Tag:Mock Draft Monday
Posted on: March 17, 2008 10:07 am
Edited on: March 17, 2008 9:12 pm

It's 'MOCK' Madness ... not March.

Basketball!?! College Basketball!?! ... Never heard of it.

Today is our fourth or 12th installment of "Mock Draft MONDAYYYyyyyyy..." (you have to read it like a TV announcer falling down a well).

Emack and I took part in two mock drafts once again this afternoon, at 2pm ET., so come check out the new Mock Draft product.

Tout Wars: Battle of the Experts! I found out this past weekend that CBSSports.com will officially be hosting the Tout Wars experts leagues this season. This is my fourth season in the mixed league group. The AL league was detailed in Sam Walker's FantasyLand book. (If you still haven't read this, you're dead to me.)

Here's my review of FantasyLand from 2006:

When you think about it, what is Fantasy Baseball? Isn't it just the chance for an Average Joe to manage baseball players from a statistical standpoint, in hopes of proving their knowledge of the game by dominating other Average Joes?

What if that Average Joe had a chance to give his slumping players a pep talk? What if he had the opportunity to scout free agents in person or talk to the managers of opponents' players for possible trades?

Sam Walker did just that -- and then some. Fantasyland: A Sportswriter's Obsessive Bid to Win the World's Most Ruthless Fantasy Baseball League chronicles one man's hilarious quest for Fantasy Baseball dominance by using every available outlet at his disposal. That includes talking to players, scouts, managers and general managers as he attempts to win the Tout Wars, possibly the greatest of all Fantasy Baseball expert leagues.

This book is a wonderful read for any Fantasy enthusiast. Walker finally does what all of us wish we could. He takes you from spring training, to the auction, to the trade deadline, all the way through the final month of Fantasy play in a raucous ride that only Fantasy players would truly understand.

Walker, a sportswriter by trade with the Wall Street Journal, assembled a three-man team to attack the Tout Wars auction. He hired a grizzled Fantasy freak that went by the name Nando, along with a NASA biomathematician named Sig to crunch the numbers. Each member of this Fantasy triad brought special things to the table. Sig had the ability to run anything and everything through the computer for statistical analysis. Nando had the Fantasy experience to assist any new owner to a championship. And Sam had the connections with players, managers and scouts to help get the extra edge on the competition.

Sam, Sig and Nando -- that sounds like a fourth edition to The Lord of the Rings.

Walker also did his best to finally figure out which is more important: a scout's eye or a statistician's algorithms? Can a scout see something that the numbers don't already tell us and vice versa?

Do major leaguers care, or even know, about Fantasy Baseball? Walker talks to a number of players including Jacque Jones and the always entertaining David Ortiz. Big Papi even gives Walker Fantasy trade advice about one of his players -- him!

Not only is this book an incredibly entertaining read, but I guarantee it will actually help your own Fantasy game as you learn what some of the top Fantasy minds in the industry are thinking. He speaks candidly to a number of touts, including Ron Shandler, Jason Grey and Lawr Michaels, three names that have permeated the industry for several years.

Mark Reynolds has given up trying to become something he's not -- a patient hitter. In today's Arizona Republic, he talks how all spring he has been trying to cut down on his strikeouts, while working counts deeper. "I realized that's not me," he said. "I'm swinging at the first strike I see. Hanging curveball, hanging slider, fastball, whatever. That's what got me here, so I don't think I need to change it. I just realized, 'Why am I trying to change something that got me to the major leagues?' Strikeouts are going to be there. I've accepted it. I don't care what anybody writes about it or anybody says. It's just me." He poked 20 doubles, four triples and 17 homers in 366 at-bats (along with 129 strikeouts), and he proved early on that he has the power to help mixed league teams in all formats. Those strikeouts can hurt H2H players, but the extra-base ability should offset it in a full season.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution notes another '07 rookie that's ready for a huge sophomore season. Yunel Escobar hit his second homer of the spring on Sunday, and he's batting .473 with 12 RBI in the exhibition season so far. Hitting coach Terry Pendleton watched Escobar crush batting practice pitches out of the playing field before the game and commented, "He's strong as an ox." You like to hear similes like that for a player you can start at shortstop, second base and third base this year. I've mentioned in the past how the Braves are in love with this kid and that stud-SS prospect Brent Lillibridge has been forced to find a different path to the majors. If you miss out on the top shortstops, don't feel bad if you have to wait until the later innings and pick up someone as promising as Escobar.

