Fantasy Baseball Mock Draft: Goldschmidt Goes First Overall
Did you hear that?
That's the sweet sound of pitchers pounding their catcher's mitts fastball after fastball, getting themselves into shape, working off months of rust.
Doesn't that sound just get your blood pumping? Well, it got ours flowing, enough so to work off the rust and participate in our first mock draft of the year to serve as an early glimpse into the minds of our baseball writers. Consider this a jumping off point, as much is sure to change as spring training unfolds and writer's opinions influence the average draft position of breakouts, sleepers and busts alike.
We here at numberFire love numbers (duh!), so you might see us throw some sabermetric-related terms out rather casually. If you want to know more about what they mean and how understanding them can benefit you, head on over to FanGraphs, or check out our glossary. We also use our own nERD score rankings as a way to quantify players effectiveness and compare them amongst each other. Use these tools to help you uncover today's diamond-in-the-rough before they become tomorrow's All-Stars.
In the interest of time, this draft had 20 rounds, where yours might have 25 rounds or more. As such, some good, solid veterans and sure-to-be popular sleepers didn't make the cut. A guy like Dustin Pedroia didn't make it, while Stephen Piscotty, Nathan Eovaldi, and Anthony DeSclafani may rise as early hype builds.
Here are the writers that participated in our first mock draft of the year. Give them a follow on twitter to get some tasty nuggets of info that might help give you an edge this year.
It should be noted that Stolnis had technical issues come up and has an auto-drafted team to show for it. Otherwise, he likely would not have chosen six outfielders to start the draft, followed by two shortstops who may not be available to start the season. He also would have picked a starting pitcher before Round 14.
With introductions out of the way, let's get this mock draft started.
|1||1||Paul Goldschmidt||1B 1||Sannes|
|2||2||Bryce Harper||OF 1||Bruno|
|3||3||Mike Trout||OF 2||Stolnis|
|4||4||Andrew McCutchen||OF 3||Bixenmann|
|5||5||Giancarlo Stanton||OF 4||Gdula|
|6||6||Clayton Kershaw||SP 1||Drury|
|7||7||Anthony Rizzo||1B 2||McGlade|
|8||8||Josh Donaldson||3B 1||Hicks|
|9||9||Miguel Cabrera||1B 3||Lynch|
|10||10||Carlos Correa||SS 1||Warne|
We started off with a bit of a surprise right away, as Jim Sannes took Paul Goldschmidt with the first pick. John Stolnis laid out his case for Goldy to be the top overall pick, and Sannes must have found the argument compelling enough to pass on Harper and Trout.
Drury was unapologetic in taking Kershaw at six overall, despite the abundance of top starters, citing his continued dominance over all other pitchers. An innings hog with a 11.64 K/9 (second among starters to Chris Sale) and an xFIP over a half run better than anyone else last year, Kershaw is worthy of a first-round selection according to our numbers. Warne couldn't pass up on the chance to find out if Correa can build on a scintillating rookie season of 22 homers, 68 runs batted in and 14 stolen bases in only 99 games -- the sky is the limit.
Taking Miguel Cabrera here may have been a reach, but last year was the first time he has missed a significant stretch, and he still led the league with a .338 batting average. He now profiles to hit 25 to 30 homers instead of the 40 we could count on in the past, but he will have plenty of opportunities to drive in runs in the middle of Detroit's stacked lineup and will be among the league leaders in OBP.
|1||11||Dee Gordon||2B 1||Warne|
|2||12||Nolan Arenado||3B 2||Lynch|
|3||13||Jose Altuve||2B 2||Hicks|
|4||14||Manny Machado||3B 3||McGlade|
|5||15||Mookie Betts||OF 5||Drury|
|6||16||Kris Bryant||3B 4/OF 6||Gdula|
|7||17||Jose Abreu||1B 4||Bixenmann|
|8||18||A.J. Pollock||OF 7||Stolnis|
|9||19||Jose Bautista||OF 8||Bruno|
|10||20||Joey Votto||1B 5||Sannes|
Already a borderline top-10 pick, if Machado qualifies at shortstop in your league (six games played last year), positional scarcity at shortstop should cement his spot in Round 1. Can Pollock duplicate his breakout 2015 season? He will have to do just that to justify a top-20 selection.
