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RotoBaller Early Mock Draft Analysis (Rounds 3-10)


A group of 10 RotoBaller fantasy baseball experts recently came together to conduct a slow mock draft for the 2019 season. Was it way too early? That all depends on who is asking. But with it complete, we can start to look at where players ended up on the board.

This is the first staff mock draft but will not be the last prior to the start of the MLB season. I'll take a look at rounds 3-10 to analyze where the values were found and where some of the biggest reaches were made.

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to Tweet me @RowdyRotoJB

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Early 2019 Mock Results


Click table to see enlarged view

 

Overview

The third round started with Anthony Rizzo, followed by the gnarliest of SP runs you'll ever see. Carlos Correa and Kris Bryant joined Rizzo in the Ignored but Not Forgotten Club, followed by a Whit Merrifield sighting at #30 overall. Clayton Kershaw dropped all the way to #33 overall, and Juan Soto was taken by yours truly a full two rounds later than fellow NL ROY finalist (well, the winner) Ronald Acuna. The first RP was drafted in the 5th round, but at least it was the correct RP in Edwin Diaz, and the AL Cy Young Award winner Blake Snell lasts until pick #50. The Yankees kind-of-still shiny new toy James Paxton was drafted in the 6th round, two picks after Playoffs stud Walker Buehler, and Mitch Haniger went at #66 immediately following his teammate Nelson Cruz. The first Catcher, the Kraken, was taken in the 8th round, and the first non-closer RP Josh Hader was taken for ratio help at #85. The 9th round finished with 2nd half breakout-rookie Adalberto Mondesi, and we finish up with Brian Dozier as this article's Mr. Irrelevant at #100 overall.

 

Favorite Picks

Blake Snell, TB - SP13 (#50 Overall)

The guy is 25 years old, won the AL Cy Young award, and finished 2018 as the SP4 (12th overall) in 2018 fantasy leagues. All of this, and Troy was able to scoop him up at the end of the 5th round as the 13th SP off the board? What were the rest of us smoking? His xFIP was a run and a half higher than his ERA due to a .241 BABIP and 88.0 LOB%, but I don't think anyone doubts the legitimacy from this season. I think this will actually be a fairly common draft spot for Snell in 2019, just due to guys looking to grab just one ACE in the early rounds generally, and despite the breakout Cy Young campaign Snell just isn't instilled in peoples minds as a true fantasy ace yet. *Whispers, He is though.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr., TOR - 3B14 (#87 Overall)

Despite all of the hype, and seeing the fantasy impact Juan Soto and Ronald Acuna had immediately upon their big league arrivals, Little Guerrero dropped all the way down to Ellis in the ninth round. The kid mashed all the levels of Minor League this season, hitting 20 total HR in just 408 PA, and hitting .402 across 266 PA in AA and .336 through 128 PA in AAA. Steamer projects Guerrero with a 75/22/77/.306 line in 2019, which basically makes him Anthony Rendon on a bad team, drafted four rounds later with massive upside.

Adalberto Mondesi, KC - 2B10 (#90 Overall)

After massively disappointing in his two previous big league stints, the spawn of Raul Mondesi defined the word BREAKOUT this season. In just 291 PA, the 23-year-old amassed 14 HR, 32 SB, and a .276 BA. Simple math exaggeratedly shows us 28/64 potential from Mondesi over a full season. WHAT?! This absurd ceiling alone is enough to warrant a draft pick much earlier than where Troy got him in the 9th round. I've seen him go as early as the SECOND round in early mock drafts this offseason.

 

Least Favorite Picks

Kenley Jansen, LAD - RP2 (#57 Overall)

Who the hell took a closer that needs offseason heart surgery, allowed a 5.71 ERA in his last 17.1 IP, and blew back to back saves in the World Series? Oh...it was me. Looking back, I probably should have taken Zack Greinke, but I am a sucker for relief pitchers. I don't even pay attention to saves; I just want the ERA/WHIP dominance and the steady sprinkle of strikeouts. I usually can't pass up elite bullpen arms. But with the "down" season he had in 2018, the unknown of how the irregular heart-beat actually affects his game, or whether or not the surgery will actually fix it, I think you let Jansen drop to a decent value or let another manager take the risk where I took him. I'd much rather snag Blake Treinen two rounds later.

Marcell Ozuna, STL - OF19 (#58 Overall)

Ozuna reverted right back to his pre-2017 ways this season, almost repeating his 2016 numbers, and finished the year as the 77th ranked player in fantasy. As of now, I have to assume the 23.4 HR/FB% that led to 37 HR and .355 BABIP that produced a .312 BA in 2017 were career outliers and the 69/23/88/.280 line is more of what we can expect again in 2019. It's a safe pick with his '18 numbers being the floor for the past three seasons, but I would rather take every OF that went in the following round: Eddie Rosario, Tommy Pham, Nelson Cruz, Lorenzo Cain, Justin Upton, and Mitch Haniger.

