Archive for February, 2007

Monday: 02.26.2007

Fantasy Baseball Rankings: 1st Basemen

Continuing my series of fantasy baseball rankings with the 1st basemen:

1. Albert Pujols, St. Louis – He transcends the game and now has a firm grip on the #1 overall spot. Imagine if he hadn’t lost 19 games on his 2006 campaign.

2. Derrek Lee, Chicago Cubs – There is no reason to think that Lee won’t return to his 05 dominance as he is back to 100% health after an early season wrist injury sapped most of his 06 season. The double-digit steals are an added bonus to the immense power and high AVG. Wrist injury scare and low 06 output makes Lee a bargain

3. Ryan Howard, Philadelphia Phillies – Burst onto the scene with an incredible season that saw him lead the majors with 58 HR. For those that like to see late success hoping to be carried into the following season, Howard posted his best single-month OPS at 1.324 in September with nine HR and 20 RBI while drawing five more walks than strikeouts.

4. Mark Teixeira, Texas Rangers – After posting three straight power games from 03-05, Big Tex’s stock reached its apex, but he was uable to fully deliver with just nine HR before the break. His 2nd half resurgence back-to-back nine HR months in August and September. When a down year still nets .282-33-110, you know you’re dealing with someone special. Look for a full-season return to excellence from Teixeira in 07.

5. Lance Berkman, Houston Astros – Berkman was hot on the heels of Pujols and Howard for first base supremacy in 06 with career highs in HR (45) and RBI (136). Carlos Lee joins the mix in Houston to offer some help meaning more of the same for Berkman in 07. He is among the best in OBP as well, posting a .428 in the past three seasons. At times underrated, Berkman is easily one of the best available hitters in the game.

6. Justin Morneau, Minnesota Twins – So what does an MVP season earn you? How about the 6th rank amongst your peers? Morneau started off painfully slow, but kicked it into 5th gear over the summer propelling him to the top honors in the American League. His lack of precedent combined with his modest HR output (by comparison) slot him here.

7. Jason Giambi, New York Yankees – Showed that his 05 comeback was legit, but that the AVG is in fact gone for good. He is as good anyone in OBP leagues, but the liability in AVG makes his power costly. A full season should net 45-120 in that lineup.

8. Paul Konerko, Chicago White Sox – Having strung together three straight excellent seasons, Konerko has become a bankable commodity in the fantasy world. He also holds a three-year uptrend in AVG topping out at .313 last year.

9. Carlos Delgado, New York Mets – Though 34, Delgado remains a fruitful power source as part of perhaps baseball’s best lineup. Peripherals point to an AVG rebound in 07, while 30+ HR remain a lock.

10. Richie Sexson, Seattle Mariners – If you don’t know what to expect out of Sexson by now, you simply haven’t been paying attention. His big power/low average combination is a fantasy guarantee at this stage, but his upside of 40+ HR makes him a nice consolation prize if you wait out the first basemen run in your league.

11. Nick Swisher, Oakland A’s – Cooled considerably in 2nd half of 06, but still delivered 35 HR. Low AVG a staple in his first two seasons, but OBP remains a strong suit as he continues to develop. Still plenty of room for growth with Swisher, plus he chips in the added OF eligibility.

12. Prince Fielder, Milwaukee Brewers – Fantastic rookie year building hopes of an even greater sophomore campaign in 07. Struggles against lefties kept the average down, but middling AVG offset by chip-in offering of seven SB.

13. Nomar Garciaparra, Los Angeles Dodgers – He remains a massive gamble until he can establish any credibility in the health department. His skill set is still intact as evidenced by a remarkable first half, but nagging injuries crushed the AVG in the second half. Missing 40 games limited what could have been an excellent overall season. Buy insurance.

14. Adam LaRoche, Pittsburgh Pirates – His reward for a breakout season? Being shipped to Pittsburgh in the offseason! Nevertheless, he should continue to build on an impressive 06 campaign with Jason Bay & Co. in the Steel City.

