Yesterday I reviewed the 12 team Bender Division of the Mock Draft Army leagues. Today it’s the 15 team Bowden Division’s turn. I’m not a huge fan of 15 team leagues honestly and think 12 teams are the right amount that balances both competitiveness and FAAB availability. There are definitely different draft strategies in a 15 teamer. Position scarcity comes into play at a greater level and you must decide whether to take someone earlier than expected if that position goes on a run. If you’re picking near the turns, like I did in both drafts, trying to predict when a run on a position will begin or if you should start one, is something you have to deal with at every turn. In this league I was joined once again by Dan Malin and we will see if the evaluator liked his draft more than the other one. Also joining us was FA’s Joe Gallina, Nick Mimikos of the StackAttack Podcast, and many of our regular Mock Draft Army soldiers. The league is a 5x5 standard roto one with twice a week lineup, trades, and once a week FAAB. Teams are reviewed in draft order.

Twin Power - Owner: Craig Hill

Mike Trout led us off with Craig’s first pick. I think his next two picks were ones that set the tone for a draft that ends up a bit weak in both pitching and hitting. He took Gleyber Torres and Trevor Bauer here. One can argue for Torres here, but I had Bogaerts and Albies ranked ahead of him. The Bauer pick is really the one that hurts him. In a 15 team draft I think you must anchor your starting staff with at least one, if not two excellent pitchers. Bauer was far from that last year. Even if you expect him to do better this year, he was taken ahead of Corbin, Strasburg, Castillo and Bieber. He followed up Bauer with several good pitchers in Bumgarner, Price, and Matt Boyd but as a group they will have trouble competing in ERA and WHIP. On the offensive side he reached a bit for Miguel Andujar in the 9th round, as he is expected to be a super utility guy without every day at bats. He also took a chance on Jo Adell in the 13th round as Adell may not make the team and may not even be called up in this shortened season. These two moves may have weakened his offense too much. Grade: C

Spittoons - Owner: Andy Spiteri

I started off with Acuna which was an easy choice. As I alluded to earlier, I think you have to get at least one, if not two, anchor starters in a 15-team league and was glad to see Mike Clevinger fall to me once again. Xander Bogaerts was my next pick and I waited to see what pitcher would fall to me in round 4. I got sniped on Kershaw and decided to go with Chris Paddack over Darvish, Giolito, and Berrios. First basemen were being gobbled up and I was happy to see that Jose Abreu was there for me after getting sniped in the 12-team league. In round 6 I saw some of my targets go off the board, but Nelson Cruz was still there until he was taken two picks ahead of me. I reached a little and went with Nick Castellanos but am expecting him to have a good year. On the turn I went with Ken Giles as 7 relievers were already taken and who knows who would have been left 27 picks later. I supplemented Giles with Hansel Robles and Daniel Hudson which should give me enough saves to be in the top half of the league. The rest of the draft I tried to go with the best player available and this did cost me in the steal’s category, but Amed Rosario and Jon Berti should help a little. I also picked up Jarrod Dyson late to supplement the category. Overall this is a decent team but I think I may be a little short in starting pitching and have to hope guys like Steven Matz, Julio Teheran, Rich Hill and Kevin Gausman find some magic or it will be an early trip to the waiver wire in search of pitching. Grade: B

Endor Ewoks - Owner: William Miller

The Fantasy Alarm evaluator gave this team it’s worst ranking, predicting a last place finish. I don’t think the team is that bad despite the fact that he punted saves but you can get away with that in a 15 team, standalone league because you can either pick closers up on the waiver wire or trade for one. The Ewoks draft from 1-13 was solid starting with Christian Yelich, Charlie Blackmon, Aldalberto Mondesi and Clayton Kershaw. His other top starters are Tyler Glasnow, Zac Gallen and Carlos Martinez. On offense he added Vlad Guerrero, Lourdes Gurriel, Marcus Semien, and Carlos Santana. There is depth on his bench too although MacKenzie Gore, even in the 19th round, is a pick that is pretty much not going to return anything in this shortened season. Grade: B-

Chicago Pizza - Owner:Jeremy Myers

It’s pizza time in Chicago. Are you going to Lou Malnati’s, Giordano’s or Gino’s?  I’m a fan of Giordano’s and a fan of the team that Jeremy drafted. If Blake Snell is healthy, this group of starters could be the class of the league as he is joined by Yu Darvish, Aaron Nola, Kyle Hendricks and Mike Minor. They are backed up in the bullpen by Raisel Iglesias, Jose LeClerc and Mychal Givens. Offensively he’s not as deep as he took pitching with 6 of his first 11 picks so his core of Cody Bellinger, Jose Altuve, Javy Baez, Andrew Benintendi, and Nelson Cruz all better have good years. His bench can apply for AARP benefits soon, so he hopes all the young guys stay healthy. Grade: B+

