1. Eric Mack, CBSSports.com, Memorial Magazine Mock Draft
2. Alex Riethmiller, CBSSports.com, B.I.G.S. (dueling AL/NL-only H2H league)
3. Matthew Pouliot, Rotoworld.com, Krause Publications mock II
4. Lawr Michaels, CreativeSports.com, Tout Wars (AL-only)
5. Jeff Boggis, FantasySportsEmpires.com, Krause Publications mock I
6. Christopher Liss, Rotowire.com, Tout Wars (mixed)
7. Charlie Wiegert, Fanball.com, Defending champ and CBSSports.com NL-only
8. Scott White, CBSSports.com, CBSSports.com Earliest Roto Mock
9. Casey R. Fivecoat, Reader Entry and No. 1 podcast e-mailer
10. Brian Walton, CreativeSports.com, Tout Wars (NL-only)
11. Mike Gianella, Patton & Co, CBSSports.com AL-only
12. Sergio Gonzalez, CBSSports.com, CBSSports.com Early H2H Mock
My Round by Round thoughts...
Round One: With two large exceptions this is basically what you might expect to see in the first round. Matthew Pouliot of Rotoworld makes a bold pick of Tim Lincecum with the third pick of the draft. It is a fine pick just not typical of most leagues that just will not draft pitchers that early. I might like a few of the second round guys more than Chris Liss of RotoWire who selected Joe Mauer with the sixth pick. I haven't decided yet if I have faith that Mauer will continue to hit like the second best bat in the sport. I probably would have let that doubt push Matt Kemp and Carl Crawford into the first round.
Round Two: The regular guy selects Matt Holliday in the second round and I think he was right to do so. I may have some quibbles with the order but assuming Holliday stays in St. Louis or finds a nice hitters park to call home he should be a solid value here. This is also where we find several players whose value will be much debated in the next few months -- Mark Reynolds, David Wright, and Jose Reyes. Reyes falls due to health concerns but the second round means that at least Pouliot has no fear. Pouliot is really blazing his own trail with his first two picks. Reynolds begs the question -- can he repeat his great 2009 season, especially the stolen bases? David Wright is a victim of both Citifield Park and his own perhaps pre-mature reaction to it. If Wright goes back to his old swing and style of hitting he should be a first round value again.
Round Three: If Adrian Gonzalez finds himself hitting in Fenway Park, I'll be bumping him up to Mark Teixeira/Prince Fielder status. Aaron Hill is going to be overdrafted in every league this season. I do not believe that he is a 35 homer guy. I think he'll swing back to being a 20-25 homer guy which is still giving him a lot of credit for his great 2009 season in my mind. This is also where we find Grady Sizemore. I have taken quite a bit of grief by readers who think I've downgraded his keeper status too much. But until I see that he is healthy I consider this a very high pick for a guy coming into the season off a mostly lost season and elbow surgery.
Round Four: Eric Mack shows us some serious balls by taking BJ Upton in this round. Upton may steal a bunch of bases but there is no reason beyond blind faith to believe he'll hit for average or power. And if he doesn't he could start to lose at-bats with Tampa needing offense oomph to go with their pitching and defense.
Round Five: Ben Zobrist is here and Aaron Hill is in the third round? Zobrist seems like much less of a fluke to me. We saw his development as a hitter coming. At least his HR/FB was virtually identical to his 2008 season. If we had known he would get an extra 300 at-bats we might have predicted a great season for him. I always liked Hill as a hitter but the homer totals are a fluke.
Round Six: Poor, poor Josh Hamilton who I had so much faith in last season falls to the sixth round. In retrospect perhaps I should have worried more about his chronic injuries and the pressure being put on such an inexperienced player to lead the young Rangers to contention. All that said, I still like him a lot. Most of his lack of production can be blamed on injuries and despite the hyped up stories I think Hamilton is still on solid ground as far as his addictions go. I would be very happy to draft him here were I in Liss's shoes.
Round Seven: Jake Peavy and Josh Johnson are two pitchers I see headed in opposite directions. Peavy goes from the best park for pitchers on the planet to an American League hitters haven in Chicago. Johnson meanwhile is getting further and further away from his arm troubles and with experience should be able to handle more innings which should lead to greater win totals (hopefully) and a larger impact on fantasy teams.
Round Eight: Nelson Cruz was the favored sleeper of many last season and for the most part he made them happy. Until manager Ron Washington decided he had seen enough production from Cruz and let him sit on the bench half the time. This has spurred lots of trade rumors with the Atlanta Braves being high on the list of potential suitors.
Round Nine: Russell Martin??? I suppose there is nothing in his numbers to suggest he can't return to being as productive as he was before 2009. But how productive was that really? There certainly is enough lot of iron left in the draft that picking up this tin can seems very early.
Round Ten: Huston Street is living proof for J.J. Hardy that just because you've been rumored on the trade market for months and months, it doesn't mean you'll actually be traded. In fact you might perform so well as to earn a contract extension. But you'll want to avoid being demoted back to the minors or you might find yourself on the Seattle Mariners.
Round Eleven: How stupid are the Phillies? They develop an effective left-handed starter who rocks for you the entire season and then you toss him in the bullpen for the playoffs in favor of ancient Pedro Martinez and Joe Blanton. Even if it ultimately doesn't prove to be a fatal mistake, there is no question that it was the bone-headed thing to do. J. A. Happ deserved more respect.
Round Twelve: This round features a bunch of players I like a lot but whose value is sort of up in the air. David Price, Phil Hughes, Miguel Montero, Alex Rios, and two surprise closers David Aardsma and Ryan Franklin. Can anyone display any real confidence in what these players are likely to offer in 2010? Nah, you can't, but I bet you wouldn't mind one or two of them making their way to your roster in 2010.
We'll post the end of the Mock Draft Saturday Night...