Who doesn’t love an early Fantasy Baseball 2015 Experts Mock Draft? … Besides the terrorists. Really though, if they’d just give it a chance …
You’re already familiar with our 30-site extravaganza we’ve put together with 30 writers from 30 Fantasy Baseball websites, with each writer previewing one MLB team from a Fantasy perspective for 2015. And now, you’re going to get to know them from an experts mock draft viewpoint, as they begin to put all their words into action.
It’s like the Fantasy Writers All-Star Game, but with even less defense!
This 2015 experts mock draft is for a Rotisserie Mixed league, with standard 5×5 scoring, 12 teams, with the starting lineup set up this way: 2-Catchers, 1-1B, 1-2B, 1-3B, 1-SS, 5-OF, 1 corner infielder, 1 middle infielder, one utility hitter and nine pitchers.
Each writer was asked to give a sentence or two of analysis for each pick, so you’ll get to see the thinking behind each selection.
1.01 Mike Trout, OF, L.A. Angels
Steve Pimental, FantasyAlarm.com: I admit Trout’s strikeout rate, flyball rate and stolen base numbers from last season worry me, but he was still the best hitter in 2014 outside of Jose Altuve. Maybe Trout’s days of stealing 30 bases or batting .320 are over, but his ceiling is higher than anyone’s and if he just repeats his 2014 numbers this is the right pick.
1.02 Andrew McCutchen, OF, Pittsburgh
Chris Zolli, FantasyPros.com: If I could not get Trout, I might as well get the second most productive OF in McCutchen. The only real demerit for McCutchen was that he missed a couple weeks in August last season, but even then he came back from the injury quicker than expected. That speaks to McCutchen’s durability; he has played an average of 154 games over the past five seasons. I will take an OPS in the mid-.900s, 20 or more steals, and 90 or more runs and RBI. There was temptation to lock down an elite pitcher like Clayton Kershaw at this pick, but McCutchen is too good to pass up.
1.03 Paul Goldschmidt, 1B, Arizona
Jim Finch, FantasyAssembly.com: I’ve always wanted Miguel Cabrera, and Clayton Kershaw is huge arm to anchor any staff, but I’m going with my gut on this one and taking Goldschmidt. He’s a .300 hitter capable of smacking 30-plus home runs, and with a healthy Mark Trumbo, A.J. Pollock and newly acquired Yasmany Tomas on board, I can see at least 100 each in runs and RBI. Goldy is also capable of stealing 15-plus bases, and in Roto, I like all of my hitters to contribute to steals, so I don’t have to roster a one-category wonder, like Rajai Davis. I’ll kick myself after I hit send for not taking Kershaw.
1.04 Miguel Cabrera, 1B, Detroit
Andy Singleton, FantasyFiveStar.com: He’s no spring chicken anymore, and while the health and power numbers continue to mount concern, he’s still Miggy. Was tempted to go elsewhere here, but in the end, I felt this was the safest option. If you don’t want to lose your draft in the first round, ‘Ol Reliable is the way to go.
1.05 Josh Donaldson, 3B, Toronto
Lawr Michaels, Mastersball.com: Two years as the Athletics’ best hitter, and Josh now goes to a hitter’s park and gets the protection of E5 and Joey Bats, and well, he plays the hot corner. True, Anthony Rendon and Adrian Beltre might rank higher in places at third right now, but neither seems in a position to drop .285-25-85 totals, while Donaldson is set well for that. Second, part of the function of a mock draft is not so much to establish ADP in my view, but to try things, so let’s see how the roster shakes out.
1.06 Carlos Gomez, OF, Milwaukee
Daniel Archer, LeagueSafePost.com: CarGo2 is now the preferred transport to five-category relevance. I like that he’s 29 with somewhat fewer miles on his wheels due to a late breakout, and I like that his walk rate is trending up (7.3% last year, up from 4.4% in 2012) and his strikeout rate also came back down (21.9% from 24.7% in 2013). Every little bit helps when you’re in that territory. Finally, I like that he’s as safe a bet as any for good health and consistent output. I’m taking that security over some prodigious power that’s still on the board, and passing on the exigently two-headed shortstop monster of Troy Tulowitzki/Jordy Mercer.
