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I know the World Series is underway so the 2016 season is still in play, but why not take a look ahead to 2017 is what I say (I rarely say that, but you get my drift). Zach Steinhorn of invited me to participate in the first fantasy baseball mock draft for the 2017 season. We only went through six rounds, but this super early look at the top of the draft will give you a jump on what the experts are thinking about when it comes to building the foundation of their teams heading into the 2017 campaign. Here are the 11 experts, and me.

 The participants (in draft order):

1. Jeff Erickson – Rotowire
2. Jason Collette – Rotowire
3. Tim Heaney – Rotowire
4. Fred Zinkie –
5. Ray Flowers – SiriusXM/Fantasy Alarm
6. Paul Sporer – Baseball Prospectus
7. Cory Schwartz –
8. Zach Steinhorn –
9. Nando DiFino – FNTSY Sports Network
10. Derek Van Riper – Rotowire
11. Lawr Michaels – Mastersball
12. Todd Zola – Mastersball

We did the old traditional snake draft thing. Here are my six selections with commentary. At the end of my commentary you can find a link to all the experts picks and their comments on their own selections.

Pos Player  Round Comment
2B Jose Altuve 1 I will admit to being less than 100 percent behind this selection since I fear there is nowhere to go but down for Altuve, and I just cannot get over his diminutive size. Still, the batting average / speed combo is unmatched the last three seasons, he's had 200 hits an 40 doubles the last three years and he's averaged 20/30 the last two seasons - from second base.
OF Starling Marte 2 Well that blows. I was gonna take Joey Votto, Miguel Cabrera or Anthony Rizzo here... and all three went the three selections before my choice. I probably should take Edwin Encarnacion here, but I'm going to zag and go for speed over power. Give me Marte. I know he finished the year with a back issue, but it's not expected to linger. Marte and Atuve should steal 70 bases next year while batting well above .300. Hard to argue with that starting duo, especially with steals at such a premium anymore.
SS Xander Bogaerts 3 Second round in a row my hopeful pick was taken right before me (Carlos Correa). Continuing my theme of youngish, five category-ish players, I'll take Xander Bogaerts over Francisco Lindor. The youngster from Cleveland has a slightly higher steal upside, but Xander is just barely 24 years old and the last two seasons he's hit .307-14-85-100-12 on average. Is there more to give?
1B Jose Abreu 4 I was going to go J.D. Martinez or Abreu, so Mr. Sporer made this an easy call. After going with speed early (Altuve, Marte), it's time to start building a power base. Abreu had a somewhat disappointing season in 2016, but he's also hit .290 with 25 homers and 100 RBI each of the last three seasons. He is the only person in baseball who has done that. 
OF Christian Yelich 5 Adding Yelich to Abreu/Altuve/Marte/Bogaerts gives me elite batting average allowing me to take risk later in the draft on limited players. Considered going an arm, but feeling like I needed an outfielder. By the way, Yelich was two hits, two RBI, two runs and one steal from a .300-20-100-80-10 and as of this writing is still just 24 years old.
RP Zach Britton 6 I should take a starting pitcher here (Hamels/Quintana look mighty solid). It's what I always do. It's a mock. It's October as I make this selection. So, do I go with a power corner bat here, take that starter when they all seem to be breaking down, or go closer? What the heck, give me Britton who the last three years has been the best reliever in baseball with a 1.38 ERA, 0.91 WHIP, 9.26 K/9 and an average of 40 saves a season.  

Guys like Chris Carter, Chris Davis, Khris Davis and Justin Upton would have looked great on this team, wouldn't they? We will never know how it would have played out, but I'm guessing pretty well. 



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