It’s Ben Palmer’s turn to detail his round-by-round thoughts as we continue our coverage of the Pitcher List 2018 Mock Draft. Let’s do it.
To read the analysis of other teams in the draft, head to our Mock Draft hub page here.
Round 1: Jose Altuve (2B, Houston Astros) – Without a doubt my easiest decision of the draft, I would be more than ecstatic to end up with Altuve if I wind up with that third overall pick in a draft this year. I love Paul Goldschmidt too, and can’t argue against taking him second, but a big difference maker for me here is the position differential. Not too long ago 2nd base was looking like a potential offensive hot spot, where you would be fine waiting late in the draft and grabbing the 10th or 12th 2B off the board. Not so much anymore, and it’s nice to know I’d be almost guaranteed to win close to every category at the position with Altuve.
Round 2: Josh Donaldson (3B, Toronto Blue Jays) – Donaldson is very likely to slip in drafts this year due to some combination of his poor first half last season, depth at the position and his age, but I think he can be a bargain here in the second round. Once he got healthy in the second half, he put up legit MVP type numbers and going into a contract year makes me interested in targeting him around the 20 spot in redraft leagues this season.
Round 3: Corey Seager (SS, Los Angeles Dodgers) – After Lindor went, I figured Seager would be a solid get, as there is a drop off between the top 4 SS and everyone else. His fantasy value has yet to reach its peak, due to nagging injuries more than anything, but I like his chances of putting up the best power number at the position if he can put together a full injury free season.
Round 4: Chris Archer (SP, Tampa Bay Rays) – Pitchers were going off the board like crazy at this point, and with no clear-cut studs remaining, I figured I’d at least get a head start at winning the K category by grabbing Archer. He has the 4th most K’s among active pitcher over the past three years, and I’m also cautiously optimistic he can get that ERA down under 4 this season. A trade out of Tampa would also be beneficial.
Round 5: Christian Yelich (OF, Miami Marlins) – Similar to Seager, I like the real life player better than the fantasy one, but neither one has reached their fantasy peak yet. Yelich should become a locked in 20/20 guy as long as they let him run a little bit more, and I don’t see his average ever dipping under .280 giving his plus plate approach.
Round 6: Tommy Pham (OF, St. Louis Cardinals) – Pham was certainly someone I was targeting at this spot going in, and I think he will be one of the steals of many drafts this season. The numbers weren’t a fluke last year, and until he stops seeing the ball, I won’t worry about his vision question marks. He should be locked-in for another 20/20 year, and while his average may dip some, I still see him hitting no lower than .270.
Round 7: Alex Wood (SP, Los Angeles Dodgers) – Last year was a tale of two seasons for Wood, as he was one of the best pitchers in baseball in the first half, while an injury-plagued second half saw him be almost unusable in fantasy leagues. Still, in roto leagues, his overall numbers still worked out nicely, and while I see his second half as being a tad closer to his normal self, I’ll take a chance on the potential he’s shown and think a repeat of his 2017 is certainly within reason.
Round 8: Gerrit Cole (SP, Pittsburgh Pirates) – I’m somewhat chasing a trade out of Pittsburgh for Cole, hoping he ends up on a contender and can be an innings eater who racks up wins, but even still, Cole is fairly steady in that you can expect him to be pretty much is average in every category. It’s not totally out of the question that he finally takes that next step this year and becomes the dominant ace people expected, but he’ll have to find himself another plus offering to go with his electric fastball.
Round 9: Michael Fulmer (SP, Detroit Tigers) – Even though I do see a potential surge in strikeouts coming from Fulmer sooner rather than later, I drafted him here for his low ERA and WHIP numbers more than anything. He may find it hard to pick up wins on what will be a rebuilding Tigers team, but at least he can help in those two categories, with upside to surprise in the K department as well.
Round 10: Carlos Santana (1B, Philadelphia Phillies) – This pick was made before he signed with the Phillies, but at the end of the day, I don’t think it affects his value all that much. He should still be a solid source of home runs and runs (don’t sleep in this Phillies lineup) while chipping in some RBI’s. It wouldn’t be shocking to see his average tick upwards as well given how well he sees the ball.
Round 11: Ken Giles (RP, Houston Astros) – Giles ADP is bound to be lower than it should be thanks in part to his disastrous World Series, but he was the 8th best closer in fantasy last season, and arguably the best closer in all of baseball during the second half of 2017. Blessed with unreal stuff, and on the best team in baseball, I think its possible if not probable that he ends up a top 5 closing option this season.
