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Welcome to the third installment of breaking down the industry mock draft that we hosted last Thursday. Yup, we’re getting into the meat of things by asking everyone who they thought the steal of the draft was. As is tradition, I’ll be following everyone’s thoughts with a brief commentary of my own because it’s my article and I can.

Here’s the lineup: Kyle Bishop (RotoBaller), Alex Chamberlain (RotoGraphs/RotoBaller), Brad Johnson (RotoBaller), Joe Gallina (RotoExperts), Keith Lott (WeTalkFantasySports), Nate Miller (Sporting News), Nick Mariano (RotoBaller), Justin Mandaro (TheFantasyFix), Alex Beckey (BaseballHQ), Jarad Wilk (New York Post), Justin Mason/Paul Sporer (RotoGraphs), and George Bissel (Baseball Prospectus).

 

Q: Who Was The Biggest Steal Of The Draft?

Kyle Bishop (RotoBaller)

Francisco Liriano/Domingo SantanaNick snagged Francisco Liriano at 186, a good 70 spots lower than his ADP. Honorable mention: Domingo Santana at 263 was a great late-round lotto ticket for Mr. Fancy Pants Award Winner Alex Chamberlain. 

Yeah buddy, I had been staring down Liriano for a few rounds at that point, and just never felt a need to take another starting pitcher at those points. Then I just saw it as too good of a value to grab him and it had to be done. He has his woes with working deep into games and racking up deep counts, but he has great stuff and looks comfortable out there for Pittsburgh. Domingo Santana is a good flier towards the end of drafts for sure, as the Khris Davis trade paves the way for an opportunity for Santana, who possesses a fun combination of pop and decent speed.

 

 

Alex Chamberlain (RotoGraphs / RotoBaller)

Jose Berrios/Clay Buchholz/Aaron Hicks/Devon TravisI'm bad at these kinds of things. I really like Jose Berrios in the 19th round (226th) and the trio of Clay Buchholz, Aaron Hicks and Devon Travis in the 21st round (241st, 247th, and 249th, respectively). Alex snagged Hicks, so he took one step closer to redemption.

Berrios is a fun buzzy prospect to take, and Minnesota should be looking to employ his services at the major league level this year after his clock turns over for the next year. Buchholz carries tremendous value here considering how well he pitched last year. Hicks has a great opportunity in Yankee Stadium and if someone gets injured in that outfield then he has 15/15 potential. Travis needs to get his shoulder right, but then he steps into that vaunted Blue Jays’ lineup with a strong bat of his own.

 

 

Joe Gallina (RotoExperts)

Anthony RendonNot really a steal but I like Anthony Rendon in the 10th round – I think he’s going to have a bounce-back season and love his multi-position eligibility.

 

Brad Johnson (RotoBaller / Fangraphs)

Anthony Rendon/Ketel Marte/Josh ReddickA rational draft leads to few steals. I liked the values on Rendon, Ketel Marte, and Josh Reddick. While I think the ninth round is the right spot for Jonathan Lucroy, there was a six round gap between him and Schwarber. I doubt there's a six round gap in actual production.

Valid all around, with both of these guys pointing to Rendon being a steal. We previously touched on how a few guys (including Brad) were looking for Rendon in the draft room but did not see him. It’s notable to look at how big the gap is between the “tier two” catcher in Schwarber and the “tier three” Lucroy. Obviously Schwarber comes into this year on quite the heat wave, whereas Lucroy had an ice-cold 2015, so that further widens the gap. I like Ketel Marte's chances of being productive atop the Mariners' lineup with 20 steals and healthy runs alongside a .275 average. Josh Reddick got some love in the value pick piece, but know that he is liked.

 

Keith Lott (WeTalkFantasySports)

Jordan Zimmermann - Jordan Zimmerman at 204 is hard to comprehend as the dude is a top 30 SP.

How fickle can it be to go to the AL Central from the NL East for a guy who doesn’t necessarily have overpowering stuff? Give him 200 innings and he can return 160 Ks, but the question here is can he rebound with the stuff enough to bring down that 3.75 FIP/3.82 xFIP/3.83 SIERA, and I don’t trust that he will as he moves to the AL Central. 

