Pitcher List Mock Draft No. 1: Mark McElroy’s Picks

Mark McElroy looks at his #PLMock1 draft and breaks down his team and strategy.

In the offseason, Pitcher List is conducting mock drafts to get an idea of the Average Draft Position for 2020 drafts. I took part in the first draft (#PLMock1) and drafted out of the seventh position. The league was set up to be 23 rounds, with one catcher, two utility, three outfielders, nine pitchers, four bench, and the usual four infielders. Here is a link to the entire draft board. In addition to the mock drafts, Nick Pollack will be hosting an On the Corner Podcast with each of the managers. Here is a link to my episode.

 

General Impressions

 

This draft was a very different draft from my #2EarlyMocks draft. The main difference was, of course, the format. This draft was much more shallow than the #2EarlyMocks not only with the number of managers (12 vs. 15) but also the number of player slots that needed to be filled (MI, CI, five outfielders). My strength and experience lean more towards the deeper formats, so there are definitely lessons that I learned in this draft.

I shouldn’t be surprised that pitching was at a premium, with so many strong managers and players who specialize in analyzing pitchers. The format valued pitching, with many values coming to hitters in the middle rounds. I did not adjust quickly enough to the pitcher-emphasis, and I was frustrated when I had to take long-shots on low-end starting pitchers while passing on much higher-quality hitters.

 

1.7 – Gerrit Cole

 

I took Gerrit Cole as the first pitcher off the board. In 2020 drafts, I really want to get a top pitcher early, and was happy to take a pitcher who I believe is the best in the game. I expected that Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, and Jacob deGrom would not get back to me, so I wanted to lock down a top starter. I don’t consider pitcher evaluation to be my strength and in a draft room with some of the best pitching experts in the fantasy community, I thought it best not to get fancy but to take a first-round ace. The decision had a two-pronged effect. One: It allowed me to relax and not have to chase pitchers. Two: It set me back immediately in power. I would have to make finding late power a focus in the draft.

 

2.18 – Jose Ramirez

 

It surprised me that Max Scherzer and Jacob deGrom were both options here. This should have been the first indication that this draft would be very different from my #2EarlyMocks draft. With the draft complete, I probably should have grabbed a second top-tier ace with this pick.

I also drafted Jose Ramirez in my #2EarlyMocks draft, but I got him one pick later here. In my article about that draft, I outlined my concerns about Ramirez’s health early in the season and how it may have contributed to his struggles. I share the community’s concerns about his 2020 outlook, and his second-half surge doesn’t entirely assuage my fears. Ramirez put up spectacular numbers from 2016 to 2018 and struggled in early 2019, but he did not stop running. From March 28 to the All-Star game, Ramirez slashed an atrocious .218/.308/.344, but in that misery, he stole 18 bases. Even during his struggles at the plate, he produced in the rarest fantasy category. I don’t expect Ramirez to struggle to the same degree as he did in early 2019, and I still believe that he is worth a shot because of his contributions in stolen bases. We also saw what he can do when he is at his best: His slash-line from the All-Star game until season’s end was .327/.365/.739.

 

3.31 – Starling Marte

 

One of the mistakes I made in my #2EarlyMocks draft was that I did not draft an outfielder until the 7th round (Max Kepler: 104th overall). I am still tilted that I did not take Charlie Blackmon at 44th overall in that draft. I resolved to take an outfielder earlier. I deliberated a long time over this pick, and I went with Starling Marte because he contributes to stolen bases. I love getting a guy who will contribute in all five categories. My goal in drafts is always balance. I want players early in drafts who give me something everywhere; I hate falling behind in a category early unless I believe that I can find that category late in the draft for a low price. Unfortunately, stolen bases is not a category that I want to try to find late, because late speed comes at too much cost to other categories. By building a strong stolen base foundation early, I can ignore SBs later in drafts to focus on my pitching staff and bolstering my power categories.