15. Todd Helton, Colorado Rockies – Oh how the mighty have fallen. Four straight seasons of decreasing power make Helton little more than an impressive AVG/OBP. Even the RBI totals are lackluster.

16. Adrian Gonzalez, San Diego Padres – Excellent 2nd half triggered his coming out party in 06, but all signs point to continued growth with another .300 AVG in the cards as well. Not your typical power source, but still very adequate especially considering the home park.

17. Nick Johnson, Washington Nationals – His skills were finally the story of his season as opposed to the ever-present health problems. A three-year increase in games played is promising, but now the lack of any help whatsoever put Johnson’s draft stock in jeopardy. His upside could deliver a 30 HR season, but it might include only 80 RBI on that team.

18. Lyle Overbay, Toronto Blue Jays – Three-year uptrend in HR and a career-high 92 RBI for the first year American Leaguer. Benefited greatly from his home park hitting 77% of his 22 home runs there. Like Gonzalez, not a prototypical 1B by any stretch, but gets the job done in a pinch.

19. Mike Jacobs, Florida Marlins – Though obliterated by lefties to the tune of .182, Jacobs delivered exactly where 1B are supposed to, power. His 20 HR puts him near the top of his tier of 1B you don’t mind owning provided you three excellent OF or a ridiculously strong 2B-SS-3B combo.

20. Conor Jackson, Arizona Diamondbacks – Though more of an investment, Jackson still offers a friendly AVG with some power capability for right now as well. A .300 AVG-25 HR seems likely in 08 and/or 09, but it isn’t out of the realm of possibilities for 07.

21. Kevin Youkilis, Boston Red Sox – The Greek God of OBP lived up to his name, but that was about it in 07. It’s not that he put together a bad season, but rather just not one you could confidently place at 1B day in and day out.

22. Ryan Shealy, Kansas City Royals – Plenty of power combined with plenty of playing time marks a power sleeper here. Huge strikeout numbers (50 in 193 AB) and abysmal ballclub temper expectations.

23. Ryan Garko, Cleveland Indians – Labeled a sleeper so many times already this spring that there is no way that he will actually remain one come draft day, but he possesses a promising skillset as evidenced by his 06 cup of coffee.

24. Shea Hillenbrand, Los Angeles Angels – Followed blazing hot 1st half with an equally ice cold 2nd half that included a trade out of Toronto. He joins his fifth team in 07 as a surefire .285-20-80 with 3B eligibility mixed in for good measure. You can do worse than Hillenbrand.

25. Rich Aurilia, San Francisco Giants – Is in the throes of a three-year power uptrend despite being 35 years old. Slated to start the season as 1B in SF, where all the magic began back in 1999. True value lies in 3B and SS eligibility.

Thursday: 02.22.2007

Fantasy Baseball Rankings: Catcher

As I eagerly await my road trip to Lakeland for three Detroit Tigers Spring Training games, I have decided to fill this space with a steady stream of fantasy baseball content. It is by far the best fantasy sport available and something I take very (read: too) seriously. Over the coming weeks, I’m going to share my rankings for the upcoming season at each position. I am by no means an expert, but I have been a part of print magazines issued by and some of my work has appeared on in the past. Unfortunately, the advertising just wasn’t there for a 2007 edition of the magazine.

Don’t worry, I’m not switching to a fantasy-only blog. I’m still dedicated to the Tigers, but I am not entirely interested in posting about the minutiae surrounding the early goings of Spring Training including the hub-bub over PFP. Without further ado, I present my top 25 catchers for 2007:

1. Joe Mauer, Minnesota – Leads off the quartet of M-named catchers found in the top 5 with an incredible batting average and blossoming power. The scary thing is that he is just 24 years old and has yet to scratch the surface on his potential as a dominating force behind the plate.

2. Victor Martinez, Cleveland – Three straight years of declining HR output offset by three-year growth in batting average. Durability proven with three consecutive 500+ AB seasons and ensured by occasional days off played at 1B.

