2 Early Mock Drafts: Rounds 9 thru 18
It’s time to check back in with my #2EarlyMock league one draft. Previously, I detailed rounds 1 thru 4 as well as rounds 5 thru 8 – feel free to check each of those posts for player commentaries. Through the first eight rounds, this team has two starting pitchers, a shortstop, second baseman, third baseman, a corner infield (also 3b), one outfielder and a utility-only/DH.
At this point in the draft, I was beginning to worry about first base. In fact, I drafted arguably one of the best second basemen to ever play the game as my starting first baseman! I then realized in an embarrassing way that Robinson Cano has only appeared in 12 games at first base this season. Unless your league uses 10 game previous season eligibility, Robinson Cano will be second base only in 2019.
I can blame it on still being 2018, right?
My Next Nine Selections:
- Eduardo Rodriguez – BOS (SP 3)
- Yasiel Puig – LAD (OF 2)
- Michael Brantley – CLE (OF 3)
- Mallex Smith – TB (OF 4)
- Willy Adames – TB (MI)
- Kyle Tucker – HOU (OF 5)
- Tyler Glasnow – TB (SP 4)
- Forrest Whitley – HOU (SP 5)
- Kenta Maeda – LAD (P 6)
- Eduardo Rodriguez will pitch the majority of the 2019 season at 26-years-old. Injuries have been the issue for “E-Rod” for multiple seasons up until this point. When healthy, Rodriguez is an extremely talented pitcher. Rodriguez has displayed beautiful swing-and-miss stuff over nearly 370 innings pitched the previous three seasons combined. As a fantasy number three starting pitcher, Rodriguez does not need to take a step forward to return your investment. With either more innings pitched or a slight reduction in the number of walks and hits given up, Rodriguez could easily pitch like a number two fantasy starter next season. Rodriguez currently has an ADP of 134.7 – I selected Rodriguez at pick 111.
- With 22 home runs and 15 stolen bases at the time of writing this, Yasiel Puig was a player I wanted to voice my opinion on. I’ve never been a huge Yasiel Puig fan when it comes to fantasy baseball. In fact, I can’t think of a single time I’ve drafted Puig since he debuted. Being a mock draft, I feel it’s important to attempt to accurately forecast and draft most of the players available. Certain players, however, cause even more draft-day-heartburn and Puig’s inconsistencies over the years certainly qualify him for the honor. The case for Puig seems pretty simple. The skills displayed this season are nearly identical to his 2017 metrics. At 28-years-old next season, coupled with a strong team context around him, the odds of Puig having a breakout year (think 35/20/90/90/.285) are better than your typical mid-round outfielder. Puig currently has an ADP of 131 – I selected Puig at pick 130.
- I selected Michael Brantley because it felt like the right thing to do. I know that’s a ****** reason to draft a player, but again, this is a mock and I felt like the pick needed to be made. Brantley is currently producing at or near a $30 value for the 2018 season. That’s crazy. We have to go back to 2015 for the last time that Michael Brantley produced fantasy earnings at anything close to this level. The interesting thing about Brantley however, is that the underlying skills, while not quite as elite as they were in 2015, were strong across the board in 2018. As with Eduardo Rodriguez above, health is the major driver behind Brantley’s 2019 value. While the results were strong this season, as mentioned above, the underlying metrics weren’t quite back to the elite 2014-2015 Brantley levels. As you’ll see in the ADP blurb to come, I felt like I needed to make this pick for the ADP and yet it was quite a distance behind the average pick among all of the leagues, meaning… I probably won’t be a Michael Brantley owner in 2019 fantasy baseball. Brantley currently has an ADP of 110.3 – I selected Brantley at pick 135.
- Quick! – who currently leads the American League in stolen bases. Checks notes – “**** Whit Merrifield does” Oh wait, I drafted Merrifield in the third round, didn’t I? Awesome. Mallex Smith, however, is currently second in the American League in total stolen bases. Mallex has improved his overall offensive abilities this season. He’s also doubled his at-bat total from 2017 to 2018, doubling his stolen base total in the process as well. The future is somewhat cloudy for Smith as Tampa’s outfield is rather crowded. The speed will play even in a part-time role, but I do worry about his runs and RBI totals if playing time is, in fact, an issue next year. Smith currently has an ADP of 111.1 – I selected Smith at pick 154.