Drury is from St. Louis, so he passed on Bryant because of the Cubs, but he defended his pick of Betts with the belief that he has a higher floor than given credit for. And, I have to admit that he's right. Zips and Steamers projections both agree that Betts is a 20/20 threat, will score 100 runs and drive in 75 runs in a loaded Boston offense, and he possesses a .348 career wOBA to go with minuscule 13.0 K%.
Abreu followed up his Rookie of the Year campaign with a "disappointing" 30 homer, 101 RBI season. Bixenmann is hoping he can shake off his sophomore slump.
Votto led all of baseball with an insane .484 wOBA and 211wRC+ in the second half last year. It will be interesting to see if losing Todd Frazier has any effect on Votto's production this year and/or aids Abreu in Chicago.
I took Nolan Arenado because I like power bats that reside at Coors Field. Most drafts have Arenado going in Round 1 and Cabrera in the second. I guess I got lucky by doing it in reverse.
|1||21||Starling Marte||OF 9||Sannes|
|2||22||Edwin Encarnacion||1B 6||Bruno|
|3||23||Charlie Blackmon||OF 10||Stolnis|
|4||24||Troy Tulowitzki||SS 2||Bixenmann|
|5||25||Chris Davis||1B 7/OF 11||Gdula|
|6||26||J.D. Martinez||OF 12||Drury|
|7||27||George Springer||OF 13||McGlade|
|8||28||Todd Frazier||3B 5||Hicks|
|9||29||Nelson Cruz||OF 14||Lynch|
|10||30||Buster Posey||C 1/1B 8||Warne|
Encarnacion shouldn't have lasted until Round 3 -- his stats nearly matched his MVP teammate Donaldson in 12 fewer games.
It seems like we can call 2014 the outlier year for Chris Davis after leading the league in home runs in 2013 and 2015. He now adds dual position eligibility, making him even more valuable.
At first glance, George Springer's 2015 doesn't jump off the page. But look closer and you'll see that, despite missing 60 games due to injury, Springer still had 16 bombs and 16 stolen bases with a career best .360 wOBA while greatly improving his plate discipline. With good health, this could be his 30/30 breakout year.
Rounds 2 and 3 go by with nary a pitcher in the lot. You need to grab your stud hitters early because, starting soon, the hitters will make you feel uneasy while the pitching pool runs deep. I panicked with Cruz here with the clock about to expire -- Sano would have been the pick I had kept my head. Cruz had a great year with 44 homers, but he will turn 36 years old this season with a rising K%. Don't expect quite the same output as last year.
|1||31||Miguel Sano||3B 6/DH 1||Warne|
|2||32||Brian Dozier||2B 3||Lynch|
|3||33||Yoenis Cespedes||OF 15||Hicks|
|4||34||Justin Upton||OF 16||McGlade|
|5||35||Adam Jones||OF 17||Drury|
|6||36||Max Scherzer||SP 2||Gdula|
|7||37||Lorenzo Cain||OF 18||Bixenmann|
|8||38||Ryan Braun||OF 19||Stolnis|
|9||39||Chris Sale||SP 3||Bruno|
|10||40||Jose Fernandez||SP 4||Sannes|
Speaking of Sano, Warne couldn't pass up his second 2015 rookie phenom. In only 80 games, Sano crushed 18 home runs and 52 RBI with a .392 wOBA that would have placed him eighth among qualified hitters. Double that, and you get 36 home runs and 104 RBI. That's exactly how baseball math works, right? Maybe not. Is he that good? I think he might be. Just beware of his 35.5 K%. In most leagues, he only qualifies at DH, but played nine games at third and plans are for Sano to play right field this year.
A run on outfielders occurred here, but Drury had regrets following his choice of Adam Jones. Not because Jones wasn't worthy, but because he felt he could have rounded out his squad better at another position and still get value outfield later on. Both Upton and Jones place outside the top 50 in wOBA with declining speed, but still deserve to be among the top 20 outfielders due to their consistent power. Know what you are getting and balance your roster accordingly.