3. Brian McCann, Atlanta – Explosive first full season powered by 19 second half home runs. The huge boost in flyball % from 05 tells the story of power production. Though just 23, he set himself up as the best NL catcher as much because of his excellent production in 06 as it is the dearth of quality options in among the Senior Circuit.

4. Ramon Hernandez, Baltimore – Though just 30, Hernandez is the elder statesman among the upper tier of catchers. The 20+ HR power seems bankable providing health; a big IF considering 06 was his high watermark for AB (501) and games played (144).

5. Russell Martin, Los Angeles (N) – Doesn’t thoroughly excel in any one category, but delivers valued production across the board. Peripherals suggest an 07 increase in batting average. Value sees significant improvement in OBP leagues.

6. Jorge Posada, New York (A) – As part of that incredible lineup, age will take longer to catch up to him. Still good for 20 HR with a boatload of RBI. Age and depth in AL only will make him a bargain.

7. Kenji Johjima, Seattle – Carried over his skills from Japan without incident offering an excellent power and average combination. Presents an OBP liability, which is also in line with his numbers from overseas.

8. Michael Barrett, Chicago (N) – Has hit 16 HR each of the last three seasons despite dropping AB total each year suggesting 20+ HR potential with a full season of play. Peripherals say that 06 .300 batting average was both long overdue and very much sustainable. Lineup improvements could mean first season topping 70 RBI.

9. Ivan Rodriguez, Detroit – Power numbers in a three-year decline, but still a viable option at C capable of double-digit HR and near .300 BA. Continues to sprinkle in a handful of SB. Like Johjima, value takes sees a stiff drop in OBP leagues.

10. A.J. Pierzynski, Chicago (A) – Second half power spike (12 of 16 HR) saved him from being a one-trick pony in 06. Got some luck in the BA last year after performing below expectations previous two seasons.

11. Johnny Estrada, Milwaukee – Exceeded expectations with .300 BA, but it earned him the gig in Milwaukee. You could do worse at catcher as he should notch double-digit HR with 65-75 RBI.

12. Jason Varitek, Boston – Age and injury bit Varitek in a hurry with a lost season in 06 from a fantasy standpoint. Approach cautiously as assuming health could prove unwise.

13. Mike Piazza, Oakland – Surprising resurgence in San Diego blew expectations out of the water given his home park and the lack of DH as a security blanket. Though 38, another 20 HR season might be in the cards as he fills in at DH for Oakland and attempts to copy his predecessor’s season in that role.

14. Paul LoDuca, New York (N) – Continued declines in HR and RBI, but topped .300 BA for the first time since 2001. There are no surprises with LoDuca, he will play a lot and stabilize your BA, nothing more. Any other contribution is gravy.

15. Bengie Molina, San Francisco – Traded BA for HR in 2nd half of 06 en route to his best offensive season to date. Part of the group of catchers that sees his valued slashed in OBP leagues.

16. David Ross, Cincinnati – Big power output in 06 enough to push LaRue to Kansas City and solidify a starting role. Be prepared for a significant BA hit in the tradeoff for 20+ HR from Ross. Conversely, value rises even higher in an OBP league should he prove his .352 performance as repeatable. Struggles mightily v. RHP posing a problem as AB rise with a full season of play.

17. Josh Bard, San Diego – Piazza’s departure gives Bard a chance to build upon 06 success. Plate patience presents potential for more value in OBP leagues.

18. Gerald Laird, Texas – Rising talent that obliterates lefties. Struggles against righties could be exposed with increased playing time now that Barajas is out of the picture. Power potential creeps into 20 HR territory

19. Ronny Paulino, Pittsburgh – Peripherals scream that BA was a major fluke and 07 will be his proving ground for otherwise. Power way down from minor league numbers thanks to groundball tendencies.

20. Rod Barajas, Philadelphia – Leaves one HR friendly park for another and still possesses 20+ HR power if he tops 400 AB.

