The Super Bowl is over. The NBA season is a hot mess of bad teams, mass injuries, dunk-contest-caliber slams (due mainly to no defense), and a schedule far too compressed to do anything about any of those problems, so instead of wallowing in the darkness that the dead of winter brings (although, for much of the nation, La Niña has basically made this the winter a major non-factor), it's time to turn our attention to the rebirth that's happening all over Arizona and Florida in two weeks. Yes, pitchers and catchers are getting ready to report, which can only mean one thing: mock fantasy draft season is in full swing.
While helpful, to many, I'm not one who believes that it's imperative to participate in many (or any) mock drafts prior to your drafting season. It's not the S.A.T., it's your baseball draft. And since each draft is unique, these mocks tend to be a loose guide, not a solid blueprint for drafting strategy. The value I find in them is through the use of ADP (average draft position) the ability to uncover players who are universally underappreciated.
Those sleepers often are not found in the full-season stats most rely on at draft time, but in the statistical splits. And honestly, would you rather draft a pitcher who excelled early in the season but petered out down the stretch, or one who started slowly and had something click during the year that enabled them to finish strong? Personally, I'll take the latter, but since their overall numbers aren't gaudy, late-rising pitchers last longer in mock drafts than they should.
Let's take a look at a handful who could surprise this summer:
Given the Tigers' improved offense and the fact that he's nestled into the third slot in the rotation behind Verlander and Rick Porcello, this could be a very big season for the just-turned 28-year old. He should be going higher than his current approximate ADP of 50.
As for our mailbag: If you'd like your fantasy questions answered, send them to
The Twitter Question of the Week comes from @okomodo, a.k.a. Johan K, who asks:
In most leagues where there's a limit on the number of injured players one can carry stashing players is always risky. This year it's especially so since there have been so many significant injuries to so many top tier players, three of whom you have. If you can get away with it without harming the rest of your squad, then it's a perfectly fine practice. However, it's hard to imagine you not needing those roster spaces occupied with bodies that can help you now. That said, I would probably let Ginobili go first as he's most likely to be rested once he finally does come back to keep him fresh during the playoffs. Next would be Gordon, whose knee has become a mystery and has stretched from day-to-day to week-to-week to now month-to-month. He may come back as the 20-points-per-game scorer everyone was hoping he'd be, but more likely he'll be limited playing for a team he's unhappy with and then move back to the sideline shortly after he finally does return. So if you want to keep one, it's Lopez, who will likely be back in a Nets lineup desperate for scoring punch in the next two weeks.