ellsbury
Round 4: Shane Victorino
Round 4: Rafael Furcal
Round 4: Alexei Ramirez
Round 5: Troy Tulowitzki
Round 6: Francisco Liriano
Round 7: Jay Bruce
Round 8: Chris Davis
Round 8: Chris Iannetta
Round 9: Ryan Ludwick
Round 10: Cliff Lee
Round 10: Matt Wieters
Round 11: David Price
Round 11: Khalil Greene
Round 13: Max Scherzer
Round 14: Denard Span
Round 15: Jose Arredondo
Round 15: Nelson Cruz
Round 15: Rickie Weeks
Round 16: Mike Napoli
Round 18: Taylor Teagarden
Round 21: Joe Saunders
Round 22: George Sherrill

There doesn’t quite seem to be a consensus number one pick yet, but it may well end up being Hanley. I’ve mentioned it before in chats and in The Hardball Times Annual, and I’ll be sure to do a full post on him later in the offseason, but I don’t agree with this at all. I don’t believe Hanley should be taken number one, but I’m glad to see others taking him there. Other first round surprises included Ian Kinsler (who I wouldn’t take in the first round) and Grady Sizemore (who seems to be going here relatively frequently and who I could see taking in certain circumstances).

I was very interested to see how far Chase Utley would fall, and he lasted until the middle of the second round. If Utley ends up missing even a month of time, I don’t think he’ll be able to return this kind of value. I’d much prefer the guy taken exactly one round later, Mr. Pedroia (who I covered in detail here), if I’m taking a second baseman in that spot.

Speed seemed to be in high demand early with Ellsbury going in round three, and Victorino and Furcal going in round four. Middle infielders also seemed to be in demand with Furcal and Alexei Ramirez going in round four and Tulowitzki in round five. It’s amazing how a guy who turned in a disappointing 2008 is being taken higher than he was last year. I can’t justify this pick unless you’re employing a high-risk strategy. The other picks all seemed pretty aggressive as well.

I was hoping Liriano would be one of the guys to last into the early teen rounds this year, but it doesn’t appear that will be the case.

Youngsters Bruce, Davis, and Iannetta all went in rounds seven and eight. Iannetta was another guy I was hoping would last until round 11 or 12, but maybe he won’t. I’m not as big on Davis as many people are, and I’d absolutely prefer my man Loney in round 12 or 13 to Davis in round eight.

I’ve said that I think Ryan Ludwick is in for a regression, but I took him in round nine anyway. I was pretty surprised he fell that far. If this were a real league, I might try to trade him in April. I was also surprised Cliff Lee fell as far as he did, and I don’t think picking him there would be a terrible idea.

More young guys here with Wieters in round 10, Price in 11, and Scherzer in 13. Price, I doubt I will draft this year. Wieters, I might, if he falls to rounds 13 or 14 and I still need a catcher. Scherzer was a guy I was really hoping would slip through the cracks into the 18-20 area, but apparently not, courtesy of Mr. Stephens.

Denard Span, Nelson Cruz, Rickie Weeks, and Mike Napoli are all guys who I think would make great picks after round 17 or 18, but they all went earlier than that. They might be worth it, but these are the kinds of guys (in addition to several others, of course) that I really like to take later in the draft to minimize the risk and maximize the value.

Khalil Greene in round 11 perplexes me, and Arredondo in 15 seems way too early with more-skilled, more-likely-to-start-the-year-closing pitchers still on the board. I’m taking all three of my closers before Arredondo, at least at this point in the off-season.

Taylor Teagarden makes an appearance in round 18. I’ve been following him for a while and think he could end up justifying this spot, though some things will definitely need to go right. Napoli might actually be a good comparison here.

Nobody was buying the Joe Saunders or George Sherrill kool-aid, and I won’t be either. Sherrill in round 22 is a decent pick, though, given the remaining closers.

Concluding thoughts

That wraps things up for the week here at THT Fantasy Focus. We’ll see you all on Monday as we resume regular content, unless of course any big news hits this weekend. In that case, definitely check back here as we should have it covered. Otherwise, enjoy your holidays!

A Hardball Times Update
Goodbye for now.

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Mike Podhorzer
15 years ago

Without seeing the entire draft, it appears to be another typical expert draft. The young players and sleepers get drafted way too early to make the expert look good if the pick pans out, and value is basically ignored. It would be real interesting to see an expert draft that was played out for real and see how different the picks would be if it wasn’t just a mock.