Round 4 is where we see the non-Kershaw elite tier of pitchers start to go. The common thread among Scherzer, Sale and Fernandez is a 10.82 K/9 or better, with all ranking in the top four (with Kershaw, of course) to go a 2.88 xFIP or better, all ranking in the top seven.
It was another panic pick with Dozier for me with the clock ready to hit zero. I'm thinking that I could have grabbed Cruz here if I snagged Sano last round. You can probably wait another round or two on Dozier, but I still won't hate his power numbers from second base, so long as I can overcome his drag on batting average (.238) and on base percentage (.307). Better yet, if Matt Carpenter qualifies at second base (11 games in 2015) in your league, you could wait another two rounds for similar power with higher averages.
|1||41||Kyle Schwarber||C 2/OF 20||Sannes|
|2||42||Jake Arrieta||SP 5||Bruno|
|3||43||Hanley Ramirez||OF 21||Stolnis|
|4||44||David Price||SP 6||Bixenmann|
|5||45||Carlos Gomez||OF 22||Gdula|
|6||46||Prince Fielder||1B 9/DH 2||Drury|
|7||47||Jacob deGrom||SP 7||McGlade|
|8||48||Madison Bumgarner||SP 8||Hicks|
|9||49||Corey Kluber||SP 9||Lynch|
|10||50||Jason Heyward||OF 23||Warne|
|1||51||Gerrit Cole||SP 10||Warne|
|2||52||Corey Seager||SS 3||Lynch|
|3||53||Zack Greinke||SP 11||Hicks|
|4||54||Xander Bogaerts||SS 4||McGlade|
|5||55||Matt Harvey||SP 12||Drury|
|6||56||Robinson Cano||2B 4||Gdula|
|7||57||Ian Kinsler||2B 5||Bixenmann|
|8||58||Carlos Gonzalez||OF 24||Stolnis|
|9||59||Matt Carpenter||3B 7/2B 6||Bruno|
|10||60||Carlos Carrasco||SP 13||Sannes|
Sannes put his money where his mouth is by taking Schwarber at 41st overall, but also remember that sometimes you need to reach a bit for a player you just have to have when picking at the turn, or else you will likely lose out with 18 slots in between your next pick. Sannes hopes Carasco is the Cy Young candidate many think he can be.
Hicks waited until Round 5 and 6 to take his first two pitchers because he tends to stream his starters throughout the season. He gave himself a good foundation to start from in Greinke and Bumgarner. There were so many other high strikeout pitchers in these rounds -- anyone should be happy to have Arrieta, Price, Cole, Harvey, deGrom or Carrasco as their top starter (Get your bats early!).
Gdula is counting on Cano picking up where he left off, instead of his brutal first half.
In mentioning Carpenter earlier, he banged 28 home runs last year, or more than his previous three seasons combined. His ISO, lowered ground ball percentage and increased fly ball rate all say this power surge was not a fluke. His new approach should yield at least 20 homers this year.
Carlos Gonzalez slugged 27 home runs in the second half last year -- good for second in the majors -- to go with a .404 wOBA. He's not a 30/30 threat anymore, but he does still call Coors Field his home for 81 games a year (as long as he stays healthy, a yearly caveat for Cargo).
Two Coreys went to me -- Kluber was the victim of bad luck in losing 16 games last year, as his K% was almost identical to his Cy Young campaign in 2014, and his SIERA was less than a half run higher versus the full run his ERA shows. He was fourth in our nERD rankings, and you can steal him while everyone passes based on all those losses.
Seager crushed the ball in 27 games after the September call-ups. It's a bit risky taking him this high, but as a former top prospect I'm willing to take the risk that his regression is limited.
