We continue our 2015 Fantasy Baseball mock draft with analysis, entering into the third and fourth rounds — where we usually see former superstars coming off a bad season, or promising players coming off their first breakout year.
There have only been two starting pitchers taken so far (Clayton Kershaw and Felix Hernandez), so we expect to see twice that number in the next two rounds.
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.
Rounds 1 & 2 | Rounds 5 & 6 | Rounds 7 & 8 | Rounds 9 & 10 | Rounds 11 & 12 | Rounds 13 & 14 | Rounds 15 & 16 | Rounds 17 & 18 | Rounds 19 & 20
3.01 Ryan Braun, OF, Milwaukee
Steve Pimental, FantasyAlarm.com: It seems like Braun has struggled for years, but he batted .319 with 41 home runs and 30 stolen bases all the way back in 2012. His wrist is completely healthy right now, and while it may not stay that way, I think he is worth the risk. I think at worst, I am getting a .290 hitter with 20-plus home runs, and his ceiling is higher than anyone’s in the third round.
Roster: 3B-Beltre, OF-Trout/Braun
3.02 Freddie Freeman, 1B, Atlanta
Chris Zolli, FantasyPros.com: Freeman not only brings solid play to my team, but, since it is near National Hug Day, brings the love that my team needs. Since being the full-time 1B in 2011, Freeman has averaged 153 games played and has a .834 OPS with 50 or more extra-base hits in each season. The best thing is that Freeman is still young, at 25, and has shown this kind of track record. Although, there were many that saw him as a 25-30 home run hitter, Freeman could hit 45-50 doubles this season, as he had 43 doubles last season. First base has a defined dropoff after Freeman and it is wise to scoop him up early in the third round.
Roster: 1B-Freeman, OF-McCutchen, SP-Hernandez
3.03 Todd Frazier, 3B, Cincinnati
Jim Finch, FantasyAssembly.com: Continuing my theme, I’ll take Frazier’s 20/20 potential to complement Goldschmidt and Desmond. Some will doubt the power output, but Fangraphs has several articles supporting the increase. Others will doubt the speed; Frazier isn’t the fastest guy in the league, but he is a smart base runner which is just as important. With an improving Billy Hamilton in front of him and healthy Joey Votto and Jay Bruce behind him, you can expect a total of 80 in each the of the run and RBI categories. Overall, he’s a nicely rounded player who will contribute everywhere with little downside — at least in my mind.
Roster: 1B-Goldschmidt, SS-Desmond, 3B-Frazier
3.04 Kyle Seager, 3B, Seattle
Andy Singleton, FantasyFiveStar.com: Baseball in “grunge town” continues to improve, and maybe, just maybe, it has all to do with the man at the hot corner. In four Major League seasons, Seager has improved upon all of his numbers across the board. Having just turned 28, he is still in the heart of his power prime, and the lineup around him continues to improve, hinting that he may crack 100-plus RBI for the first time. Although, the allure of Kurt Suzuki still being available made this a challenge, I’m going big and locking my corners up with a Miggy/Seager tandem.
Roster: 1B-Cabrera, 3B-Seager, OF-Springer
3.05 Yoenis Cespedes, OF, Detroit
Lawr Michaels, Mastersball.com: Oakland vastly underestimated Cespedes’ presence in their lineup, simply in terms of protecting Brandon Moss and Josh Donaldson, despite his rugged whiff-to-walk rate. In Detroit, Miggy, V-Mart, et al offer the question of who protects whom? And, well, Yoenis should have a lot more fun hitting in Motown than in Beantown or Oaktown.
Roster: C-Posey, 3B-Donaldson, OF-Cespedes
3.06 Bryce Harper, OF, Washington
Daniel Archer, LeagueSafePost.com: Maybe it’s because I live in DC, but I can’t imagine a draft where Harper falls to his current ADP of late fourth/early fifth. Maybe it’s because I named him as the breakout player in my upcoming Nationals 30 for 30 and I want to put up or shut up. Either way, consensus be damned and pour me a frothing mug of upside. In this draft or any draft where I want him, I’m going to pay to get him, and that means no later than the early fourth round. I’m willing to gamble that at 21, this is the year Harper stays on the field and puts up power numbers while batting between Rendon and Werth/Zimmerman. Then again, I’ve been saying the same thing about my man crush Jason Heyward for three years now.
