Loudmouth won last year.
Everybody hates when Loudmouth wins. Mainly because he constantly reminds you whenever he does.
On the day that he won, Loudmouth's first call was to Cocky, his long-standing rival, interrupting him at work. Cocky was so annoyed, he swore he wasn't going to return to the league in 2016. But as the winter weeks passed and the league emails began to circulate, Cocky changed his mind. He's back with a goal: to take down Loudmouth, whatever the cost. (Well, within reason. Thankfully, there's no "Rules Loophole Tristan" in this league. We refuse to answer his emails asking whether there's an opening.)
Welcome to The One-Man Mock Draft, Season 2. (Tristan, however, has been pushing his preferred title, "The One-Man Mock Draft Strikes Back.") For a look back at last year's edition, click here.
In this One-Man Mock Draft, one individual -- this columnist -- splits into 10 different personalities: each of 10 instincts I have or have ever had as a fantasy baseball player, first, then analyst. This is meant not only to provide a window into an actual draft experience; it's also to give you a sense of how different personalities might approach a draft. With whom do you most relate?
Meet the characters, in their draft order (reverse order of 2015 finish)
1. Newbie Tristan discovered the phrase "regression to the mean" this winter, but he's still trying to figure out what it means. He is therefore still a Newbie, though he's "definitely got it figured out this time."
2. On-the-Go Tristan arrived on time this year but he's in a really big hurry because work has been crazy and he's got a meeting right after the draft LET'S GO GUYS!
3. Homer Tristan bought himself a brand-new Greg Bird jersey. Yankees fans who have spotted him on the street during the past month and a half accuse him of being a jinx.
4. Party Time Tristan heard they have a new "Burgerizza" at Turner Field in Atlanta and has spent the past week trying to book his flight.
5. Geeky Tristan learned that if you format your cheat sheet using Arial Narrow, you can fit 26.2 percent more data on a single sheet than by using Helvetica. That's a net annual savings of $65.18 on ink cartridges.
6. Lazy Tristan.
7. Presenting your presumed 2016 One-Man Mock League champion, Cocky Tristan! All hail Cocky Tristan, owner of five league championships, two second-place finishes and three additional "money" finishes. He was also last summer's champion at New Jersey's annual I Refuse to Eat Any Hot Dogs Contest.
8. Tristan wrote these very words you're reading. He's going to stop now, because otherwise he'll begin making infinity-mirror metaphors.
9. Puppy Dogs & Rainbows Tristan lost the championship to Loudmouth by 1½ points, but he probably would've won had his first pick, Bryce Harper, not missed two games in the final week or his eighth-round pick, Matt Harvey, not skipped that one start in mid-September. Nevertheless, almost instantly after Loudmouth's phone call, Puppy Dogs & Rainbows shifted his eye to 2016 with renewed optimism. "This is the year! THIS IS THE YEAR!"
10. LOUDMOUTH [thumps chest] LOUD-MOUTH! C'mon guys, stand with me, LET'S GO! LOUD-MOUTH! [thrusts his championship trophy in your face] YEAH! (See what we mean?)
[We return to Tristan's basement, where our owners have gathered around tables set up in a U shape. Everyone is seated in their draft order, in reverse order of their 2015 standing, beginning with Newbie, then working clockwise, On-the-Go, Homer and so on, with Loudmouth at the opposite end. Loudmouth has taken up far more than his fair, 10 percent share of the table space, mainly so he can proudly display his championship trophy. Puppy Dogs & Rainbows is wearing a brand-spanking-new Bryce Harper jersey, in honor of his favorite pick from 2015. As everyone has been saying their hellos, he has been pointing to the jersey and saying with pride, "I drafted this guy." Party Time upgraded his cooler during the winter; it's now in the center of the U, which requires more walking, but it also greatly decreases the chances he'll empty it mid-draft, as he did a year ago.]
Tristan: "OK, as always, the ground rules. Two minutes per pick, and if the timer expires we'll give you the highest remaining player in the ESPN rankings. Any questions?"
Lazy: "Does anyone have a draft sheet I can borrow? Oh, and also a pen?"
Tristan: "Sigh, here you go. OK, let's get started. Newbie, you're on the clock!"
1.1 (Newbie): Bryce Harper, OF, Nationals
Newbie: "Can't go wrong with the MVP!"
On-the-Go: [quickly jumping in, as if someone is going to snipe his pick had it been an auction] "MIKE TROUT!"