 

4.42 – Adalberto Mondesi

 

Are you sensing a theme yet? My goal in the early part of drafts is to grab speedy players who have power and can contribute to as many other categories as possible. I wanted to secure a top-three finish in stolen bases, but I didn’t want to sacrifice production in the other counting categories. Health is a significant concern with Adalberto Mondesi. He underwent shoulder surgery in early October and is expected to miss five-to-six months. That puts him in line to return at the end of February or March. I expect Mondesi to miss time in 2020 to start the season, but the hope is that he returns by mid-April. After returning (unnecessarily) from the same injury late in the season and reinjuring himself, I expect that the Royals will err on the side of giving Mondesi a lot of recovery time.

The other concern with Mondesi is, of course, his approach at the plate. Mondesi struck out 29.8% of his plate appearances and walked at just 4.3%. I love that Mondesi can steal at will, grabbing 43 bags in 102 games in 2019, but also hit nine home runs, with 58 runs and 62 RBI. Over five months of work in 2020, the hope is that he can best all of these categories. At the very least, I expect Mondesi to lead the league in stolen bases, but new manager, Mike Matheny, might put that in jeopardy if he doesn’t give Mondesi the same green light that Ned Yost did.

 

5.55 – Luis Severino

 

Fourteen pitchers had been drafted before I made this pick. Luckily, I had Cole rostered, but I was hoping to grab Stephen Strasburg or Patrick Corbin here. Both were taken earlier in the round and I felt that it was important to grab another starting pitcher here before all the tier-two pitchers were gone. It was at this point in the draft that I realized just how voracious the appetite for pitchers was going to be in this draft. I wasn’t crazy about drafting a pitcher who missed most of 2019 due to injury. It also didn’t help that I had drafted him before his injury in the Spring of 2019, and suffered through setback after setback before eventually having to drop him. It was encouraging to see Luis Severino pitch well in his three late-season appearances, putting up a 1.50 ERA and a 12.75 K/9 in his 12 innings. His postseason production has also been good, and with the offseason, the hope is that he returns to full health and can pitch well enough to justify his lofty expectations before his early-season injury.

 

6.66 – Nelson Cruz

 

With all my speed needs already on the roster, I had to focus on power. I wasn’t happy about drafting Nelson Cruz 66th overall, because I hoped to get him a couple of rounds later. Cruz played in just 120 games in 2019, but hit 41 home runs. His HR/FB% was second to Christian Yelich, and 12.5 barrel per plate appearance was the best in baseball (his barrels for BBE, 19.9%, was fourth in baseball). Health is a concern, but when he plays, Cruz will put up excellent power numbers. These are power numbers that I desperately needed and pushed Cruz higher than I would have liked. I was targeting Joey Gallo for this pick and Cruz would be my next pick. With my speed secured, I hoped that the two elite power hitters would bolster my lineup. Colin Weatherwax had other ideas, drafting Gallo three picks before, and I pushed Cruz because I needed the home runs and jumped on his high batting average and team context. While it wasn’t official when I made the pick, I believed that Cruz would return to Minnesota, because I was quite confident that they would pick up his $12M team option (they did). Cruz seems to defy age every season, despite fantasy managers worrying that it will catch up to him. I have concerns too, but not to the point that it will prevent me from drafting him. After I made the pick, other managers cursed me out in chat—the best thing a fantasy manager can hear in a draft room.

 

7.79 – D.J. LeMahieu

 

It surprised me that D.J. LeMahieu was still available here, and shows the hitting value that the draft’s pitcher focus had created. LeMahieu had always been a prolific hitter in Colorado, and last of-season, the fantasy community worried that his batting average wouldn’t translate outside of Coors. We also worried that he wouldn’t have regular playing time in a deep New York lineup. Injuries took care of the playing time, and LeMahieu became one of the league’s biggest surprises. He hit .327/.375/.518 with 26 HR, 109 R, 102 RBI, and 5 SB. That is just an absurd stat-line, and is second-round caliber. I was debating Matt Olson here, but went with LeMahieu because of the batting average boost, and because I knew that I could put LeMahieu at either 1st, 2nd, or 3rd, I wanted the flexibility of being able to pick the best hitter available at 1st or 2nd base.