Mark it down -- 12:25pm, Emack has already spilled a taco down the front of his shirt.

Roch Kubatko, one of the easiest names to slip off the tongue, is the Orioles beat writer for the Baltimore Sun. In today's blog, he noted that he thinks the Brian Roberts deal will still go down with the Cubs. He thinks Jay Payton comes along with Roberts, and that five players come back in return.

We know that some of the players mentioned on the way back to Baltimore include: RHPs Sean Gallagher and Jason Marquis, LHPs Sean Marshall and Donald Veal, and SS Ronny Cedeno. Emack and I were both surprised that Corey Patterson's younger brother, Eric Patterson, wasn't mentioned in the deal. He's a solid 2B prospect that would make sense in Baltimore's plans. But their intent on fortifying their pitching staffs in the majors as well as Triple-A mandates them seeking more arms. Don't expect ALL of those pitchers to go to Baltimore, but a combo of Gallagher/Marshall/Veal with Marquis, Cedeno and a throw-in makes sense. Remember that Marquis has been anything but graceful in his complaints about not being guaranteed a Cubs starting rotation spot. He is finally helping his case though, with a 2.00 ERA in nine spring innings (three appearances).

The Boston Globe put this schedule up Monday. It's possible that, depending on how your league is set up for the first week, that brand new daddy Daisuke Matsuzaka will get a super-rare three-start Fantasy scoring period in Week 1. Asterisks indicate the Globe's educated guess at the starting pitcher.
  • March 21: Red Sox vs. Hanshin Tigers (Japan) -- Clay Buchholz
  • March 23: Red Sox vs. Yomiuri Giants (Japan) -- Tim Wakefield
  • March 25: Red Sox vs. Athletics (Opener in Japan) -- Daisuke Matsuzaka
  • March 26: Red Sox vs. Athletics (Japan) -- Jon Lester
  • March 28: Red Sox at Dodgers (Exhibition) -- TBA
  • March 29: Red Sox at Dodgers (Exhibition @ LA Coliseum) -- TBA
  • March 30: Red Sox at Dodgers (Exhibition) -- TBA
  • April 1: Red Sox at Athletics (Regular season) -- Daisuke Matsuzaka *
  • April 2: Red Sox at Athletics (Regular season) -- Jon Lester *
  • April 4: Red Sox at Blue Jays (Regular season) -- Clay Buchholz *
  • April 5: Red Sox at Blue Jays (Regular season) -- Tim Wakefield *
  • April 6: Red Sox at Blue Jays (Regular season) -- TBA (possibly Dice-K again)
  • April 8: Red Sox vs. Tigers (Home opener) -- TBA
I said it before, and I'll say it again -- this little trip is going to slow the BoSox down in April, so hit your fellow owners up for some trades for them in the last week of April.

Let's talk Reds pitching. You know you want to.

The Cincinnati Enquirer notes that manager Dusty Baker has all but engraved it in stone that youngsters Johnny Cueto and Edinson Volquez will be in the Reds' rotation out of camp. That means they'll likely join Aaron Harang, Bronson Arroyo and Josh Fogg in the starting five. Notice anyone absent from that group?

Last year's rookie sensation Homer Bailey has an ERA north of 8.00 after four spring appearances (10 2/3 IP). He has nine strikeouts, but eight walks as well. He could be looking at a Triple-A Louisville start to the season again, but don't dismiss him just yet. He could be their first call-up if an injury hits their staff. If you have any reserve space, he's worth a look.

Cueto has been great this spring, turning many heads with an aggressive approach on the rubber, but he got dinged up a bit Monday. More on that later.

It's Volquez, 24, that I want to discuss this afternoon. He came over from the Rangers, who had broken up their vaunted "DVD" prospect group last season when John Danks joined the White Sox (Thomas Diamond is still with Texas, but he's working his way back from Tommy John surgery).

