Drew Silva

Draft Strategy

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2011 MLB Fantasy Mock Draft

Thursday, March 17, 2011


Fantasy baseball draft season is upon us. Give your preemptive apologies to the family, go buy eight different draft magazines, print off cheat sheets, buy a five-set of highlighters and get to work. Or just skip most of those steps and follow me along as I trek my way through a mock draft that I took part in only a couple of days ago. Then check out Rotoworld's Online Baseball Draft Guide, which goes above and beyond with tierings at every position and nearly 1,000 profiles and projections.

Needing selection results and wanting a mixed bag of fantasy owners, I hopped over to Mock Draft Central late Wednesday night and sat down for a live snake-style selection with 11 strangers. The league scoring was standard: 5x5 with your normal categories for hitters (AVG, HR, RBI, R, SB) and pitchers (ERA, WHIP, W, SV, K).

I was given first pick. My choices will be italicized throughout the 18-round draft.

Round One

1.1 Albert Pujols
1.2 Hanley Ramirez
1.3 Joey Votto
1.4 Troy Tulowitzki
1.5 Carlos Gonzalez
1.6 Carl Crawford
1.7 Robinson Cano
1.8 Miguel Cabrera
1.9 David Wright
1.10 Ryan Braun
1.11 Evan Longoria
1.12 Alex Rodriguez

My Pick: Pujols is going to be selected first overall in just about every standard fantasy league this season, and rightly so. He has posted massive numbers for 10 straight seasons and he's now playing for a contract -- possibly the richest contract in the history of the sport.

Best Value: Pretty much every player found here in Round One carries great fantasy value, but I especially like the selection of Cano seventh overall. Not many fantasy owners would be so bold, but the Dominican-born second baseman is only getting better and still surrounded by a star-studded lineup in New York.

Head-Scratcher: I thought this might be the year that A-Rod finally drops out of the first round, but that is apparently not going to be the case. It's hard to knock the pick, though. Rodriguez, 36 in July, should do very well again in 2011 as the Yankees look to contend in the ever-tough American League East.

Round Two

2.1 Mark Teixeira
2.2 Roy Halladay
2.3 Adrian Gonzalez
2.4 Josh Hamilton
2.5 Prince Fielder
2.6 Matt Holliday
2.7 Tim Lincecum
2.8 Felix Hernandez
2.9 Ryan Zimmerman
2.10 Joe Mauer
2.11 Dustin Pedroia
2.12 Kevin Youkilis

My Pick: Having the No. 1 pick is nice, but the wait between selecting Pujols and my next turn on the clock was brutal. Youkilis was a nice prize in the end. He is one of the game's best all-around batters and is moving back to third base, where major fantasy production is scarce.

Best Value: As long as his shoulder is recovered from offseason surgery, Gonzalez is going to absolutely rake this year for the Red Sox. He's moving to a much friendlier home ballpark and to a much more productive surrounding lineup.

Head-Scratcher: Holliday went a bit early. He was great last season, registering a .922 OPS and 103 RBI while hitting behind Pujols, but finding 25-homer power in the outfield is never going to be a tough task.

Round Three

3.1 Matt Kemp
3.2 Ryan Howard
3.3 Jose Reyes
3.4 Dan Uggla
3.5 Cliff Lee
3.6 Adam Dunn
3.7 Shin-Soo Choo
3.8 Jose Bautista
3.9 Chase Utley
3.10 Justin Morneau
3.11 Ian Kinsler
3.12 Nelson Cruz

My Pick: With two powerful corner infielders on my roster in Pujols and Youkilis, I decided it was time to grab some speed. Kemp will give me 20-plus stolen bases and will send plenty of balls deep along the way.

Best Value: Call me crazy, but I love the selection of Dunn at 30th overall. He's averaged 40 home runs per season since 2004 and his already impressive RBI totals should rise in the heart of a better lineup in Chicago.

Head-Scratcher: I'm not a believer in Bautista. He may have truly figured some things out with his swing, but he had never topped 16 home runs before last season, when he led the major leagues with 54. Look for some serious regression in 2011.


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Drew Silva is a baseball editor for Rotoworld and also contributes on NBC Sports' Hardball Talk. He can be found on Twitter.
Email :Drew Silva



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