- Willy Adames might be the first pick I somewhat regret. Not that it was a bad pick necessarily, just that I’m not completely in love with the player at this point. Adames currently sports a .750 OPS with 10 home runs and 6 stolen bases. For a 22-year-old rookie, that’s pretty ******* good. The underlying metrics just seem like at least a season away from above-average fantasy baseball shortstop production though. Adames does not possess great power. This alone would be fine, however, Adames has also been plagued by contact issues off-and-on during his pro career. While some might want to view Adames as a potential breakout in 2019 (think 20/15/.275) I don’t see it. The price I paid here very well could be “correct”, but I won’t know until I review a full set of projections for not only Adames but other middle infield eligible players. Adames currently has an ADP of 161.3 (3 of 9 leagues) – I selected Adames at pick 159.
- Kyle Tucker will play the entire 2019 season at 22-years-old. While Tucker struggled results wise over 61 major league plate appearances, his AAA numbers were elite. In 100 games for the Fresno Grizzlies, Tucker slashed .332/.400/.590 with 24 home runs and 20 stolen bases. Only AJ Reed hit more (28) for the Grizzlies in 2018. Playing time will need to be earned by Tucker next spring. With Marwin Gonzalez set to be a free agent at the end of this season, there could be one less outfield mouth to feed in 2019. Tucker currently has an ADP of 169.5 (2 of 9 leagues) – I selected Tucker at pick 178.
- To be honest, I’m not sure that I’ll really draft Tyler Glasnow in 2018. I like the idea of selecting a player like Glasnow, but considering the context of this team, with Adames and Tucker, two basically unproven players already rostered, taking a flier on someone like Glasnow is probably unwise. Walks have been and to some extent continue to be the issue for Glasnow. Since the trade to Tampa Bay, there has been some improvement in this area and the underlying metrics that support it. As my number four fantasy starter, it won’t kill me if Glasnow flops. That said, according to this ADP there’s a chance someone else in the room will like the young Ray more than myself. Glasnow currently has an ADP of 157.8 – I selected Glasnow at pick 183 (current maximum pick).
- Alright, “My name is Dave and I developed a drafting prospects problem during this mock“. There I said it. With a Future 60 value according to FanGraphs, as well as a strong pitch repertoire, Forrest Whitley is a pick I was actually very excited to make. Considering that I am still the only manager to select Whitley in these mocks has me scratching my head, however. While Houston has plenty of starting pitcher options, both Dallas Keuchel and Charlie Morton are free agents after the 2018 season. In all honesty I wanted to select Whitley over Glasnow, however, I had rostered only three starters up until these two picks and went with the fact that Glasnow is already in the major leagues and all but guaranteed a spot in the rotation next season. Whitley, being my number five fantasy starter, could end up spending some time in AAA, which is easier to swallow as a number five arm. When Whitley is up and pitching for the Astros, I’ll be excited that I selected him here. Whitley currently has an ADP of 202 (1 of 9 leagues) – I selected Whitley at pick 202.
- I went with yet another pitcher when my turn came around again, this time selecting a possible starter, maybe reliever, potential fill-in closer, Kenta Maeda. While the role remains unknown, the results have been fantasy worthy all season. Through 123 innings pitched (35 games, 20 starts), Maeda has 152 strikeouts with full, strong support in the swing and miss column, coupled with 8 wins. Hyun-jin Ryu is a free agent at the end of this season, while technically Clayton Kershaw can also opt out of his deal. I’m not sure that I expect the latter to occur, but either way, Maeda should only need to continue pitching as well as he has been to be considered for at least a partial season worth of starts in 2019. The skills are there for a very strong season, he just needs the role all year. Maeda currently has an ADP of 211 (2 of 9 leagues) – I selected Maeda at pick 207.
At this point in the draft, I am needing a catcher and three more pitchers. Oh yeah, I suppose I also need a first baseman to don’t I? Damn you, Robinson Cano. We also have six reserve spots to draft in these mocks. I am going to need to throw some darts at potential save sources soon. The reason I have not yet attempted to fill this position/category is purely based on the time of year we’re completing these mocks. Besides from the perceived locked-in closers, for which the acquisition cost is very high, I just don’t have a great feel for who may receive the ball in the 9th inning six months from now. My plan is to highlight some intriguing relief arms with a chance to close in the reserve rounds.
Wish me luck.
Photo Credit (Creative Commons): Arturo Pardavila III