 

8.90 – Matt Olson

 

After considering Olson with my last pick, I was ecstatic to draft him in the eighth. I was also considering Jose Abreu and boosting my batting average with Jeff McNeil or Michael Brantley. I hoped that either batting average stud would get back in the next round, but both were taken in the next few picks. Olson had hamate surgery in April and played just 127 games in 2019, but still hit 36 home runs, scored 76 times, and drove in 91. The Athletics’ roster will remain very similar and should put up strong hitting production. If Olson increases his games played in 2020, he should exceed all his 2019 category production. His batting average will hurt my roster, but my goal was to pair him with McNeil or Brantley in the next round. That didn’t happen, but I had other batting average targets in my holster.

 

9.103 – Max Kepler

 

Every draft has parts that don’t go according to plan. After drafting Olson’s power and poor average, I wanted a high batting average with this pick. McNeil and Brantley were unceremoniously stolen from me, and I had to go to my batting average alternatives. It is important when drafting, that managers have targets for all categories in all areas of the draft. That way, a player can be easily replaced when other managers heartlessly steal the players we love. I pivoted with this pick from batting average to power. Max Kepler smashed 36 homers with 98 runs and 90 RBI in his 596 plate appearances in just 134 games. With better health, Kepler should add plate appearances and could boost his counting stats. His batting average is a concern, but he could see more hits thanks, in part, to his acceptable 16.6 K% and 10.1 BB%. He can see that ball and hit it, but if he lowers his FB% (46.6) he could boost his average. The problem with that is that he would drop his home runs unless he is able to increase his 18% HR/FB. There is room for Kepler to improve and the floor is high in a strong Minnesota lineup.

 

10.114 – Mike Soroka

 

Curse you, Nick Pollack! Nick drafted Zac Gallen two picks before this. I drafted Gallen 137th overall in my #2EarlyMocks draft, and knew that he would rise throughout the offseason. Gallen was the talk of First Pitch Arizona and expect him even earlier by March. Be aware that the higher he climbs in ADP, the higher the need for him to perform. While I expect Gallen to be excellent, if he goes top-100 or higher, he has to be excellent. That’s risky.

Mike Soroka is no slouch in the tenth round, but it is important to realize that sometimes I get blinders on when I draft. I was so focused on Gallen that I drafted Soroka without a deep look into him. Soroka made 29 starts in 2019, throwing 174.2 innings pitching to the fifth-lowest ERA for qualified starters (2.68) and a 1.11 WHIP. He had a modest 7.32 K/9 but limited his walks to 2.11 per 9. In a season of offensive, Soroka limited his home runs to just 14 on the season (0.72 HR/9). His fastball, slider, sinker, and changeup all have a plus pVAL, and the expectation is that another year will bring an innings increase and Atlanta’s excellent defense can continue to turn contact into outs. This seemed, at the time, to be too early, but I was beginning to worry about my lack of pitchers.

 

11.127 – Michael Conforto

 

There was too much hitter value and I couldn’t resist drafting another outfielder. I probably should have taken another pitcher, and would have if Jesus Luzardo had been available. Michael Conforto played a full season with 33 home runs, 90 runs, and 90 RBI. My focus was on power and Conforto should provide decent production if he repeats his 2019 health. His .257 batting average will hurt, but locking down my third top-30 outfielder was important after my perceived outfield deficiency from my #2EarlyMocks team. I considered grabbing saves with Brad Hand, and I also considered adding more starting pitching with Frankie Montas, Zack Wheeler, or Caleb Smith, but I expected one of them to make it back. They didn’t, of course. Sensing another theme?

