Mock Draft Army: Short-Season Edition
Andy Spiteri and the Mock Draft Army tackle the short-season MLB format.
After a hiatus due to the protracted baseball negotiations, the Mock Draft Army returned to the new baseball reality. What that is and what it will be is anybody’s guess which is why mocking is so important to prepare you for any upcoming fantasy baseball drafts. As I’m writing this, Tanaka got hit in the head with a line drive off of Stanton’s bat and Freddie Freeman tested positive for Covid and isn’t feeling well. This 2020 season and year is going to be one for the ages.
What has changed since our last mock back in early June? The universal DH for one. It was suspected back then, but now it’s official. Did any players increase their values enough to be drafted in a 12-team mixed league who weren’t beforehand or move up significantly if they were?
Yogi said “baseball is ninety percent mental and the other half is physical”. This year, the mental gyrations of trying to predict what is going to happen with pitching will cause 90% of fantasy players to cause 50% physical harm to their brains. How many starters are going to go more than 5 innings the first weeks of the season? How many middle relievers will outperform low end starters? Who will get wins? How many starters and relievers are the right mix for your roster?
All I can say is mock. Practice. Yes, we talkin’ about practice. Right AI? If you’re reading this and don’t participate with the Army, come join us! There isn’t much time left to get it right. Try out different strategies and see what works best for you. Let’s take a look at the two mocks from last week and see what the trends, if any, are.
Since we only had two mocks so far, I’m going to go through some of my picks from one of the drafts and discuss my thoughts on them. I’ll also look at what some others did to see what looked good...and didn’t.
In this mock I picked out of the 6 hole and was joined by Howard Bender and Ivar Anderson from Fantasy Alarm, Nate Marcum from Fantasy in Frames, and many of our MDA regulars who were excited to get back into it. I started off with Mookie Betts in the first round. Nothing new here. The usual suspects went 1-4, and Lindor went 5th. Gerrit Cole was a likely pick in the first 6 back in March, but he falls to 9 in this one. Jacob deGrom went at 16 as the second pitcher off the board which was a significant change from his ADP of 8 in the NFBC as of March 17th.
With only 3 pitchers off the board, I decided to go hitting again and took Rafael Devers hoping one of the starters I was hoping for would still be there in the 3rd. The strategy worked as Jack Flaherty fell to me at 3.06. His ADP was 23 in March and I got him 7 slots later. Looked like pitching was going to be pushed down the draft boards and it was. Only one pitcher was taken before my next turn and it was a reliever, Josh Hader .
What may be the only category that may be somewhat predictable, steals will be a commodity as it usually is. In the 4th I went with Whit Merrifield and bypassed pitching. Although my belief is that you still need two elite starters, the draft was telling me to wait. In the 5th I was sniped by Ivar who took Charlie Morton but was able to be happy adding Luis Castillo to the squad. I then added power with two of my favorites this year in José Abreu and Nelson Cruz . I think these types of veterans will be key to avoiding prolonged slumps during the short season.
Besides taking two elite starters, getting two sure fire closers is also important. Many teams will be using their best reliever in the fireman role, getting them into key game situations without regard to the inning. I took Taylor Rogers in the 8th and Rasiel Iglesias in the 10th. Both are on teams with deep bullpens and should not be needed much in that type of role. This is another place to try to get predictable stats as wins are going to be pure luck this year.
I filled out the rest of the staff with two more starters, Wheeler and Minor, and 5 more relievers, Hansel Robles , Scott Oberg , Seth Lugo , Ryan Pressly , and Dustin May. The difficulty with this is getting predictable innings and “guessing” who will be used each week in leagues that you have to set lineups once a week. This type of lineup is gold in leagues where you have daily lineups like on ESPN.
Some thoughts on other picks by the Army crew. Howard took Mike Trout at #3. There are doubts that he will play the entire season due the pending birth of his child. If he were to take two weeks off, or flat out decide not to return, this could be disastrous to those who take Trout. There is risk to taking Trout, so buyers beware.
Team Bob Loblaw took Luis Robert in the 8th round. Robert is a rookie and will most likely be hitting near the bottom of the order. Volume is what’s needed with the short season and his at bats may end up being limited. Yes, he has speed and could end up being valuable from that standpoint, but players like Marcell Ozuna , Nick Castellanos , and Michael Conforto still on the board there, I’d think about going in another direction.
Team Sin City Heat took Aroldis Chapman , James Paxton , Masahiro Tanaka , JA Happ, and Jordan Montgomery . They are favorites to win their division, so this type of stack may be a way to go. I’m just not that high on Tanaka and Happ, especially in the short season.
The next few weeks are going to be interesting. Tune into Fantasy Alarm for all you need to have a successful fantasy baseball season. We have a new URL for the Mock Draft Army sign up page www.rtsports.com/mock-draft-army-baseball . Be safe everyone and I’m always available to answer questions on Twitter @gasdoc_spit or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org