3.07 Hanley Ramirez, SS, Boston
David Kerr, FantasySquads.com: Sure, health is always an issue with Ramirez, but he’s still in the upper echelon of shortstops and should see a solid rebound now that he’s playing in Boston. It’s amazing — and somewhat refreshing — that only two starting pitchers have been drafted up to this point and it seems as though most owners are going for a “bat-heavy” approach. If Ramirez could stay healthy over a full season, he could easily be the top shortstop in Fantasy Baseball. Realistically, he’ll play 125-130 games and see a nice uptick in power in the process moving to the AL East. There is risk, but also plenty of reward, and I’ll take that from a position that thins out rather quickly.
Roster: SS-Ramirez, OF-Stanton/A.Jones
3.08 Madison Bumgarner, SP, San Francisco
Brendan O’Brien-Cockson, FantasySquads.com: I am a firm believer that a stellar pitching staff, whether your league is H2H, points, etc., will make your life a whole lot easier throughout the season. Streaming pitchers is fun, but you definitely don’t want to rely on that. How’s Kershaw and 2014 Sportsman of the Year MadBum for a 1-2 punch for my pitching lineup? I anticipate Bumgarner having an elite 2015 campaign, off the heels of his epic postseason. Expect a good amount of wins and low ERA and WHIP from the lefty slinger.
Roster: OF-Hamilton, SP-Kershaw/Bumgarner
3.09 Michael Brantley, OF, Cleveland
Alex Kantecki, FakeTeams.com: My only reservation to drafting two infielders in the first two rounds was that I’d miss out on a stud outfielder. That feeling was lessened when I saw Brantley still on the board. This pick screams regression, but the all-around game he provides is still plenty valuable, even if he dips closer to 15/15 than last year’s 20/20. There’s probably no value to be had taking Brantley in the third round, but I feel it’s safe enough.
Roster: 1B-Abreu, 2B-Rendon, OF-Brantley
3.10 Max Scherzer, SP, Washington
Brad Binns, MoxyBall.com: New home? No problem. Scherzer is my choice to anchor my staff. We are at pick 33 now in the draft, and if you asked me when we started if I thought I could have landed Scherzer here I would have been very surprised He is an elite source of Ks, having finished north of 230 for three straight seasons. I expect his transition to Washington to be seamless — and I am happy to build my staff around him.
Roster: 1B-Encarnacion, 2B-Altuve, SP-Scherzer
3.11 Justin Upton, OF, San Diego
Neil Parker, LockerRoomFantasySports.com: While Scherzer would have been tempting, Upton is capable of a first-round return and in his prime. PETCO Park may scare some, but those spacious confines are still no match for Upton’s raw power. The floor-upside combo is too high to pass up. Plus, power was the primary need.
Roster: 2B-Cano, SS-Tulowitzki, OF-J.Upton
Photo Credit: ESPN Stats & Information Group
3.12 Chris Sale, SP, Chicago White Sox
Greg Jewett, TheSportsScript.com: While I preach to take the best player available, I usually wait on starting pitching. But there is a conglomerate of outfielders I could have taken, but they all have their warts. Sale could win the American League Cy Young, and if the White Sox are going to make a push to playoff contention, Sale has to be a part of it. He has struck out over 200 the last two years and while I was honestly hoping for Scherzer to fall here so I could have taken them back to back, I will settle on Sale. By the way, I think Scherzer may make a run at 300 Ks, that is possible. My first two picks were power hitters, so why not get a power arm. Kudos to the two picks before me as I had Upton on my list as well
Roster: 1B-Rizzo, OF-Bautista, SP-Sale
Click on the arrow to check out the picks and analysis for Round 4!
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