The Offseason of Fun continued here at CBSSports.com on February 7, as the staff participated in our third official mock draft: a Head-to-Head points league format with 12 teams. We had our first go-round in mid-December, before we compiled our Top 300 and position-by-position rankings, so the crew was a little more seasoned and had a somewhat better feel for "where Player X is going to go" this time around.
As it happened in our earlier Head-to-Head mock, Miguel Cabrera was the No. 1 overall pick. But philosophies shifted a bit in the two-month gap: in December, both Justin Verlander (No. 2 overall) and Clayton Kershaw (No. 12 overall) were taken in the first round. But in the February version, they dropped to the second round, with Verlander being taken at No. 14 and Kershaw at No. 19. The two players nudging their way into the first round? Prince Fielder (No. 14 in December, No. 9 in February) and Giancarlo Stanton (No. 15 in December, No. 11 in February). Will the trend continue? Most likely.
We're beginning to notice a decent amount of depth with pitchers this season -- Matt Moore and Matt Garza, for instance, were still available in the 10th round -- and there's a healthy amount of risk-taking to be had, with bounceback candidates like Jon Lester (ninth round), Tim Lincecum (11th round) and Josh Beckett (15th round) dropping several rounds from their 2011 spots. With that kind of talent available relatively late, those early round picks can be used on impact bats instead. Especially knowing that, in points formats, you can cover your RP spots with point-accruing starters like Kris Medlen (fifth round), Aroldis Chapman (eighth round), Alexi Ogando (12th round), Hisashi Iwakuma (13th round), Andrew Cashner (21st round), and Wade Davis (undrafted).
As far as the hot-button players (at least hot-button for February), Alex Rodriguez went undrafted after being selected in the 21st round of the December draft. Carl Crawford went in the 10th round after being taken in the 12th in December. Mike Napoli jumped from the 11th round to the ninth. Carlos Ruiz, who is suspended for the first 25 games of the season, was taken in the 19th round in December but went undrafted here. Melky Cabrera rose from the eighth round to the sixth. Ryan Howard went from the 10th round in December to the 14th in February. Bryce Harper jumped from the fifth round to the fourth. Justin Upton saw a bump from the fourth round to the third, following his trade to Atlanta.
In the "Ponts League Darlings" category, Alex Gordon was taken in the third round (after being taken in the fourth in December), newly acquired Diamondback Martin Prado went from the eighth round in December to the seventh in February and Ben Zobrist saw a minor dip, dropping from the third round in December to the fourth round in February.
Some random observations on the draft in a vacuum:
Ryan Zimmerman in the fourth round could be a great bargain, assuming the shoulder issues that have dogged him recently are a thing of the past.
Mark Teixeira, Billy Butler and Allen Craig are probably going to be picked in close proximity to each other this year. It seems like when one is off the board, the other two are taken in a minor panic by drafters, as there's a bit of a tier drop-off at that point to the Freddie Freeman-led group. There could be a solid 25 picks between the last of the Teixeira-Butler-Craig triumvirate and the start of the Freeman contingent of first basemen.
Huston Street in the 20th round is proof that you can wait on a closer in points formats, since some RP slots are being filled with starters who carry RP eligibility.
Andrelton Simmons in the 21st round of a points league could turn out to be a tremendous steal.
As we get closer to spring training, I would expect people to take a second look at Carlos Quentin's stats and move up ahead of the 17th round. He is the perfect, "Oh, I forgot about him!" pick in mock drafts (which is part of the value of doing some mocks yourself before Draft Day).
We also recorded a podcast while we were drafting, which you can listen to here. There's some cool insight on how we hemmed and hawed over picks, which players were in our queues at the time and which early picks we liked and hated.
The participants ...
1. Dave Richard, Senior Fantasy Writer
2. Chris Towers, Fantasy Writer
3. Adam Aizer, Fantasy Video/Podcast Host
4. Jeff Tobin, Associate Managing Editor
5. Nando Di Fino, Senior Fantasy Writer
6. Al Melchior, Data Analyst
7. Jamey Eisenberg, Senior Fantasy Writer
8. Scott White, Senior Fantasy Writer
9. Jameson Fleming, CBSSports.com Social Media Coordinator
10. Jeff Lippman, Fantasy Writer
11. Igor Mello, Fantasy Writer
12. Michael Hurcomb, Fantasy Editor
Below, find the results of our second Head-to-Head, and third overall, mock draft of the offseason. Stay tuned for many more to come over the next several weeks
Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us on Twitter @CBSFantasyBB or Nando Di Fino at @nandocbs . You can also send us an e- mail us at email@example.com .