We all love drafting in fantasy sports. The most fun one can have is winning a league, but that feeling is closely followed by the chance to actually put a team together in a draft. Year after year the kind folks over at MLB.com invite me to take on others in a “slow” draft (a slow draft means it takes place over weeks instead of sitting down for four hours to knock something out – hey, we’re busy folks). Here are the results of the 2017 mock draft.

*Special Thanks to Zach Steinhorn of MLB.com for extending me an offer to participate in the draft yet again.

5x5 scoring, snake draft

12 teams, 23 rounds (no bench)

The participants (in draft order):
Lawr Michaels (Mastersball)
Tim Heaney (Rotowire)
Paul Sporer (Fangraphs)
Zach Steinhorn (MLB.com/Mastersball)
Ray Murphy (BaseballHQ)
David Gonos (SoCalledFantasyExperts.com)
Derek Van Riper (Rotowire)
Nando DiFino (FNTSY Sports Network)
Jason Collette (Fangraphs/Rotowire)
Ray Flowers (SiriusXM/Fantasy Alarm)
Fred Zinkie (MLB.com)
Jeff Erickson (Rotowire)

Here are THE RESULTS of the draft.

To see the thoughts of all the participants you can click on the 411 Fantasy Blog.

The commentary on my squad follows.


*Round taken in parenthesis.

C: Matt Wieters (16), Devin Mesoraco (22)
1B: Jose Abreu (5)
2B: Dustin Pedroia (12)
3B: Evan Longoria (8)
SS: Carlos Correa (2)
MI: Xander Bogaerts (3)
CI: Brandon Belt (15)
OF: Bryce Harper (1), Christian Yelich (4), Gregory Polanco (6), Hunter Pence (14), Jason Heyward (17)
UT: Yasiel Puig (18)

PITCHERS: Craig Kimbrel (7), Julio Teheran (9), Cole Hamels (10), Marcus Stroman (11), Jameson Taillon (13), A.J. Ramos (19), John Lackey (20), Gio Gonzalez (22), Brandon Kintzler (23)