|1||61||Felix Hernandez||SP 14||Sannes|
|2||62||Dallas Keuchel||SP 15||Bruno|
|3||63||Ian Desmond||SS 5||Stolnis|
|4||64||Kyle Seager||3B 8||Bixenmann|
|5||65||Chris Archer||SP 16||Gdula|
|6||66||Stephen Strasburg||SP 17||Drury|
|7||67||Maikel Franco||3B 9||McGlade|
|8||68||Yasiel Puig||OF 25||Hicks|
|9||69||Freddie Freeman||1B 10||Lynch|
|10||70||Craig Kimbrel||RP 1||Warne|
|1||71||Zach Britton||RP 2||Warne|
|2||72||Noah Syndergaard||SP 18||Lynch|
|3||73||Eric Hosmer||1B 11||Hicks|
|4||74||Gregory Polanco||OF 26||McGlade|
|5||75||Jason Kipnis||2B 7||Drury|
|6||76||Hunter Pence||OF 27||Gdula|
|7||77||Cole Hamels||SP 19||Bixenmann|
|8||78||Jose Reyes||SS 6||Stolnis|
|9||79||Jacoby Ellsbury||OF 28||Bruno|
|10||80||Anthony Rendon||2B 8/3B 10||Sannes|
When was the last time you could get King Felix at SP14? And the reigning AL Cy Young went right after.
It's all about the strikeouts, though -- both Hernandez (8.52) and Keuchel (8.38) sport very-good-but-not-elite K/9 rates, dropping them from the top 10 starter ranks.
Desmond is still unsigned, and carries a good deal of risk in Round 7 because any team that does sign him before the June amateur draft concedes their first-round pick. Even at a thin position, he isn't good enough at this point without knowing his availability. Same goes for Reyes, who faces a lengthy suspension from a domestic abuse case (rumored to be 60 games).
Pence could be a sneaky good pick if he can stay healthy after only playing in 52 games last year, while Hicks is hoping for a rebound season from Puig.
Personally, I don't pay for saves, but Warne is getting elite ratios and K/9 with his pair of closers in Rounds 7 and 8. Kimbrel and Britton were the only two closers he took and combining them with only a few starters sets Warne's roster up for a streaming starting pitcher strategy.
Freeman missed 44 games with injuries last year, but I feel good about him bouncing back for 25-plus homers and 90-plus RBI. And I took Noah Syndergaard because it's always good to have a Norse God on your side.
|1||81||David Peralta||OF 29||Sannes|
|2||82||Jonathan Lucroy||C 3||Bruno|
|3||83||Corey Dickerson||OF 30||Stolnis|
|4||84||Billy Hamilton||OF 31||Bixenmann|
|5||85||Adrian Gonzalez||1B 12||Gdula|
|6||86||Evan Longoria||3B 11||Drury|
|7||87||Rougned Odor||2B 9||McGlade|
|8||88||Brandon Crawford||SS 7||Hicks|
|9||89||Adrian Beltre||3B 12||Lynch|
|10||90||Carlos Martinez||SP 20||Warne|
|1||91||Ben Revere||OF 32||Warne|
|2||92||Matt Kemp||OF 33||Lynch|
|3||93||Sonny Gray||SP 21||Hicks|
|4||94||Danny Salazar||SP 22||McGlade|
|5||95||Francisco Lindor||SS 8||Drury|
|6||96||Jon Lester||SP 23||Gdula|
|7||97||Travis d'Arnaud||C 4||Bixenmann|
|8||98||Kenley Jansen||RP 3||Stolnis|
|9||99||Kolten Wong||2B 10||Bruno|
|10||100||Shin-Soo Choo||OF 34||Sannes|
Sannes is building himself an elite offense, at least in terms of wOBA. Peralta (13th overall) and Choo (25th) fit right in with Votto (2nd), Goldschmidt (3rd).
If you have a need for speed, Hamilton is your man, but that's about all you'll get from him. If you take him, you'll need lots of help balancing out the drag on every other category.
Revere may not steal quite as many bases, but at least he rarely strikes out, hits for average and gets on base to score runs.
Lindor has always been a defensive wiz as a top prospect, but the offense was a bonus in 2015. You can probably count on 20 stolen bases, but consider it a bonus if he improves on his 12 homers.
