A month or so ago I wrote about what the first round could look like in 2011 fantasy baseball drafts and now I am going to give it a second look with the season over now. After the top two of Albert Pujols and Hanley Ramirez, the next 10 guys could all be selected in very different spots so it will likely go based on that owners preferance. Here is how I currently would select the top 12 guys at each slot.
1. Hanley Ramirez (SS): I know I am still in the minority of taking Hanley over Pujols but I firmly believe in this strategy due to the fact the 1B position is the deepest in fantasy baseball while the SS spot is the shallowest. The dropoff from a Ramirez to someome like Alexei Ramirez is steep whereas the drop from a Pujols to someone like Prince Fielder is not as dramatic. Go with the SS here.
2. Albert Pujols: Despite having Pujols at number 2 overall, I have never actually owned the guy since he has been in majors. Not ever! No really….not EVER! And thats because if I get the top spot I am going with Hanley and if I get the numebr two spot, I would probably take Ryan Braun as I almost always wait until round 2 to get my 1B. Despite my aversion to Pujols (and again it has nothing to do with his amazing ability), he is clearly a top 2 guy in all leagues.
3. Joey Votto: I love Joey Votto. I LOVE the guy. I made it a point to reach for the guy in both of my money leagues last season and no doubt this helped me win both easily. Votto is a pure hitter who also supplies very rare stolen bases at the position. Talk about icing on the cake.
4. Ryan Braun: I spoke about how much I value Braun and he clearly is the best OF in fantasy baseball which is key since I believe that position is not as deep as in years past. Those in five OF formats (my leagues have only 3 thank goodness) surely know how important it is to get a top guy like this. Resist the temptation to go for Carlos Gonzalez who had some extreme splits and quite a bit of luck that will be almost impossible to replicate.
5. Miguel Cabrera: Miggy is an amazing hitter and he has been ridiculously close to his first 40-home run season of his career. He is smack dab in his prime and will supply the batting average with all of the home runs and RBI that Mark Texeira or Ryan Howard wont supply.
6. Evan Longoria: Longoria is the cream of the crop at the 3B position and that spot is also one of the shallowest in fantasy baseball. It was puzzling why the power dropped off last season but he balanced that out with more steals. If he can get the pop back up as I expect him to do, than we are looking at an MVP season.
7. Carlos Gonzalez: CarGo was nothing short of spectacular in one of the best breakouts seasons ever but there are some concerns. First off is an extreme home/road split that could despress his numbers some this season. Also Gonzalez got very lucky with his BAPIP and his batting average was way over what he did in his minor league career. Still desppite some slippage in the numbers, Gonzalez is a gem who is only getting better.
8. Carl Crawford: As you can see I am partial to OF’s in the first round as the position doesnt have the depth it is used to having and Crawford had a fantastic 2010 season where he almost hit the 20 home run mark for the first time in his career while maintaining his other digits. Crawford should clear 20 dingers this season as he further grows into his body and the steals are still among the best in the game.
9. Mark Texeira: We all know he has a tendency to get off to a slow start but the final numbers are always great. The ballpark ensures another big year this season and his average is much more stable than Ryan Howard at the spot.
10. Roy Halladay: I NEVER advise taking a pitcher in the first round due to the high injury factor and the less stable performances over the years but for those who do, than Halladay is the guy to take here. At the end of round 1 is the only time I would listen to someone picking a starter and Halladay is easily the best in the game.
11. David Wright: Some have leaped off Wright’s bandwagon but not me. I snatched him up again last season as I didnt believe his 2009 struggles were accurate. Sure enough Wright got back to his stellar numbers and he is still in his prime so another year like that is in the offing. At a shallow spot such as 3B, the price is perfect at this point.
12. Troy Tulowizki: Admitedly, this is a risky pick as Tulowitzki always spend at least one stint on the DL during the season but his numbers are ridiculously good for the position. His second half was absurd last season and a full year at that level would make him a top five guy.
There you have it. Let me know who I ranked too high or too low. Post below and lets discuss this as we continue preparing our draft sheets.