Mock draft 2014: Plenty of good cards available

If the 2014 I-75 League Draft were held today, we would be looking at one of the strongest player pools we’ve seen since converting to the retention league format.

Barring a total collapse in the final two months, a major pitching bonanza lies ahead for our 35th annual draft. Not only are there some top young pitchers available, they also happen to be among the pitchers having the best years in the majors this year.

On top of that, there’s a good selection of position-playing talent to salivate over as well. So as teams ponder their buy-or-sell mode with the July trading deadline approaching, let’s look at the top 15 players who await in March:

1. Yasiel Puig, OF, Los Angeles Dodgers: 22-year-old slugger with a bazooka for an arm is still hitting at a Roger Freed-like pace through 177 at-bats: .379 average, 1.012 OPS.  He strikes out a lot, but he can run, field, throw, hit for average and hit for power.

2. Wil Myers, OF, Tampa Bay Rays: Three days younger than Puig, Myers has been more highly regarded by analysts prior to Puig’s blazing start. Except for the running speed, Myers can hold his own against Puig: In 121 at-bats, a .322 average and .847 OPS.

3. Jurickson Profar, IF, Texas Rangers: He’s playing mostly second base right now, but the 20-year-old future shortstop is getting playing time. And he’s not setting the world on fire through 150 at-bats, with just a .247 average.  But his minor league track record suggests he’s a future superstar.

4. Jose Fernandez, SP, Miami Marlins: Pitching for the woeful Marlins makes Fernandez’s year all the more impressive. Through 19 starts and 111 innings, the righty who turns 21 on July 31 is mowing down hitters with a .196 OBA and a 1.03 WHIP. He’s nicely balanced against righties and lefties and is difficult to run on. He’s a Marlins first-round pick from way back in 2011.

5. Shelby Miller, SP, St. Louis Cardinals: Just 22, MIller is already a fixture in the Cardinals’ rotation, having started 19 games and pitched more than 110 innings. A first-round pick (19th overall) in the 2009 MLB draft, Miller’s 1.09 WHIP and .221 BAA, despite a lopsided dominance vs. RHBs, makes him a great draft-and-hold pick.

6. Zack Wheeler, SP, New York Mets: The sixth overall pick (by the San Francisco Giants) of the 2009 draft, Wheeler has been impressive in his first seven starts, going 4-1 despite a mediocre WHIP and OBA. But teamed with Matt Harvey, the 23-year-old will be giving the Mets a formidable 1-2 punch for years to come.

7. Ervin Santana, SP, Kansas City Royals: Santana is 30, but has a nice 1.08 WHIP and a .231 BAA, both career-bests. Has made 30+ starts in four of the last five years.

8. Jeff Locke, SP, Pittsburgh Pirates: Locke has the curse of being a lefty, but is that such a curse in the I-75 League any more? Overall, Locke is 9-2 with a 2.11 ERA, holding opponents to a .199 BAA and sporting a 1.11 WHIP. He walks a lot of guys (OBA is almost 100 points higher than his BAA), but expect a great hold factor from the former second-round draft pick of the Atlanta Braves.

9. Patrick Corbin, SP, Arizona Diamondbacks: If you sort Yahoo’s fantasy player rankings for starting pitchers, Corbin comes in fifth. Not fifth among available pitchers in the I-75 League, mind you, fifth overall, behind Clayton Kershaw, Matt Harvey, Adam Wainwright and Max Scherzer. Corbin is 24, originally drafted by the Angels as a second-rounder in 2009, and he’s 12-1 with a 2.31 ERA. He sports a 1.00 WHIP and a .205 BAA, including some devastating numbers vs. LHBs.

10. Chris Archer, SP, Tampa Bay Rays: Another in a seemingly endless parade of strong young Tampa Bay pitchers, Archer doesn’t have a lot of innings, but he has been on fire and has helped carry his team to the top of the AL East. He’s likely to continue to get the ball every fifth day for the rest of the year, having won five in a row after starting 1-2. In 11 starts he has yet to allow more than three earned runs. The 24-year-old righty has a .193 BAA and a 1.05 WHIP. Righties are hitting just .135 off him in 68 innings. (Replaces Bartolo Colon on this list; Colon is on the Satellite Beach roster.)

11. Travis Wood, SP, Chicago Cubs: Another lefty, this one with a little bit of seasoning as a 26-year-old second-rounder by the Reds in 2005. He’s WHIP-ping it good at 1.07 and allowing just a .210 BAA. Very tough on lefties but also strong vs. righties.

12. Josh Donaldson, 3B, Oakland A’s: Having a phenomenal year at .304 / .376 / .504 with 16 homers, but you have to wonder if this is an aberration as he has never been this highly regarded and has never put up these kind of numbers. But if you’re a contender, who cares? Numbers are skewed toward lefties, might drop off this list by March.

13. Alex Torres, RP, Tampa Bay Rays: Someone will draft Torres just for the novelty of a card with no on-base chances on it on either side, at this rate. A 25-year-old lefty reliever, Torres has ridiculous numbers: start with a 0.30 ERA, a 0.63 WHIP, an .081 BAA. He has allowed just eight hits (six singles and two doubles) in facing 110 batters. Fun!

14. Julio Teheran, SP, Atlanta Braves: His numbers are not what others have shown, but his promise gets him on this list. The 22-year-old righty has a 1.22 WHIP and a .265 BAA, and for a couple of years now has been considered one of baseball’s top prospects.

