Scoring the mock drafts

Olney's premature obituary for A-Rod
RAB Live Chat

We always hear that trying to predict the Major League Baseball draft is nothing more than guesswork, especially anytime before June 1st. However, once you get down to draft day, trying to project picks isn’t a totally futile exercise since we then know which teams are onto which players. Plus there’s all that stuff about knowing who’s healthy, who has performed well, who has slumped and so on.

I figured I’d take a look at the final mock drafts put out there by some of the most notable analysts on draft day to see who did the best job of predicting the picks. Here are the results, with the overall pick number is in parenthesis:

Jim Callis, Baseball America [link and link]
Total Correct Picks: 10
Correct Picks: Stephen Strasburg (1), Dustin Ackley (2), Donovan Tate (3), Tony Sanchez (4), Drew Storen (10), Chad James (18) Jiovanni Mier (21), Slade Heathcott (29), Brett Jackson (31), Tim Wheeler (32)

Kevin Goldstein, Baseball Prospectus [link]
Total Correct Picks: 6
Correct Picks: Strasburg (1), Ackley (2), Tate (3), Zack Wheeler (6), Bobby Borchering (16), Heathcott (29)

Keith Law, ESPN [link]
Total Correct Picks: 12
Correct Picks: Strasburg (1), Ackley (2), Tate (3), Tony Sanchez (4), Jacob Turner (9), Borchering (16), James (18), Chad Jenkins (20), Mier (21), Mike Trout (25), Heathcott (29), Wheeler (32)

Jonathan Mayo, [link]
Total Correct Picks: 8
Correct Picks: Strasburg (1), Ackley (2), Tate (3), Tony Sanchez (4), Mike Minor (7), Storen (10), Grant Green (13), James (18)

Even though Callis didn’t have the Pirates taking Tony Sanchez in his original post, he did update his mock four hours before the draft on BA’s Draft Blog to reflect the move, so I was kind and gave him credit for that. Obviously, Strasburg was a gimme at numbero uno, as was Sanchez at four considering his predraft deal. Florida grabbing Oklahoma prep righty Chad James 18th overall was expected as well, because scouting director Stan Meeks is from Oklahoma, as is staff ace and budding megastar Josh Johnson. James’ talent warranted being drafted at that spot, and all of the other stars aligned perfectly.

As you can see, KLaw had the most correct picks with twelve. However, correctly predicting the most picks doesn’t automatically mean someone had the best mock draft, because correctly calling later picks is way tougher than calling early round picks. So in order to weigh the later right picks better, I assigned a point value to each slot and just tallied up the points everyone got. The scoring system wasn’t anything fancy, one point for the first overall pick, two points for the second, three points for the third, and so on. Arbitrary? Yes. Better than nothing? Also yes. With a 32 picks in the first round, the maximum number of points is 528.

So tallying them all up, here’s what we got:

  1. KLaw – 180 pts
  2. Callis – 151 pts
  3. Mayo – 58 pts
  4. Goldstein – 57 pts

Heh, so it looks like we know who has the most reliable sources, no? Or at least who lucked out with the most guesses, anyway. KLaw walks away with wins in both the Total Correct Pick and Point Tally categories, therefore we shall crown him the Master of the Mock Draft. Something tells me he’d appreciate that.

Olney's premature obituary for A-Rod
RAB Live Chat
  • Joe R

    You never ended up doing a mock draft Mike? Would’ve liked to see your results as well.

    • Mike Axisa

      No, I did one in 2007. It went horribly, horribly wrong.

      • Andy in Sunny Daytona

        You need sources Mike. I’m sure if you were a former Asst. GM your picks would have been better.

      • whozat

        I picture a montage of Mike, combing the Internet for scouting reports, meeting shadowy sources in dark alleys, and rifling through the spreadsheets scattered across his Mom’s basement. He’s writing list after list on a whiteboard, updating his mock draftboard daily. Things get faster and blurrier, there’s cups of coffee being spilled across the desk, empty bottles of adderal scattered all over the couch, reams of paper building everywhere, until — all of a sudden, the camera locks in on his blood-covered face, and there’s four dead sheep on the floor covered in cocaine…

        “I’ve made a terrible mistake,” says Axisa.

        THAT’S how a mock draft goes horribly, horribly wrong.

        • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

          And the voice-over intones: “Jaeger.”

          /Dave Attell’d

          • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

            This will explain my joke. Enjoy:

            Good stuff starts around the 1 minute mark.

  • thebusiness

    Mike Axisa, you are the man. You need to post on here more often. Love your stuff.

  • Doug

    Not to give you more work, Mike, but how about also factoring in how much a pick was “missed”.

    For example, apparently nobody predicted the O’s would take Hobgood at #5. But where did they predict him to go? Someone predicting him to go 6th would have been “more” accurate than someone predicting him to go 7th. Maybe the former guy gets a -1 and the latter guy gets a -2 factored in, something like that.

    • Chris

      A simple way to look at it might be to see how many of the players predicted to go in the first round actually did.

      • Doug

        well out of sheer curiousity (and the fact that it’s a slow day at work), did just that and found very interesting results .

        law, while getting 12 exactly right, missed on 8 going in the 1st round.
        callis, while getting 10 exactly right, missed on 6 going in the 1st round.
        mayo, while getting only 8 exactly right, missed on only 4 going in the 1st round.

        then went a step further (because work is reaaaaly boring right now), and did my little exercise, seeing how “wrong” these guys really were.

        law, even though he was right on 12 of the 32 picks, was “off” a cumulative total of 187 on the other 20

        callis, even though he was right on 10 of the 32 picks, was “off” a cumulative total of 154 on the other 22

        mayo, even though he was right on only 8 of the 32 picks, was only “off” a cumulative total of 152 on the other 24.

        (couldn’t do goldstein’s as it’s behind the BP wall)

  • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

    KLaw walks away with wins in both the Total Correct Pick and Point Tally categories, therefore we shall crown him the Master of the Mock Draft. Something tells me he’d appreciate that.

    I’m sure he will. The question is, will he appreciate it as much as I appreciated being crowned the Champion of the Inaugural RAB Fantasy Football League? That’s a tough question.

    It’s almost as tough as how tough my team was, a team that ran roughshod over the small, puny, pathetic teams of Mike, Joe, Rafi, Jamal, jsbrendog, and SAMIAMSPORTS, teams so limp and short and insignificant that they couldn’t possibly please a woman, which is fitting since Mike, Joe, Rafi, Jamal, jsbrendog and SAMIAMSPORTS also cannot please a woman. Because they can’t measure up as men. That’s gotta be humiliating. I wonder if it’s as humiliating as the numerous beatdowns they took from me during the course of the season?

    Hey, there goes another tough question! Funny, I guess life is full of those things. I wouldn’t know, because no question is tough for me.

    Because I’m a champion.

    [ Fantasy Football Championship Bragging Rights Name Drop #32 of 1000 ]

    • jsbrendog

      please keep comments on topic.


      • jsbrendog

        /also bitter

    • Tom Zig

      only 32?

  • PaulP

    Keith Law is very knowledgeable in a scouting fashion, I enjoyed reading his material until it cost me something to do so.

  • MattG

    Right now I am giving Keith Law mock applause, in honor of his accomplishment.

    • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside


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