 

Sneakiest Values

Zack Wheeler, NYM - SP24 (#91 Overall)

I love taking any chance I get to talk about Zack Wheeler, my fellow East Paulding High School alum. Zack took a massive step forward in 2018, setting a career-high in K% and a career-low in BB% while posting a 3.25 FIP over 182.1 IP. But what was most impressive was managing to cut his Hard% from 32.8 in 2017 down to 24.8 - second lowest in the league in 2018. Wheeler found success by increasing his fastball usage and doing away with the sinker. He threw the fastball 8% more this season and finished with a 22.7 wFA which was fifth-highest among starters. The cheese was devastating, and it got better as the season wore on. After posting a 4.44 ERA over the first half of the season, Wheeler was quite possibly the best pitcher in baseball after the All-Star break, posting a 1.68 ERA which was slightly better than even his Cy Young-winning teammate. There are big things coming in 2019 for the pride of Paulding County, GA.

Corey Seager, LAD - SS10 (#67 Overall)

After injuries ruined the end of his 2017 season, many of us expected Lil Seager to bounce back to his 2016 form where he finished as the 43rd ranked player in fantasy. Instead, the poor guy needed Tommy John surgery before the month of April was over. Steamer projects a repeat of his shortened 2017 campaign this upcoming season, which is fair considering the question of when exactly Seager will be back in the lineup every day. Even if that is the relative floor, then Ellis scooped him up at a fair value. But if he comes out of this recovery and regains that 2016 stuff, or even takes a step forward as most 24-year-olds tend to do, then what a steal for the MIF slot.

 

Biggest Reaches

Whit Merrifield, KC - 2B5 (#30 Overall)

Does Whit Merrifield warrant a draft pick in the top 30 after what he did this season? Absolutely. He finished 2018 as the 19th ranked player in fantasy. He led the league in SB (45) and had a higher BA (.304) than the next seven speedsters behind him - Mookie Betts was the eighth. But as he enters his age 30 season, you got to assume the legs start to slow down, and that BABIP that jumped 50 points after 2017 has to come back to the norm. Not to mention, the Royals will continue to be a hot mess in 2019, so the run scoring possibilities remain limited. So does he warrant the pick, yes. Should he be taken that early, no. Especially considering the two 2B behind him on the draft board are super-hyped rookie phenoms, I feel you can wait to pull the trigger on Merrifield. Ozzie Albies was taken 38th overall and Gleyber Torres was taken 59th.

Matt Carpenter, STL - 1B4 (#35 Overall)

Again, another example of a player being drafted where he technically should based on 2018, but leaves zero room for value in 2019. Also, I may be the worlds biggest non-Cardinal supporting Matt Carpenter fan. In fact, I predicted the massive season back in March (pay no attention to any of the other predictions). The dude just turned 33, but we want to draft him exactly where he finished the 2018 season ranked and ahead of young studs like Rhys Hoskins and Cody Bellinger? Jesus Aguilar is five years younger, and finished just two spots behind Carpenter in 2018. Try to find his name in the top 100 of our draft....I'll wait. In light of more context, Connelly looks to have drafted him as his second baseman (and he did draft Bellinger the next round) so it's better than I'm making it sound. But even then, as a second baseman we go right back to my point with Whit Merrifield. Reaching for the age before the young beauties even get picked is bold. Are these two picks bad? No, I love Carpenter and Merrifield. I would just rather let the field take the new shiny toys and scoop up my reliable studs later to maximize value.

 

Best Team

Tie - Ellis/ Brendan

I love both teams for separate reasons. Ellis executed my usual fantasy baseball draft strategy flawlessly. 1. Draft stud hitters early focusing on MIF and OF, which he did with Altuve, Judge, Benintendi, and Story covering all categories. 2. Make up for lack of pitching by getting a huge upside young SP with a couple of excellent RP to counter the ERA/WHIP baggage your late round SP fill-ins will carry: enter Buehler, Diaz, and Treinen. 3. Ignore CIF early, as they tend to be the deepest offensive positions. He grabbed Vladimir Guerrero Jr (as mentioned above) for 3B, and having a leg up at the Catcher position from Realmuto partly makes up for not having an "elite" first baseman.

Brendan, on the other hand, played my alternate draft strategy perfectly, typically reserved for keeper leagues or leagues I know all the other managers and I know I won't get the guys I want based on their predicted reaches/biases. That strategy is to sit and enjoy the draft, and take what the field gives me. Almost every stud that dipped in value from a "down" season in 2018, Brendan gladly gobbled up. Paul Goldschmidt, Bryce Harper, Carlos Correa, Clayton Kershaw, Noah Syndergaard, Justin Turner, and A.J. Pollock all present fantastic return on investment potential from where he drafted them. For the record though, not a fan of Goldy over JD Martinez or Christian Yelich.

More 2019 MLB Advice and Analysis