T14 - Owner: Mike Tracey

Mike has the only nameless team in this league, but the league will get to know him well as he will be in contention for the title. Mookie Betts was his pick in the 5 slot, and he followed that up with his version of pocket aces by choosing Jack Flaherty and Patrick Corbin. With that as a base, he went on an offensive run with 7 of his next 8 picks. I think the only “mistake” he made was taking Mitch Garver in this run and passing on Carlos Santana and Rhys Hoskins making him settle for Eric Hosmer as his first baseman. Josh Hader and Brandon Kintzler are his closers, but this should get him a few points in saves. Jose Urquidy and Sean Manaea are his SP3 and 4 and then he took John Means, Jon Gray, and Spencer Turnbull for depth. Gray can turn out to be a bargain if the season is played outside of Coors. Offensively he has Manny Machado, Marcell Ozuna, Danny Santana, Kyle Schwarber, and Eduardo Escobar joining Betts. This is a solid, well balanced team. Grade: A

FA-Malin - Owner: Dan Malin

Well Dan, all I can say is what did you do to the evaluator that makes it dislike your teams so much?  Ranked 14th in this draft, the team may have some work to do to get it into the top tier. The biggest weakness on offense appears to be power compared to the rest of the league. Scott Kingery, Gavin Lux, and Alex Verdugo are all good players, but none of them are elite power hitters. The team is going to have to rely on first round pick Francisco Lindor, Anthony Rendon, and Paul Goldschmidt for the majority of its power. On the pitching side, Shane Bieber is a great anchor and paired with Brandon Woodruff and Robbie Ray, they make a solid top 3. The rest of the staff, including Anthony DeSclafani who is a Malin regular and may be who the evaluator doesn’t like, are going to have to outperform their expectations. Brad Hand is a top closer, but he’s paired with Will Smith and Sean Doolittle who will give the team a solid trio IF they are the primary closers. The grade may have been better but team Malin drafted two catchers in a one catcher league. Grade: C+

PHN - Owner: Frank Grimes

PHN took the wait on pitching approach selecting offense with their first 7 picks. They forego selecting Cole or deGrom and instead take Trevor Story with the 7th pick. That pick is followed up with Rafael Devers, Ozzie Albies, Yordan Alvarez, Miguel Sano, Jorge Soler and Victor Robles. This will be an offense to be reckoned with but at what cost?  Marcus Stroman is the SP2 and Joe Musgrove the SP3. My guess is this will not cut the mustard. Another issue is the slew of setup men drafted including Matt Barnes, Kevin Ginkle, James Karinchak, and Diego Castillo. These players are great in leagues with daily moves but may not be as useful here. I think the pitching here hurts the team a lot, but the evaluator loves this team ranking it 4th and only 3 points from first. Grade: B

Diamond Dogs - Owner: Al Kola

Would Al take the first pitcher off the board at number 8? Nope. The Dogs waited until round 5 to snag Lucas Giolito as their anchor. Juan Soto took the lead here followed by Bryce Harper, Ketel Marte and Matt Olson providing a great base for their offense. Joining Giolito were Mike Soroka, Dinelson Lamet, Kenta Maeda, and Andrew Heaney. If Lamet lives up to expectations, and Soroka doesn’t regress much, this could be a very good staff. The bullpen is a diamond and definitely not a dog with Roberto Osuna, Archie Bradley and Tony Watson. Rowan Wick was a great last pick as he could easily replace the faltering Craig KImbrel in Chicago. This is a balanced team and could contend with a few players exceeding expectations. Grade: B

Sin City - Owner: Scott Frankel

Did anyone feel the earthquake near Las Vegas last Tuesday around 6:10pm? That was Scott jumping up and down when Gerrit Cole fell to him at number 9. Although Cole is the second-best pitcher in NY, it’s a solid way to start a draft. Pete Alonso was the choice here in round 2 and more power was added in rounds 4-6 with Aaron Judge, Josh Donaldson, and Eloy Jimenez. Speed was added in rounds 3, 8 and 12 with Jonathan Villar, Elvis Andrus and Byron Buxton. Offensively, not much to critique here but the starting pitching may be an issue and keep Sin City from celebrating a championship on the roof of the Bellagio. Cole is a great anchor but putting your eggs in the basket of someone coming back from Tommy John, who may only pitch once every seven days, is risky. Shohei Ohtani, Ryan Yarbrough, and J.A. Happ don't instill memories of the early 70s Orioles or 90s Braves staffs. On the other hand, saves will be plentiful and the excess here may have to be used as trade bait to bolster the starters later in the season. Grade B

Iceethruu - Owner: Justin Hollis

15 team leagues are tough to dominate in a draft and picking near the middle of the pack gives you the opportunity to judge how the draft is going in each round. Justin did a good job picking good players but, in the end,, they weren’t enough to separate the team from the middle of the pack. Speed is the hallmark of this team with Trea Turner leading the way at pick 10 and was followed up with Walker Buehler who is expected to be a top starter this year. Jose Berrios and Corey Kluber rounded out the top three pitchers but then it fell off from there. Offensively, players like Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, Eddie Rosario, Corey Seager and Hunter Dozier are all very good players but no one stands out here. Luis Robert was picked in the 7th round and Justin has to hope that he lives up to expectations. Those in the Mock Draft Army know I’m not high on him for two reasons. I don’t trust rookies and don’t think you should draft one that early as more often than not, they disappoint. Secondly, he’s projected to bat 8th. Good for stolen bases in the AL, but not for RBI and Runs. Pitching will be a struggle here. Grade: B-