Manny Parra, R22- easily the best pick of yours

I’m surprised you took Holliday in the 1st round. I figured the move to Oakland pushes his value (actual, not perceived) into the late 2nd/early 3rd.

Zach Sanders
15 years ago

Hoping Johjima bounces back this year? Is there something that us in Seattle should know?

-Zach Sanders

15 years ago

This resembles a mock draft I participated in about a few days ago. I took Kinsler with the 10th pick overall. This was more of a knee-jerk reaction since I wanted Braun and he was picked right before me. I was really really surprised with mockdraftcentral’s rank of Kinsler and think it’s wrong he’s that high…despite me taking him. I also took Tulo in round 5 but am convinced he’ll bounce back. People said Tulo had been going in rounds 8-10. Oh well. I got Iannetta in round 14 and took Denard Span round 10. It was only a 1 catcher league however, and I got hassled for taking Span so high. It seemed later in the draft than it really was. Also, Utley fell into the 3rd round. It was a 12-team league.

Derek Carty
15 years ago

Yeah, Mike, the way it happened was that we were considering playing the league out for real.  As such, that’s how I prepared.  When we decided that we weren’t going to play it out (as the draft started), I had to change gears.  I quickly decided to try out a new strategy that didn’t go completely as planned.  I don’t want to give too much detail, but I don’t see myself taking Holliday in many drafts this year, at least in the first round.

I actually mentioned Johjima in my THT Annual article.  The team has said he’ll get a lot of the time at catcher and he can play some 1B and DH, so playing time shouldn’t be a concern unless he gets out to an awful start.  tHR thinks his power production should have remained stable this year, and the only other thing that will need to happen for Johjima to bounce back to his value from this time last year is for that BABIP to be a fluke.  It likely isn’t entirely a fluke and it’ll end up somewhere between 2006/2007 and 2008, but if it bounces all the way back to 2006/2007 he’s in good shape.  His contact, FB, and LD rates all remained stable or improved.  As a 21st round pick, that is a great gamble in my opinion.

Zach Sanders
15 years ago

I hadn’t studied his numbers yet, but if his LD% was close to the same, maybe hes worth it late in drafts after all.

Like you said, just got to hope for a fast start, because Clement, Burke and Rob Johnson are all knocking on the door.

Derek Carty
15 years ago

Yeah, the LD% actually went up a point from last year.

15 years ago

Wow, I’m not a fan of your 1st 3 picks at all.  Very limited upside for those guys. 

Even the post-Colorado Holliday believers have to acknowledge he’s going to have some drop-off moving from Colorado to Oakland.  And does anyone really expect him to approach 30 SB again?  In Oakland?  His SB totals look like David Wright’s in 2007 and Lance Berkman’s in 2008.  Maybe he steals 20 next year, but don’t bank on it.

Not a big fan of Ichiro or Guerrero.  Not that they can’t return solid values, but they don’t really have upside to achieve positive return on their draft positions.  Of course, I’ve never been an Ichiro fan in fantasy baseball (love the guy in real baseball).

15 years ago

Why would you not be drafting Price this year? He seems to have enourmous potential and seeme very poised last year in the playoffs and World Series. Maybe this years version of Tim Lincecum (even half those stats would be worth it.

Derek Carty
15 years ago

Again, I was running with a different strategy that draft, and I doubt I’ll be taking Holliday in the first round again.  Guerrero at the end of the third round I don’t mind, and Ichiro at the beginning of the second is okay if it fits the strategy you’re employing, even if it isn’t the optimal pick in a vacuum.

Price “seems to have enormous potential” because everyone is talking about it.  The thing is, though, his PITCHf/x data (though limited) wasn’t uber impressive (good fastball but not much else), and his minor league numbers aren’t anything special.  Lincecum’s “stuff” is soooo much better with a ridiculous fastball, good curve, and good change.  Furthermore, he tore apart the minors in his limited time before getting the call with K/9s above 13.00 even at AAA.

Price’s was just over 8.00 at Double-A, and his MLE’s are even worse.  MinorLeagueSplits, whose MLEs are some of the more optimistic ones I’ve seen, have him at just a 6.4 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9.  Other MLEs I’ve seen are much worse.  CHONE, which uses MLEs in its projections, has him projected as a 4.90 ERA pitcher.  That’s simply not 11th round material.

If you disagree, please let me know, but that’s how I feel.  I think there’s a big difference between Price and Lincecum.