21. Gregg Zaun, Toronto – I don’t like him as a #1 catcher, either on your team or for the Blue Jays all year long. That said, he’s a fine power source as end-gamer backup catcher. OBP leagues raise stock significantly.

22. Mike Napoli, Los Angeles (A) – Very David Ross-ish with his big power/no average combination. OBP leagues raise his value somewhat as do 4×4 leagues where you can avoid that BA. If you want HR, he will deliver, but make sure you can take the BA hit.

23. Chris Iannetta, Colorado – Drastic groundball-to-flyball ratio limits power potential and does not take advantage of home park. The disciplined youngster just needs to wait out Javy Lopez’s last hurrah before getting his chance.

24. Jason Kendall, Oakland – Sometimes leagues are won by 1 HR… maybe Kendall will be that 1 HR for you.

25. Dionner Navarro, Tampa Bay – More of an investment for 08 and beyond, but he benefits from being on a team that has no reason to show him anything but patience should he struggle.

Long considered the scarcest of positions in fantasy baseball, it once again fits that billing as the drop off can be seen even within the top 10. The upper level is laced with youngsters that have a lot to prove and outside of Mauer and Martinez, there are no sure-fire winners in the bunch. There is a bit of potential for big seasons scattered throughout the list, but nothing worth betting big on. If you miss out on the first wave, take a pick from the grab bag that is 10 through 20 and hope for health and exceeded expectations.

Saturday: 02.17.2007

Some More Picks

Wanted to post the latest update of picks I’ve made in my mock draft…

15.02 – OF Milton Bradley, OAK – I feel really good about my OF as a whole after adding Bradley. I think I have a great mix of power and speed with Soriano, Ichiro, Hawpe and now Bradley. He stayed pretty sane last year, too and I think he’s poised for a big year in Oakland.

16.15 – RP Pat Neshek, MIN – Without a real closer, I went with some strong bullpen arms that could either vulture a few saves here and there or take over if the #1 on their team went down. Neshek fits that bill and at worst will pick up some Ws with great rate statistics and strikeouts.

17.02 – SP Tim Hudson, ATL – Oh how the mighty have fallen. I’ve always loved Hudson and it sucks to see him actually get worse once moving to the National League. There are indicators suggesting he is not nearly as bad as his numbers have been, but until the tide turns he is apparently a 17th round pick in a 16 team league.

18.15 – OF Jason Kubel, MIN – Boatloads of potential and still just 24, but he just doesn’t seem to be 100% healthy. As a fifth outfielder, I’ll take a chance.

19.02 – MI Placido Polanco, DET – A homer pick for middle infielder, but I’m also hoping he can carry over his postseason momentum and at least deliver a high batting average and score a bunch of runs.

20.15 – SP Noah Lowry, SF – His numbers are moving the wrong way since his rookie season, though still just 26 years old. Like Hudson, I took him because I like him and hope he can rebound.

21.02 – UT Wily Mo Pena, BOS – I don’t think he’s a .300 hitter by any means, but I’m more interested in the power he has displayed to date than anything else. His upside is 35 home runs with enough playing time and a clean bill of health.

Updated Roster:
C RMartin (6)
1B JMorneau (2)
3B EEncarnacion (12)
CI NGarciaparra (11)
2B BRoberts (5)
SS JLugo (7)
MI PPolanco (19)
OF ASoriano (1)
OF ISuzuki (3)
OF BHawpe (9)
OF MBradley (15)
OF JKubel (18)
UT WPena (21)

P JLackey (4)
P JPapelbon (8)
P KEscobar (10)
P BPenny (13)
P SShields (14)
P PNeshek (16)
P THudson (17)
P NLowry (20)