1.2 (On-the-Go): Mike Trout, OF, Angels
Homer: "I take future Yankee-slash-eight-time Cy Young Award winner ..."
1.3 (Homer): Clayton Kershaw, SP, Dodgers
Cocky: "Dude, you say that every year about every first-round pick!"
Homer: "Well, I'm right this year. The Yankees could totally use him."
Cocky: "He's signed for like a billion dollars! And it's not like the Dodgers are the Yankees' farm team! By the way, have you even thought about how impossible eight Cy Young Awards would be?"
Homer: [confidently] "Five of them while with the Yankees."
[Cocky scowls, then heads upstairs.]
Homer: "Now he's gonna miss his pick."
Cocky: [from upstairs in a mocking voice] "I'm not gonna miss my pick!"
1.4 (Party Time): Paul Goldschmidt, 1B, Diamondbacks
Party Time: [pops the cap on his favorite beverage and toasts the air] "Thanks, guys! League conflict always benefits Team Party Time. Pick of the draft."
Geeky: "Perhaps, but my projection model has Altuve's stolen bases worth 10.8 percent more relative to replacement this season than last, not to mention second base having the second-lowest replacement level behind only catcher. Though I'd have really liked to get Kershaw, since my system values him first by a wide margin."
[Cocky returns, grazing on an extra-large bag of potato chips.]
Puppy Dogs & Rainbows: "I love that guy!"
Newbie: "Way too early. He's got less than 100 games in the majors!"
Puppy Dogs & Rainbows: "Says the guy who took Harper. Really hoped I'd get him again this year, but that's fine, Correa's actually going to have a better year. Book it."
Loudmouth: "BACK-TO-BACK TITLES BABY!"
Puppy Dogs & Rainbows: "THANK YOU! I could kiss you for passing on ..."
2.2 (Puppy Dogs & Rainbows): Kris Bryant, 3B, Cubs
Loudmouth: [giving Puppy Dogs & Rainbows a funny look] "Have fun with that. My guy's gonna lap him by 40 points in batting average."
Puppy Dogs & Rainbows: "Yeah, but Bryant's gonna hit 50 homers this year. Cubs win the Series in four, book it. He's so good, one day they're gonna rename the MVP award after him."
2.3 (Tristan): Andrew McCutchen, OF, Pirates
Tristan: "Seriously, does Andrew McCutchen have the plague?"
Cocky: "YOU JERK!!!" [smacks the table] "Fine, gimme ..."
2.4 (Cocky): Jose Bautista, OF, Blue Jays
[Cocky stands, postures and tosses his pencil across the room, mimicking Bautista's postseason bat flip.]
2.5 (Lazy): Miguel Cabrera, 1B, Tigers
2.6 (Geeky): Edwin Encarnacion, 1B, Blue Jays
Lazy: "Is he hurt? He's got a red 'DTD' next to his name."
Geeky: "He's due back this weekend. Besides, he's one of the most consistent players in the game, my consistency metrics grading him ahead of everyone in the game except Trout. These rounds are all about avoidance of risk."
Party Time: "YYYYYYYEEEEEAH! Thank you fellas, I'll take my bowling buddy ..."
2.7 (Party Time): Mookie Betts, OF, Red Sox
On-the-Go: "He bowls?"
Party Time: "Yeah, he even did a PBA Tour event. I actually tweeted him asking if I could bowl with him sometime, but he never replied."
2.8 (Homer): Dee Gordon, 2B, Marlins
On-the-Go: "Wow. I used to league bowl, but I kept missing our games because of work. Oh, I'm up. I'll take ..."
[More than 90 seconds pass, as Homer fumbles with his papers. He's looking flustered.]
Loudmouth: "Just take David Price already and get it over with!"
Homer: "I am not taking a Red Sock!"
Loudmouth [gesturing toward Geeky, who raises a finger and is about to comment] "Don't even start, General Grammar!" [Geeky stops, looking disappointed.]
Homer: "And I am not taking a Met."
"And I am not taking a Diamondback. Stupid 2001."
3.3 (Homer): Starling Marte, OF, Pirates
3.4 (Party Time): David Price, SP, Red Sox
Party Time: [another air toast] "You're just handing me these picks."
Tristan: "You know, injury or not, that's a good pick. This room's pretty down on outfielders for some reason."
Tristan: "Yeah, that's the other guy I was torn between with Blackmon."
