1) Aramis Ramirez, 3B, Milwaukee Brewers
Team: Pasko Varnica, Mastersball | Roster
With three value 3Bs left on board with similar projected output, Chase Headley, Aramis Ramirez and Ryan Zimmerman, I chose Aramis because even at 35 he has not shown signs of slowing down. Sure, there is a risk of decline and yet I expect close to 30HRs, 100RBIs and a respectable BA.
Cespedes stud in the making?
2) Yoenis Cespedes, OF, Oakland Athletics
Team: Howard Bender, FanGraphs | Roster
He proved himself worthy of the Showcase nickname last year with a strong showing of both power and speed in his first year and looks primed for steady growth as he gets more comfortable. The dings and dents that kept him out at various times were frustrating, but he spent most of his offseason working on his overall conditioning. A 30-20 season is not far away.
3) Cole Hamels, SP, Philadelphia Phillies
Team: Nicholas Minnix, KFFL | Roster
My pick of Justin Verlander near the beginning of Round 2 is no longer something I'd consider outside my comfort zone, but taking a pitcher so early doesn't come naturally. Hamels here is a belly flop into a pool of toxic nervousness gas, because I've always had confidence in my ability to find good pitching late. But can't I find good hitting late? Hamels and David Price (my alternate) are projected to earn considerably more than any batter left. They're not much riskier, if they are at all.
4) Stephen Strasburg, SP, Washington Nationals
Team: Tim Heaney, KFFL | Roster
Throwing out my old code, I couldn't ignore the elite phenom here, the latest I've seen him in any of my drafts so far. Matt Holliday and Ryan Zimmerman entered my brain, but I already had three outfielders, and Zimmerman tops a spotty third-sacker bunch with some nice upside options later on. The fact Stras comes off a team-shortened, not injury-interrupted, season bodes well for him carrying me all year.
5) Matt Holliday, OF, St. Louis Cardinals
Team: Mark Chamberlin, Baseball Sharks | Roster
I wrote down 4 names after my last pick - Jay Bruce, Adrian Gonzalez, Stephen Strasburg, and Holliday. I did not expect Bruce or Gonzalez to fall, but I was preparing myself for something I never consider doing in the first 5 rounds - drafting a pitcher. I don't know whether to thank Tim for sniping me or curse him. We'll see. Boring ole' and reliable Matt Holliday it is instead, probably for the better.
6) Ryan Zimmerman, 3B, Washington Nationals
Team: Steve Gardner, USA TODAY/Sports Weekly | Roster
I didn't want to wait much longer on a third baseman, so Zimmerman was the choice over Chase Headley. He showed what kind of production he's capable of when healthy – hitting .321 with 22 homers and 73 RBI over his final 90 games. The Nationals offense looks even better with Denard Span leading off.
Ace-level SPs and more ended the round.
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