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It’s this time of year that we mock, both in a true and a meta sense. Most fantasy mock drafts are drawn out, boring and bring the over-the-top praising on social media out of the woodwork, where it’s been thankfully hiding all off-season thus far. However, when you can take a mock and turn it into something different and fun, then you’ve already won. This is not your ordinary mock. It’s a counterbalance to the force. This is now the fifth year I’ve overseen this exercise, and its third year here at Baseball Prospectus—and every year it gets more and more fun. This year we have a couple of new names, and new affiliations, as you’ll see in the write-ups below.

And just like we did last year (and the year before that), we first must examine the parameters. There are always parameters. Because it’s really stupid to try and fix something that’s not broken, I kept the exact same format as last year, which worked so well. And just like last year, these were the instructions for the participants of this draft, straight from the email I sent out prior to kickoff:

“The premise is very simple, we're drafting a minor league roster for a brand new dynasty league team (no one has a major league roster yet). The "league" is a standard 15-team 5×5 rotisserie where you keep all players indefinitely with no contracts/salaries involved. The first rule is that any player you select must currently still have their prospect status in tact. The second rule is that there are no other rules. You don't have to fill any position requirements, it's just about building the type of farm system you would want to start from scratch with. And yes, both Kenta Maeda and Byung-ho Park are eligible.”

Just 15 guys drafting 10 minor-leaguers a piece to start a dynasty-league roster with. And the most fun part about this exercise is that with all of the picks, I asked each “owner” to write a quick comment on why they were taking the player—so you’re going to be reading analysis directly from the person who made the pick in the draft. The result of this is not a precise prospect list by any means, but a great representation of how minor-league players are valued for fantasy across the industry.

We’ll also take a look back at last year’s draft and highlight a few picks worthy of highlighting as we go through the corresponding rounds—since many of the participants returned to test their meddle once again. Here are a few picks that should be looked back on with joy and mirth:

  • At Pick 3.5, John Sickels grabbed Kyle Schwarber, which made me very angry at the time and makes him look awfully good right now.
  • At Pick 3.10, Eno Sarris took the enigmatic-at-the-time Maikel Franco, who went on to have a very successful 2015 season and is shaping up to be a strong dynasty asset.
  • At Pick 3.13, D.J. Short selected Steven Matz and the rest, as they say, is history.

With those pleasantries out of the way, here are rounds three and four of the 2016 Baseball Prospectus Experts Mock Prospect Draft:

Round Three

3.31) Victor Robles, OF, Washington Nationals (Craig Goldstein, Baseball Prospectus)
“Robles is a burgeoning star on the prospect scene. BP's own Mark Anderson might be the high man on him, with his Eyewitness Report handing out double-plus grades on his hit and speed tools. The latter is a big deal, as stolen bases are evaporating. It may only be one category, but snagging a potential impact player in that category is a big deal in roto leagues, and that he could contribute in average is a boon as well. He's a non-zero in power, but it's not realistically a big part of his game. Perhaps I'm getting caught up in the hype on Robles, or letting his plus or better defensive tools influence my fantasy evaluation, but picking at the turn, I can't afford to play the waiting game. We're settling into a tier of players that are good but not necessarily impact guys, so I'll stretch a bit to get someone who has a chance to be a (fantasy) star. There's another name I'm choosing to pass on that I might regret, and it'll be even worse when Carsley lords it over me. So it goes.”

3.32) David Dahl, OF, Colorado Rockies (Ben Carsley, Baseball Prospectus)
"This is the second time in the past three years I've selected Dahl (feel free to check out my 2014 draft and only my 2014 draft) and I remain high on the oft-injured outfielder. When Dahl is on the field, he shows of five tools and gaudy fantasy upside. I sense a bit of prospect fatigue setting in with him, as he's always promised more than he's shown in the stat line, but that's really just a by-product of injuries and I'm not willing to ding a guy for an outfield collision. The hope here is that the Rockies stop acquiring outfielders and give Dahl a shot by 2017, because if he plays in Coors he could be really, really special. Even if he's dealt, he's a long-term no. 3 OF with no. 2 OF upside.”

3.33) Brett Phillips, OF, Milwaukee Brewers (Ray Guilfoyle, Fake Teams)
“Phillips was the headline prospect the Brewers received in the Carlos Gomez trade last summer. He has the speed and glove to stick in center, is the Brewers center fielder of the future, and should be their leadoff hitter upon his call-up. He's a five-tool player but some question his power outside of the Cal League. We will have a better picture of his slugging potential but I can see him running into 15 bombs at Miller Park to go along with his 25-stolen-base potential.”

