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I’m excited to announce that I’ve already participated in my first 2018 fantasy baseball mock draft. And here’s the crazy part, it’s still 2017. Mind blown! Last week Scott White from CBS invited me to join his first mock of the season. While one might have thought I would have passed on the offer considering the 2017 World Series had completed only three weeks earlier, I jumped at the opportunity. And when I say “jumped” I mean I shrugged and said to myself, “What the heck.”

The format for the mock league was head-to-head points using standard CBS scoring. Those of you that have read my posts during the last three years will know that I am a points league kinda guy. My content is focused on this format. What better way to get an early start on some new material than to join eleven other top notch analysts in a way too early mock draft.

Unfortunately for me I drew the shortest straw as the randomizer granted me the twelfth pick in a twelve man league. I guess I should say twelve-person league considering my mailman is a woman, my cable guy is a chick and my garbage man is angry old lady. The names of these ‘perts sound male, but I’ve never met any of them in person.  Let me make it clear that I hate having the last pick. Ideally, I prefer to be one for the first six to eight picks. After this point, the “no brainers” are gone. Don’t get me wrong, there are great players still on the board, but the obvious players are not.

The thing about having the last pick, or even the first after the first round, is that you get to pick two players in a row. However, then you have to watch twenty-two players be selected before you draft again. Not only can this feel like an eternity, but the anxiety that builds hoping your next target will not be selected can really become burdensome. I suggest a sixteen ounce can of a beer with an alcohol per volume greater than seven percent. An IPA or DIPA would be my weapon of choice. And, of course, please remember to drink responsibly.

Here are the twelve experts that partook in the mock. I guess I could call them my fellow mockers.

Al Melchior, FanRag Sports
Mike McClure, SportsLine
Phil Ponebshek, Patton & Co.
Lance Brozdowski, Razzball/BigThreeSports.com
Chris Towers, CBS Sports
George Maselli, CBS Sports
Scott White, CBS Sports
Mike Kuchera, The Fantasy Man
Lawr Michaels, Mastersball
Garion Thorne, FNTSY Sports Network
Adam Aizer, CBS Sports
malamoney, Razzball

Mike Trout was the obvious first pick, although there was some chatter about Jose Altuve being selected. There’s no way I would have taken Altuve over Trout. Mike Trout is the best player in baseball (end of sentence). Is that period redundant since I said “end of sentence?”  Perhaps. Altuve might have had more points than Trout last season, but that was only because Trout missed time due to injury. All things considered, Trout finished the season with 513 points in this format, giving him a 1.01 points per plate appearance. While Altuve ended with 599 points, his PPPA was 0.904.

Trout was immediately followed by Altuve and then Paul Goldschmidt. This couldn’t have been scripted any better. I expect these three to be the first three, in this exact order, in nearly every points league draft this year. While Altuve might lose the battle against Trout, I’m giving him the edge over Goldschmidt. The two main reasons are age and position.

Here are the first two rounds of picks. Take a quick look and then I’ll mention my brief notes.

1.1 Mike Trout CF (Al Melchior)
1.2 Jose Altuve 2B (Mike McClure)
1.3 Paul Goldschmidt 1B (Phil Ponebshek)
1.4 Bryce Harper RF (Lance Brozdowski)
1.5 Charlie Blackmon CF (Chris Towers)
1.6 Mookie Betts RF (George Maselli)
1.7 Nolan Arenado 3B (Scott White)
1.8 Carlos Correa SS (Mike Kuchera)
1.9 Clayton Kershaw SP (Lawr Michaels)
1.10 Chris Sale SP (Garion Thorne)
1.11 Anthony Rizzo 1B (Adam Aizer)
1.12 Kris Bryant 3B (malamoney)
2.1 Corey Kluber SP (malamoney)
2.2 Max Scherzer SP (Adam Aizer)
2.3 Joey Votto 1B (Garion Thorne)
2.4 Trea Turner CF (Lawr Michaels)
2.5 Manny Machado 3B (Mike Kuchera)
2.6 Freddie Freeman 1B (Scott White)
2.7 Aaron Judge RF (George Maselli)
2.8 Gary Sanchez C (Chris Towers)
2.9 Francisco Lindor SS (Lance Brozdowski)
2.10 Corey Seager SS (Phil Ponebshek)
2.11 Jose Ramirez 3B (Mike McClure)
2.12 J.D. Martinez RF (Al Melchior)

I’m not about to sit here and second guess anyone’s picks, but the only first rounder that just doesn’t feel like a first rounder in a redraft league is Carlos Correa. In my opinion he’s more of a second rounder in 2018. Given that this league awards two points for a stolen base, I’d probably be leaning towards Trea Turner over Correa, but that’s my very early estimate. However, I’d likely pass on both and hope to be able to grab Francisco Lindor a round later. Unfortunately for me, he was gone by the end of the second round.