I chose to go with some steady vets here in Adrian Beltre and Matt Kemp. Some of the older guys often go overlooked as everyone looks for the next greatest thing, but their power numbers should round my offense nicely, so long as old age and health don't catch up to them.
|1||101||Christian Yelich||OF 35||Sannes|
|2||102||Curtis Granderson||OF 36||Bruno|
|3||103||Matthew Duffy||3B 13||Stolnis|
|4||104||Aroldis Chapman||RP 4||Bixenmann|
|5||105||Joc Pederson||OF 37||Gdula|
|6||106||Wade Davis||RP 5||Drury|
|7||107||Tyson Ross||SP 24||McGlade|
|8||108||Randal Grichuk||OF 38||Hicks|
|9||109||Adam Eaton||OF 39||Lynch|
|10||110||Mike Moustakas||3B 14||Warne|
|1||111||Ben Zobrist||2B 11/OF 40||Warne|
|2||112||Johnny Cueto||SP 25||Lynch|
|3||113||Masahiro Tanaka||SP 26||Hicks|
|4||114||Albert Pujols||1B 13||McGlade|
|5||115||Kole Calhoun||OF 41||Drury|
|6||116||Brett Gardner||OF 42||Gdula|
|7||117||Mark Trumbo||1B 14/OF 43||Bixenmann|
|8||118||David Wright||3B 15||Stolnis|
|9||119||Jhonny Peralta||SS 9||Bruno|
|10||120||Addison Russell||2B 12/SS 10||Sannes|
|1||121||Francisco Liriano||SP 27||Sannes|
|2||122||Adam Wainwright||SP 28||Bruno|
|3||123||Elvis Andrus||SS 11||Stolnis|
|4||124||Brett Lawrie||2B 13/3B 16||Bixenmann|
|5||125||Michael Wacha||SP 29||Gdula|
|6||126||Brandon Belt||1B 15/OF 44||Drury|
|7||127||Ken Giles||RP 6||McGlade|
|8||128||Javier Baez||2B 14/3B 17/SS 12||Hicks|
|9||129||Marcus Stroman||SP 30||Lynch|
|10||130||Carlos Santana||1B 16||Warne|
Joc Pederson has so much power, but he also has so many strikeouts. A move lower in the lineup and an improvement in his contact rate would yield good value for Gdula here. If David Wright stays healthy (a big if, I know) he should thrive hitting second in the Mets.
Zobrist is reunited with his former Rays manager Joe Madden, and should find himself locked in at second base with plenty of run producing opportunities in a potent Cubs lineup. He's a steal this late.
Sannes grabbed his double-play partner in Addison Russell and hopes the investment pays off big here. Meanwhile, a full outfield and middle infield leaves Baez as a super-utility at best for the Cubs (but that power, though!).
These mid-rounds are where things picked up for me. Eaton was very underrated last year, finishing as our 39th best hitter overall. He came off the board here as OF39. Eaton won't win you any single category -- instead, he contributes solidly in all categories.
Cueto will drop more than he should based on his ugly 17 starts with Kansas City last summer. He owns a 2.71 ERA over the last five years, and should enjoy getting back to the National League in pitcher-friendly AT&T Park.
Warne cursed me for my selection of Stroman, who looked like a top-of-the-rotation starter with a 1.67 ERA during his September return an early season ACL injury.
|1||131||Lance McCullers||SP 31||Warne|
|2||132||Jorge Soler||OF 45||Lynch|
|3||133||Shelby Miller||SP 32||Hicks|
|4||134||Brian McCann||C 5||McGlade|
|5||135||Michael Pineda||SP 33||Drury|
|6||136||Lucas Duda||1B 17||Gdula|
|7||137||Jose Quintana||SP 34||Bixenmann|
|8||138||Jordan Zimmermann||SP 35||Stolnis|
|9||139||Cody Allen||RP 7||Bruno|
|10||140||Jung Ho Kang||SS 13/3B 18||Sannes|
|1||141||Dexter Fowler||OF 46||Sannes|
|2||142||Kendrys Morales||1B 18/DH 3||Bruno|
|3||143||Jean Segura||SS 14||Stolnis|
|4||144||Mike Fiers||SP 36||Bixenmann|
|5||145||Mark Melancon||RP 8||Gdula|
|6||146||Salvador Perez||C 6||Drury|
|7||147||Jeurys Familia||RP 9||McGlade|
|8||148||Kevin Pillar||OF 47||Hicks|
|9||149||Trevor Rosenthal||RP 10||Lynch|
|10||150||Raisel Iglesias||SP 37||Warne|
|1||151||Yu Darvish||SP 38||Warne|
|2||152||Michael Brantley||OF 48||Lynch|
|3||153||Stephen Vogt||C 7/1B 19||Hicks|
|4||154||Steven Matz||SP 39||McGlade|
|5||155||Daniel Murphy||1B 20/2B 15/3B 19||Drury|
|6||156||Hyun-Soo Kim||OF 49||Gdula|
|7||157||Mark Teixeira||1B 21||Bixenmann|
|8||158||David Ortiz||1B 22/DH 4||Stolnis|
|9||159||James Shields||SP 40||Bruno|
|10||160||Nick Castellanos||3B 20||Sannes|
Bruno believes Raisel Iglesias is ready for a breakout season after posting a 27.0 K% (9th in the majors) and a 3.26 SIERA (14th), but Warne snagged him before Bruno was able to sneak him onto his team.
