Even before it was over, our 10-team AL-only Head-to-Head mock draft was outdated.
At some point during the 90 minutes we were feverishly clicking and crossing off names Thursday afternoon, Aaron Hicks hit the third of his three home runs in a Grapefruit League game against the Phillies. As soon as I heard, I grabbed him ... in Round 18.
Good for my team. Bad for our image. We only have ourselves to blame:
1. Peter Madden, Editorial Director, Fantasy Sports
2. Scott White, Senior Fantasy Writer
3. Jamey Eisenberg, Senior Fantasy Writer
4. Dave Richard, Senior Fantasy Writer
5. Sergio Gonzalez, Producer/Editor
6. Nando Di Fino, Senior Fantasy Writer
7. Igor Mello, Fantasy Writer
8. Adam Aizer, Fantasy Video/Podcast Host
9. Chris Towers, Fantasy Writer
10. Al Melchior, Data Analyst
The Hicks oversight just goes to show you player values are fluid during spring training. If something happens on the eve of your draft, you have to take it into consideration even if you haven't had a chance to rehearse with it, so to speak, with mock drafts and rank lists.
True, you wouldn't want to overvalue spring statistics -- which are, by and large, meaningless -- but even when the games don't matter, battles are being fought, adjustments are being made, and injuries are being suffered.
Speaking of injuries, Mark Teixeira's is reflected here. Seeing him fall to the eighth round -- after Nick Swisher, Justin Morneau and Adam Dunn have already gone off the board -- certainly conflicts with our rankings, but it's somewhat understandable in a deeper league, where finding a fill-in for the first month-plus Teixeira will miss with a strained wrist is easier said than done. Still, he probably won't go much later than Round 8 in any format.
Likewise, Curtis Granderson went in the sixth round here. I understand stashing him for 4-6 weeks is a drag, but if you have any faith in your ability to draft a competent fourth outfielder (like Hicks, perhaps), I should think you'd want the Yankees slugger more than, say, Josh Reddick or Clay Buchholz.
We all have a tendency to wait on closers here at CBSSports.com, sharing the belief that, at least relative to other positions, you won't benefit much by reaching for the top options. As a result, Hisashi Iwakuma and Alexi Ogando were the first two "relief pitchers" off the board, with the first closer not going until Round 9. But then when Fernando Rodney finally went, every closer but Jose Veras (yuck) and Casey Janssen (huh?) went in the next five rounds.
Chances are the closers will start going earlier in your AL-only draft, but whenever it starts, it doesn't last long. There's only 15 to go around, after all.
As is typical with the AL-only player pool, starting pitching was in short supply in this draft, which explains why pitchers like Buchholz, Jeremy Hellickson and Andy Pettitte started going off the board when hitters like Josh Willingham, Salvador Perez and Michael Morse were still on it. Though I'm generally not in favor of drafting pitchers early, grabbing two in the first five rounds makes sense in this format.
And what about Hicks? I predict that if we redrafted today, he'd go in Round 13. Now that he's three home runs closer to securing the starting center field job, valuing him on about the same level of Leonys Martin sounds about right.