The pretenders and wanna-bes have had their moments in the sun, but none of them dare to delve into the depths of mock drafting and actually try to match up available players with team needs. Only The Real Mock Draft ventures to do so.
And thus, for the I-75 Strat-O-Matic League’s 34th annual draft, which will commence on Saturday, March 2 at 6:30 p.m. ET, live from Kissimmee, Fla., and televised on ESPNStrat, this is how we see the all-important first round playing out. Picks below are not predictions; they are who I would pick if I were you.
1. Superior: It’s the biggest no-brainer in the history of the I-75 League, the most obvious No. 1 pick since Mike Trout went No. 1 last year. (Oh wait…did Mike Trout not go No. 1? No, I think actually Michigan said no thanks, we’ll take catcher Alex Avila, who went on to hit .243 for the Tigers; and then Springfield opted for Alex Gordon, who helped them to a division title, good job; and then English took Eric Hosmer and traded him to Hickory, which watched him hit .232; and then Hickory took Michael Pineda, who never pitched at all due to injury.) Superior manager Mike Renbarger will select NL Rookie of the Year, 20-year-old wunderkind Bryce Harper, OF, Washington Nationals, with this pick. It’s a good thing his brother Dave doesn’t have this pick: Witness his comment from June 6, 2010, the first time Bryce Harper was mentioned on this blog:
2. Margaritaville: The Volcanoes have unloaded Jordan Zimmermann and Jesus Montero in the offseason but still have the makings of a contender, thanks to four stalwart starting pitchers and a terrifying heart of the order. They also have three picks in the top 26. While some have clamored for Manny Machado in this spot, and the Volcanoes are prone to taking top prospects regardless of whether they intend to contend or not, there is a better solution, especially with David Wright manning the Margaritaville hot corner. If you had to put money on one available player who could post a 30-30 year in 2013, who would you pick, other than Bryce Harper? If it’s me, and if I’m John McMillan, I’m picking Yeonis Cespedes, OF, Oakland A’s, who is entering the prime of his career at age 27 despite just one year in the majors. Cespedes was one of only three players to hit. 300 and manage double-digits in both homers and steals after the All-Star break. He hit .292 and finished with 23 homers, 16 steals in a 487 at-bat season cut short by hand, wrist and hamstring injuries. Plus, he fills a roster need for the ‘Canoes, where they currently sport only the beastly Carlos Gonzalez and the beastly-but-limited Jose Bautista as potential outfielders. Margaritaville would have an all minus-3 arm outfield if Cespedes joins the club.