Round 12: Jonathan Lucroy (C, FA) – So this pick probably won’t work out as planned, but at this point in the draft it won’t kill me either to take a chance on a catcher like Lucroy. At the time I had picked him, there were reports of him and the Rockies having a mutual interest in Lucroy re-signing. Lucroy had an OPS of .866 over his 46 games with them, so I was thinking I’d take a chance at a potential steal at the catcher position. Now with Chris Iannetta in Colorado and Lucroy’s trail cold, it is looking like a potential serious reach.
Round 13: Manuel Margot (OF, San Diego Padres) – Margot is another OF that intrigues me with his combination of speed and power potential, and someone who I wouldn’t be totally shocked to put up a 20/20 season in the near future. The concern is whether or not his average will hold up, but I think he’s at least a nice source of steals and runs, with upside to produce elsewhere as well.
Round 14: Dinelson Lamet (SP, San Diego Padres) – At this point in the draft when I look at pitching, I usually just focus on upside and potential. Specifically in the K department, which is what led me to Lamet with this pick. He has a filthy slider which leads to plenty of swings and misses, and really just needs to tighten up his fastball command to be an overall more effective pitcher. This could be the big breakout season for him.
Round 15: Josh Bell (1B, Pittsburgh Pirates) – Surprised to see him fall this far, I felt like I had to stop the slide and pick him here. The more I looked at it afterward too, I was more and more happy with grabbing him at this spot. He put together a great rookie season, showing more power than expected, and should remain a big part of the middle of that Pirate offense this year. I think 25+ HR again should be in the fold, with an almost guaranteed uptick in average, given his all-around plate approach.
Round 16: Arodys Vizcaino (RP, Atlanta Braves) – I owned Vizcaino in a few leagues for the second half of last season as my 3rd or 4th RP and he was nothing but solid down the stretch once taking over full time for Jim Johnson as the Braves closer. He has two plus offerings, power fastball, and a nasty breaking ball, which is the name of the game in the 9th innings typically. The Braves should show some improvement this season, and if Vizcaino remains the closer, could flirt with top 15 RP value.
Round 17: Archie Bradley (RP, Arizona Diamondbacks) – While my gut still tells me that Bradley will likely remain in a set-up role, at least to start the season, it’s hard not to take a chance on him at this point in the draft, given what his overall numbers could look like if given a shot at the job early on. He really is without a doubt the Diamondbacks best option, but the lack of talk around him winning the job worries me. Will see how the closer competition shakes out in spring training, but the job should go to Bradley.
Round 18: Steven Matz (SP, New York Mets) – Upside arms with injury histories at this point seems like a fair enough risk to take and Matz is very much in that high risk/reward category. If he can look anything like the 2015-2016 version of himself, then this will wind up being a huge steal. That is a big if though.
Round 19: Steven Souza (OF, Tampa Bay Rays) – Once again continuing the trend of toolsy outfielders, I think Souza at this point of the draft is a nice pick to be my depth OF. Sure he strikes out a ton, but he also gets on base a ton, leading to plenty of SB attempts even if he isn’t the fastest guy out there. The 30 home runs he hit last season will come in handy too I’m sure. Another guy that if it all breaks right for him (TB lets him run a little bit more), can very possibly put together a 20/20 season.
Round 20: Jose Peraza (2B/SS, Cincinnati Reds) – Peraza is still only 23 years old, so let’s not write him off just yet people. The speed is still there and he should remain a full-time player this season with Zach Cozart off the Los Angeles. Peraza showed a much better approach at the plate in the second half of last season, which gives me hope he can get on base and steal a ton of bags while chipping in some runs as my backup middle infielder.
Round 21: Shane Greene (RP, Detroit Tigers) – I always like to carry at least 4 relievers and figured I’d take one of the last (the last?) incumbent closer off the board. Bruce Rondon and Joe Jimenez haven’t exactly taken the steps forward yet as the team has hoped, leaving Greene to inherit the role last season after Justin Wilson was traded. Greene did just fine, posting a 2.66 ERA and 1.24 WHIP while striking out just over a batter an inning. Not bad value here if the job remains his come April.
Round 22: Michael Kopech (SP, Chicago White Sox) – With my last two picks, I decided I’d take a flyer on two prospects who are on the cusp of breaking through to the bigs, with the first being Kopech. Everyone sees the major upside in his arm, someone who can touch triple digits with easy and had been missing bats at a crazy rate in the minors. The walks are definitely a concern and immediately bring to mind Tyler Glasnow. While it’s highly doubtful he breaks camp with the team, I’d still stash him for now. Just don’t wait too long into the season to drop him, especially if his first couple AAA starts don’t go as planned.
Round 23: Victor Robles (OF, Washington Nationals) – I thought at the time Robles had a legitimate chance to make the roster out of spring training, but it doesn’t like to be the case anymore. Still, he is worth watching in most leagues, as he can make an immediate impact in the steals department, and should be solid in the other categories as well.
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