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November 15, 2013

Fantasy Freestyle

AFL First Pitch Forums Draft

by Paul Sporer


I took my annual trek to Arizona two weeks ago for both the Arizona Fall League and the Baseball HQ First Pitch Forums. It’s my favorite trip of the year and this might’ve been my best time yet. I drove from Austin with my dog, which actually enhanced the trip despite there being a total of 34 hours of driving to and fro. Thankfully, I like driving.

One of my favorite parts of the event is Draft Saturday. I believe they started the live drafts three or four years ago and it has evolved a bit throughout, but the staple has been a pair of NFBC-style drafts wherein we draft 23 rounds in person and the other 27 on the internet over the winter. It’s a draft-and-hold, which means no pickups or trades. Surplus is less useful and you need contingencies because you will get injuries during the season. We do a Kentucky Derby Style draft slotting (see no. 4 on that link for an explanation) and assuming the top two were gone, I was hoping to grab the three-spot for Paul Goldschmidt.

The assumption of the top two being gone is simply unnecessary pessimism from never getting them in the past and this year was no different. Unfortunately, I wouldn’t get the third spot, either. I think I was the sixth or seventh name out of the hat, and I promptly took spot 14. The top four spots (I could’ve reasonably expected to get Goldy at four as he’s not the consensus third pick) were gone, as was the elbow at 15, and I find the cluster between five and 14 to be relatively similar, so I might as well get the earliest second-round pick possible. By the way, Goldy did go third.

Round 1
While there is no debate over the top two being Mike Trout and Miguel Cabrera, their ordering is still a matter to be ironed out and they happened to go as I listed them in my draft. While many seem to favor Andrew McCutchen and Robinson Cano in some order for the three/four spots, I prefer Goldy as I mentioned with Cutch following. My fellow drafters agree with my way of thinking, as the top four played out exactly this way. I’ve vacillated a bit on Cano, understanding full well that he’s incredible, but also having some trepidation with him at five. I can’t pinpoint exactly why, but I’m just a bit uneasy. I understand why he went there, but it’s easier for me to recognize it for someone else’s team than it would be my own.

It is a total grab bag for the rest of the first round which is precisely why I didn’t mind slotting myself 14th after the top four spots were gone. Our draft saw Chris Davis go sixth, followed by Bryce Harper, Clayton Kershaw, Carlos Gonzalez, Hanley Ramirez, Adam Jones, Adrian Beltre, and Troy Tulowitzki leading to my pick. I’m not going to run down every single round, but I figured the first round in full would be particularly notable. In fact, you can compare it against my most recent Top 15 (notice I’ve flipped Goldy and Cutch since then).

The obvious pick going off of my top 15 would’ve been Edwin Encarnacion. I ranked him ninth in my last iteration, but after further analysis in the three weeks since that went up, I’ve bumped Joey Votto back up a bit and made him my top pick. Considering the fact that I got him at 27 in a 15-team mock draft I participated in a few months ago, I might have actually over-drafted him here, but what’s the real difference of taking him here or waiting three picks to take him at 2.2? I couldn’t realistically see him lasting to my pick at 3.14, so now is the time. I think he’s criminally undervalued in early 2014 drafts.

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Related Content:  Draft,  Fantasy,  Billy Hamilton,  Mock Draft,  Paul Goldschmidt

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