MLB Mock Draft Army - Middle Infielders
Andy Spiteri looks at the recent mock drafts and examines the middle infield position.
Last week I covered the corner infielder positions and the vast wasteland of those players after round 9. The middle infielder position turns out to be a little different. One half is top heavy, but the other half is full of value plays that may make you think twice about who you pick in the first round or two.
In each of the mocks this week we saw three shortstops go in the first round: Trevor Story , Francisco Lindor , and Trea Turner . Story has become a hot pick again with the likelihood of baseball returning to individual MLB cities rather than centralized locations. When the rumors were of a league based in Florida/Texas/Arizona, both Story and Nolan Arenado saw a drop in their values as first round picks. This has turned around and both are being taken in the second half of the first round. They are all popular picks with their ability to steal bases adding to their draft stock, but should you be taking them?
I can hear Kangasman screaming at me because I am dissing Lindor. The FANation mom Cheyanne wants to punish me and send me to my room for mentioning that you should think about passing on Trea Turner . Well no one likes Story that much to be upset about it, but no doubt some of you are shaking your head that I am even suggesting passing up on a potential 18/50/10/.279 over an 82-game season.
Shortstop is deep folks. It’s like picking a QB in a one QB league. WAIT. Picking a shortstop early may not be the way to go. On Monday, those who picked a SS in the first round finished 8th and 12th by the Fantasy Alarm draft evaluator. On Tuesday, it was 3rd, 7th and 10th and Thursday they finished 3rd, 4th and 12th. So, can it work? It did ok 3 out of 8 times and if you batted .375, you would be a hall of famer. If you finished out of the money in your league 5 out of 8 times, you would say it wasn’t a good strategy.
Tim Anderson was taken in rounds 9,9 and 10. Carlos Correa was taken in the 9th round all three times. Jorge Polanco was taken in rounds 12, 13, and 13. The Jorge Polanco that will give you 10/45/4/.280 an average of 12 rounds later than Trevor Story . Only 8 HRs and 5 RBi less than Story. On Monday Kola222 took Story at 8 overall and left Juan Soto on the board. Soto is projected to bash 17/53/5/.293. In the 10th round he took Andrew Benintendi and his 9/36/7/.271 line. That’s 8 HRs and 17 RBI less than Soto. The combination of Soto and Polanco would produce a better overall line than the Story/Benintendi line he chose. In a shortened season, every HR, RBI, hit, SB that you can maximize will be worth gold.
Besides Polanco, Correa, and Anderson, Corey Seager , Elvis Andrus , Amed Rosario ,Jean Segura and Didi Gregorius are all available in the 9th round or later. There is no denying that Lindor, Story and Turner are worthy of their first round ADP but you have to ask yourself if that is the best position to go with since you have those other options later in the draft.
Moving over to second base we see the same type of drop off we saw at first base. If you don’t get one early, keep your fingers crossed. One of the problems is that many of the top second basemen qualify at more than one position. Ketel Marte , DJ LeMahieu , Mike Moustakas , Eduardo Escobar , Gleyber Torres , Whit Merrifield and Jonathan Villar can all be placed at other positions and when they are drafted by teams and placed in those other positions, it narrows the pool of second basemen/middle infielders. If you wait on drafting one, or use Whit Merrifield as an outfielder, the choices after the 10th round are full of questions. Will Tommy Edman get enough playing time? Will Gavin Lux live up to expectations? Can Kolten Wong steal 10-15 bases? These questions make Ozzie Albies , Keston Hiura , and even Jose Altuve look way more attractive in rounds 2-6.
So, when you’re planning out your draft or doing a mock with us, take a close look at your middle infield choices from your draft position. You may want to go with a second baseman BEFORE you dive into the shortstop pool. By the time you have to take your middle infielder, you most likely will have to take a risk on someone.
Seeing these things play out over the multiple drafts we have done with the Mock Draft Army, allows us to be very prepared for what we may see on draft day. If you have not drafted yet and want to see the different ways a draft will play out if you choose to draft a shortstop early or wait on one, then join us! The schedule is available each Saturday for the following week at www.rtsports.com/mock-draft-army Hope to see you there and be safe! Always available to answer questions on Twitter @gasdoc_spit