1) Josh Willingham, OF, Minnesota Twins
Team: Pasko Varnica, Mastersball | Roster
Considered taking a catcher but took an OF because the roster must be filled with 5 OFs plus a Utility spot likely filled by another OF and, second, I find little difference in the production of the undrafted catchers. Hence catchers could wait while an OF with projected 30-plus HRs could not.
Stability valuable, too
2) Fernando Rodney, RP, Tampa Bay Rays
Team: Howard Bender, FanGraphs | Roster
I'm a huge proponent of locking in closers and Rodney's job is, comparatively speaking, pretty secure in Tampa. A competitive Rays team means plenty of opportunities for saves while the team defense is a ground-ball specialist's best friend. Solid strikeout rate to boot!
3) Erick Aybar, SS, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Team: Nicholas Minnix, KFFL | Roster
This is probably considerably early for this shortstop. I ignored the position early on, and the options are thin in the middle rounds, with many of them seemingly similar. I didn't feel comfortable waiting on the position any longer, so I took the one I project highest of those who remain. Frankly, he was an easy choice: a safe source of solid BA, 20-plus steals, etc.
4) Jonathan Lucroy, C, Milwaukee Brewers
Team: Tim Heaney, KFFL | Roster
My plan to pair him with Jesus Montero worked. Lucroy's plate growth has been one of the most ignored of anyone at any position. A fluke injury didn't deter his growth year; it only masked it from most drafters. He'll hit in the middle of this order and should club 15 homers with at least a .280 BA. There's room for more, as well, from the 26-year-old.
5) Carlos Beltran, OF, St. Louis Cardinals
Team: Mark Chamberlin, Baseball Sharks | Roster
Like Holliday earlier, nothing sexy about the pick, but at this rate he is a bargain. There is not an unknown ceiling here, but unlike several others being drafted around him there also isn't the same unknown risk. It's important to balance risks with stability throughout the first half of the draft; I like Beltran and Holliday to balance the risks taken with Santana, Jennings, and Hosmer.
6) Carlos Gomez, OF, Milwaukee Brewers
Team: Steve Gardner, USA TODAY/Sports Weekly | Roster
Looking to add some speed, I get the added bonus of some home run power in Gomez. His average and OBP aren't great, but that's one of the advantages Joey Votto and Joe Mauer give me. I can add an impact hitter without worrying too much about how far he'll drag down my batting average.
7) David Freese, 3B, St. Louis Cardinals
Team: Michael Stein, The Hardball Times | Roster
I took a risk by waiting so long for a 3B, but it paid off because I grabbed Freese 7 rounds after David Wright and should get similar production with the exception of a few stolen bases. Freese is capable of hitting close to .300 with 25 home runs and 100 RBI if he can stay healthy.
Youthful K's aplenty this round
8) Matt Moore, SP, Tampa Bay Rays
Team: Jeff Paur, RTSports | Roster
Thought about taking a closer here but with another pick coming soon, I felt taking a starter was the way to go with the guys left on the board. I looked at Moore, Dan Haren and Josh Johnson with this pick, going with Moore because he is a young pitcher that seems ready for that breakout season. He just had the most upside out of that group.
9) Aroldis Chapman, SP, Cincinnati Reds
Team: Bill Macey, Baseball HQ | Roster
BaseballHQ founder Ron Shandler coined the phrase "draft skills, not roles" and that's precisely what I did with Chapman. At this point during spring training, we don't know yet whether Chapman will start or close for the Reds, but we already know he can be one of MLB's best closers and he has the talent to strike out 200 if he starts instead.
10) Nick Markakis, OF, Baltimore Orioles
Team: Ray Flowers, Baseball Guys/SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio | Roster
Markakis is exactly the type of player I like to target. He's consistently solid across the board, is a veteran, and his value is depressed since he's coming off an injury plagued season. Many don't know that per 162 games his 5x5 line is .295-18-85-89-9. I'll gladly take that.
11) Brett Gardner, OF, New York Yankees
Team: Mark Bloom, RotoExperts/SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio | Roster
Gardner doesn't get the credit he deserves. He posts solid numbers and very well could lead the AL in stolen bases. In fact, his numbers are very similar to Michael Bourn - except that you can get Gardner 4-5 rounds later in your draft.
12) Tim Lincecum, SP, San Francisco Giants
Team: Josh Shepardson, Baseball Prospectus | Roster
Lincecum had a wretched regular season last year, but his second half numbers set a nice base line, with the upside for more, for projecting his play this year. Post ASB: 89.1 innings pitched, 4.03 BB/9, 8.66 K/9, 3.83 ERA and 1.34 WHIP. I would have considered Chapman and Moore had they been available.
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