 

12.138 – Jorge Polanco

 

I was frustrated, again, when watching all my pitching targets fly off the board. So frustrated, in fact, that I drafted Jorge Polanco too early. I am much more accustomed to drafting in 15-team leagues with corner and middle infielders. In the chat after the pick, Scott Chu pointed out “I have a feeling that Polanco is going to slip VERY far in Yahoo leagues and other formats that don’t use a middle infielder. He’s a good value regardless, but a GREAT value if the 12-15 steals come back.” Polanco hit .295/.356/.485 with 22 home runs, 107 runs, and 78 RBI. Polanco completes my top-or-the-order Minnesota stack with Cruz and Kepler. I needed a shortstop replacement for Mondesi’s missed time, but I could have waited much later for Polanco or for a plug-in like Dansby Swanson, Paul DeJong, or Elvis Andrus.

 

13.151 – Sean Manaea

 

I drafted Sean Manaea at 254th overall in the #2EarlyMocks so I have already added to the helium. Manaea is my SP4 in pitcher-friendly Oakland. The Athletics’ defense has improved greatly since Manaea last pitched a full season. Injuries shortened his 2019 to just five games, but the results were impressive. Manaea picked up a 4-0 record with a 1.21 ERA, 0.78 WHIP, with 30 strikeouts in 29.2 innings. He fizzled-out in the Wild Card game, giving up four earned in two innings and taking the loss. While Manaea’s innings may be limited, a regular offseason should benefit him and the A’s will have to lean on him as their ace.

 

14.162 – Kenta Maeda

 

The Dodgers were evil geniuses when they negotiated Kenta Maeda’s contract, and were probably shocked when he signed it. In it, there are numerous performance bonuses based on his results. He gets paid a bonus for reaching games started and innings pitched milestones. It isn’t surprising that Maeda needs “to prepare himself for leverage innings in the postseason” every time he approaches key games started and innings pitched thresholds. Maeda made 32 starts in 2016 and pitched 175.2 innings earning $11.875M, but in 2019, he moved to the bullpen after 26 starts and pitched 153.2 innings to take a $4M annual pay reduction. Prepare for the same thing to happen in 2020; it just makes too much financial sense for the team.

Despite the innings reduction, Maeda is still a worthwhile pitcher to roster. As a starter, Maeda made 26 starts pitching 137 innings to a 4.14 ERA with a 9.7 K/9. He gave up too many walks (3.1 BB/9), but managed to control his home runs (1.2 HR/9). Maeda is still valuable when pitching out of the bullpen where he went 16.1 innings in 2019, dropping his ERA to 3.24 and upping his K/9 to 11.9/9 and dropping his BB/9 to 2.2/9.  The drop in his WHIP from the rotation to the bullpen (from 1.11 to 0.78) attests to his improved strikeout and walk rate. He won’t pitch a ton of innings, but has been good when on the mound no matter what his role.

 

15.175 – Ken Giles

 

We remember Ken Giles for losing A.J. Hinch’s trust in the 2017 playoffs and punching himself in the face in 2018 when he was mired in a slump of poor outings. He has been excellent for Toronto in 2019, picking up 23 saves (one blown) with a 1.87 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, with 14.09 K/9. The Blue Jays aren’t going to put him in a position for a ton of saves, but the team should be improved in 2020. We also thought that Shane Greene wouldn’t get saves in Detroit and he picked up 22 for the 2019 Tigers.

Giles’ situation in 2020 may mirror Greene’s 2019. Like Greene, Giles is a closer on a weaker team, and is also a trade candidate. The Blue Jays couldn’t trade Giles in 2019 because he had a bout of elbow inflammation just before the trade deadline, sapping his value. Giles becomes a free agent at the end of 2020, so expect him to be traded before next season’s trade deadline. Depending on where he ends up, this could either help his value (if he closes for a contender) or hurt him if he ends up in a set-up role. This uncertainty will depress his draft cost, but be prepared to scour the wire for saves in case of emergency. There is also the possibility that Giles is traded in the offseason. If he is, his new team and role will determine his ADP, so adjust accordingly.

