1) Elvis Andrus, SS, Texas Rangers
Team: Ryan Lester, Lester's Legends | Roster
Andrus fills two needs for me. He gives me a quality shortstop and he gives me a ton of speed. He's had 33 and 32 stolen bases the past two years, a number that could reach 40 this year. Injuries took their toll on him at the end of last year, but his .280-57-0-25-23 line before the All-Star break screams breakout potential. I'm expecting .270-100-3-45-40 this year. I also considered Justin Verlander and Jacoby Ellsbury.
2) Justin Verlander, SP, Detroit Tigers
Team: Tim Heaney, KFFL | Roster
With SS out of this value range, I wanted to grab a dominant arm before this long stretch; methought many of them would be off the board next time around. Verlander knows how to pitch deep into games; he conserves his velocity. 200-plus innings equals 200-plus K's.
3) Jacoby Ellsbury, OF, Boston Red Sox
Don't forget about Ellsbury
Team: Doug Anderson, RotoExperts | Roster
Yeah he was a pain to deal with last year. Sure he may hit toward the bottom of the lineup. The thing is, he's still going to hit for a nice average. He's still going to steal a ton of bases, and he's going to score his share of runs. He also balances my roster so that I have the freedom to go with the best values later in the draft. Much rather get my stolen bases from Ellsbury than a Michael Bourn type that might kill my BA.
4) Torii Hunter, OF, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Team: Pasko Varnica, Mastersball | Roster
I considered other outfielders, like, for example, Carlos Quentin, but opted for Hunter. He is reliable and other than not stealing as much he is still a top OF producer.
5) B.J. Upton, OF, Tampa Bay Rays
Team: Ray Flowers, Baseball Guys | Roster
Sweet. Upton was one of three outfielders I almost took in the fifth round, so taking Sabathia with my last pick didn't hinder me in the least. Shane Victorino is a safer selection than Upton, but one of these days Upton is gonna to have a monster season.
6) Hunter Pence, OF, Houston Astros
Team: Joe Hamrahi, Baseball Prospectus | Roster
If Rickie Weeks was my risky pick, Hunter Pence is my safe one. Pence isn't going to knock out any light towers, but he's going to play 155 games, hit 25 home runs, score 80-90 more, knock in another 85 and swipe 15 bases. In many ways, he's the outfield equivalent of Ryan Zimmerman. Good, safe pick.
7) Aramis Ramirez, 3B, Chicago Cubs
Team: Eriq Gardner, Fantasy Ball Junkie | Roster
Seemingly a little early, BUT: (1) Check out his 2nd half numbers: 15 HR, 51 RBIs. Consistent throughout the years, so first three months last year a horrible fluke? (2) Didn't like the other remaining 3B nearly as much; and (3) All those picking twice before I pick next still haven't rostered a 3B. Easy decision.
8) Delmon Young, OF, Minnesota Twins
Team: Harold Nichols, Baseball HQ | Roster
Young star in growth mode. On the verge of .300 BA, rising flyball rate suggests more power to come. Relatively low risk pick as he's been solid in RBI, BA for past four seasons, but still plenty of upside. We could see 30 HR, .300 BA.
9) Shane Victorino, OF, Philadelphia Phillies
Team: Jeff Paur, RTSports | Roster
Not a real exciting pick, but Victorino does a little bit of everything. He'll really help my steals but also has the potential to hit 20 home runs and will hit for a pretty good average (.280 or so). He is a well-rounded fantasy player that should be a solid No. 2 outfielder for me.
10) Dan Haren, SP, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Team: Nicholas Minnix, KFFL | Roster
He's back in familiar AL West. Angel Stadium is much friendlier to gopher-issuing pitchers than Chase Field. He has best defensive outfield in MLB. Expect some hit rate correction. He made minor adjustments. He posts dynamite BB/9. Halos are quality organization. Where are negatives? Quality arms are scattered all over, but so are bats. Just testing an approach.
11) Mike Stanton, OF, Florida Marlins
Team: Steve Gardner, USA Today | Roster
Looking to add some power, I had my eye on the Marlins slugger since the time I made my pick in Round 5. After hitting 22 home runs in a little over half a season (at age 20, no less!), he could be a consistent 40-homer guy for a long time.
12) Clayton Kershaw, SP, Los Angeles Dodgers
Team: Collin Hager, FantasyPros911.com | Roster
Sure you look and see only 13 wins and it doesn't add up with some of the other guys on the board. What I like here are the 212 strikeouts, the reliability he has shown, and the sub-1.20 WHIP. Kershaw is the complete package. Wins will come. Strikeouts and WHIP is easier to draft for in my mind.
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