Nick Castellanos should be a popular sleeper pick this spring. Even at 40 years young, David Ortiz hit 37 home runs and 108 RBI with a .379 wOBA. Can Big Papi duplicate that feat in his farewell season?
Yu Darvish is targeting an early-to-mid May return from Tommy John surgery, and will likely have command issues early on as all TJ survivors do, but he appears to be properly discounted at SP38. Michael Brantley, on the other hand, took part in his first batting practice on Wednesday following shoulder surgery and is targeting late April -- early May for his return. I believe we'll see his average draft position rise if this timetable holds.
|1||161||David Robertson||RP 11||Sannes|
|2||162||Jay Bruce||OF 50||Bruno|
|3||163||Collin McHugh||SP 41||Stolnis|
|4||164||Matt Wieters||C 8||Bixenmann|
|5||165||Byron Buxton||OF 51||Gdula|
|6||166||Kevin Kiermaier||OF 52||Drury|
|7||167||Carlos Rodon||SP 42||McGlade|
|8||168||Francisco Rodriguez||RP 12||Hicks|
|9||169||Garrett Richards||SP 43||Lynch|
|10||170||Jake Odorizzi||SP 44||Warne|
|1||171||Matt Holliday||OF 53||Warne|
|2||172||Andrew Miller||RP 13||Lynch|
|3||173||Hector Rondon||RP 14||Hicks|
|4||174||Taijuan Walker||SP 45||McGlade|
|5||175||Huston Street||RP 15||Drury|
|6||176||Chris Carter||1B 23||Gdula|
|7||177||Alcides Escobar||SS 15||Bixenmann|
|8||178||Yangervis Solarte||1B 24/2B 16/3B 21||Stolnis|
|9||179||Josh Harrison||2B 17/3B 22/OF 54||Bruno|
|10||180||Patrick Corbin||SP 46||Sannes|
|1||181||Joe Ross||SP 47||Sannes|
|2||182||Derek Norris||C 9||Bruno|
|3||183||Devin Mesoraco||C 10||Stolnis|
|4||184||Justin Verlander||SP 48||Bixenmann|
|5||185||Marcus Semien||SS 16||Gdula|
|6||186||Jeff Samardzija||SP 49||Drury|
|7||187||Starlin Castro||2B 18/SS 17||McGlade|
|8||188||A.J. Ramos||RP 16||Hicks|
|9||189||Russell Martin||C 11||Lynch|
|10||190||Trevor Plouffe||1B 25/3B 23||Warne|
|1||191||Byung Ho Park||1B 26||Warne|
|2||192||Glen Perkins||RP 17||Lynch|
|3||193||Joe Panik||2B 19||Hicks|
|4||194||Khristopher Davis||OF 55||McGlade|
|5||195||Ketel Marte||SS 18||Drury|
|6||196||Yasmani Grandal||C 12||Gdula|
|7||197||Roberto Osuna||RP 18||Bixenmann|
|8||198||DJ LeMahieu||2B 20||Stolnis|
|9||199||Jonathan Schoop||2B 21||Bruno|
|10||200||Drew Storen||RP 19||Sannes|
The former top prospect in all of baseball, Byron Buxton runs like a gazelle, but didn't hit well last year. A 32% K rate is good for a pitcher, but not so much for a hitter, and it's tough to steal bases when you only own a .250 OBP. The risk is minimal for Gdula in Round 17 based on his massive upside.
There were lots of starting and relief pitchers in these last