 

16.186 – Bryan Reynolds

 

Bryan Reynolds had an excellent rookie season in 2019. It was a season that may have flown under the radar because he plays for Pittsburgh, but Reynolds should be a mid-round target for batting average. Reynolds was a part of the Andrew McCutchen trade with San Francisco and was called up to the Pirates on April 20, playing 134 games in 2019. He bounced around the order until firmly establishing himself in the second spot. On the season, he hit .314/.377/.503 with 16 home runs, 83 runs, and 68 RBI in 546 plate appearances. Reynolds will benefit from his placement in the order ahead of Starling Marte and Josh Bell. He should score runs, and with Kevin Newman hitting in front of him, he should provide a passable number of RBI. As a switch hitter, Reynolds puts the bat on the ball spraying hits around the field (38.6 pull, 35.1 center, 26.3 oppo). If he makes any strides to reduce his 22.2% strikeout rate, Reynolds could improve on his already excellent batting average, OBP, and counting stats. He stole three bases in 2019 and should chip in a few bags in 2020.

 

17.199 – Jo Adell

 

Jo Adell will be a hot topic in offseason fantasy discussions. As one of baseball’s top prospects, we won’t know what the Angels’ 2020 plans for Adell will be until closer to the start of the season, and much will depend upon his spring training performance and the team’s offseason moves. Kole Calhoun is a free agent and his departure should open up a position in the outfield. Service time manipulation becomes an issue with young players, of course, but the Padres and Mets surprised everyone when Fernando Tatis Jr., Chris Paddack, and Pete Alonso broke camp. If Adell flies north with the team for Opening Day or if he signs a major league contract, his value will soar, but it is more likely that Adell will be up with the club in mid-April.

Adell brings potential power-speed combination in lineup with Mike Trout. Mike Trout! Did I mention that he will share the field with Mike Trout? There is still some concern among scouts that Adell will not be able to translate his tools into game power and speed, but his upside is immense. Adell has lost development time due to injury, but the hope is that Adell can make an immediate impact when he joins the Angels and will benefit from a lineup that should score runs.

 

18.210 – Yonny Chirinos

 

There is some concern that Yonny Chirinos will be the odd man out in Tampa Bay’s rotation next season. Blake Snell, Charlie Morton, and Tyler Glasnow are locked for starts, but Brent Honeywell and Brendan McKay are also logical starters, with Ryan Yarbrough as another false starter option. We know that between injuries and performance, pitching situations usually sort themselves out, so it would be very easy to see Chirinos slot right back into his role as an occasional starter and/or primary reliever in 2020. The uncertainty should provide fantasy managers with value when drafting Chirinos.

In 2019, Chirinos made 18 starts, pitching in 26 games, and had a 3.85 ERA with a 1.05 WHIP with a 7.70 K/9. Chirinos won’t get a ton of strikeouts but manages his walks (1.89 BB/9) and limits home runs (1.55 HR/9). He should be a value to ratio categories and, if he is used with an opener, should grab some cheap wins. I wish that Chirinos was deployed with an opener more often, but the Rays are comfortable with him in either starting role.

Chirinos missed time in 2019 with a finger injury that cost him more than six weeks. When he returned, he pitched in just three games, logging 6.2 innings and gave up six earned runs. It is encouraging that Chirinos was able to pitch in September, even though the results were disappointing. The hope is that he has a regular offseason and comes back healthy, and effective, in 2020.

 

19.233 – Hansel Robles

 

It seemed that fantasy managers were speculating on saves in Los Angeles and ignoring Hansel Robles‘ entrance video. While he wasn’t the reliever with the best skills in the ‘pen, the power of the entrance video carries significant weight, it seems. Robles was a waiver wire saves source in 2019, picking up 23. I usually forego the top-tier closers in drafts and focus on working the wire for the pitchers who move into a closer’s role. I rarely pay up for the top closers.