3.34) Alex Bregman, SS/2B, Houston Astros (D.J. Short, Rotoworld)
“Selected no. 2 overall in last year's draft, Bregman was considered one of the best pure hitters in the class. The 21-year-old held his own in his first taste of pro ball last season, batting .299/.366/.415 over 66 games between Low-A and High-A. He's expected to move quickly, but the Astros already have Carlos Correa at shortstop and Jose Altuve at second base. While it's unclear where he'll fit in there, I'm not going to worry about that right now. There might not be elite power or speed potential here, but he should contribute enough everywhere to be useful as a middle infielder-type. He feels fairly safe to me as a future productive major-leaguer.”

3.35) Bobby Bradley, 1B, Cleveland Indians (James Anderson, Rotowire)
“I like the safety in my first two picks, so it’s time to roll the dice a little. Bradley completely outclassed the rest of the sluggers in the Midwest League, despite commencing his first full-season assignment as an 18-year-old. The last teenager to hit 27 homers in the Midwest League, as Bradley did last year, was Miguel Sano in 2012. Bradley, who won’t turn 20 until May 29th, has not shown any platoon issues, but there is some noticeable swing-and-miss in his game. He had a 31.8 percent strikeout rate at Low-A, but still got on base at a .361 clip thanks to a 12 percent walk rate. Bradley’s combination of youth, early professional success, and an approach to all fields bodes well for his ability to make it as an everyday option at the highest level. He should begin 2016 at High-A Lynchburg as one of the youngest position players in the Carolina League.”

3.36) Jesse Winker, OF, Cincinnati Reds (Bret Sayre, Baseball Prospectus)
“There’s a time for upside and then there’s a time for production, and this pick offers me a good bit of the latter. Winker will see the Queen City in 2016 (likely in the second half) and while he doesn’t project to be a superstar, he should be able to hit for a good average and see his average power play up in Great American Ball Park. He doesn’t get as much love on national prospect lists because he’s limited to left field, and his stats weren’t crazy impressive this season—which helps depress his fantasy value a touch with the public right now. However, he was dealing with injury during a good part of the year and went on a tear at the end of the season, hitting .357/.471/.591 from August 1st on.”

3.37) Max Kepler, OF, Minnesota Twins (Eno Sarris, FanGraphs)
“There are a few arms here that might be a little more appealing to some, but I prefer higher-floor position players for my farm systems—I always feel like I can find an arm when I need to. Plus, as a fellow German, this is an entirely self-serving pick. But I'm intrigued to see if Kepler's power explosion from last year will hold going forward. He already had decent (corner) outfield glove, and good speed and a sense of the zone. If that power was a result of growing into his frame (he's been around forever but is still only 22) and wasn't just a small-sample outbreak, he'll be an exciting player. And he has a quality I like best given my distaste for patience: opportunity. With Aaron Hicks gone, he has a shot to play in the bigs in a meaningful way this year.”

3.38) Josh Bell, 1B/OF, Pittsburgh Pirates (Craig Glaser, STATS Inc)
“New to 1B last year, Bell posted an extremely solid 2015 with the bat, split between the Pirates’ Double-A and Triple-A teams. He impressed at both levels, making lots of contact, drawing walks, and hitting for a high batting average. Steamer was obviously impressed, as the system projects the switch hitter to be an above-league-average major -eague hitter already. The biggest potential area of improvement is in his power, which has yet to really develop, but he does have potential there. He stole nine bases last year and his average speed could provide a little boost in fantasy value as well.”

3.39) Byung-ho Park, 1B, Minnesota Twins (Paul Hartman, Fantasy Assembly)
“Last season, Jung-ho Kang had a successful debut coming from the KBO, hitting for both power and average. The fact that he qualifies as a shortstop means his 15-20 home runs put him squarely in the top 10 at his position. Byung-ho Park won't be nearly so lucky with the offensive standard much higher at first base. Fortunately, Park brings with him an incredible amount of power, with an average home-run distance of nearly 430 feet last year and an exit velocity rivaling that of Giancarlo Stanton. If he gets full-time at bats in a crowded Twins lineup, a pessimistic forecast is 20-25 home runs with a. 240 average. The potential is there though for a 30-home-run season which would put him, like his Korean counterpart, squarely in the top 10 at his position. Worth a gamble at this point!”

