For the second straight year, I was invited to play in an expert’s league by the folks over at KFFL. Nicknamed K-Bad, for Baseball Analysis Draft, the league pits 11 of the top minds in the game against one flunky (that would be me). I thought I would give my analysis of the team I was able to roster in the 12-team, 5×5 mixed league with 28 rounds (I had the ninth pick in the draft).
Note: If you want to read all the participants comments on why they chose the players they did, click on the link to K-BAD Draft (this draft was completed two weeks ago).
ROUND 1 – Miguel Cabrera, 1B, Detroit Tigers
It came down to the power of Fielder, the speed of Crawford, and the all-around excellence of Cabrera. Ultimately I went for the most well rounded option in Cabrera. He is working on 6-straight years of hitting at least .292-26-103 (Teixeira has five), and the difference between Cabrera and everyone else at the position not named Albert Pujols is his batting average which sits at .311 in his brief career.
ROUND 2: Carl Crawford, OF, Tampa Bay Rays
Jacoby Ellsbury or Carl Crawford? Both are top-15 picks in my mind, so I was happy to have the choice here. Ultimately I went with Crawford who has a more well-rounded game. Plus, he is playing for a huge new contract. I was tempted to take David Wright here as well since top shelf third basemen will be gone by my next pick, but I didn’t want to pass up on the 50+ steals.
ROUND 3: Brian Roberts, 2B, Baltimore Orioles
I targeted three players. Grady Sizemore went right before I was up, so my choice was between Ichiro and Brain Roberts. I wanted to go with Ichiro, but given that Roberts was the last second baseman available in the top tier, I decided to go for the second sacker. If this league did not include a middle infield position I would have taken Ichiro, but it does so I wanted to make sure I had some strength up the middle.
ROUND 4: Ichiro Suzuki, OF, Seattle Mariners
Sometimes, things just work out for you. I considered taking Ichiro with my 3rd round pick but passed. He was still available here, so I jumped. I’m a little low on pop right now with Ichiro, C. Crawford and B. Roberts, but add M. Cabrera to that mix and I’ve got a .300+ average and 100 steals locked up already. I can afford to target some power guys with lower averages, guys like Dunn and Uggla, thanks to this start.
ROUND 5: Lance Berkman, 1B, Houston Astros
I had to decide – did I want to add the more valuable Shane Victorino, or Berkman? Why did I go with Lance? Position scarcity. First basemen go quick this year, and third base isn’t deep, so I wanted to get Berkman to fill my CI spot so that I wouldn’t end up with some flunky there. Plus, I think Berkman rebounds and reaches his 3-year averages of .289-29-96 with 94 runs. His knee surgery happened well after this draft occurred. Oh well.
ROUND 6: Dan Uggla, 2B, Florida Marlins
As suggested in my 4th round comment, this was a guy I was going to target since I built up my batting average early on. He owns a career .257 batting average, but Uggla is the only 2B in history to have 4-straight years of 27 HR, 88 RBI and 84 runs.
ROUND 7: Andrew McCutchen, OF, Pirates
Took a bit of a chance here, though the potential was too enticing to pass on. He could struggle and basically repeat last season (.286-12-54-75-22), or he could breakout, hit 20 homers, steal 30 bases, score 100 runs and be a top-10 outfielder in ’10.
ROUND 8: Yovani Gallardo, SP, Brewers
My most agonizing selection. It’s not that I doubt Gallardo, I don’t (he could be a be a top-10 option this year), I just couldn’t decide if I wanted to take my first pitcher or continue stockpiling a dynamic offense. I guess common sense won out.
ROUND 9: Miguel Tejada, SS/3B, Baltimore Orioles
Why take this no upside guy at this point? Position flexibility. Shortstops were getting really thin, and though Yunel Escobar has more upward room for growth, Tejada will offer 3B eligibility in-season, and that was enough to sway me his way with this boring pick.
ROUND 10: Scott Baker, SP, Minnesota Twins
I really wanted to add a fourth outfielder, but I kept looking at the starting pitchers that were left and I ended up realizing that if I didn’t take one here, I would like be shut out on the few remaining arms I had in my top-25.
By Ray Flowers