No Mocking the Mocks

With the MLB draft coming up on June 5-7, we are seeing more and more mock drafts. Seems like every fantasy baseball site has its own mock. And in many cases the projections are significantly different.

Got me to wondering about how accurate mock baseball drafts have been in the past, and whether there is one draft that is head-and-shoulders above the rest.

So I did a test.

I took three of the mocks that I have played with in the past: Keith Law (ESPN), Jonathan Mayo ( and the team at For each draft, I looked at each of the first round picks from their final mock draft for 2013. For each pick, I compared the projected position with the actual position, getting a difference. (For example, Keith Law projected that J. P. Crawford would go 10th overall to the Jays. He actually went 16th to the Phillies, for a difference of 6). I then calculated the average difference for the 33 first-round picks for each of the three mocks.


Mayo won the average difference contest with a 7.3. MyMLB was second with 8.2, and Law was a distant third with 32.8. The Law figure was distorted, though, due to his picking Kyle Serrano to go 30th overall (Serrano actually went 859th). So, to be fair to Keith, I recalculated the average difference for each mock, dropping the highest difference for each. With this change, Mayo still won with 6.0, with MyMLB at 6.8 and Law at 7.9.

How about another test of drafting acumen? How many of the players projected to be drafted in the first round (by which I mean the top 33 in 2013) were actually chosen in that round? Again, Mayo is the winner with 29 of his picks going in the top 33. Law and MyMLB were tied at 27.

And one last test: how many of each mock’s picks were very close (which I arbitrarily define as within 3 places of actual)? Once again, Mayo leads the way. He had 17 close picks, compared to 16 and 14 for Law and MyMLB, respectively.

So what do I conclude? If this were a contest, I would have to declare Mayo the clear winner, as he finished first in each of my three tests. But it is relatively close. (not surprising, as the picks chosen by these three mocks were very similar, especially at the top).

All of this begs the question: was 2013 a fluke? So (definitely too much time on my hands!) I did the same process over again for the 2012 draft.


Overall conclusion? Mayo may be the winner, but each of these mocks are pretty darn good. Either that or I now know where the teams get their draft rankings! (grin)

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