3.40) Hunter Renfroe, OF, San Diego Padres (Al Melchior, CBS)
“For someone who is as pull-happy as Renfroe is, you would think he could have put up better power numbers than he has over the last two seasons. Then again, he spent the bulk of his time in parks that were among the least conducive to home runs in the California and Texas Leagues. Given that he hit 13 home runs in 90 road games in the Texas League, there is reason to hope Renfroe can muster some clout when he reaches PETCO Park. That time should come at some point in 2016.”

3.41) Jorge Mateo, SS, New York Yankees (Wilson Karaman, Baseball Prospectus)
“The toolbox here is drool-worthy, with true 80-grade speed backing up somehow-above-average raw power and a hit-tool projection in the same range. Mateo is raw, to be sure—he committed 30 errors last season and got himself out far too often with an aggressive, early-count approach. But he shows all of the physical traits you look for in a real-life shortstop, including plus arm strength and range, and while his offensive ceiling remains a figment of the imagination, the fantasy potential of a young Jose Reyes is on the table.”

3.42) Ryan McMahon, 3B, Colorado Rockies (Mike Rosenbaum, MLBPipeline)
"I know what you’re going to say, and it’s that McMahon has reaped the benefits of playing in hitter-friendly parks and leagues to begin his career. While that’s not not true, he’s been incredibly consistent at every stop while flashing the ability to contribute in a slew of categories. McMahon’s calling card is power that has netted him at least 18 home runs and 43 doubles in each of his first two full-season campaigns. He strikes out quite a bit, but it hasn't hurt his ability to hit for average so far, mostly because the contact he makes is consistently hard and spread across the entire field. Having Nolan Arenado in front of him at the hot corner limits his chances of one day calling Coors Field home, but I still see McMahon as at least a .260+ hitter capable of slugging 20+ bombs who can pile up both runs and RBIs from the middle of an order."

3.43) Gleyber Torres, SS, Chicago Cubs (Jock Thompson, BaseballHQ)
“He’s further away than most of the SS already taken and currently blocked in Chicago. But already at 19, Torres brings as well rounded a skills package as any of them on both sides of the ball—along with off-the-charts makeup and baseball instincts for his age. He already employs a plus hit tool to all fields. His power is lagging and may never be more than average, but there’s even some optimism here as he gains more knowledge and adds muscle to a 6-foot-1, 175-pound frame. He should begin the season at High-A, but is potential trade-bait and could move rapidly in another organization.”

3.44) Willson Contreras, C, Chicago Cubs (Eric Longenhagen, ESPN)
“Catchers with plus-plus bat speed are rare beasts and Contreras’ showing in the Fall League—both with the bat and behind the dish—affirmed his 2015 statistical performance and ascension to Top 100 lists everywhere. While the finer points of catching often elude him, Contreras only began to squat in 2012, and is more than athletic enough to master the nuanced position with reps and time. His Fall pop times hovered around two seconds (that’s average) and while his defense doesn’t matter much as far as fantasy is concerned, positional value is an important part of its equation and so I think it’s important to note that I think he sticks. A catcher who has some Javier Baez swing similarities and the 25-plus HR power that comes with it is a lovely third-round acquisition, and, as an energetic, aggressive, 40-grade runner, Contreras might top the sundae with a 5-10 stolen base cherry.”

3.45) Jose Peraza, 2B, Cincinnati Reds (Mike Buttil, Razzball)
“Peraza's stock took a hit with two real-life trades and some questions about his bat, but in fantasy I'm still sold on him as a top-50 prospect. His 40-steal potential in the middle infield is valuable in fantasy, and if he develops into a table setter it's gravy. The latest trade to Cincy gives him a friendlier park to hit in and with the Reds rebuilding there's not much between him and a long look in the bigs.”

Round Four

4.46) Trevor Story, SS, Colorado Rockies (Mike Buttil, Razzball)
“You don't have to be a rocket surgeon to see the appeal of a hitter in Colorado, and one that can hit for power and steal some bags in the middle infield makes this even easier. The strikeout percentage is a wart, but it's one that I'm willing to overlook in my quest for offense. At pick 46, he's shown me enough in the upper levels to take the plunge and dream on a 20/20 ceiling.”