 

Nick Mariano (RotoBaller)

Evan GattisEvan Gattis in Round 22 is hard to ignore. Rounding out your OF or filling in that UTIL this late with a power bat like Gattis' in a lineup like Houston's is pretty sick. Shoutout to Marcell Ozuna in the 19th round too.

While the Astros may have wanted a bit more out of Gattis, the bottom line is that he hit 27 homers and knocked in 88 runs with a .246 average. Getting that at the end of a draft to round out your hitting? Yes please. It isn’t as though you’re banking on his triples to be sustainable here.

 

Justin Mandaro (TheFantasyFix)

Taijuan Walker -  Taijuan Walker (Brad Johnson, 17.03) was one of the biggest steals for me. His 8.3 K/9 were really solid for a pitcher in his first full season as a starter and although he was certainly susceptible to giving up runs (4.56 ERA) his inability to put a lot of runners on base (1.196 WHIP) is intriguing. He should see more innings in 2016, pitches in a very pitcher friendly ball park and should strike batters out with ease. I would take Walker ahead of Lance McCullers, Michael Pineda and Wei-Yin Chen easily.

Pretty bold here, but I respect it. If he can strike out 180 in 200 innings then you’ll certainly take that. He stepped up his control in a major way last year (going from a 4.26 to 2.12 BB/9), but he needs to figure out how to keep the ball in the park (a 1.33 HR/9 is bad m’kay). Even if we look at his xFIP which normalizes the home run rate, it still gives him a 3.82 xFIP. Look for growth, but I’d be hard pressed to pay for him over the likes of McCullers or Pineda. I’ll take him over Chen though, sure.

 

Alex Beckey (BaseballHQ)

Brett LawrieAlthough there were a lot of great picks, I liked Nate Miller’s Brett Lawrie selection in the 23rd round (#270 overall). According to BaseballHQ.com, Lawrie has an ADP of 216 and projected earnings of $10 for 2016. Based upon those numbers, Nate may have gotten the biggest steal of the draft.

Lawrie draws a lot of hate for not living up to the hype, but he still hit 16 dingers last with a .260 average. It was discouraging to see his strikeout rate jump from 17.4% to 23.9%, but this is the last round and if a fresh start in a superior Chicago lineup and ballpark can revitalize Lawrie in any way, this could be good value here.

 

Jarad Wilk (NY Post)

Raisel Iglesias/Jordan Zimmermann/Patrick Corbin/Zack Wheeler/Domingo Santana - I really like Raisel Iglesias at the tail end of the 14th round, Jordan Zimmermann in the 17th, Patrick Corbin in the 18th and was really pissed at Zack Wheeler in the 23rd, largely because he was next in my queue. So, yeah, I guess this means I like pitching since I just mentioned four pitchers. Domingo Santana in the 22nd round is also pretty great.

Iglesias has taken the fantasy baseball world by storm, losing his “sleeper” label in a matter of hours it seems. He’s definitely talented and has that “strikeout-per-inning” stuff that is so sought after. Unfortunately he still pitches for Cincinnati, and the three wins he got in 95.1 IP points to that. His 3.26 SIERA is very sexy, and if he can win 10 games while striking out around 160 in as many innings in 2016, then you’ll be pleased. Corbin showed a strong arm last year in his abbreviated 2015 after coming back from TJ surgery without showing the usual drag in control, so 2016 looks to be promising for the Diamondback who can strikeout 140 in around 160 innings with a 3.50 ERA.

 

 

Justin Mason (RotoGraphs)

Dexter Fowler Dexter Fowler in the 18th was an amazing buy. I had him all queued up but Kyle nailed that one.

We covered Fowler in the value pick piece, but it’s worth noting that someone other than Kyle and myself agree with the value here.

 

George Bissell (Baseball Prospectus)

A.J. PollockA.J. Pollock (2nd Round, 19th overall). Arguably the most valuable player in fantasy baseball last season, he was the only player to hit .300 with 20-plus home runs and stolen bases. He was also one of just seven hitters to steal 30 or more bags. It's hard to find a more complete fantasy contributor than Pollock which is why it was surprising he lasted as long as he did early on.

This is something I looked back at and initially hated myself for. At the same time, having taken Clayton Kershaw in the first round I felt it was important to grab Jose Bautista’s power rather than Pollock’s all-around game. I think Pollock does take a small step back in the power department, but the speed is legitimate and he’s in prime territory to post another strong year.

 

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