1) CC Sabathia, SP, New York Yankees
Team: Pasko Varnica, Mastersball | Roster
Reports indicate that Sabathia's injury was minor and that he is fully healed. Even with an NY offense that is a bit older, pitching from the top of the NY rotation will give Sabathia 15 wins and perhaps more. Others considered were R.A. Dickey, Max Scherzer and Jordan Zimmermann.
Hunter hunted by Steve
2) Anthony Rizzo, 1B, Chicago Cubs
Team: Howard Bender, FanGraphs | Roster
Two others need a first baseman and Rizzo's power potential puts him at the top of those remaining. Still solid, proven talent on the board, but I don't see him coming back to me in the next round. Hitting in Wrigley and batting third offers some serious promise for a 30-100 season.
3) Alex Rios, OF, Chicago White Sox
Team: Nicholas Minnix, KFFL | Roster
Rios represented, to me, what was the last member of a tier of higher-end performers in the outfield, so this was kind of a fear-induced selection. It's a violation of policy: avoid him in a year after he's had a good one. The reason I was willing to gamble (I think it's a gamble, anyway): 2012 was the byproduct of a swing makeover and, perhaps, an attitude adjustment. Rios has long been an immature player, but maybe he's growing up. At least, I hope so. I kind of regretted not taking Ike Davis.
4) Ike Davis, 1B, New York Mets
Team: Tim Heaney, KFFL | Roster
My target at this position landed in my lap. (OK, well, Freddie Freeman was, as well, but he went earlier.) Davis' 30-homer profile should be joined by a much better clip than he produced in an odd 2012. Anything closer to, say, .270 will make him one of the most profitable draft picks this year, let alone among first basemen.
5) Jordan Zimmermann, SP, Washington Nationals
Team: Mark Chamberlin, Baseball Sharks | Roster
I am a proponent of collecting pitching on the cheap, but in order to do so you must acquire low WHIP starters to build around. Gonzalez should be, but might not be; Zimmermann is a certainty. Peripherals are trending up, too. My 1-2 starting pitchers will produce like top-5-round guys, only at a much cheaper rate.
6) Hunter Pence, OF, San Francisco Giants
Team: Steve Gardner, USA TODAY/Sports Weekly | Roster
I'm a little concerned by Pence's poor numbers after the trade to San Francisco, but will chalk them up to a small sample size and focus instead on his career totals. He's averaged 23 homers, 97 RBI and 10 steals per year over the past three seasons. I'm happy with that at this point in the draft.
7) Roy Halladay, SP, Philadelphia Phillies
Team: Michael Stein, The Hardball Times | Roster
This could be the steal of the whole draft. Halladay had a down year in 2012 mired with injuries and inconsistency. He appears to be healthy now and is motivated to prove last year was a fluke. Grabbing him in the 8th round could provide some of the best value for any player available if he returns to his 2011 form.
No middle rounds for Middlebrooks
8) Mat Latos, SP, Cincinnati Reds
Team: Jeff Paur, RTSports | Roster
With lots of pitchers starting to come off the board, I thought now was the time to get my second starter. I had a tough call choice here between two Reds – Latos and Johnny Cueto. I just like Latos a little more as he has better strikeout numbers. And I think Latos can improve on last season some, especially with his wins total.
9) Max Scherzer, SP, Detroit Tigers
Team: Bill Macey, Baseball HQ | Roster
Scherzer had a slow start to 2012, but lowered his ERA in each subsequent month, finishing the season with a 1.91 ERA and a 6.0 strikeout to walk ratio in 6 starts during September and October. It's unrealistic to expect a sub-3.00 ERA over an entire season, but 200+ strikeouts seems virtually guaranteed assuming he stays healthy.
10) James Shields, SP, Kansas City Royals
Team: Ray Flowers, Baseball Guys/SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio | Roster
Others might be nervous with Shields as their top arm. I'm not. He's about as stable as they come on the hill, gets a lot of punchouts (8.82 per nine last year), and combines that skill with an increasing ground ball rate (52 percent in '12).
11) Will Middlebrooks, 3B, Boston Red Sox
Team: Mark Bloom, RotoExperts | Roster
When it got to be two picks away, I saw Max Scherzer and Kris Medlen both on the board. I only really wanted one of them so I was happy when Ray took Scherzer. This allowed me to grab Middlebrooks who I think can build on last year's rookie season. He should hit 6th in that order and there is a good chance he hits 25/90 this season.
12) R.A. Dickey, SP, Toronto Blue Jays
Team: Josh Shepardson, Baseball Prospectus | Roster
Dickey was an easy pick for me, and he helped make me feel better about my decision to pass on Sabathia with my previous pick. A move from the National League to the American League will help cut into his strikeout rate, but he and King Felix will lay a nice foundation in ERA and WHIP for my team and do so in over 450-plus innings combined.
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