15. Didi Gregorius, SS, Arizona Diamondbacks: Not quite in the class of Profar, but Gregorius is a shortstop to build around for the future, hitting .277 as a 23-year-old with a .748 OPS.

That’s it: A whopping 10 pitchers and just five position players predicted for the first round of the 2014 draft.

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9 Responses

  1. Oct 10th

    1. J. Fernandez, SP
    2. Y. Puig, OF
    3. W. Myers, OF
    4. A. Cashner, SP
    5. J. Profar, INF

    6. G. Cole, SP
    7. J. Donaldson, 3B
    8. P. Corbin, SP
    9. S. Gray, SP
    10. M. Wacha, SP

    11. J. Teheran, SP
    12. C. Johnson, 3B
    13. E. Santana, SP (older but boasts a 1.14 WHIP in 211 IP; balanced card)
    14. S. Miller, SP
    15. Y. Gomes, C

    16. J. Iglesias, SS (if given a 1)
    17. Bogaerts, INF
    18. C. Archer, SP
    19. C. Tillman, SP (33 HRA, though)
    20. T. Ross, S-R (0.99 WHIP in second half)

    21. A Garcia, OF (is he the next Matt Holiday?)
    22. D. Gregorius, SS
    23. A. Lind, 1B (.924 vs RHP)
    24. N. Arenado, 3B (great D, but modest card vs RHP)
    25. C. Yelich, OF (.941 OPS vs RHP … only 4 HR … will be ever hit 15 or more homers? if not … drop off list)

    26. M. Byrd, OF
    27. J. Saltamacchia, C (will likely get a +2 arm)
    28. T. Rosenthal, RP (108 K in 75 IP)
    29. B. Colon, SP (can’t ignore the 1.17 WHIP and balanced card in 190 IP)
    30. T. Wood, SP

    31. M. Adams, 1B/OF (will start at 1B for STL if Beltan isn’t resigned)
    32. S. Gennett, 2B (this low because he might be a 4)
    33. M. Melancon, Closer

    • Whatcha’ think?

      • I think that Andrew Cashner is owned by Iowa, and he won’t be releasing him. Otherwise, pretty solid.

        TM

      • Solid take Colonel. Colon and A. Garcia are on rosters, though, so scratch them along with Cashner, as Titan Mike noted. General impressions: five UP: Bogaerts (I know you are hoping the 21 yo BoSox phenom will drop that low, but he won’t; if you want him you’ll need to take him at #10, based on the drafts I’ve seen); Chris Archer (great rookie campaign, 1.13 WHIP, but he will get lefty loaded); Christian Yelich (HR or not this league will pounce on a 21 yo prospect with a .941 RHOPS card); Trevor Rosenthal (we love flame throwing relievers, and they always go sooner then projected. see Kimbrel, C.); Mark Melancon (can’t see elite closer card lasting that long). For balance, then, five DOWN: Jurickson Profar (elite prospect, but blah debut and unusable card makes him fall a bit, with so many great cards there at 5– still, will the league remember the lesson of Mike Trout?); Parick Corbin (color me as a believer that lefties will still get reamed in this league, and I suspect many feel the same. This lefty starter falls); Ervin Santana (card or not, nobody wants to draft the geezers in the first round);Chris Tillman (you said it Colonel– 33 bombs hard to ignore, he drops a bit); Didi Gregorious (hit .197 in August, followed that up with .182 in September; freefall for this stiff– 6th round maybe; besides he’s from the Netherlands. How good can he be?).

      • Since I did five UP and five DOWN below, I will add here five MISSING from the list Colonel. MIA, as it were:

        1) Hyun-Jin Ryu. I still meant what I said below about lefty starters, but clearly this guy is in the top 33.

        2) Tony Cingrani (the “new” Italian Stallion, replacing Guillermo Moscoso, who, as it turns out, wasn’t even Italian in the first place). Yep, ANOTHER lefty starter, but he also pitched in relief, so astute GMs will turn him into a mulch-tastic LOOGY.

        3) Jedd Gyorko. We’ll see how his fielding turns out, but 23 HR from a second sacker playing half his games at PETCO is not to be ignored, and he should receive a generous park adjustment. Besides, how often do you get to own a player whose name is pronounced “Jerko.” Almost as much fun as owning Wacha Wacha.

        4) Travis D’Arnaud. Aren’t we always chasing the next great catcher in this league? OK, maybe it’s just me, but this dude’s minor league credentials cannot be ignored.

        5) Carlos Martinez. Granted, this only happens if he is carded, which at 28.1 IP is dubious– but the Cards did roster him throughout the playoffs, which sometimes gives Strat a nudge to card a pitcher. If he does get a card, UP.

  2. Oops! I just saw that those crafty Brawlers from Satellite Beach already have Bartolo Colon on their roster! That opens up another spot in the Mock Draft. I vote to promote Tyler Chatwood.

  3. Solid group Gary. Mike, Chatwood seems to get better by the start. Add a nod here for Leonys Martin, who won’t escape the eye of our I-75 Texans.

  4. Great job on this as usual, Gary. Interesting to note that Didi was available in the draft last year and he went undrafted. Amazing how a trade opens up playing time for the rookie and he flourishes.

    Darkhorse Rockies Candidates for 1st rounders: Nolan Arenado and Tyler Chatwood

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