My backup plan for SS was to grab Jonathan Schoop, but the rules for positional eligibility were twenty games played in the previous season. Schoop only played five at SS. In leagues where five is the requirement, I’d be all over him. Instead, I ended up picking Didi Gregorius with the last pick of the ninth round (108 overall). While I’m discussing shortstops, Zack Cozart in the 18th round could end up being a great pick if he stays healthy. I ultimately selected Schoop in the sixth round for my UT spot.

Looking at the first two rounds, are there any notable names missing? I see one. Giancarlo Stanton. While Scott White highlighted this point in his recap of the mock draft, I felt I’d be doing Stanton a disservice by not mentioning his omission. Giancarlo was one of six batters to score more than 600 points last season. I’m not sure I could justify taking Corey Seager or Gary Sanchez over Stanton.

As you can see from above, my first pick ended up being Kris Bryant. Unfortunately his eleven games at OF last year is not enough to qualify for OF this season, but I still felt he offered the best upside of the players on the table. I was going to take Anthony Rizzo, but of course he went one pick earlier. So instead I took another Cub.

Being on the turn, I had the next pick as well. If I said I wasn’t torn over this pick I’d be lying. Unless the player’s name is Clayton Kershaw I do not like drafting a pitcher in the first two (maybe three) rounds. Both Kershaw and Chris Sale were taken in the first round. But guess who was still sitting there. The 2017 AL Cy Young Award winner. Corey Kluber. The same guy that also won the award in 2015. The only category that Sale bested Kluber last year was strikeouts and at 0.5 points per strikeout, Kluber was clearly the stronger points league player. So while I really wanted to take Joey Votto or Freddie Freeman, I selected the second best pitcher in baseball.

Here is my team.

1.12 Kris Bryant, 3B, CHC
2.1 Corey Kluber, SP, CLE
3.12 Brian Dozier, 2B, MIN
4.1 Buster Posey, C, SF
5.12 Edwin Encarnacion, U, CLE
6.1 Jonathan Schoop, 2B, BAL
7.12 Gerrit Cole, SP, PIT
8.1 Christian Yelich, OF, MIA
9.12 Didi Gregorius, SS, NYY
10.1 Nicholas Castellanos, 3B, DET
11.12 Jon Gray, SP, COL
12.1 Shohei Ohtani, SP, Unaffiliated
13.12 Byron Buxton, OF, MIN
14.1 Alex Cobb, SP, TB
15.12 Gio Gonzalez, SP, WAS
16.1 Victor Robles, OF, WAS
17.12 Paul DeJong, 3B, STL
18.1 Brad Hand, RP, SD
19.12 Brent Honeywell, SP, TB
20.1 Willie Calhoun, 2B, TEX
21.12 Mike Minor, SP, KC

I could spend all day writing about everyone’s picks, but I’m currently working on getting my Philips’ hue lights to flash any time my batter hits a home run. After fantasy baseball, smart home gadgets are my second favorite passion. That might be debatable, but I’m not going to get into that right now. We have a whole season (and preseason) to tackle my likes and dislikes, and trust me, I will do so.

I absolutely regret drafting Buster Posey with my fourth round pick. While good ole Buster consistently offers tremendous value at the catcher position, I really really wish I had taken Cody Bellinger. If I’m being honest, I most certainly wasn’t fully prepared for this draft. As a result, a lot of my decisions were off the cuff. Normally I’d have spreadsheet after spreadsheet telling me who to pick next. Some time this preseason I will post a picture of the list of players (by position) that I tape to my kitchen island (aka Command Center) on draft day. My wife just looks at me and shakes her heads.

Twenty-two picks after Posey, I was happy to grab Edwin Encarnacion. Over the last three seasons EE has been a top three first baseman along with Goldschmidt and Rizzo. Ignoring an injury shortened season in 2014, Encarnacion hasn’t scored less than 500 points since 2012.