Rounds 5-8:
5.01 – Hammer – Rocco Baldelli, OF
5.02 – – Brian Roberts, 2B
5.03 – Erik – Dan Uggla, 2B
5.04 – Revo – Felix Hernandez, P
5.05 – MGH5208 – Ryan Zimmerman, 3B
5.06 – Megapowers – Prince Fielder, 1B
5.07 – eldiablo505 – Nick Swisher, 1B/OF
5.08 – Midway monster – Troy Glaus, 3B
5.09 – Friarfan – Corey Patterson, OF
5.10 – joncarlos – Daisuke Matsuzaka, P
5.11 – BC – Felipe Lopez, SS
5.12 – Patronus – Scott Kazmir, P
5.13 – Juiced – Alex Rios, OF
5.14 – DMT – JJ Putz, RP
5.15 – Heyelander – Jim Thome, DH
5.16 – goalie – John Smoltz, P

6.01 – goalie – Delmon Young, OF
6.02 – Heyelander – Jason Schmidt, P
6.03 – DMT – Torii Hunter, OF
6.04 – Juiced – Scott Rolen, 3B
6.05 – Patronus- Jason Giambi, DH
6.06 – BC – Orlando Cabrera, SS
6.07 – Joncarlos – Adam LaRoche, 1B
6.08 – Friarfan – JD Drew, OF
6.09 – Midway Monster – Coco Crisp, OF
6.10 – eldiablo505 – Magglio Ordonez, OF
6.11 – Megapowers – Jeremy Bonderman, P
6.12 – MGH5208 – Huston Street, RP
6.13 – Revo – Trevor Hoffman, RP
6.14 – Erik – Jered Weaver, P
6.15 – – Russell Martin, C
6.16 – Hammer – Edgar Renteria, SS

7.01 – Hammer – Danny Haren, P
7.02 – – Julio Lugo, SS
7.03 – Erik – Raul Ibanez, OF
7.04 – Revo – Jeff Francoeur, OF
7.05 – MGH5208 – Bobby Jenks, RP
7.06 – Megapowers – Michael Barrett, C
7.07 – eldiablo505 – Chris Young, P
7.08 – Midway monster – Chris Young, OF
7.09 – Friarfan – Mike Cameron, OF
7.10 – joncarlos – Rickie Weeks, 2B
7.11 – BC – Brandon Phillips, 2B
7.12 – Patronus – Ian Kinsler, 2B
7.13 – Juiced – CC Sabathia, P
7.14 – DMT – Marcus Giles, 2B
7.15 – Heyelander – Josh Barfield, 2B
7.16 – goalie – Takashi Saito, RP

8.01 – goalie – Willy Tavares, OF
8.02 – Heyelander – Cole Hamels, P
8.03 – DMT- Alex Gordon, 3B
8.04 – Juiced – Aaron Harang, P
8.05 – Patronus – Chipper Jones, 3B
8.06 – BC – Mike Mussina, P
8.07 – Joncarlos – Matt Cain, P
8.08 – Friarfan – Francisco Cordero, RP
8.09 – Midway Monster – Brett Myers, P
8.10 – eldiablo505 – Chad Cordero, RP
8.11 – Megapowers – Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
8.12 – MGH5208 – Dontrelle Willis, P
8.13 – Revo – Todd Helton, 1B
8.14 – Erik – Chris Ray, RP
8.15 – – Jonathan Papelbon, P
8.16 – Hammer – Tadahito Iguchi, 2B

Saturday: 02.10.2007

Mock Update

Here is an updated look at my team in the Mock Draft I posted about last time as well as the first four rounds of the entire draft:

6.15 – C Russell Martin, LA – I don’t really like this pick for me, but I just didn’t have a feel for anyone here. In retrospect, I really wish I would have taken Dan Haren, who was selected two picks later. It’s not that Martin won’t perform nicely at catcher, but it just didn’t feel good when I locked it in.

7.02 – SS Julio Lugo, BOS – Blah. See also: Martin, Russell. I don’t entirely hate the pick because he should do well with the Sox, but I generally get fired about my picks and have a laundry list of reasons why it was the best pick at the time. I can’t really lay out a convincing argument for either of my last two picks.

