Well, folks, it’s been one heck of a run for the 2017 MLB Mock Draft Army. Unfortunately, with a chaotic personal schedule, Tout Wars weekend and the regular season nearly upon us, the Army will be heading into hibernation for the next several months until it’s time for fantasy football mock drafts to start up. I would like to personally thank each and every member of the industry for carving out time to not only draft, but to be so amazingly active in the chats which, to me, is one of the most invaluable tools for your draft prep.
I would also like to personally thank each and every one of you readers/listeners/subscribers/followers for your participation in these drafts. Without your dedication and efforts, this project becomes an exercise in futility rather than what it is right now -- one of the best preseason features in the fantasy community. You have a place to do a legitimate series of mock drafts while fantasy writers learn more about what you need/want from us with regard to draft help. Thanks to all of you, the Mock Draft Army ADP is also one of the absolute best in the industry and has become an enormous help to everyone out there, regardless of whether they drafted with us or not. And dare I say, from a personal standpoint, I’ve forged some pretty cool friendships with many of you through these drafts.
That being said, here are some final draft thoughts I’ve taken away from our drafts this season:
1. When it comes to a 12-team league, I’m still very much in the camp that waits on starting pitching. However, I have found that I do love my teams more when I anchor with an ace in the second round. Should I not have the opportunity to grab one of the top six starters – Clayton Kershaw, Madison Bumgarner, Max Scherzer, Corey Kluber, Chris Sale or Noah Syndergaard – I will remain focused on the offense through the first five or six rounds, but so far, roto or head-to-head, it makes more sense to me to just grab one of those elites and not worry about other starters until four, five and maybe even six rounds later.
2. If you are going to wait on starting pitching, grabbing at least one elite closer is the best way to help stabilize your ratios. The ADP shows a fifth or sixth-round investment is needed to acquire the likes of Aroldis Chapman or Kenley Jansen, but I’d be more than happy with guys like Edwin Diaz, Mark Melancon or Seung-Hwan Oh a few rounds later. On teams where I’ve waited on pitching and not grabbed that ace in the second round, I’ve ended up with guys like Julio Teheran and Jose Quintana as my top two starters and then Diaz and either Roberto Osuna or Kelvin Herrera as my closers. For me, that’s a fantastic foundation.
3. The rookie love is still there, but a lot more people are being a lot more sensible this year. Thankfully. Based on their current ADP numbers, Alex Bregman and Andrew Benintendi are probably the two “highest-priced” rookies right now and while I will always say, if you really love a guy you should get him, just make sure you’re not putting too much stock into the youngsters. I love their skill-sets, but rookie track records for full-season production isn’t very good. In a lot of cases, I will let someone else invest the high draft pick or big auction dollars and then, if the player struggles, will seek to acquire them via trade closer to the end of the first half of the season.
If you look at this 2016 Rookie Evaluation article from Ray Flowers, you’ll notice that, of the big names people were going bananas over last season, only Corey Seager and Trevor Story really delivered in the first half of the season. Guys like Nomar Mazara, Michael Fulmer and Aledmys Diaz were much less-touted on Draft Day but managed to produce just fine. In fact, their return-value was greater than most because the hype machine was not in full-effect for them. Players like Trea Turner, Gary Sanchez, Tyler Glasnow and Byron Buxton didn’t find their opportunity or groove until much later in the year. I wouldn’t call them ‘failures,’ because it was still too early to tell, but their lack of first half, big-league production certainly had them hurting you more than they were helping at that point in the season, if they were just eating up a much-needed bench spot. Keeper/Dynasty leagues are their own separate animal and you usually have the ability to stash them, but in standard re-draft leagues, you could be doing yourself a great disservice.
4. Mark down where the runs occur. We’ve given you rankings and we’ve given you tiers. Now go and look at where the runs typically show up and formulate a couple of different strategies. Do you want to start a run? DO you want to just join in and go with the flow? Do you want to skip the run because you believe you can find equal, if not better, value later on in the draft? Catcher runs and closer runs are the most obvious, but make sure you also know of other positional runs, especially starting pitchers. If you like to wait on starting pitching, know exactly where you stand when the next big run occurs.
5. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – ADP is all about public perception. It is not the same as a set of player rankings. Every draft flows differently and you need to make sure you monitor the flow of yours while you are in the middle of it. ADP is merely a guideline to show how things usually play out. It is not the gospel. Utilize it in conjunction with all the other tools and information we’ve provided you with throughout the offseason. Do that and everything else is cream cheese!
Best of luck to you all in your drafts and thank you again for a phenomenal preseason!