Don’t Judge Me - Owner: Patrick Maloney

When I looked at this team my first reaction was wow, that’s some pitching staff for a 15-teamer. Then I looked at the offense and my reaction was wow, maybe he shouldn’t have taken so many pitchers that early. It is much easier to overcome a lesser pitching staff as you can still do well in ERA, WHIP and saves without elite starters but it is hard to make up for that lack of offense. Nolan Arenado was the first pick, which as I covered yesterday, can be a bit of a risk with the possibility of all games outside of CoorsField. After Arenado it was an all-out attack on starting pitching with Justin Verlander, Stephen Strasburg, and Zack Grienke as the next three picks. Later he added Hyun-Jin Ryu and Carlos Carrasco to round out what could be the best 5 in the league. The cost?  Three of the five starting OFs are Yasiel Puig (better if he signs), Aristes Aquino (may not make the team) and Trey Mancini (may miss the season). Grade: B

American Jedi - Owner: Rich Ciambriello

Can you get away with punting both steals and saves? Rich’s team is lacking in both, and it will take doing well in the remaining 8 categories in order to compete or the team will be in a galaxy far, far, away. Rich led off with Jacob deGrom, who is anchoring a very good starting staff especially if James Paxton is fully healthy and Johnny Cueto is what Jim Bowden has been predicting all preseason. Offensively this team is solid and is led by JD Martinez, Eugenio Suarez, Mike Moustakas, and Josh Bell. Like I said there are no steals here as he also added Yasmani Grandal, Edwin Encarnacion, and Khris Davis. If the starting pitching falters there is no one there to save the team or earn saves except possibly Scott Obi-Wan, I mean Oberg, who may beat out Wade Davis for saves with the Rockies. We’ll see if Rich’s strategy works here. Grade: B-

Gallina-FA - Owner: Joe Gallina

Joe had the “unlucky” 13 spot and he started off his draft with Fernando Tatis Jr. This was a little early for Tatis based on his ADP of 18 but if you have a guy you want, especially at this point in the draft, jumping ADP a little isn’t an issue. From there, Joe went on to take Starling Marte, Kesto Hiura, Max Muncy, Yoan Moancada, and Tommy Pham. Again, in a 15-team league this put Joe behind the 8-Ball when it came to pitching. He put his faith in young guns Jesus Luzardo and Max Fried as his first two starters in rounds 7 and 8. He added Jake Odorizzi, Dylan Bundy, and Aaron Civale in rounds 11-13. This staff is going to struggle unless Bundy sheds his past and becomes the pitcher he was supposed to be. I did like the Jordan Montgomery pick as he was at the top of my queue when he was taken. With the likes of Shogo Akiyama, Mauricio Dubon, Nico Hoerner, and Michael Chavis filling out the roster Joe will have to keep his fingers crossed for good years from these relative newcomers. Grade: C

Stack Attack Nick - Owner: Nick Mimikos

Nick definitely attacked pitching in this draft. Max Scherzer, Sonny Gray, Lance Lynn, Zack Wheeler and non-Coors German Marquez can be a staff that can make Nick a contender. In the bullpen he took Aroldis Chapman and Joe Jimenez to anchor the saves category. We have seen the teams that go heavy pitching fail to get a great hitting team and it’s no different here. With only 5 offensive players in the first 11 rounds, it’s going to be tough for the Stack Attack to gain many points on offense. First pick Alex Bregman is in the group of Astros that may suffer from the cheating scandal and not live up to expectations. Austin Meadows, DJ LeMahieu, Ramon Laureano, and Tim Anderson round out his top five. There is some speed here, but the power numbers are going to be hard to make up. Overall, this team is going to have a hard time breaking the top half with its probable offensive struggles. Grade: B-

Vesper - Owner: Chance Osborne

Chance took a unique approach to the draft and it was loved by the evaluator making him the choice to win the league by a hair. He loaded up on relief pitching with Kirby Yates, Edwin Diaz and Hector Neris. His top starter is Charlie Morton and he took a chance making Lance McCullers Jr. his SP2. McCullers has been getting a lot of support/hype by the fantasy community coming off Tommy John surgery. I for one, will not draft him as most pitchers do not perform their first year back. Team Vesper will struggle in the wins and strikeout categories but is projected near the top in saves, ERA and WHIP. Offensively the team is solid in 4 of the 5 categories lacking just a bit in stolen bases. He started off with Jose Ramirez and Freddie Freeman in rounds 1 and 2. He supported them with George Springer, Matt Chapman, Yuli Gurriel, JD Davis, Jorge Polanco and Bryan Reynolds. Chance is rolling the dice with this approach and we’ll see if giving up two categories can make the evaluator look good. Grade A-


It was great drafting with a great group in both leagues and we all hope that we get to play this out. The Mock Draft Army is taking the week off and we’ll be back on Monday, May 4th. Be safe everyone!  Follow me on Twitter @gasdoc_spit