Volquez was inconsistent in both '05 and '06 when he was called up, but he actually pitched well for the Rangers last season, allowing more than three earned runs in only two of eight starts. But this spring, he has been a man possessed.
Volquez has a 3.46 spring ERA after Sunday's five shutout innings against the Phillies' A squad. He threw 69 pitches, 46 of which were for strikes.

When looking at spring stats, one of the first things you take note of on a pitcher -- especially a young one -- is his walks compared to his strikeouts. With just three walks -- and 19 strikeouts -- in 13 innings, Volquez has kept critics at bay. The Reds traded Josh Hamilton for him (with super-OF prospect Jay Bruce waiting in the wings), and it's known that a hitter's ballpark like Cincinnati's can wreak havoc with a young pitcher's confidence. But since Volquez is used to bandbox-itis, coming over from Rangers Park in Arlington, he should be a little more ready than a younger pitcher coming from a different team.

"They're (Volquez and Cueto) pitching like they belong alongside Harang and Arroyo in the rotation," Baker said. "They're dealing. They came in ready to pitch. They played Winter Ball, so they're ahead -- not so much with velocity but with command. That's what you need. They're pounding the strike zone. If you walk people, you have no chance. If you get behind people, you have a little chance."

But there's a reason the Rangers gave him up for an outfielder (and it's not like the Rangers have great pitchers coming out of their ears). Opposing hitters were batting .329 against Volquez, so let's not make him a 15th-round draft pick in mixed leagues just yet. He's someone to think about in keeper leagues though because when he's on, he can rack up Ks, and the Reds' lineup should get him some wins.

For the Rangers, they hope Josh Hamilton's troubles are behind him, of course, but also that he can fit in with the Rangers and not necessarily have the same problems he had in Cincinnati, where rumors circulated that his special treatment and brash attitude were resented by the veterans.

Considering that Michael Young, Hank Blalock and Ian Kinsler attended a news conference in which Hamilton discussed his trials and tribulations with drug abuse, and that Kinsler later asked him to join him for dinner, things seem to be going well. Hamilton said that's the first time a professional teammate has ever extended that courtesy. Now, he's playing video games with Kinsler and Jason Botts.

How's he doing this spring? Well, he's hitting .600 in 12 games, with two homers and 12 RBI. Remember that this is the first spring training he has ever been to in which he already has a job secured. His spring OPS? 1.747. "I don't feel like I have to make the team," Hamilton told the Dallas Morning News. "And when you feel more relaxed, it leads to more confidence and a better approach."

Hamilton enters spring like a lion (he hit .407 in Reds' camp last season) and he could be a solid No. 4 outfielder in mixed leagues this spring.

The Morning News' Evan Grant, another one of my favorite beat writers, notes that Hamilton's batting practice rounds have become legendary already. "From batting practice to the field, it's just amazing," backup CF Marlon Byrd said. "I've never seen a spring like this. You always wonder about players like Vladimir Guerrero and Alex Rodriguez and what it was like seeing them as young players in the spring, and then seeing what they became. If Josh stays on the field 150 to 155 games, there is no reason he shouldn't put up MVP type of numbers."

"It's an absolute joke," Rangers starter Kevin Millwood said about Hamilton's ability. "He doesn't swing at a single bad pitch, and he doesn't miss anything he swings at."


Posted on: March 3, 2008 9:56 am
Edited on: March 3, 2008 12:11 pm

A Case of the Mondays

The Rays are off to their best spring start (3-0) in team history. Just thought I'd point that out before my boyz go in the tank. (That's called the reverse kibosh. I secretly expect them to get out of the AL East basement for just the second time in franchise history, and come close to a .500 season.)

One more thing about our mock drafts, then I promise I won't mention it again until next time I write. The response has been so good by our users that we are now running mock drafts every 15 minutes -- rather than every half hour. Plus, there are more mixed league draft rooms, since they have proven to be the most popular ... Carry on.

Bobby Abreu has two stolen bases already this spring. He came into camp in fantastic shape (11 pounds lighter) to get the Yankees to trigger their big-money option on him. And he's hoping to put last season's oblique injury behind him. He stole 25 bags last season, so the 12-year veteran's speed hasn't taken a huge hit over the years, but his power has dropped considerably, going from 30 ('04)and 24 ('05) to 16 or fewer each of the past two seasons. But, he's still knocking in runs (five straights seasons over 100 RBI), he's still batting over .280 (since his rookie season), and he has averaged 108 runs scored over the past three seasons. He has the looks of a 30-base stealer once again as well. The CBS Draft Averages shows he's being picked as the 18th OF in Roto and 20th OF in H2H right now.

