Articles by Erik Siegrist

Erik Siegrist is an FSWA award-winning columnist who covers all four major North American sports (that means the NHL, not NASCAR) and whose beat extends back to the days when the Nationals were the Expos and the Thunder were the Sonics. He was the inaugural champion of Rotowire's Staff Keeper baseball league. His work has also appeared at Baseball Prospectus.

Blue Jackets 2016 Draft Review

I very nearly titled this “How the Blue Jackets Screwed Up the 2016 Draft”, but after having done these reviews for their three previous drafts (which you can read here: 2015, 2014 and 2013) I figured I’d stick to the formula.

The Blue Jackets headed into this year’s entry draft both in a good spot and a terrible one. For the first time in franchise history they actually improved in the draft lottery, moving up from the fourth spot to the third in a draft class thought by basically all observers to have a clear top three, but at the same time they were staring at a draft class heavy on wingers (which they already had an abundance of in the organization) and light on potential No. 1 centers (which they need after dealing away Ryan Johansen last year) after Auston Matthews who was locked in as the first overall pick.

In the three-plus years I’ve been covering GM Jarmo Kekalainen’s tenure as Columbus’ GM, some patterns had become clear in his drafting. He likes size (the shortest player he selected last year stood six-foot-one) and he likes players who show some maturity (his picks are littered with players who captained their squads or represented their countries internationally.) All that, combined with their shared Finnish nationality, seemed to point towards the Blue Jackets sprinting to the podium to take six-foot-three World Junior Championships MVP Jesse Puljujarvi with their top pick, right?

Cowboys 2016 Mock Draft 5.0, Final Version

No sooner had I done what I thought was going to be my final mock draft of the offseason for the Cowboys last week, two things happened. One, the Eagles traded up with the Browns to grab the second overall pick, thus basically ensuring that Jared Goff and Carson Wentz would be the first two picks off the board. Two, DeMarcus Lawrence went and got suspended for four games, joining Randy Gregory on the sidelines for the first month of 2016 and leaving Dallas comically thin at DE.

So, on the eve of the draft itself, I figure I’d better crank out one more mock using Fanspeak’s On the Clock simulator. Doing mock drafts may be an exercise in futility when it comes to actually predicting who will go in any particular draft slot, but it’s a great way to force yourself to become familiar with the draft class beyond the obvious big names.

The Cowboys are one of the teams who lean heavily on SPARQ scores to differentiate prospects, an approach pioneered by the Seahawks, so the players likely to be on the team’s radar are not necessarily the ones the pundits expect, and later-round surprises are almost a certainty.

I’m using Fanspeak’s own default big board again, after sticking with it on the first two mocks, the Drafttek board for mock 3.0 and CBS for 4.0, as it was updated yesterday. Version 1.0 saw Dallas pop for Carson Wentz with the fourth overall pick, while in version 2.0 they traded down with the Rams and nabbed Andrew Billings. Version 3.0 led with Jalen Ramsey, the player most likely to be at the top of the Cowboys’ actual draft board, while in version 4.0 they missed on Ramsey and settled for Vernon Hargreaves instead.

Cowboys 2016 Mock Draft 4.0, Post-Rams Madness

With the NFL draft so close you can almost taste it, it’s time to mosey on over to Fanspeak’s On the Clock simulator and crank out one final (or maybe penultimate) mock draft for the team on my beat, the Cowboys. Doing mock drafts may be an exercise in futility when it comes to actually predicting who will go in any particular draft slot, but it’s a great way to force yourself to become familiar with the draft class beyond the obvious big names.

The Cowboys are one of the teams who lean heavily on SPARQ scores to differentiate prospects, an approach pioneered by the Seahawks, so the players likely to be on the team’s radar are not necessarily the ones the pundits expect, and later-round surprises are almost a certainty.