Since I made this pick, Joe Maddon has been hired as the Angels’ manager. This could put Robles’ chances for saves into question, as Maddon has been flexible with his bullpen usage. This is all the more concerning for Robles, specifically, because there is competition in the bullpen with Ty Buttrey and Keynan Middleton poised to close out games if Maddon uses a committee or brings his trusted relievers in to face the strongest hitters regardless of the inning. In a deeper draft, it might be prudent to add Middleton and Buttrey in later rounds and see how things play out in Spring Training.

 

20.234 – Johnny Cueto

 

Do I want to draft Johnny Cueto at 234th overall? No way, but I didn’t have much choice with so many pitchers already off the board. When I pass on pitchers in earlier rounds, the result is having to draft boring veterans like Cueto, Dallas Keuchel, and Chris Archer in later rounds. Veterans, we have seen, can be really good if they have managed to learn how to be pitchers once their elite skills have eroded after hundreds of major league innings. There is a feeling that they have limited upside, which may be true, but would it surprise anyone if a wily veteran was able to return to form? I’m looking in your direction Lance Lynn, Charlie Morton, and Hyun-Jin Ryu.

Cueto returned from Tommy John Surgery in September and his first ten innings were run-free, but he wasn’t overpowering, striking out just six and walking three. In his final two starts, he threw just six innings and gave up four runs in four innings, and five runs in two innings. Still, it was encouraging to see Cueto back on the mound and he should have a normal offseason and normal Spring Training. As a former ace, Cueto has the potential to have a fantasy impact. He is owed ~$22M for the next two seasons and, at that price, should be a part of the rotation. Pitching in Oracle Park is a huge benefit despite the poor team on the field. The Giants won’t contend in 2020 and wins will be few and far between, but pitchers with innings are valuable.

 

21.247 – Dallas Keuchel

 

Dallas Keuchel missed much of 2019 waiting for the MLB draft. After turning down Houston’s qualifying offer, teams did not want to lose a draft pick and left Keuchel in free agency. Not surprisingly, Keuchel was signed quickly after the draft. He started 19 games for Atlanta, posting an 8-8 record with a 3.75 ERA, beating his 4.72 FIP by almost a full run. He was his typical self inducing 60.1% ground balls and striking out just 18.7%. He was a victim of the low-drag ball sending his home runs per nine soaring from 0.78 in 2018 to 1.28 HR/9 in 2019.

Keuchel outperformed his FIP thanks to a strong Atlanta defense. If drafting Keuchel in 2020, be sure to consider his team’s defense. As a ground ball pitcher who relies on contact, Keuchel needs infielders who can make plays behind him. After last season’s contract delay, I expect that Keuchel will sign quickly and will pitch more innings in 2020. We know what we will get with Keuchel, and the hope is that he goes to a team that will benefit his skillset.

 

22.258 – Carson Kelly

 

Carson Kelly seems to be my catching target of choice this offseason. I drafted him late in my one-catcher, 15-team #2EarlyMocks draft, as well. While other managers were drafting premium catchers early, I was piecing together my pitching staff, and when I was ready to draft a catcher, I realized that I was one of three teams without a catcher. I considered Omar Narvaez, Christian Vasquez, and Salvador Perez here, but went with Kelly because of his age. I was surprised that Perez went undrafted in this mock, so look for value on Perez in early drafts.

Kelly hit .245/.348/.478 with 18 home runs, 46 runs, and 47 RBI for Arizona. As a key piece in the Paul Goldschmidt trade, Kelly was called upon to catch a new pitching staff and perform at the plate. Kelly settled in well with the Diamondbacks playing 111 games with 365 plate appearances. In 2020, Kelly should have the starting role (Alex Avila is an offseason free agent) and should get more plate appearances. Kelly has a good eye at the plate with a 13.2% walk rate and an acceptable 21.6% strikeout rate. Catcher isn’t a luxury fantasy position, but it was a pleasant surprise in 2019. If I’m not going to pay up for the top tier at the position, Kelly is an excellent late-round option with upside.