I've got a case of the Mondays -- but that's not going to stop me from participating in another CBSSports.com Mock Draft Monday! It will, however, push me closer to stabbing a co-worker with a coffee swizzle stick just cuz he looked at me funny.

Each Monday, Eric Mack and I, along with some other Fantasy staff members, plan to take part in a mock draft and we invite you to join us!

Our new Mock Draft product is truly a great Fantasy Baseball tool for you to utilize this spring. You can do multiple drafts and it will keep track of each set of draft results. From mixed to AL-only or NL-only, from 12-team to 10-team, from Head-to-Head to Rotisserie -- they have it all.

On Monday, March 3, at 2p.m. ET, I'll be participating with nine users like yourself in a 10-team Head-to-Head mixed draft. And Emack will be in a 12-team Rotisserie mixed mock draft with 11 other users. Later today, I'll post the results for both drafts.

Even if you don't make it into one of those drafts, there are always more starting every half hour every day, so feel free to beat up on some of the other members of our Fantasy community. Check back with us each Monday for mock more drafts.

Meet Jorgy.

Jorgy is a CBSSports.com Fantasy Baseball player.

Jorgy is one of just two users to take part in over 120 mock drafts in our Mock Draft Product as of last week. After confirming that Jorgy was not Scott White, mock drafting like a maniac while not working, I asked him to let us know why he has done so many mock drafts and how it has helped him.

"What CBS has done for me is, It has put me in every situation imaginable," Jorgy said. "There's no way I panic anymore if my guy is selected before I can pull the trigger on him. Most people have no idea how much mock drafts can help you prepare."

He mentioned that he is in five leagues, one with family and friends, and four are moderate money leagues. Money leagues? Since CBSSports is not affiliated with gambling of any sort, we recognized right off the bat that he was definitely joking about that. Prank call! Prank call!!!

"I kidded my nephew after my first draft this year," Jorgy said. "I asked him, 'Have you ever heard the song, It's Like Taking Candy From a Baby?' Well, that's how my first draft went. Thanks to CBS, I projected really well where my targeted players would go. I can thank the drafts for that and that's a huge advantage ... I don't like losing! And CBS has given me the knowledge and opportunity to succeed."

It was at this point that we removed the cattle-prod away from his face. Even then, he continued to talk about how much he liked the Mock Drafts.

You don't have to do 120 mock drafts. Heck, you don't have to do one mock draft. But think about this: What if you're in a league with Jorgy?

The Boston Globe notes that Bartolo Colon threw a 42-pitch bullpen this morning. "For not being on the mound for 3 1/2 weeks, I thought he threw to both sides of the plate, he got through the glove well with good carry," pitching coach John Farrell said. "A very good day for him." Colon could end up making his first appearance in a game on March 15 against Cincinnati.

While Jon Lester's performance this weekend was extremely disappointing, don't start writing Colon over his name just yet. Colon does, however, make for an excellent AL-only sleeper pick. The risk/reward is excellent right now, but you should still expect just mid-to-late season help from him rather than full season. He still needs to lose some weight and until he does, his mechanics won't be ideal, which could hurt him again.
Posted on: February 25, 2008 9:45 am
Edited on: March 3, 2008 12:05 pm

Mock Draft Monday!

Now you can check out the results of our first Mock Draft Mondays! As I explained in the column, we're dolts and the drafts started once they filled up -- so my first four picks were on auto-pilot. Ahhhh well, it's the first one, so we had to iron out stuff!

The Chicago Sun-Times notes that the White Sox had more winnable games (close and late) last season (115) than they did in either '06 (105) or '05 (113) (their World Series season). That is more evidence that the White Sox bullpen, outside of Bobby Jenks, was brutal and possibly one of their worst pens in the past 50 years.

By the way, if you are interested in joining a mock draft with me at 2pm ET, join this 10-team AL-only H2H draft in this lobby. (It might be full by the time you see this, but people jump in and out frequently, so keep checking.) Emack's NL-only draft in the same format is in this draft lobby.