4.47) Sean Newcomb, LHP, Atlanta Braves (Eric Longenhagen, ESPN)
“A physically monstrous lefty (he drew Roger Clemens body comps in college) with mid-90s heat, a plus curveball, and mechanical cleanliness that allows for both changeup and command projection. For me, Newcomb is the best lefty in the minors not named Julio Urias and offers more projection than his 6-foot-5, 245-pound frame would indicate because he’s a fresh, multi-sport arm from the northeast. It might be mid-2017 before Newcomb has enough command to navigate a major-league lineup and another three years before the command allows his stuff to play to its ceiling, but there’s no. 2 starter upside here.”

4.48) Anthony Alford, OF, Toronto Blue Jays (Jock Thompson, BaseballHQ)
“With batting average and SBs (especially in the AL) at a premium, Alford is an easy projection play on whom to speculate here. An outstanding athlete in his first full professional season after giving up college quarterbacking, Alford’s plate patience, base-running (38 SB, 7 CS), defensive range, and overall baseball acumen between A-ball levels were surprising. Even his contact gained slightly after he moved to the higher level—and all facets of his game should improve at least a little with more experience. Not a slap-hitter, Alford even has a chance to develop average power. But barring this, a center-fielder with .300-hitting, 40-SB upside will fit on anyone’s fantasy roster.”

4.49) Anderson Espinosa, RHP, Boston Red Sox (Mike Rosenbaum, MLBPipeline)
"Yes, it’s a bit crazy to select a 17-year-old pitcher coming off his first pro campaign — most of which he spent below full-season ball — in the fourth around, but Espinoza’s is this year’s shiny new toy, and, selfishly, I wanted him. A strong case can be made that the right-hander is worthy of the high selection, however, as he already shows outstanding velocity as well as two secondaries that flash plus. Obviously a hell of a lot can happen in the coming years to impact his development and progress through the Minor Leagues, but I’m happy to gamble on a hard-throwing youngster who, as a teenager, already displays some ace-like qualities."

4.50) Frances Martes, RHP, Houston Astros (Wilson Karaman, Baseball Prospectus)
"Martes was one of the troika of front-half-of-the-rotation arms I saw in the California League last year (along with Sean Newcomb and Jose De Leon), and I liked his upside the best. With relatively minimal refinement he projects to possess two 70-grade pitches along with an average-or-better third and command to match. The frame and physicality of a rotation-leader is there, as is the piss-and-vinegar swagger that will score high marks with any fantasy team’s fan base and spur jersey sales. He could debut as soon as the second half, and his devastating curveball gives him a high floor as a lights-out reliever even if he never improves another lick.”

4.51) Carson Fulmer, RHP, Chicago White Sox (Al Melchior, CBS)
“The White Sox made Vanderbilt righty Fulmer the eighth-overall pick in last June's amateur draft, and he wasted little time in making his case for a rapid ascent. Fulmer posted a 2.05 ERA with 25 strikeouts in 22 innings at High-A Winston-Salem, and he will get a chance to impress as a non-roster invitee to spring training. However, reports have indicated that general manager Rick Hahn does not intend to move Fulmer up as aggressively as Carlos Rodon and Chris Sale were. Whether he sticks as a starter remains to be seen, and his violent delivery has raised some concerns, but if Fulmer continues to be effective, he will have plenty of dynasty appeal.”

4.52) Ian Happ, 2B/OF, Chicago Cubs (Paul Hartman, Fantasy Assembly)
“With the offseason move back to second base, Happ goes from being an interesting prospect to a high-end target for fantasy-league owners. Six years ago the same thing happened to Jason Kipnis and if you got in early, you surely reaped the benefits. Happ brings power and speed to the keystone position and though the Cubs are crowded now, anything can happen. Happ's advanced bat should move quickly through the minors, and whether he's traded or used as a utility man until a full-time position arises, his bat should play. If it plays at second base, he becomes a top-tier fantasy option.”

4.53) Raul Mondesi, SS, Kansas City Royals (Craig Glaser, STATS Inc)
“A seasoned World Series veteran at 20, the switch-hitting Mondesi has been aggressively pushed through the Royals minor-league system. This has resulted in some sub-par batting numbers, reflected yet again in Mondesi's .243/.279/.372 batting line last year in Double-A. Despite his struggles to date there is quite a lot of potential in Mondesi, who could develop into an above-average fielder at SS with the ability to add value with his bat as well. He's shown a bit of pop and the speed to be a threat on the bases already. If he can be a little more patient at the plate, make more contact, and draw some walks, we could see him develop into an excellent major-league player.”