Puppy Dogs & Rainbows: "Yup, thanks. I win that one."
Puppy Dogs & Rainbows: "More homers, more steals, AL MVP? Um, yeah. Not close."
Tristan: "You're aware that Blackmon had more of every roto category last year? And he's played at least 100 more games than Springer the past two years?"
Puppy Dogs & Rainbows: "Hey, all that matters are 2016 stats. Enjoy your history book."
Tristan: "I'm as big a proponent of that argument as anyone, but you're underrating Blackmon. Boring can win leagues."
Homer: "Dead ... to ... me."
Cocky: "Hey Puppy Dogs! Fifty-homer dude -- and 2016 league champ -- right here, my roster, thank you very much."
4.5 (Lazy): Matt Harvey, SP, Mets
4.6 (Geeky): Corey Kluber, SP, Indians
Puppy Dogs & Rainbows: "Kluber? But he's so boring!"
Homer: "Says the guy who took Fernandez two rounds too soon. Oooooooh, now that's a guy the Yankees need to sign."
Geeky: "Every metric says Kluber was one of the unluckiest pitchers in baseball last season. Sub-three FIP, his K-to-walk actually increased, he's still a top Cy Young contender. He's better than every one of the starters picked this round."
Homer: "Kershaw, Fernandez, Severino, Strasburg and Kaprielian; 2018 is gonna be freakin' awesome."
Lazy: "Harvey, deGrom, Syndergaard and Matz. Freakin' awesome right now."
4.9 (On-the-Go): Justin Upton, OF, Tigers
Newbie: "I'll take Dallas KOO-chul."
Tristan: "Do you mean Dallas Keuchel?"
Newbie: "Yeah, the guy who won the Cy Young. You guys left me both Cy Young award winners? Suckers!"
Puppy Dogs & Rainbows: "Um ... last year's stats?"
4.10 (Newbie): Dallas Keuchel, SP, Astros
5.1 (Newbie): Yoenis Cespedes, OF, Mets
On-the-Go: "Did anyone take Joey Votto yet?"
Tristan: "No. Good pick. We all slept on him too. I kind of hoped he'd hang in there until my pick since all these guys" -- [gesturing to his right] -- "have first basemen."
5.2 (On-the-Go): Joey Votto, 1B, Reds
Newbie: "He doesn't get any RBIs, he's on a terrible team and he'll never get pitched to. You guys can have him."
Geeky: "I really hate to take two pitchers this early, but there's no way I can pass up ..."
5.5 (Geeky): Carlos Carrasco, SP, Indians
Geeky: " ...he's an extreme ground-baller with a high-grade infield defense behind him and he gets strikeouts. I'm all-in on the Indians anyway; I've got them projected for 89 wins and the American League Central title."
Lazy: "How are you projecting the Indians to win that many more games this season? Their offense is so much worse this year! Dude, I think you're their starting center fielder!"
Geeky: "No, that'd be Tyler NAY-quin. Roughly a 1.3 wins above replacement projection by my system."
Loudmouth: "NO NAME-DROPPING! Let people do their own homework."
Tristan: "Relax. It's a 10-team mixed draft. I don't think anyone here would even be thinking about Tyler Naquin before the last round, if at all."
[Puppy Dogs & Rainbows raises an eyebrow and smirks. You can tell he's actually thinking about it.]
Cocky: "Your 2016 Blue Jays, gentlemen. One-thousand-run offense. Thirty-100 for Tulo, thank you very much."
Loudmouth: "I think he might miss 1,000 games."
Tristan: "You know, all these pitchers are staring at me but I just can't do it. This is probably a reach, but I like the guy ..."
5.8 (Tristan): Xander Bogaerts, SS, Red Sox
Geeky: "He had a .372 BABIP last year."
Tristan: "You know as well as anyone that BABIP is context-driven! Besides, have fun with the rest of the shortstop pool, fellas. It's hideous."
Cocky: "Your team stinks, dude."
Loudmouth: "DEFENDING CHAMP! Right here! From the 10-spot! And you guys stuck me with it again, total bias!"
Tristan: "The rules say the winner picks last! Suck it up ..."
[The doorbell rings; the pizza order has arrived.]
Tristan: "OK, good timing. Ten-minute break, then Loudmouth kicks off Round 6."
Post-pizza break: The early-to-mid rounds
[Round 6 begins, with pizza all around except for Party Time; he has a slice remaining on his plate, but he also ordered a large chicken parmesan sandwich and a chocolate fudge sundae, which are sitting off to the side.]