You can see the rest of my picks above, but before I exit stage left I’d like to talk about one other pick. That would be my 12th round pick. Shohei Ohtani. This pick required commissioner involvement and approval. Since Ohtani is not currently signed by an MLB team he is not in the CBS player pool. However, considering how likely it is that he will be signed, it seemed to me that he should be draftable. When my 12th round pick was up I asked Scott White if he could manually put Ohtani on my team. His initial answer was no, but then proceeded to discuss the topic with some of his peers. Ultimately, it was decided that I could indeed draft Babe Ruth. I mean Shohei Ohtani.

As the 133rd overall pick, he was the 43rd pitcher off the board. I don’t think this is going to be very indicative of his eventual ADP. The biggest factor here is that he wasn’t listed on the draft boards. Had he been there, I am sure he would have been selected earlier than the 12th round. If you can get Ohtani in the 12th round, you will very likely have the steal of the draft. It’s far too early to predict, but given his hype, I can see him being drafted between rounds three and six.

I’m not sure with which MLB team Ohtani will eventually land, but as a lifelong Yankees fan, I’m really hoping Hideki Matsui and Masahiro Tanaka are able to convince him to put on the pinstripes. As an avid fantasy player, I’m going to do whatever I can to get him on my team. I tried incredibly hard last year to get CBS and ESPN to add him to their player pools. I even started a Change.org campaign.  This was less successful than the Change.org petition started by wife to get me to take out the garbage.

Link to full mock draft results.

I’m looking forward to another great fantasy baseball season and hope to continue bringing you valued advice (and entertainment).

   
  1. MattTruss

    MattTruss says:
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    Good stuff Malamoney. Curious, in your discussions with Scott about Otani, did he give any indication as to how CBS might handle his potential SP/DH ability? I’ve chatted with Ralph a little about this and I think that having two Otanis in the player pool, one as a hitter and one as a pitcher seems to be the best way to go with this, but curious how the big three sites will handle it. Ultimately, I think it will be a moot point and Otani will be limited to pitching duty only, but if someone wants to burn a draft pick on Otani the hitter, I’m fine with that.

    • malamoney says:
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      @MattTruss: I believe they are still thinking things over, but having two Otanis (one hitter and one pitcher) is certainly on the table. I really haven’t had time to digest that solution, but for some reason it just doesn’t seem to feel right.

      I’m going to have to actually sit down and throw some ideas around in my head and see what makes sense.

      • MattTruss

        MattTruss says:
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        My hometown AL Only league is hosted by CBS so we’re trying to make offseason preparations for how to handle this situation. This league is based on the original Rotisserie league rules where there isn’t a willy-nilly add/drops, there’s no bench, etc.

        It’s a very unique circumstance, but if you were to purchase Otani at auction as 1 player, he’d either have to show up in both the pitching and the hitting section of your lineup or be able to be moved between the two I guess.

        If you’re moving him between the two, you’d be playing down a hitter on the days he pitches though.

        If he shows up in both sections, you technically acquired one less roster spot than everyone else on draft day.

        It’s definitely interesting to think about and I’m very interested in how each site plans to handle it. Right now for instance, there’s no way to move Madison Bumgarner into your UTIL spot on any platform. Fun stuff to toss around ideas.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @MattTruss: As of right now Fantrax will have him as one player you can transition between pitching slots and your utility spot (if he gets positional eligibility he’ll be available there too). My understanding is CBS will have two players, while Yahoo will go the Fantrax route.

      • MattTruss

        MattTruss says:
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        So, do you play down a hitter when he pitches and you move him to the SP slot if you don’t have a bench hitter? For example, if it isn’t a daily moves league. In my AL Only League for example, we have no bench, that’s where the question comes in. We also can’t have an empty spot or it makes for an illegal roster. In a league like that I think it requires two players. Or one split into two.

        • Ralph Lifshitz

          Ralph Lifshitz says:
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          @MattTruss: It’s on CBS right? So probably a moot point.

          BTW Keith law said he has 80 grade speed! Imagine.

          • Grey

            Grey says:
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            He doesn’t have a 80 grade, c’mon.

            • malamoney says:
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              @Grey: I heard he out swam Michael Phelps!

              • Grey

                Grey says:
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                He’s the new Sidd Finch

                • malamoney says:
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                  @Grey: I was thinking more Steve Nebraska, but Finch is even better!

