A few weeks ago, Fake Teams held a dynasty mock draft, which I was lucky enough to participate in. I included short blurbs with each pick, but thought that I would break it down pick-by-pick here.
Round 1: Dylan Bundy
This was quite the pleasant surprise, as I did not expect a player of Bundy's caliber to fall to me. I also gave Mets catcher Travis d'Arnaud a lot of consideration here, but went with the potential No. 1 starter instead. I was not planning on taking a pitcher first, but when Bundy fell into my lap I really had no other choice. He has a chance to be one of the best fantasy pitchers in baseball, which was extremely enticing.
Round 2: Byron Buxton
Another player I did not expect to fall to me where he did, Byron Buxton was a player I was very excited to draft in the second round. Despite his high-level of risk, the upside here is potentially one of the best fantasy players in baseball. He has a chance to hit for average, power, and steal a good amount of bases, which is an exciting possibility. Buxton was the first player I took that I had seen personally, but my own evaluation of him was not too different from his perceived stock.
Round 3: Trevor Rosenthal
If you feel like me saying this is becoming a theme, that's because it is, but I could not believe I landed Rosenthal in the third round. When the floor is high-end closer and the ceiling is high-end starter, you jump at that. I like Rosenthal so much I considered him in Round 2, and if not for Buxton falling to me there I may have gone with the flame-throwing right-hander. Everyone got to see his fantastic stuff in last year's postseason, but I also heard that Rosenthal may have been big-league ready as a starter last JULY. With the potential for high-strikeout rates, low ERAs, and all-around pitching goodness, I was elated to select him here.
Round 4: Bubba Starling
Much to the dismay of fellow drafter Mike Newman, I went ahead and selected the enigmatic Royals farmhand. Starling is a guy who I might have to wait a long time to see fully develop, but if he can, like Buxton, he would be well worth it. Starling has a chance to hit, hit for power, steal bases, and play centerfield. That combination is rare, and the value he could add to a fantasy team is tremendous. Even if the ETA is far in the future, and the risk is high, I'm willing to take the risk on Bubba Starling.
Round 5: Matt Barnes
This is the third player I had taken who I've seen in-person, though if I went off my look at Barnes I'm not sure I would've even drafted him. The right-hander struggled when I saw him late last season, but that did not stop me from selecting him. Barnes has a chance to help me in strikeouts and ERA, while also throwing a good amount of innings as a workhorse. He could also make an impact soon, which was another added bonus.
I grouped these players together because I took all of them with the same mindset. At this point in the draft I lacked any surefire major-league bats, which I looked to change by drafting these three players. While none of them projects to be a fantasy-league MVP, they all should be steady contributors, and do so very soon for my team. Davidson probably has the most upside here, which is as a third baseman who can hit for a good amount of power. Flores still needs to find a long-term position, as it looks like second base is not going to be where he settles. Cron could be in the Majors soon, but he will never be a special bat at first. He should help me by providing solid power and RBI numbers.
Round 9: A.J. Cole
After selecting three consecutive hitters, I dipped back into the pitching pool. Cole is a guy who struggled in high-A ball last year, but really turned his season around after a demotion to low-A in Oakland's system. Traded to the Nationals as part of the deal that acquired John Jaso for Oakland, Cole will be back with the team that originally drafted him. He has a chance to develop into a mid-rotation pitcher, and could be a decent player fantasy-wise. I drafted him on the promise of strikeouts and potentially good ERAs and WHIPs.
Round 10: Andrew Toles
With my final selection I decided to take a bit of a wild card in Rays' farmhand Andrew Toles. I saw Toles in the Appalachian League last season playing with Princeton, and for someone as small in stature as Toles, he sure packs a ton of tools. Putting on a monster batting practice show, Toles used a good amount of torque in his hips as well as good bat speed to generate a ton of pop for the sub-6'0 centerfielder. He has the speed and instincts to stick in centerfield, and he should also steal a good amount of bases. I will eagerly follow Toles' ascension up the Rays' farm system.
I would say that overall I came away pretty happy with my team. I think I should have a really good foundation of pitching, and if some of my high-upside bats turn out well I could end up with a very good team in the future. I am not completely reliant on the bats to develop however, as rounds 6-8 provide me with a safety net if anything goes wrong in that regard.