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Last Thursday night I enlisted in Howard Bender’s Fantasy Baseball Mock Draft Army. It was a 15-team mixed draft and, luckily, Howard was there only to moderate. I have a feeling he is the type of drafter who picks your player one pick before you do.

There were a lot of reasons I signed up. One being it’s hard to find a good Fantasy Baseball mock draft where people don’t drop out halfway through or draft Mike Carp second overall saying “I thought a run on players with fish for last names was about to start.”

We have our own Fantasy Baseball mock draft tool here, and it’s great! It’s quick and you can run through a lot of them in just one afternoon. Practice makes perfect and the mock draft tool here helps make that a reality.

But every now and then, I miss chatting with fellow mock drafters, discussing strategy. Second, I got to show off my “expert” tag. I’ll take any excuse to do that!

Honestly, I might get that tattooed on my wrist or something. That way, when I shake hands with someone they know my level of expertise.

2015 Fantasy Busts
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Third, for a brief time last year I actually edited some of Howard Bender’s stuff over at FantasyAlarm.com. Yes, I was once a team member over there. I moved on to bigger and better things (like this column), but I was happy to get to work with Howard and the Fantasy Alarm team again. I’m basically the Ben Stiller of Fantasy Alarm.

In case that went over our head Ben Stiller was on one, mostly forgettable, season of SNL and then moved onto bigger and better things. See the parallels?

But really, I joined because you can never practice too much for a Fantasy Baseball draft and my most important league just jumped from 13 teams to 15, so I’ll take all the practice I can get.

Top of the Mock Draft

I’ve begun drafting a few teams already this season and I’ve drafted in the top three in every one and this mock draft was no different. I once again missed out on Mike Trout by one pick, but having the second selection is never a bad thing.

I like the outfield depth this season, which made my choice easy, and I went with Paul Goldschmidt. He’s a power-hitting 1B who hits .290 and can steal 10-15 bases. That is the rock I will build my castle on. His skill was 99% of the reason I drafted him, but I also love that I can call him “Goldie” and think of that A$AP Rocky song.

MyScreen Shot 2015-03-02 at 9.54.08 PM strategy early was to load up on position players and wait to draft a pitcher. I wanted to wait to get an ace at the back end of the first tier of dominant pitchers because I think they’re just as good as your Scherzers or your Prices.

That allowed me to fill in my roster with top talent. After Goldie I picked up Jacoby Ellsbury, Jose Reyes, and Carlos Gonzalez. I built a great base of runs, speed, and power so I wouldn’t have to reach for any one dimensional guys in later rounds just to find steals or RBI. Gonzalez is always a risk because he tends to get banged up, but for a fourth-round pick, I couldn’t pass up his contributions in five categories.

Starting Pitcher Depth

Screen Shot 2015-03-02 at 10.03.43 PMI personally like drafting pitchers in bunches. I find tiers of guys I like, and tend to pick from those batches of guys. If I saw Felix Hernandez fall to the third round I’ll stray from my plan, but that rarely happens. True to form, I went with Cole Hamels, James Shields and Tyson Ross with three of my next four picks. I added a power-hitting catcher for good measure in Devin Mesoraco. Pitch framing is great, but it means nothing in Fantasy Sports. Home runs do matter.

I’m a little worried about Tyson Ross throwing so many sliders. They take a toll on the arm and I’m a little worried about his arm holding up. As my No. 3 SP, however, I feel a little safer since I have two strong guys in front of him in my imaginary rotation. He should add a few Ws this year with that revamped Padres outfield adding some pop to the lineup.

Another block of four batters landed me Aramis Ramirez, Wil Myers, Mookie Betts and Matt Adams. Some guys in the draft room were wondering about the Mookie pick since his position is a little up in the air. I’m sure the Red Sox will find room for this guy as he is one hell of a player.

Myers has sky-high potential and if he delivers on some of it this season he’s a great value in the 10th round. Ramirez and Adams add power and that’s never a bad thing to have a surplus of.

That Youthful Baseball Glow

Screen Shot 2015-03-02 at 10.12.32 PMI added a lot of youth at the back end of the draft landing Zach Britton, Michael Wacha, Hector Rondon, Brett Lawrie and Wily Peralta. I’m especially happy about the Lawrie pick. Oakland has to have some magic potion that gets the best out of the players who disappointed elsewhere. Lawrie looks like a Billy Beane special.

I rounded out the roster with reliable veterans (John Jaso, Hiroki Kuroda, Omar Infante, Michael Cuddyer) to add some stability and one wunderkind (Trevor Bauer) to give my team one more guy who could explode for a huge breakout season. All that talent is going to pay off big time one of these days and I’m confident it will be this season.

I drafted a strong team, got some great practice and had great conversation surrounding closer jobs or how players are going to bounce back from injuries. The drafts are full of like-minded individuals just looking for some practice. If you’re interested in reading up on some of the previous mock drafts you can find them over at FantasyAlarm.com, and if you want to join in (which I highly recommend) email Howard at rotobuzzguy@gmail.com. More a fan of Twitter? Tweet him @rotobuzzguy. Joining the Mock Draft Army is a decision you won’t regret.

I’ll be involved in several more of these Fantasy Baseball mock drafts so you can check out how my teams turn out here or @TheRealTravioli.

Paul Goldschmidt Photo Credit: Nathan Rupert

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