8.15 – P Jonathan Papelbon, BOS – Now, here is a pick I love! Whether he starts or closes, I love his ability and I was extremely pleased to see him get back to me in the 8th round.

9.02 – OF Brad Hawpe, COL – Almost at once, the entire league noticed that outfield simply wasn’t as deep as we all thought. I was sitting with two greats thinking I could coast, but then I was watching outfielder after outfielder fly off the board and it hit me that I’d better get another one before letting another stretch go. Hawpe is a solid player, plus he plays in Coors field. He can’t hit lefties worth a damn (.232 last year), but I like getting another 20+ home runs here.

10.15 – SP Kelvim Escobar, LAA – To those that know me, this pick couldn’t be less of a surprise. I absolutely love Escobar. I wish the guy could stay healthy for an entire season, but his stuff is downright nasty. I’ve combined he and Lackey on a fantasy team for approximately the 452nd time.

11.02 – CI Nomar Garciaparra, LA – Sure, he is an injury risk. Always is, always will be, but I’d take another 469 at-bats in a heartbeat. In the 11th round, he presents significant value even if strong winds might sideline him for 2-3 weeks.

12.15 – 3B Edwin Encarnacion, CIN – Notice how deep 3B is this year? There is so much talent at that position and I’m happy to wait and get EE late. A 20-home run season is not out of the realm of possibilities in 2007.

13.02 – SP Brad Penny, LA – Apparently I love Los Angeles. Penny marks my fifth guy from the Angels & Dodgers in this draft. With Penny, you pretty much know what you’re going to get, but he has the talent to surprise. His ERA was high a season ago at 4.33, but the periphals say it wasn’t even that bad. Another 15 wins with an ERA in the high 3.00s would be fine here.

14.15 – P Scot Shields, LAA – This is just getting weird with the Los Angeles guys. All the closers worth a lick are gone, so I got a strong bullpen guy that could snake a few here and there and would replaced K-Rod if anything happened.

Roster as of now:
C RMartin (6)
1B JMorneau (2)
3B EEncarnacion (12)
CI NGarciaparra (11)
2B BRoberts (5)
SS JLugo (7)
OF ASoriano (1)
OF ISuzuki (3)
OF BHawpe (9)

P JLackey (4)
P JPapelbon (8)
P KEscobar (10)
P BPenny (13)
P SShields (14)


First four rounds of the entire draft:

1.01 – Hammer – Albert Pujols, 1B
1.02 – ari.Gold – Alfonso Soriano, OF
1.03 – Erik – Alex Rodriguez, 3B
1.04 – Revo – Jose Reyes, SS
1.05 – MGH5208 – Ryan Howard, 1B
1.06 – Megapowers – Carl Crawford, OF
1.07 – eldiablo505 – Johan Santana, P
1.08 – Midway Monster – Miguel Cabrera, 3B
1.09 – Friarfan – Chase Utley, 2B
1.10 – joncarlos – David Wright, 3B
1.11 – BC – Vladimir Guerrero, OF
1.12 – Patronus – Carlos Beltran, OF
1.13 – Juiced – David Ortiz, DH
1.14 – DMT – Matt Holliday, OF
1.15 – Heyelander – Manny Ramirez, OF
1.16 – goalie – Joe Mauer, C

2.01 – goalie – Lance Berkman, 1B/OF
2.02 – Heyelander – Jimmy Rollins, SS
2.03 – DMT – Travis Hafner, DH
2.04 – Juiced – Derek Jeter, SS
2.05 – Patronus – Mark Teixeira, 1B
2.06 – BC – Grady Sizemore, OF
2.07 – joncarlos – Derrek Lee, 1B
2.08 – Friarfan – Garrett Atkins, 3B
2.09 – Midway monster – Hanley Ramirez, SS
2.10 – eldiablo505 – Vernon Wells, OF
2.11 – Megapowers – Miguel Tejada, SS
2.12 – MGH5208 – Jason Bay, OF
2.13 – Revo – Carlos Lee, OF
2.14 – Erik – Aramis Ramirez, 3B
2.15 – – Justin Morneau, 1B
2.16 – Hammer – Andruw Jones, OF