Puppy Dogs & Rainbows: "I changed my mind, Sano wins the home run crown, 51-50 over Bryant."
Party Time: [realizing his ice cream is quickly melting] "Hey, do you mind if I stick this in the freezer upstairs for a few?"
Tristan: "Sure, but you're up in four picks, so can you make yours and then do it?"
Party Time: "Oh, OK, yeah."
7.4 (Party Time): Adam Wainwright, SP, Cardinals
Party Time: "Team theme! I'm going to keeping taking guys I follow on Twitter." [Party Time feverishly types on his phone.]
Party Time: "Adam Wainwright just tweeted me back. He said, 'Seventh round?! Check the stats. I'm way better than that.' See, boys, I drafted me a gamer!"
Cocky: "Congratulations, you drafted David Eckstein."
The middle rounds
11.1 (Newbie): Billy Hamilton, OF, Reds
Cocky: "That's a terrible pick. He's awful."
Newbie: "Yeah, but he's fast. I've got steals in the bag. Definitely wanted to get some legs faster than mine on my squad."
Cocky: "Dude, I've watched you run at softball. The two-ton grizzly bear who just climbed out of the molasses pool is faster than you."
Geeky: "You do realize that grizzly bears run faster than humans? Especially one more than twice its typical size."
Cocky: "Then go draft one!"
11.9 (Puppy Dogs & Rainbows): Maikel Franco, 3B, Phillies
Puppy Dogs & Rainbows: "Major league-leading seven homers and 18 RBIs this spring!"
Homer: "Congrats on your fantasy Grapefruit League championship."
Brandon Belt concludes Round 11, then Round 12: Kole Calhoun, Masahiro Tanaka, Carlos Martinez, Jonathan Lucroy, Hanley Ramirez, Corey Dickerson, Ian Desmond, Brett Gardner, Michael Wacha, Evan Longoria.
Party Time: "I'll take Ian Kinsler."
The room: [in unison] "Gone!"
Party Time: "Jason Kipnis?"
The room: [growing more frustrated] "GONE!"
Party Time: "OK, what second basemen are still available? I need one."
Tristan: "Kolten Wong's the highest-ranked second baseman in the ESPN rankings ..."
Loudmouth: "Don't help him! Make him do his own homewo ..."
Party Time: [interrupting] "Daniel Murphy? Is he still there?"
Tristan: "Yes. Yours. Done. Next?"
Cocky: "OK, I'll take Kolten Wong. Thanks Party Time!" [Party Time tips his cap, and offers Cocky a beer, but Cocky declines.]
Party Time: "Oh, man, I forgot to put my ice cream in the freezer!" [His sundae has entirely melted. He shrugs, removes the spoon and drinks it, in one gulp.]
Homer: "UGH! Really?!"
Newbie: "Yeah, why not? He's got more than 300 career saves. He's a great pick this late."
Homer: "Hey, your team's funeral. I'd never draft that guy."
On-the-Go: "Guys, I gotta run. Tristan, can you handle the rest of my picks?"
Tristan: "I'd rather not, but ..."
On-the-Go: "OK, thanks! Good luck this season guys!" [He swiftly exits.]
Homer: "Can we give him all of the injured players from the AL East? It's only fair."
The final rounds: the highlights
19.4 (Party Time): Joc Pederson, OF, Dodgers
Cocky: "PERFECT fit. His 2015 pretty much matches your team -- amazing start, complete mess for the rest."
Party Time: "I'm up? Geez, I dunno ... who was that guy Geeky mentioned earlier?"
Tristan: "Tyler Naquin?"
Party Time: "Yeah, he's good. I'll take him."
25.9 (Puppy Dogs & Rainbows): Byron Buxton, OF, Twins
Puppy Dogs & Rainbows: [sings to the tune of Bow Wow Wow's "I Want Candy"] "BY-RON BUX-TON OH YEAH!" [He breaks into a little dance.]
Lazy: [quietly, to Party Time] "You, uh, been sharing your brew?"
[Party Time quietly chuckles.]
Loudmouth: "And, to conclude the 2016 draft, Mr. Irrelevant and the anchor to my championship roster ..."
25.10 (Loudmouth): Jarrod Dyson, OF, Royals
Cocky: "He's an anchor all right ..."
Loudmouth: "When can we start making add/drops?"
Cocky: "Yeah, your team's gonna need 'em."