Fantasy baseball draft: Ryan Braun and the LABR first round

      February 24, 2012 @ 22:20:35 PDT

The decision to overturn Ryan Braun's 50-game suspension threw the fantasy baseball world into a tizzy, shaking up the top of draft boards. At least the announcement came before the majority of leagues make their picks.

Cincinnati Reds 1B Joey Votto
Seemed like a great plan....

Some lucky, opportunistic dogs are grinning, including this guy.

There's plenty of Braun breakdown floating around the webs from those in the know, so let's focus on the fantasy side. His cleanliness in little doubt, he returns to the discussion for the No. 1 overall pick.

Being on the whole a positional scarcity advocate, especially when it comes to the cream of the first base crop, I would pick Albert Pujols and Miguel Cabrera over Braun. I'm not a by-the-book scarcist, though; I'd nab Braun before Matt Kemp, Jose Bautista and Troy Tulowitzki without question; I don't mind settling for nabbing a shortstop in the next few rounds in exchange for getting Braun's reliability. He's the exception to my first-round outfielder embargo.

I carry the fifth overall pick into Saturday's inaugural LABR mixed draft, hosted by Steve Gardner and the good folks at USA Today on Mock Draft Central's software. As of Thursday morning, my planned targets: Joey Votto or Adrian Gonzalez, with my slight lean being Votto. Throwing Braun into that picture jacks things up.

All positions equal, Braun trumps the first sackers in five-category track record. But in this 15-teamer, do I want to endure 20 picks while clinging to hope that a first baseman will be there to fulfill my early-round strategy? There are plenty of outfielders that offer, say, 80 percent of Braun's production you can lock up later on.

Choose consistency at a deep position, or something close to consistency among a scarcer lot? If I'm faced with this dilemma, you'll find out how it went Monday.

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About Tim Heaney

Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous outlets, and recognized as a finalist in the Fantasy Sports Writers Association awards. The Boston University alum, who competes in the prestigious LABR and Tout Wars, has won numerous industry leagues in both baseball and football.

He appears frequently, including every Sunday, on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio, as well as every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore.

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