Why not ring in the new year with a little mock draft, Rotisserie-style, to get an early look at what February and March have in store? The participants ...
1. Chris Towers, Fantasy Writer
2. Igor Mello, Fantasy Writer
3. Adam Moore, Fantasy Writer
4. Michael Hurcomb, Fantasy Editor
5. Jeff Tobin, Associate Managing Editor
6. Al Melchior, Data Analyst
7. Peter Madden, Editorial Director, Fantasy Sports
8. Jeff Lippman, Fantasy Writer
9. Ed Gauna, Fantasy Writer
10. Scott White, Senior Fantasy Writer
11. Nando Di Fino, Senior Fantasy Writer
12. Bill Passonno, Fantasy Writer
As you can see, not everyone went by the book. Miguel Cabrera was the first pick, sure, but Ryan Braun, a candidate for the top spot, dropped to fourth, behind No. 1 pitcher Justin Verlander and sophomore sensation Mike Trout. The end of the first round is where opinions really started to vary, though. Evan Longoria and Troy Tulowitzki are both justifiable selections, but any of Picks 11-19 could have conceivably gone off the board at that point. Whether that means the pool of legitimate first-rounders extends halfway into the second round or ends with Pick 10 is a matter of perspective.
As typically happens in Rotisserie leagues, pitchers weren't in high demand. Sure, the perennial Cy Young contenders like Clayton Kershaw, Felix Hernandez and David Price went off the board early, but top-20 options like James Shields and Yu Darvish were still available in Round 8. And closers? Forget it. After Craig Kimbrel in Round 6, the next one (Jonathan Papelbon) didn't go off the board until Round 10.
This group wasn't shy about reaching for rookies. Even the ones who aren't assured roster spots at the start of the season -- from Wil Myers in Round 12 to Travis d'Arnaud, Billy Hamilton and Jurickson Profar later on -- were in high demand here. After the impact Trout and Bryce Harper made as late-April call-ups last year, stashing these guys ahead of time might become the norm.
A few other observations: Between Ben Revere, Carlos Gomez, Alcides Escobar, Brett Gardner, Norichika Aoki, Everth Cabrera, Coco Crisp and Adam Eaton, plenty of speed was available late. You don't want to shortchange power early ... Melky Cabrera might not be universally distrusted after all. Round 9 isn't exactly a bargain for him, given the risk ... Because David Ortiz and Victor Martinez are the only two DH-only players worth selecting in mixed leagues, they have a tendency to get lost in the shuffle. Ortiz in particular went a good two or three rounds later than he should have in each of our first two mock drafts.