4.54) Gavin Cecchini, SS, New York Mets (Eno Sarris, FanGraphs)
“I'll take a pitcher someday, but not today. Not when I can get a guy that's still playing shortstop, and just improved his strikeout rate for the third year in a row—without seeing any ramifications to his power or patience, no less. I don't know that Cecchini will stick at short, and it could just be the type of package that produces an empty batting average, but hey, an empty batting average on the infield is still useful. And, not that I based my selections on this ranking since it's problematic to ignore developmental context with prospects, but I was happy to see that I have the nos. 1, 10, and 14 prospects on KATOH, a statistically-based prospect list.”

4.55) Dan Vogelbach, 1B/DH, Chicago Cubs (Bret Sayre, Baseball Prospectus)
“Like you really thought I would let this draft end without me selecting Vogelbach. For shame. We all know that he is a DH-in-waiting, especially on the Cubs, but the hitting talent is too strong to pass up in the fourth round. He still profiles as a 25-30 home-run hitter with the ability to hit for good averages (think .280-.290, in time). Even if there’s no associated eligibility, that’s a bat worthy of a spot in any lineup regardless of format.”

4.56) Forrest Wall, 2B, Colorado Rockies (James Anderson, Rotowire)
“He is a couple of years away from the majors, but he boasts a 106-to-74 K:BB in 144 career games in the lower levels, so there is plenty of polish here for a prep pick. His eventual home ballpark is a hitter’s paradise and, with apologies to DJ LeMahieu’s fans, nobody is blocking Wall at the keystone in Colorado. In my estimation, Wall is the no. 2 second-base prospect for dynasty leagues, behind Yoan Moncada. I see a .285 hitter with 12-15 homers and 30-plus steals in his prime years, potentially from the leadoff spot, which would make him a top-five option at the position.”

4.57) Jose De Leon, RHP, Los Angeles Dodgers (D.J. Short, Rotoworld)
“Most of the bats I really like are already gone, so I'm going with my favorite pitcher remaining on the board. It almost feels like De Leon has been overshadowed with Julio Urias in the same system, but he's legitimately one of the top right-handed pitching prospects in the game. Drafted in the 24th round in 2013, the 23-year-old began his pro career with some struggles, but dominance followed after he shed a bunch of weight and refined his mechanics. With deception and a promising arsenal, DeLeon has averaged 12.3 K/9 in the minors. He made his way up to Double-A last season, so a call-up to the majors likely isn't far off if he continues to progress.”

4.58) Kenta Maeda, RHP, Los Angeles Dodgers (Ray Guilfoyle, Fake Teams)
“Some think Maeda is nothing more than a reliever but I remember some saying the same about Dodgers starter Hyun-Jin Ryu and he turned out pretty well before his shoulder surgery. He features a three-pitch mix with his slider being his out pitch. He won the Japanese version of the Cy Young Award twice, to go with three ERA titles and two strikeout titles. He should slot in as the Dodgers’ fourth starter in 2016 and beyond.”

4.59) Raimel Tapia, OF, Colorado Rockies (Ben Carsley, Baseball Prospectus)
“I mean, why not double-up on Rockies outfielders? I get that Tapia is a divisive prospect, but because we don't really care if he sticks in center field he's less divisive for our purposes than he is for MLB rankings. Tapia can flat-out rake, and while I understand that Asheville and the Cal League can cause minor-league stat inflation, you have to be impressed with Tapia's production. I'm not sure the power will ever be much of a calling card, but if Tapia routinely hits .300-plus with double-digit steals and homers (thanks to Coors), I promise you no one will mind. "When in doubt, gamble on the hit" tool, I say as I wistfully stare at Nick Williams' first-round selection.”

4.60) Robert Stephenson, RHP, Cincinnati Reds (Craig Goldstein, Baseball Prospectus)
“Everyone has to take a pitcher eventually, right? My concern here is that the dropoff from Stephenson to the next-best starting pitcher isn't very steep, so I don't know if I'm getting great value. That said, the dropoff in terms of quality prospect from Stephenson to the raided group of hitters left is somewhat substantial, so you take what you can get. Never lacking for arm strength, Stephenson's changeup took a step forward this year and gives him another weapon to keep hitters off-balance. his curveball is what will most the most bats and he should arrive in relatively short order. While the contextual factors here (ballpark, team) are pretty abhorrent, I think Stephenson is the top pitcher left on the board. Or was.”

To be continued…

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4.47 Newcomb is in Atlanta now.
Fixed - thanks.