1) Brandon Phillips, 2B, Cincinnati Reds
Team: Collin Hager, FantasyPros911.com | Roster
Tougher call on the comeback. I'm not one to draft pitchers early and I felt that the elite SS dropped off too much for a call there. Phillips gives me a potential 20 steal/20 home run guy. He was feast or famine last season but he is a top-tier second basemen and gives me a good base in the middle infield. Thought about Dan Uggla here, but like the balance of Phillips better. This will allow me to look behind the plate and on the mound in rounds four and five.
2) Ryan Howard, 1B, Philadelphia Phillies
Team: Steve Gardner, USA Today | Roster
With first basemen flying off the board in Round 1, I knew I had to act quickly or be lacking at a key power spot. The Phillies lineup should give Howard plenty of RBI chances, even if his average is only so-so. He was actually a higher priority for me than Roy Halladay, but I waited until after the turn to take him because Colin already had Albert Pujols as his first baseman.
3) Matt Kemp, OF, Los Angeles Dodgers
Team: Nicholas Minnix, KFFL | Roster
Figured I'd give Kemp a shot to make up for last year. (Drafted him at No. 6 in this league.) The 'Net is littered with extensive (excessive?) analysis of this talented enigma's busted 2010. Some small positive gains to close out the campaign, a fresh environment, Davey Lopes whispering sweet nothings in Kemp's ear ... this season will be much different.
4) Shin-Soo Choo, OF, Cleveland Indians
Team: Jeff Paur, RTSports | Roster
Things don't go as planned. After my last pick, I was hoping for Ryan Howard to make it back to me. He goes two picks before me. With Howard gone, I'm hoping for Matt Kemp. He goes the pick before me. I end up with Choo, who isn't exciting but consistent across the board.
5) Jimmy Rollins, SS, Philadelphia Phillies
Team: Harold Nichols, Baseball HQ | Roster
Weak SS pool after top 3 makes his power/speed combo attractive. Poor 2010 numbers were injury-induced. Good contact rate, rising walk rate say his BA should rise. Has 20 HR-30 SB-.280 BA upside. Below Ramirez, Tulo, Reyes, and Rollins, there is a big drop in value at SS this season.
6) Nelson Cruz, OF, Texas Rangers
Team: Eriq Gardner, Fantasy Ball Junkie | Roster
The thin red line between glory and aggravating his owners everywhere is, no joke, stretching. Too many hamstring injuries for Cruz last year. Otherwise, he'd be coming off consecutive seasons of 30+ HRs, 20+ steals. Reportedly, he's working out with Darren O'Day's brother this off-season to revamp his running style, so as to take pressure off that hammy, and if that doesn't work, I'll chip in a buck for a yoga class.
7) Felix Hernandez, SP, Seattle Mariners
Team: Joe Hamrahi, Baseball Prospectus | Roster
Long live the King! I was a bit surprised that Felix lasted this long, but I assume there was some concern about his potential win totals on a weak Mariners team. Still, the King promises to be among the league leaders in ERA, K's, and WHIP, and with a little luck, he might just squeeze out 15 wins in 2011. You can't ask for more than that from your ace starter.
8) Andrew McCutchen, OF, Pittsburgh Pirates
Team: Ray Flowers, Baseball Guys | Roster
I didn't think McCutchen would make it back to me next round, so I took the plunge. The Pirates dampen his outlook somewhat, but Andrew is one of those players who can be a five category contributor with the potential to blow up in 2012.
9) Derek Jeter, SS, New York Yankees
Team: Pasko Varnica, Mastersball | Roster
I considered a good starting pitcher and also a catcher and decided to go with Jeter, given that others have snatched several shortstops ahead of me. Jeter may not be young anymore, but as a NY Yankee, he will produce.
10) Adrian Beltre, 3B, Texas Rangers
Team: Doug Anderson, RotoExperts | Roster
Was debating between Beltre and Jose Bautista. Honestly not a huge fan of either, but third base gets ugly pretty quick. Beltre isn't in a contract year, but good things happen in that ballpark.
11) Victor Martinez, C, Detroit Tigers
Team: Tim Heaney, KFFL | Roster
A changeup: I went catcher early. That doesn't happen often. But with his C-eligible AB coming from DH, the value was screaming at me, especially since the typical cream of the shortstop crop was sucked dry. Addressing a different scarcity wasn't a bad alternative, though.
12) Tim Lincecum, SP, San Francisco Giants
Team: Ryan Lester, Lester's Legends | Roster
Lincecum's down year consisted of a 16-10 record, 3.43 ERA, and 231 strikeouts. He came alive in the postseason, reminding us why he's a two-time Cy Young Award winner. He was a first round pick last year so getting him in the third is a great value. I'm expecting 17 wins, 250 strikeouts, an ERA below 3.00, and a WHIP below 1.20.