Early Mock Draft Review
Our six-round expert mini-mock is in the books, and as always, this October draft got me thinking, which is what it’s supposed to do. At this stage of the fantasy off-season, with the luxury of time, we can all follow a relaxed approach in our draft prep, which is nice. But before I turn my full attention back to the World Series, I figured I’d discuss some of the picks that are most deserving of discussion.
Corey Seager (Round 1, Pick 11) – At this time last year, when Seager’s big league career spanned only 27 games, there was much debate about where he should be taken in drafts. Ultimately, the consensus opinion was fifth round at the latest in a 12-team mixed league. And this seemed aggressive to me considering his limited major league track record. Well, Kyle’s little brother proved that he was easily worth the investment, slashing .308/.365/.512 with 26 homers, 72 RBIs and 105 runs scored in his first full season in the bigs, and he doesn’t even turn 23 until late-April. Scary. Still, first round seems aggressive to me. Then again, Corey far exceeded my expectations this year, and I wouldn’t be shocked if he does it again.
Trea Turner (Round 2, Pick 1) – Be sure to check out Todd Zola’s analysis of this pick, as he points out the risk in drafting Turner this early. Now look, I’m a big fan of Trea. After all, I would not have won Mixed Auction Tout Wars without him. But would I take him at #13 overall? Probably not. But check back with me in March. I might have a different answer.
Brian Dozier (Round 2, Pick 2) – Did anyone see those 42 homers coming? Of course you didn’t. Dozier hit 28 home runs in 2015, and many of his peripheral stats from 2015 are similar to those of 2016, the biggest difference being a hike in HR/FB ratio from 11.0% to 17.1%. I see a 2017 home run total of around 30. At this draft cost, you’re banking on closer to 40. I’ll be looking elsewhere early in the second round.
Jonathan Villar (Round 3, Pick 3) – It is strange to remember that Villar was viewed as little more than a placeholder for the Brewers until the great Orlando Arcia was ready to take over as the club’s everyday shortstop. But 62 steals and 19 homers later, we’re talking about an elite fantasy force. The power production really came out of nowhere, and Villar owners should be happy with double-digit homers next season. The speed, however, is legit, and with steals becoming scarcer, I can see why Villar is a viable option at this stage of the draft. But like with Dozier, taking Villar at this spot is betting on a repeat of 2016, and I’m just not ready to do that.
Carlos Correa (Round 3, Pick 4) – Coming off an exceptional rookie season, Correa was selected in the first round in most fantasy drafts last spring. If this 21-year-old could hit 22 homers while swiping 14 bags in 99 games, imagine what he could do in a full season. The answer was 20 homers and 13 steals, so owners of Correa have every right to be disappointed. Then again, maybe drafting him in the first round was a little too ambitious. Anyway, we’re now looking at a tempting post-hype sleeper who really did deliver a fine, though obviously not first round worthy stat line in 2016. Perhaps he can reach that level in his age-22 season. It’s certainly worth a third round pick to find out.
Jean Segura (Round 4, Pick 11) – I wish I followed my instincts and drafted Segura in at least one of my leagues, because I did consider him to be an underrated, 25-plus SB fantasy option who might benefit from a change of scenery. But 20 homers, 102 runs scored and a .319 batting average? No, I didn’t expect that. No one expected that. Segura’s .353 BABIP suggests that a batting average drop in 2017 is likely, but it isn’t uncommon for speedsters to post high BABIPs due to their ability to leg out infield singles, so an average in the .280 area would not be a surprise. All in all, I wouldn’t write off Segura’s 2016 season as a total aberration, but I’m not banking on another 20 homers. I won’t be drafting him with the 47th pick.
Gary Sanchez (Round 5, Pick 10) – At what point in the draft is the right point to grab Sanchez? This will be very interesting to monitor as the mock draft season rolls along. As Derek Van Riper mentions in his commentary, Sanchez’s two-month stretch was so historic that it lacks a comparison, which is what makes drafting him both exciting and dangerous. Fifth or sixth round in a 12-team mixed league is probably where you will need to draft him, and I’m not comfortable going there…at least as of now.
Andrew McCutchen (Round 6, Pick 2) – What has happened to this guy? Aside from the home run department, McCutchen was a major disappointment across the board in 2016, especially in batting average, where the career .292 hitter managed only a .256 mark. His stolen base production has been in steady decline over the past few seasons, and he barely ran last year (six steals). I don’t know about the steals, but I do think Cutch will bounce back in 2017. His track record is just so consistent, and he’s still only 30 years old. I actually considered taking him in the fourth round, and then again in the fifth. Sixth round? That’s what we call low risk/high reward.