Saturday, February 4 – 3:34 PM
To tell you the truth, I really don’t enjoy this time of year. For most owners, draft day is still more than a month away, so the excitement of a new fantasy season has yet to really take shape. What has taken shape, however, is the realization that it’s time to ramp up the preparation. As if all the research isn’t enough work, at the same time you need to schedule all your drafts. And, for someone like me, who will again participate in five different leagues, this could be a major headache. I’ve already given up on my “Weekends only” draft rule and will soon probably need to relent on my “No more than one draft per week” promise. Commissioners have it especially rough, as the challenge of settling on a draft time that works for everyone is nearly impossible. In a few weeks, after all the scheduling is taken care of and after I come to the conclusion that there’s little more I can do to prepare, I’ll be at ease.
Anyway, we’re making slow but steady progress in our much talked about expert mock draft. Here’s a look at my Round 11-18 picks.
11.2 Jose Valverde
Wow, if I knew that Valverde would still be available in the 11th, I might have not taken Rivera in the 7th. Am I missing anything here? I understand he sometimes battles control issues and is a bit of a health risk, but Jose is a top-10 stopper in my book. Closers in general are going a lot later than I had expected, and being able to draft Valverde as my No. 2 is a pleasant surprise.
12.12 Gio Gonzalez
I think Gio is a guy who, over the next month, might go from being everyone’s favorite sleeper to slightly overrated. But 12th round is fair for him. The walks are a concern but he somewhat makes up for it with all those strikeouts. The move away from that spacious ballpark in Oakland hurts but the move to the NL helps. All in all, I still like him a lot this year.
13.2 Austin Jackson
Probably a reach considering his lack of plate discipline, but I was looking for more speed. I seriously considered Coco Crisp (who was taken by Lawr with the next pick) and mulled over this decision for quite awhile. But ultimately, Coco’s injury history scared me off. Yeah, I might have sacrificed about 20 steals but Jackson should have the clear edge in runs hitting atop that strong Tigers’ lineup. And who knows, maybe he makes major strides across the board in his third big league season.
14.12 Ervin Santana
After last year, I’m officially a believer. He still gives up a few too many homers but the strikeout rate was solid and the WHIP much improved. As a cheap No. 3 SP, he fits the bill.
15.2 Jhonny Peralta
At this point, it was really a choice between taking an MI or a CI, and though guys like Gaby Sanchez and Carlos Lee were available, I’m not all too excited about either. I expect around 18 homers and 80 RBIs from Jhonny, strong production from an MI.
16.12 Shaun Marcum
I really have no idea why Marcum was still available here. With Sanchez and Lee now gone, I draft my No. 4 SP.
17.2 Russell Martin
I held off as long as I could for my first backstop, but after noticing that there were still a few owners who had yet to draft a catcher, I couldn’t wait any longer. After Martin, the drop-off was steep.
18.12 Kendrys Morales
Will he be fully healthy in time for the start of the regular season, let alone the start of spring training? Who knows. But considering that the other CI I was looking at was Justin Smoak, I’ll go with the far more proven performer. Low risk, sky high reward.