While official drafts are still some time away, mock drafts are key for owners to understand where players they may be targeting are falling and being slotted. From week-to-week, the movements are not always large, but the overall impact is important to judge. In some cases just looking at a position as a collective can provide insight that may not be apparent on the surface.
The news of Prince Fielder signing with the Tigers has been good for both his value and that of Miguel Cabrera. Fielder’s ADP has jumped nine percent, or more than a full selection, in the last two weeks and five percent in the last week alone. Cabrera has seen his draft spot rise by a full third and is now the consensus number two selection on most boards. While both were already being taken highly, seeing how both are moving shows the faith many have in the Detroit offense even without Victor Martinez being in the lineup. Know that you will have to pay to draft either.
Pitching is moving in the opposite direction. The top-five pitchers on the draft board (Justin Verlander, Roy Halladay, Clayton Kershaw, Cliff Lee, and Tim Lincecum) all have seen their stock drop over the last two weeks. This continues to underscore the depth of pitching and the ability to get it later in drafts.
Pitchers such as Dan Haren and David Price, not to mention Cole Hamels, are available two and three rounds after the top pitchers coming off the board. Depth pitchers such as Max Scherzer and Ervin Santana are still on the board during round 15 in most ten-team formats. While owning an ace such as Verlander certainly helps, he is still on the mound only once every five days. The strong pitchers in the middle and end of drafts is allowing these pitchers to fall slightly and owners should take note.
One surprise is the fact we are still seeing Carl Crawford drafted around pick 40. While he has dropped five percent in the last two weeks, there should be considerable concern regarding Crawford’s health given his recent wrist surgery. Crawford struggled during his first season with Boston and the injury here will certainly slow him down. The rumblings are that Crawford could miss Opening Day and his ability to be effective once he returns is a question mark.
Mike Napoli is making a strong statement to take over the spot as the first Catcher off the board. While Carlos Santana is going nine picks ahead, Napoli’s ADP of 45 is up seven percent of late. His 30 home runs in 114 games last season is a big reason for that. Napoli is being projected by many to hit more than 30 home runs again. The Texas lineup and ballpark is plenty enough reason for those thoughts. The Texas backstop has shown the ability to hit a lot of home runs in relatively few at-bats, putting up 20 home runs in each of the last four years. That includes doing so in just 78 games back in 2008. Will he hit .320 again? Probably doubtful, but there is reason for optimism. Seeing him go off the board before Brian McCann and Buster Posey is odd, but Napoli is seeing plenty of faith from owners early on.