Our Mock Draft product has been a nice success this spring. One thing I found very interesting is that the most popular style of mock draft so far has been the 10-team Mixed Head-to-Head format. About one-third of ALL the mock drafts are in that style! Take THAT old school Roto guys! ( ... I still like Roto better.)

The Detroit Free Press talks about Curtis Granderson's water-bug metabolism. Apparently, he loses too much weight during the latter part of the season, so the Tigers want him to gain some weight. They're making him eat 3,500 calories a day, which is what Dave Richard calls a light snack. Fatigue? Granderson hit .348 with five homers and nine steals in September last season! That was his best month of the season too!

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune notes that Boof Bonser's 30-lb weight loss this offseason has his confidence sky-high. Opponents hit .301 against him in the second half last season (including .377 in September). Bad conditioning might be part of the reason for his decline and a plus-9.00 ERA in September backs that up. With a new, buff Boof, he could be a nice AL-only sleeper this spring.

Name a better team for Bartolo Colon to sign with than the Red Sox? Their staff is already a great one, so he's not going to have to be a savior, yet they are a little desperate after losing their veteran ace in Curt Schilling for half a season at least. He has a chance at a World Series ring, an offense to support him when he struggles, and a closer to seal his wins when he pitches well. Fantasy-wise, he's still an AL-only pick, although spring training could make him a reserved mixed leaguer depending on the news. He could end up being the starter in April if Clay Buchholz needs some seasoning at Pawtucket. And by May, a Beckett blister could rear it's ugly head again.

The Tampa Tribune is denying reports that they are interested in signing Barry Bonds. Obviously, the HR King would come at a discounted price tag, but this move would make absolutely no sense. Carl Crawford has been commenting about how great this spring has been without the controversies surrounding Elijah Dukes (domestic assault) and Delmon Young (umpire assault). Why bring in one of the biggest controversial players this decade, who probably would cost them as much in one season as any of their current players? They have Rocco Baldelli (granted, not a sure thing), Cliff Floyd and Jonny Gomes expected to share time at the DH spot, as well as in right field.

This rumor does make me think back to the 2000 days of "The Hit Show" campaign, when the (then Devil) Rays signed Jose Canseco, Greg Vaughn and Vinny Castilla (later nicknamed "Cash-Stealah" for his pathetic production at third base). This was a knee-jerk reaction by the organization that originally had started on the "build from within" path with minor leaguers and young talent. He didn't like the fact that Arizona was selling out their stadium and playing great ball with veterans. Then-owner Vince Naimoli charged then-GM Chuck LaMar to abandon his previous plans of youth to go sign this group of has-beens. They finished 2000 with 733 runs scored (third-worst in the majors). While that number ranks them 22nd last season, remember that this was at the height of steroid use and big ball.

The St. Pete Times notes that both B.J. Upton and Carl Crawford wouldn't mind seeing Bonds on the roster. "If they are really serious about it, I'm pretty sure we can adjust to it,'' Crawford said before Monday's workout. "It's Barry Bonds -- who wouldn't want to have him on their team? He still hit, what, 28 home runs last year? He's walking a lot, still been very productive. You can understand why we could be interested in him. I'm surprised to see him not signed yet." Those are great quotes for possible future teammates. Did we expect any of them to say, "BONDS!?!?!?!? Ugh, I can't stand that dude."

Starting this week, Eric Mack and I, along with some other Fantasy staff members, plan to take part in a mock draft every Monday and we invite you to join us!

Our new Mock Draft product is truly a great Fantasy Baseball tool for you to utilize this spring. You can do multiple drafts and it will keep track of each set of draft results. I will take part in a 10-team H2H AL-only mock draft and Emack will do a 10-team H2H NL-only mock draft at 2pm EST today. Join us!

This weekend was filled with entertainment winners (No Country For Old Men, Daniel Day Lewis) and sports losers (Brad Lidge, De'Cody Fagg, Phoenix). I'll try to hit on a lot of that the baseball stuff afternoon.

We adjusted the projections on some players this weekend and apparently we were a little off on Jayson Nix's numbers. One site caught it and called us out on it. We fixed the numbers, don't worry, now he should have 88 homers.
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com