1) Jason Heyward, OF, Atlanta Braves
Team: Collin Hager, FantasyPros911.com | Roster
For me, the choice here was between Ethier and Heyward. I looked at the board and realized, though I don't have a pitcher yet, I can live with any of the next 15 to 20 on the board as a staff number 1. That meant build depth in the outfield and on offense in general with some more power. Heyward has more upside than Ethier and that gave him the edge on my board.
2) Ian Kinsler, 2B, Texas Rangers
Team: Steve Gardner, USA Today | Roster
Again, the turn makes this pick easier since Collin already has a second baseman. Kinsler would be in the position's top tier if not for his injury history and at age 28, he's just one year removed from a 30-homer, 30-steal season. With the solid health histories of my first four picks, this isn't a bad time to take a little risk.
3) Zack Greinke, SP, Milwaukee Brewers
Team: Nicholas Minnix, KFFL | Roster
I don't often take a pitcher in the first quarter, but there are advantages, particularly if your mates are focusing on offense heavily. That symptom in general led me to test a different approach. Strikeout artist Greinke's move to the NL, even defense-challenged Milwaukee, has provided him with a rosier disposition and me with, I expect, a fantasy ace.
Morneau a risk
4) Kendry Morales, 1B, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Team: Jeff Paur, RTSports | Roster
I was targeting two first basemen with this pick. It was either Morales or Justin Morneau. I played it safe and went with Morales. The reports of Morneau still not doing a whole lot of baseball activity concern me, so Morales was the pick here. Morales had more of a freak injury last year, so I like his chances to bounce back.
5) Alexei Ramirez, SS, Chicago White Sox
Team: Harold Nichols, Baseball HQ | Roster
Three reasons: 1) Last two picks carry risk, needed someone with lower risk, solid production. 2) Best MI power source still on the board with exception of Kelly Johnson and Zobrist, both of whom are more risky. (3) All six guys drafting after me needed SS, so this thinned the field for them.
6) Justin Morneau, 1B, Minnesota Twins
Team: Eriq Gardner, Fantasy Ball Junkie | Roster
This one is somewhat risky. Anyone claiming to know how Morneau will respond to the concussion that knocked him out last season is lying. Still, all players have risks. Some are young. Others are old. A few are entering new playing environments. Many don't have long track records of success. So for better or worse, I'll put my faith in long-established talent overcoming hopeful short-term adversity. At very least, I can probably find a decent 1B replacement cheaply.
7) Rickie Weeks, 2B, Milwaukee Brewers
Team: Joe Hamrahi, Baseball Prospectus | Roster
I'm voting this pick the "most likely to keep my up at night" selection. I've been a fan of Rickie Weeks (my very first interview about 7 years ago!) for a very long time. He's always had tremendous ability, but in 2010, he finally stayed healthy long enough to showcase his talent. Will he repeat? I'm banking on it ... sort of.
8) CC Sabathia, SP, New York Yankees
Team: Ray Flowers, Baseball Guys | Roster
I never go pitching this early, but I couldn't pass up the value that Sabathia brings given this draft spot given 2 straight seasons of at least 19 wins, 197 K's and a 1.19 WHIP. I'll wait on outfielders and hopefully get one of my targets next round.
9) Andre Ethier, OF, Los Angeles Dodgers
Team: Pasko Varnica, Mastersball | Roster
Andre Ethier was probably the top fantasy producer last year until he injured his finger. This year he says that he is healthy again. If he is and if he produces as he did at the beginning of last season, this is a steal in the 5th round.
10) Paul Konerko, 1B, Chicago White Sox
Team: Doug Anderson, RotoExperts | Roster
I had Kendry Morales and Justin Morneau all queued up and was hoping they would fall to me. Once they got scooped up I really had to grab a first baseman before I was looking at a James Loney type. Konerko is the boring veteran, but if he comes close to last year's "boring" numbers I'll be fine with that.
11) Ichiro Suzuki, OF, Seattle Mariners
Team: Tim Heaney, KFFL | Roster
Man, I really didn't want to make this pick, but with Alexei Ramirez gone, Ichiro won a grueling staring contest. My clip gets another buoy, at least; I also grab helpful R and 30-plus SB, even if he's winding down. I don't mind this track record from my first OF.
12) Billy Butler, 1B, Kansas City Royals
Team: Ryan Lester, Lester's Legends | Roster
Things were getting thin at first base so I wanted to secure a good one. Butler was the best one on my board. He's hit .300+ the past two years, including a career high .318 last year. He doesn't have prototypical first base power, but he has the ability to hit 20+. I'm expecting a .310-80-20-90-1 line in 2011.
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