                  • Grey

                    Grey says:
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                    Steve Nebraska — haha!

              • Ralph Lifshitz

                Ralph Lifshitz says:
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                @Grey: @malamoney: You guys can be dicks about it, but I’m giving you actual reported information not what I would like to believe.

                • malamoney says:
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                  @Ralph Lifshitz: A while back I read 70-grade speed. 80 just seems too fast…

                  • MattTruss

                    MattTruss says:
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                    I had read 60…4.1 seconds home to first

                    • Grey

                      Grey says:
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                      It’s not that I don’t believe you, it’s just crazy to think about a guy that is an all-star in literally every facet of the game…

                    • MattTruss

                      MattTruss says:
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                      I don’t know, I got to 4 Mississippi on that hit…

                      Agree with Grey, not that I don’t believe you but it’s an awful coinky-dink that right before he’s making a decision all these rumors of 80 grade speed are leaked.

                      And we’ve all been burned by this type of hype in the past with everyone but Ichiro. You should recall better than anyone with Dice-K. He was a’ight, but the hype was so unreal.

                      I don’t doubt the kid will be good, but I’m tempering expectations a hair is all.

                    • Ralph Lifshitz

                      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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                      @MattTruss: Dice-K is the only one that hasn’t been an immediate all-star, and he was actually pretty good his first two years.

                      33-15 in his first 61 starts with a 3.72 ERA, 8.5 K/9, he won 3 playoff games, and a WS ring. Tanaka, Darvish, Ichiro all studs from the jump.

                    • MattTruss

                      MattTruss says:
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                      I could be misremembering but I don’t recall the hype of Dice-K with Darvish and Tanaka. Not talking shizz about Dice-K either, but he was hyped like an ace. He was alright, but never lived to that hype is all I’m sayin.

                    • Ralph Lifshitz

                      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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                      @MattTruss: The reason that Braves penalty was so steep was to set the tone for Ohtani. I’m not alone in that belief.

                    • MattTruss

                      MattTruss says:
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                      Still doesn’t mean everything will be on the up and up. There’s always someone trying to cheat the system, always.

                    • malamoney says:
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                      @MattTruss: Cause it’s not cheating unless you get caught!

                  • Ralph Lifshitz

                    Ralph Lifshitz says:
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                    @malamoney: It was 70 in MLB, and Law was stumping yesterday that he’s heard recent 80 grades from at least 3 scouts.

                    Too fast why? Cause he’s not a former football prospect?

                    I like that you guys are quoting articles written months ago, even months before my extensive post for this site. I’m giving you recent information.

                    • Ralph Lifshitz

                      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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                      @Ralph Lifshitz: Also you guys do understand he’s capped in terms of pay correct? What does build up about his running get him?

                    • MattTruss

                      MattTruss says:
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                      Yes, I understand. Still, don’t you want to make your self the most desirable package possible? Build up about his speed means everyone bringing their A-game to the table. We just saw shady Braves shizz, you can’t tell me with a straight face that there won’t be backdoor wink wink, nudge nudge deals talked about with Otani.

          • MattTruss

            MattTruss says:
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            True, but other leagues on other formats might have similar restrictions, just noodling here.

            I’ve also heard he also throws a gyroball and a pitch that stops right before home plate, looks up at the batter, spits in his eye and then continues into the catcher’s mitt!

            • Ralph Lifshitz

              Ralph Lifshitz says:
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              @MattTruss: Only when he’s pitching to bots.

  2. Fungazi says:
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    Did you punt 1b? Isn’t that a razzball cardinal sin?

    • malamoney says:
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      @Fungazi: I got Edwin Encarnacion…

      • Fungazi says:
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        @malamoney: Ah gotcha. I ran down the list and it was just showing him as ‘U’ utility I thought maybe he missed 1B. Carry on

        • malamoney says:
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          @Fungazi: All good. I still should have taken Cody Bellinger a round earlier though…

    • Hawk says:
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      @Fungazi:

      Encarnacion played 23 games at 1b last year so he’s 1b eligible.

      • Hawk says:
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        @Hawk:

        “Last year” == 2017

      • malamoney says:
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        @Hawk: Yep

  3. Rosscoe says:
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    Ohtani is going 4th round in the early drafts I’ve done so far. Real drafts, not mocks.