 

23.271 – Chris Archer

 

I am not a Chris Archer guy. Pittsburgh got fleeced in the trade. I never paid up for Archer when he was in Tampa Bay. He was always a high-innings, high-strikeout guy walking a very thin tightrope between success and failure. Still, I drafted Archer with my final round pick in this draft, because I am encouraged by the Pirates’ offseason moves.

The Pirates were a team in complete disarray in 2019. Fights in the clubhouse, fights on the field, their closer looking at extended prison time, and that doesn’t even address the product on the field (the team went 69-93 on the season). The best news that any baseball fan or fantasy manager could hear was Clint Hurdle’s dismissal as manager. Former pitcher-whisperer, Ray Searage, was also fired, opening up another key managerial position for the Pirates. With luck, the front office brings in some smart, progressive thinkers to work with pitchers and to manage the player dynamics off the field.

I would never make this pick if Hurdle and Searage still wore black and yellow. Though it may seem unlikely, Archer still has time to turn things around. He just turned 31 and can still get strikeouts. With a final-round pick like this, it should be easy to evaluate the impact of a new coaching staff and Archer’s Spring Training results and then easily cut him if things look bad. The final few roster spots in any draft should be churned, and making a quick decision to cut or keep should be simple: If Archer looks like the 5.19 ERA, 1.41 WHIP, and 40.1% hard-contact rate from 2019, he’s dropped.

 

Closing Thoughts

 

In a 12-team league with only 23 roster spots, there should have been a lot of targets at all parts of the draft. It should have been easy to find players that I wanted, but instead, I was frequently frustrated by the picks made by my fellow managers. Players I expected to draft later for value were taken picks or rounds ahead of where I expected, leaving me, often, with my second or third option. It shouldn’t have been a surprise in a draft full of excellent players, but I think that some of my difficulties also came with my relative inexperience in the 12-team format.

When drafting, it is important to quickly adjust to the tendencies of the draft. If pitchers are at a premium, then managers have to decide very quickly between two options: push pitchers and be a part of the trend, or do the opposite and go against the flow. It isn’t something that can be done in half measure. I think that in this draft, I was somewhere in between by pushing pitchers, at times, and grabbing hitting value, at times. The result is a team that has some strengths and also has some weaknesses that, I expect, will fall somewhere in the middle of the standings.

My strategy of grabbing speed early is, I think, a valid one because I found it very easy to find mid-round power. Most stolen base options went in early rounds, and will, I believe, go early in March drafts. If you want to get speed, be prepared to draft it early or risk going without. In a shallow league, however, speed isn’t as important and can be kept to a minimum. A potential strategy might be to find enough speed to finish somewhere in the middle of the SB category, but be sure grab a ton of power because a manager will have to top the HR, R, and RBI categories if the plan to “punt” steals is going to be effective.

Graphic by Michael Haas (@digitalHaas on Twitter)

Mark McElroy

When I am not watching baseball or writing about fantasy baseball, I can usually be found cycling in and around Victoria, BC. I am a manager at Pitcher List and can be found on Twitter @markmcelroybb.

2 responses to “Pitcher List Mock Draft No. 1: Mark McElroy’s Picks”

  1. jon says:

    good thing this wasn’t a real draft

    • Mark McElroy says:

      While I agree that it wasn’t a perfect draft, I think that the team I put together has a solid base of contributors in all categories. Since I have speed in Ramirez and Marte, I probably should have passed on Mondesi for a pitcher. That would have set my staff in better stead and would have meant that I could have avoided boring late-round veterans. Still, there is a lot to work with here.

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