  Player Round Comment
C Matt Wieters 16 There's still the issue of Norris as of this piick (it was later resolved when he was released), but as one of two without a catcher yet it was time to jump. Wieters has the talent, and should get the playing time to hit 15-20 homers while driving in at least 60, with the obvious ability for more, so I'll happily make him my first catcher.
C Devin Mesoraco 22 Not sure what to expect from him, but at this cost if he gets 350 at-bats I would be happy. If he does get there he should pop 15 homers with a decent batting average and, at least theoretically, he has the ability to do better than that.
1B Jose Abreu 5 I seem to keep ending up with a slight weakness at first base. That won’t happen this time. Concerns about his team be damned, Abreu is still the only player in baseball with a .290-25-100 each of the last three years. I’ll take that stability and so should you at this point.
2B Dustin Pedroia 12 Seems about the right time to grab the vet. Dustin had a great season last year (.318-15-74-105-7), and though he doesn't run, his reliability grade is about an "A." That fills my second base hole nicely. Expect some pullback, but still very solid.
3B Evan Longoria 8 I look at third base and I seen names like Sano, Franco, Turner and Lamb, and I just feel more comfortable with Longoria. Only 31 years old, I wouldn't be shocked if he replicated last season's numbers (.273-36-98-81), and the guy has appeared in 160 games in 4-straight seasons. In this era of the DL stint, that matters. 
SS Carlos Correa 2 Correa, Miggy or Votto. There's no wrong choice. What would Ray Flowers normally do? Take one of the first baseman. I'm changing things up and taking Correa giving me two players who could be MVP candidates in 2017 (Harper). Correa has basically been a 20/15 guy for two years, and there is way more to give with this elite youthful talent.
MI Xander Bogaerts 3 It's not often you grab a SS who is 24 years off and coming off a 192 hit season in the third round. Though he slumped mightily down the stretch, note that Xander went .294-21-89-115-13 with 34 doubles, and there still might be an overdrive gear to slip into. 
CI Brandon Belt 15 Looking at the corner spot I was intrigued by both Pujols and AGone, but with the health of both vets in doubt I decided to turn my attention Belt. The Giants first sacker will never be a star, but his .868 OPS last season was better than the following list of first baseman: HanRam, Santana, Abreu, Myers etc. Really like the approach as well (see his .394 OBP). 
OF Bryce Harper 1 When a 23 year old goes 20/20 and we think he stinks... You know how good that player is. Harper is an elite, 24 year old talent that has averaged .287-33-93-101-13 the last two years. I wouldn't be at all surprised if he bettered those numbers across the board this season.
OF Christian Yelich 4 Yelich is on the cusp of posting a .300 season with 20 homers and 20 steals. The back is a little concerning, as is his continued inability to learn to lift the ball, but this 25 year old outfielder needs just minor improvement to explode all over fantasy. 
OF Gregory Polanco  6 In my quest for young veterans all over the diamond, I tabbed Polanco to give me a dynamic OF trio (Harper, Yelich). Polanco, who played last season at 24 years of age, nearly went 20/20 while driving in 86 and scoring 79 times. His Isolated Power, fly ball and HR/FB rates increased leading me to believe he has a legit shot at an even better 2017.
OF Hunter Pence 14 I seem to be taking Pence in every league, not cause I'm a homer (from San Francisco), but because he's still a really good player. Over his last 158 games he's hit .284-22-97-88-5 with a .808 OPS. How many outfielders hit all those marks in 2017? I think the answer is three: Mike Trout, Mookie Betts and Kris Bryant.
OF Jason Heyward 17 Heyward should play every day, is just 27 years old, and is former 20/20 performer. He's fallen on hard times of late, but a reworked swing this offseason gives renewed hope of a rebound.
UT Yasiel Puig 18 Talent is immense and not the issue with Puig. Everything else is the concern. That said, I'll take a chance on the talent which is off the charts. There's potential for a massive return at this cost.
P Craig Kimbrel 7 Wasn't at his best last season, but his effort still included 31 saves, a 1.09 WHIP and 83 Ks in 53 IP. That's 6-straight seasons of 31 saves and at least 83 strikeouts. He's the only pitcher in baseball in that club. 
P Julio Teheran 9 He's not a star, but check out the average effort Julio's thrown up the last four years: 12 wins, 3.33 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 174 strikeouts over 199 innings. He's not an ace, but he's 26 year old "young-vet" who is in line to post yet another solid season... albeit under the radar. 
P Cole Hamels 10 There's a certain righty who pitches in Canada who I almost went with, but instead I took the stability that Hamels brings given that I have only one starting pitcher. Hamels has at least 200-innings with 190 Ks in 7-straight seasons. The walks were way up last season, but his 1.61 GB/FB ratio was a career best. I think he should still be able to pitch up to SP2 levels in this format.  
P Marcus Stroman 11 I was going to take Javier Baez until Nando Difino and his beard swiped him out from under me. Instead, I'll go with Stroman who, surprisingly threw 200-innings last season, and who was strong down the stretch last season (he has a 3.28 ERA, 1.21 WHIP and 65 Ks his last 68.2 innings). He's an ideal third SP in this format. 
P Jameson Taillon 13 There are some obvious workload concerns with Taillon, but as my fourth starter he's well worth the potential risk. He's a pretty dynamic 4th starting pitcher option coming off his 18 game run of a 3.38 ERA, a 1.12 WHIP and a 5.00 K/BB ratio that I love to see. If he makes 30 starts he will certainly return his cost. 
P A.J. Ramos 19 First Nando took Taijuan Walker. Then Collette took Robbie Ray. Great. Thanks guys. Didn't ruing my pick here or anything. I'll take Ramos, even though manager Don Mattingly caused some concern by stating that the Marlins might mix and match a bit in the 9th inning. I mean, Ramos has 72 saves the last two seasons so he should be looking to replace him. Gotta watch the walks.
P John Lackey 20 This is far from a sexy pick, but a 38 year old coming of his best K/9 season (8.60), and WHIP (1.06) has to have something left. Even at 2015 levels this is a solid spot to take the wily veteran.
P Gio Gonzalez 21 The last seven years there have been three arms with 10 wins and 160 strikeouts each season: Clayton Kershaw, Max Scherzer & Gio. The lefty of the Nationals also posted the best walk rate of his career last season (2.99 per nine) and tied the second best mark of his career with a 1.61 GB/FB ratio.
P Brandon Kintzler 23 Kintzler certainly isn't the prototypical closer, he doesn't miss many bats, but his ground ball rate is over 62 percent the last two seasons and he's been working on his secondary stuff to augment his fastball. He also walked just eight batters in 54.1 innings last season. 


I really like the mix in the outfield. Youth, power, some speed, the lovely upside last of Heyward and Puig later in the draft. Throw that dart Ray.

Correa and Bogarts up the middle is Rockstar stuff.

Abreu/Pedroia/Longoria aren't sexy names by any means, but they will be productive. Bank on it.

The catcher duo is solid, even with some early season concerns with Mesoraco, since I waited so long to roster them.

On the bump, I would likely be aggressive with relief arms if we had reserve rounds. That said, Kimbrel/Ramos are a solid duo that should have little trouble producing 60 saves with health. The starters include two of my younger favorites in Stroman (Ray’s Ramblings) and Taillon (Player Profile). You know I'm a fan of Teheran (Player Profile) as well. Hamels/Lackey/Gonzalez are a trio of veteran arms that any staff should be happy to have.

A solid squad here, one that is lacking a bit of speed on offense, but really, this is a very "Ray-like team" so you know I'm going to say I'm a fan.