    How does CBS not have him in the player pool yet? He’s been posted and everyone knows he’s coming.

    • malamoney says:
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      @Rosscoe: Apparently CBS has a policy that they don’t add a player until he is officially signed with an MLB team. I tried hard last year to get him added. They said the commissioner of the league could add him, but it was a manual process.

      What site are you using that he’s in the player pool?

      • Rosscoe says:
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        @malamoney: Fantrax. He’s been in their player pool for quite a while.

        Open universe leagues have been drafting him since last year. They really cater for dynasty leagues though, so they would have had the demand for it.

        • Rosscoe says:
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          @Rosscoe: NFBC have decided he will be listed only as a pitcher for 2018, which is pretty much sticking your head in the sand and saying “fuck it, this is too hard”.

  4. Rob says:
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    your title alone makes me bump Ohtani up like a round or 2

    • malamoney says:
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      @Rob: Thanks. By the start of the season he’ll be a first rounder!

  5. Jose says:
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    Hi GUYS,
    Do any of you experts know what is wrong with “Fantasy Rundown” website ? it is telling me: ERROR ESTABLISHING A DATABASE CONECTION. I tried connecting from this site and i get the same response.

    any info appreciated.

    Thanks.

    • malamoney says:
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      @Jose: I’m not very familiar with that site. But I am seeing the same error when I try to go to it.

      • Jose says:
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        @malamoney: It is one of your sponsor. If you look in the middle of your article on the right side . There it is. Next to where you are talking about regretting drafting Posey in the fourth round.

        Thanks for confirming it, that means that it is their problem and not my computer.

  6. Matt says:
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    You didn’t draft a single reliever, other than Mike Minor, who will probably be a set-up guy? Seriously? How can I take you serious if you don’t value a bullpen at all?

    • malamoney says:
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      @Matt: Brad Hand will likely close in San Diego. Minor may or may not close, but keep in mind that this draft was over four months prior to Opening Day. The closer landscape will be much more clear as that time nears.

      In the meantime, I mostly punted on the position by grabbing two maybes. I’m also not a guy to draft a big time closer as I find the position to be very volatile. Perhaps not with the ace closers, but plenty of middle of the pack closers can be had in the middle to later rounds of a draft. Not to mention the fact that several solid closers end up going undrafted because they didn’t start the season as a closer.

      • Matt says:
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        @malamoney:

        My bad on Brad Hand, skipped right over him. He’s definitely going to close for SD and that’s a really nice late-round pick actually. I prefer to have one elite closer.

        I probably would have taken Kimbrell or Chapman or Janzen about where you took Garrett Cole, maybe at Encarnacion. In a league like mine, with 14 teams, we don’t have the luxury of punting a category. That’s a good way to find yourself playing catch-up all season, although if you’re going to punt one, saves is a category to try it with.

        • malamoney says:
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          @Matt: All good. Also keep in mind that this draft was for a head-to-head points league with weekly lineups. All you really need coming out of draft day is two starting closers. Had this been the preseason, the closers would likely be much more established and if Minor wasn’t one of them I would have drafted someone that was.

          Personally I’d prefer to take the strong bat instead up paying up for an ace closer.

          • Matt says:
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            @malamoney: Oh I definitely prefer the strong bat, too.

            It all just depends on what’s out there. That’s why I said at Encarnacion’s spot. I’m not exactly sold on him being strong for much longer.

  7. car-tar says:
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    Really hate the Posey pick. Like super hate it. Outside of that the draft is solid and I am shocked people didn’t try to get Otani before that. I mean you are going to see him drafted 100 picks before that on the reg here in a month or two. And he does not have 80 grade speed. He does have the same home to first as trout via multiple tests but Trout bats right handed. He is a 60-70 speed guy. Not sure why people find that hard to believe. Generally the best athletes are the best athletes. The hardest thrown baseballs of all time always come from outfielders who also happen to run the fastest top speed. Seriously, read down the list of the outfielders who have thrown over 105. It is like a whose who of elite runners.

    I’ve heard a lot of rumors that he may actually be pushing teams to use 6 man rotation, and to be an everyday outfielder with a day off before and after his start. Whether or not that happens, who cares. But it would be so amazing if it did. He likes hitting more than pitching. No doubt in my mind he is going to get a gtd 400 at bats per year for his initial contract.

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