2011 MLB Draft: Be Cautious With Mock Drafts

It’s MLB Draft day! As fan of all team are getting psyched up for the action tonight, the interwebs are being hit hard today with all the latest mock draft news. Kevin Goldstein is saying the Rays will take Dan Vogelbach! But wait, that’s not what Keith Law and John Sickels have in their newest mock drafts. Who do you trust? Should you trust anyone’s take more than someone else’s?

In short, no. Mock drafts are notoriously a crapshoot, even with analysts as informed and connected as Kevin Goldstein, Keith Law, and John Sickels. Teams guard their draft information very closely and are loathe to give away many hints going into the draft, and on top of that, the draft is a dynamic process. Even if a team has a certain player high on their draft board, one or two teams acting differently than you’d expect could throw off everyone else’s pick down the line.

if you need proof, just check out what Kevin from DRaysBay showed recently:

Last year, Gary Brown went 24th overall, Justin O’Conner went 31st overall, and Cito Culver went 32nd overall. Jim Callis did a mock draft the day of, and predicted those picks would be Yordy Cabrera, Derek Dietrich, and Christian Yelich. On June 4th (three days prior to the real deal), he had Jedd Gyorko, Yasmani Grandal, and Ryan LaMarre in those spots. How about May 28th? Nick Castellanos, Chad Bettis, Tyrell Jenkins. Going all the way back to his first mock, which was May 14th, he pegged Yordy Cabrera, Tyrell Jenkins, and Kyle Parker into the 24, 31, and 32 picks. In other words, out of four mock drafts, he didn’t have the correct player going in those spots once.

How about Keith Law at ESPN? He also did four mocks (May 24, May 31, June 4, June 7). His guesses at pick #24 were: Brett Eibner, Christian Colon, Nick Castellanos, and Jedd Gyorko. Again, it was Gary Brown that in fact went #24. At #31, he had: Jedd Gyorko, Brandon Workman, Derek Dietrich, and Mike Kvasnicka. 0-4. #32: Tyrell Jenkins, Christian Yelich, Gary Brown, Tyrell Jenkins. That’s two 0-12s.

I highly recommend reading the whole article, as it really goes to show how difficult it can be to predict which player will be taken when. But that’s not to say that mock drafts are useless: far from it, as they are great for showing about how high players may go, and for highlighting what each team is looking for with their picks. When taken in a large, collective view, they can be very helpful in giving fans an idea which players their team might be considering. These analysts know what they’re talking about, even if they don’t get the exact draft order correct.

As the Draft gets closer and closer today, we’ll be updating this Stream with information on certain prospects that mock drafts have going to the Rays. These will be players that have appeared in multiple mocks, and appear likely targets for the Rays tonight. Will the Rays actually take any of them? Only time will tell, but this is the closest we can get toward guessing.

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