Note that while I used Fanspeak’s own default big board on the first two mocks and the Drafttek board for mock 3.0, I’m using CBS here for two reasons. One, it’s been fairly recently updated and two, Fanspeak doesn’t even list one of my mid-round targets, Akron LB/human missile Jatavis Brown. Missing a potential fourth round pick is just sloppy. Version 1.0 saw Dallas pop for Carson Wentz with the fourth overall pick, while in version 2.0 they traded down with the Rams (who wanted a QB… what are the odds?) and nabbed Andrew Billings. Version 3.0 led with Jalen Ramsey, the player most likely to be at the top of the Cowboys’ actual draft board. Now on to mock 4.0!

Triple Crown NL-Only Auction Results

Just completed my first non-keeper auction of the season, as I hoisted the banner for RotoWire in the 12-team, NL-only 5×5 Triple Crown league. (Kenn Ruby was also in the auction representing RotoWire against a bushel of other expert-type people). Rather than the standard $260, we got $264 and four reserve spots to bid on, plus three DL spots to use during the season.

With that set-up in mind, I had three basic strategic goals:

  1. Maximize those DL slots out of the gate, so I could grab some potential breakout players early through FAAB
  2. Spend big on two aces to anchor my pitching staff, but use a more balanced approach on the hitting side. In only leagues, Stars and Scrubs can be death on your hitting, as too many $1 scrubs kills you in RBI/runs due to a lack of playing time
  3. As part of that balanced hitting spending, grab as much position flex as possible so I can focus my reserve slots on pitching over the summer

Overall, I think I pretty much nailed all three goals. Here’s the roster:

Cowboys 2016 Mock Draft 3.0, Post-Free Agency

With the NFL draft a mere six weeks away, it’s time to mosey on over to Fanspeak’s On the Clock simulator and crank out yet another mock draft for the team on my beat, the Cowboys. Doing mock drafts may be an exercise in futility when it comes to actually predicting who will go in any particular draft slot, but it’s a great way to force yourself to become familiar with the draft class beyond the obvious big names.

The Cowboys are one of the teams who lean heavily on SPARQ scores to differentiate prospects, an approach pioneered by the Seahawks, so the players likely to be on the team’s radar are not necessarily the ones the pundits expect, and later-round surprises are almost a certainty.

Note that while I used Fangraph’s own default big board on the first two mocks, I switched to Draftek’s for this one as it had been more recently updated. Version 1.0 saw Dallas pop for Carson Wentz with the fourth overall pick, while in version 2.0 they traded down with the Rams and nabbed Andrew Billings. However, the Cedric Thornton signing makes it unlikely the Cowboys will spend much draft capital to further reinforce the interior of their defensive line, making a DT highly unlikely in the first couple of rounds. On to version 3.0!

Cowboys 2016 Mock Draft 2.0, Post-Combine

With the NFL draft inching closer, it felt like time to mosey on over to Fanspeak’s On the Clock simulator and crank out a mock draft (or seven) for the team on my beat, the Cowboys. Doing mock drafts may be an exercise in futility when it comes to actually predicting who will go in any particular draft slot, but it’s a great way to force yourself to become familiar with the draft class beyond the obvious big names.

After watching far too much combine coverage last week, there were a number of players who jumped out at me as possible Dallas targets. The Cowboys are one of the teams who lean heavily on SPARQ scores to differentiate prospects, an approach pioneered by the Seahawks, so I expect a number of players who “leaped out of the gym” over the weekend to be on the team’s radar.

Version 1.0 of this year’s mock can be found here.

Cowboys 2016 Mock Draft, Version 1.0

With the NFL draft inching closer, it felt like time to mosey on over to Fanspeak’s On the Clock simulator and crank out a mock draft (or seven) for the team on my beat, the Cowboys. Doing mock drafts may be an exercise in futility when it comes to actually predicting who will go in any particular draft slot, but it’s a great way to force yourself to become familiar with the draft class beyond the obvious big names. Even in these pre-Combine days, doing a full mock draft allows you to uncover players barely on the radar who could turn themselves into Day Two picks with a big performance in Indianapolis next week.