1.07 Giancarlo Stanton, OF, Miami
David Kerr, FantasySquads.com: This was a no brainer for me, as I didn’t even consider the possibility that Stanton would be available at pick seven. Stanton is clearly baseball’s premier power hitter and has no trouble displaying his brawn in any ballpark in the majors. He has yet to eclipse 40 home runs in a season, but that will finally happen in 2015. The best part about Stanton is that he just turned 25; his best days are ahead of him. In the first round of any draft, I am taking the best player available and from my vantage point that player is Giancarlo Stanton.
1.08 Clayton Kershaw, SP, L.A. Dodgers
Brendan O’Brien-Cockson, FantasySquads.com: Alright, I guess it’s a good time for the first SP to come off the board. Do I even need to write a little blurb about the 3-time Cy Young winner, the MVP, the first player in history to lead the MLB in ERA for four straight years? Drooling aside, like the Dodgers or not, you have to respect Clayton Kershaw and how absolutely masterful of a pitcher is. If the Dodgers ace is sitting anywhere past pick No. 6 in the first round, I would snag him up quickly. Simply put, Kershaw will carry your pitching staff all year and it’s also nice to have an absolute stud to rely on. What’s not to like here?
1.09 Jose Abreu, 1B, Chicago White Sox
Alex Kantecki, FakeTeams.com: I considered Kershaw here before he was taken immediately before my pick, but going starting pitcher in the first round is not my style. I’m prioritizing power with Abreu, who lit up big-league pitching on his first year on the job. I believe 30 home runs and 100 RBI is a reasonable floor to expect from the White Sox first baseman, and there’s no reason to think the Cuban slugger will stop there. Abreu, who turns 28 later this month, slashed .350/.435/.513 in the second half of 2014 as pitchers became more familiar with his bat. He made significant adjustments after the All-Star break with a 10.7 percent walk rate (up from 6.3) and an 18.1 percent strikeout rate (down from 23.4).
1.10 Edwin Encarnacion, 1B, Toronto
Brad Binns, MoxyBall.com: I was hoping that one of the previous three players (Stanton, Kershaw, Abreu) would fall to my pick — but you can’t win them all, so Edwin is locked in for me with pick 10. The only real concern with Edwin is injuries, as he has missed a portion of each of the last two seasons with separate stints on the DL. Even having missed some time in each of the past two seasons, he is tied for second in baseball in HR over the past three years with 112, behind only Miguel Cabrera (113). He is an elite power option and I am very happy to take Edwin as a “consolation prize” in Round 1 to start to build my team.
1.11 Robinson Cano, 2B, Seattle
Neil Parker, LockerRoomFantasySports.com: Clearly, last season’s 14 home runs, and the counting stats dip are allowing Cano to last until the end of Round 1. His bat checked out with his career ratios, though, and while 30 bombs are unlikely, a return to 20 with a potential batting title plays handsomely at the keystone position. When the best pure hitter available plays a scarce position, you pounce.
1.12 Jose Bautista, OF, Toronto
Greg Jewett, TheSportsScript.com: While watching the queue disappear — wait, this is the first round! While these are not out-of-this-world picks (including the second-rounder), they are for a simple reason, power. At first glance noting that 475 fewer home runs were hit in 2014 than 2013 and it does not seem like a huge difference. But when you take into account that the average home runs hit per team was 155.37 in 2013, which dipped to 139.53 last year, it feels like more.
Home runs are at a premium and while the trend is to take pitching, I want power on my team. Bautista is power and makes the third Blue Jay taken in this first round. While he has had injury problems in the past, the Toronto offense is starting to resemble a slow-pitch softball team — and with characters like Donaldson added, they may look the part too. Even with a regression of Bautista’s BABIP to the mean, this is 35 home runs in a potential pinball offense. Because of that surrounding offense, the counting numbers will come as well.
Click on the arrow to check out the picks in Round 2!
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