Recently, Derek Carty of The Hardball Times asked me to contribute to a roundtable on Mock Draft ettiquette.  Read on for my response and a link to the article to see everyone’s answer.

Brian Joura—FanGraphs & Fantasy Pros 911

I think there is a big difference between mock drafts and real drafts. A quick check over at shows the definition of the word mock includes “to mimic, imitate, or counterfeit” as well as “to deceive, delude or disappoint.” Nowhere does it say to give an exact replica.

Personally, I think it’s kind of shady to use mock drafts with the strict intention of sending out false signals. For example, if I think Josh Hamilton is going to falter in 2009, it would be pathetic for me to take him at the bottom of the first round in a mock draft. But I have no problems if others act differently.

But, I think mock drafts are the ideal times to try out potential strategies to see what kind of team one could assemble. I’ve been pretty vocal that I don’t think taking Ryan Howard as a first-round pick is a good idea. Yet if I do enough mock drafts, in at least one of them I’ll take Howard and see how a team with him as my top pick shakes out.

Some may be confused as to the difference between the Hamilton and Howard examples I gave above. Hamilton is an individual pick; that’s not part of a strategy. If I take Howard on the first round, it’s going to affect virtually every pick I take afterwards. To me that is a big difference although others may disagree.

Ultimately, the reader should be at least a little suspicious of any mock draft done by analysts/experts. That does not mean they are not worthwhile. Rather, one should not treat the results like gospel. Clearly, the analyst/expert is trying to gain something by participating in the mock. It’s then up to the reader to look at his picks to see if they are consistent with opinions and strategies previously espoused by the analyst/expert and then determine how much weight to put on the individual picks.

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