3.01 – Hammer – Bobby Abreu, OF
3.02 – – Ichiro Suzuki, OF
3.03 – Erik – Chris Carpenter, P
3.04 – Revo – Rafael Furcal, SS
3.05 – MGH5208 – Carlos Zambrano, P
3.06 – Megapowers – Paul Konerko, 1B
3.07 – eldiablo505 – Michael Young, SS
3.08 – Midway monster – Jake Peavy, P
3.09 – Friarfan – Roy Oswalt, P
3.10 – joncarlos – Juan Pierre, OF
3.11 – BC – Jermaine Dye, OF
3.12 – Patronus – Chone Figgins, 3B/OF
3.13 – Juiced – Victor Martinez, C
3.14 – DMT – Brandon Webb, P
3.15 – Heyelander – Roy Halladay, P
3.16 – goalie – Ben Sheets, P

4.01 – goalie – Carlos Guillen, SS
4.02 – Heyelander – Adam Dunn, OF
4.03 – DMT – Brian McCann, C
4.04 – Juiced – Carlos Delgado, 1B
4.05 – Patronus – Francisco Rodriguez, RP
4.06 – BC – Johnny Damon, OF
4.07 – Joncarlos – Bill Hall, SS
4.08 – Friarfan – Richie Sexson, 1B
4.09 – Midway Monster – BJ Ryan, RP
4.10 – eldiablo505 – Hideki Matsui, OF
4.11 – Megapowers – Joe Nathan, RP
4.12 – MGH5208 – Robinson Cano, 2B
4.13 – Revo – Mariano Rivera, RP
4.14 – Erik – Gary Sheffield, OF
4.15 – – John Lackey, P
4.16 – Hammer – Billy Wagner, RP

Thursday: 02.1.2007

Touching Base

It’s been quite awhile, but a return to frequent posts is around the corner as pitchers and catchers will soon report. For those that don’t know, I’m quite the fantasy baseball enthusiast in addition to being a huge Tigers fan. As such, I aim to be posting plenty regarding the game this spring. I have entered into my first mock draft that is a 5×5 mixed league with 16 teams drafting. I had the second pick and here is how I stand so far:

1.02 – OF Alfonso Soriano, CHC – I love Albert Pujols and can’t fault anyone for taking him 1st overall, but I truly believe that Soriano is most valuable fantasy performer when you consider his across the board contributions. He has pushed A.Rod down to #3 at best in a mixed league.

2.15 – 1B Justin Morneau, MIN – I didn’t really expect to get some of my huge second round targets as they are prime players. Grady Sizemore went 6th in the second round, Vernon Wells went 10th and Jason Bay went 12th. What really ticked me off was that I thought I was going to get Aramis Ramirez and then he went 14th in the second round! Can’t complain about getting the American League MVP, though.

3.02 – OF Ichiro Suzuki, SEA – Not only is he a personal favorite, but he is still a solid contributor, especially in the third round. Considering that I still wasn’t ready for a pitcher, I feel comfortable with this pick as the players to go right after him on offense were:

  • Rafael Furcal – I didn’t really want him.
  • Paul Konerko – Already had Morneau.
  • Michael Young – I like him a lot, but preferred Ichiro here.

4.15 – SP John Lackey, LAA – Lackey is easily one of my favorite players and I really wanted to get him. The 4th round in a 16-team league works perfectly for me. He did drop off his K/9 a tick last year, but also dropped his OPS against. He is 28 years old and ready to become a truly elite pitcher. He did increase walk total by one last year, but he also pitched 8.2 more innings than he did in 2005.

5.02 – 2B Brian Roberts, BAL – If this were to become a real league as opposed to a mock, I’d be looking great in stolen bases after adding Roberts. In addition to his speed, he offers significant power given his position. It is another pick I am extremely happy with as we move forward.

I should have my 6th and 7th round picks before the weekend.