Baseball BeatFebruary 13, 2007
Open Chat: Fantasy Baseball Draft
By Rich Lederer

OK, you joined a 5x5 fantasy baseball pool. The league drafts entirely new teams every year. In other words, it is not a keeper league.

You pull draft slot #2 out of the hat. Albert Pujols was just taken with the first pick. It's your turn. Who do you take? And why?

Have at it in the comments section below.


I would go with Miguel Cabrera based on his the assumption that he's angry and is trying to prove something beyond what he's done in the past; he also plays third base, one of the thinner positions. Soriano would be up there if he made up for his low avg. with some more rbi, but I dont see that happening. Berkman is also a viable choice because of his flexibility (of/1b) and the addition of carlos lee into their lineup.

Johan Santana. He's far and away the best player at his position and he'll help you in four categories. A lot of leagues only allow five starters and if he's one of the five, it gives you some flexibility to take some pitchers in later rounds then you normally would because Santana will prop them up a bit.

Johan or Papi. Either one is going to put up ridiculous numbers. No matter if Papi is a DH. Get a feel for the other guys in the league. Are they taking pitchers in the first round? If you start to hear guys say they're going to jump on Carpenter, et all - then take Johan. Your next pick is far off and you don't want to lose out on quality starter. You can always find a position player if you really need to.

If you're going to take a pitcher, Santana is such an easy choice it's ridiculous. I don't like to take pitching that high, since the injury risk is greater and there's almost always a surprise pitcher having a career year that can be grabbed for nothing a week or two into the season, whereas hitters don't come out of the blue as often, so if you get a poor offense on draft day, you're most likely stuck with it.

As of right now, I'd go with either Ryan Howard or Alex Rodriguez. It's a little early to worry about position scarcity, so Howard's bigger numbers look good, but A-Rod's not far behind at a thinner position, so it's a toss-up.

I can easier tell you who I wouldn't take....I wouldn't touch Papi or Manny, Manny's injury concerns make me wary. Papi is to stuck at DH in most leagues.

I can't take a pitcher with the number two pick, so no Johan. Soriano is not eligible at 2B, so pass on him. Jose Reyes is such a reach at two. As is Joe Mauer. Howard's flyball rate is a little low for a power hitter. So it has to be A-Rod. But I'm a Red Sox fan...Ugh. I hope I don't get the second pick.

I don't see Reyes as a "reach" at all. Even if his slips a bit, you won't be unhappy with 60 SB and 120 R from your SS. I'd take him or Santana.

That's "..even if his power slips..."

Either Reyes or Pronk. 60 SB 120 R, 85 RBI, and a .300 BA ain't bad for a SS. Other than Phat Albert, Pronk is probably the best overall hitter in basbeall. However, he isn't as a valube in a 5X5 league as he is in a private league. We include BB's 2B's 3B's etc....

Johan Santana all the way, because he'll give you Top 5 production in four categories. The Jose Reyes supporters also make good cases.

Throw me in for Ryan Howard.

Without any reservation...Johan

Some state you shouldn't take a pitcher this high...Albert was on the DL for 18 games last year. Johan didn't miss a start.

Other than his somewhat usual slow start, he more than makes up for it. At least he has in the past three years.

He provides an impact in 4 of the 5 categories.

It's gotta be Ryan Howard. Howard will way out-produce Miguel Cabrera because he plays in a Phillie band box. Another 50 plus home run season is likely for Howard.

If he is has gotten over his being called out on strikes to end the NLCS, Carlos Beltran is near the top with his power/speed numbers. Remember with the smaller ballparks the National League is the home run league.

Why would you take a pitcher so high? He only plays 30-35 games a year

I don't know if I'll take flak for it, but I'd probably take Alex Rodriguez. Screw all of that intangible crap; the guy is an all-time offensive great. I see this as a big bounce-back year.
I am tempted by Hafner, but I think A-Rod is less injury-prone.

Of course, if I had the third pick, it'd be Darrin Esrtad or David Eckstein...OBVIOUSLY!

How many teams are in this hypothetical league?
Big factor in my book.
Smaller number of teams, Id take Johan.
Average size or large league,Reyes, A Rod or Howard.
There really isnt a wrong answer among the bunch.

How many teams are in this hypothetical league?

Good question. 15.

Johan. The more teams in the league, the more I'd take him. He's got an offense that manufactures runs so he always gets a few of them, which is all he needs, and a shutdown bullpen. And then there's him. That's a lot.

I think I have to go with Reyes, hes the best at a thinner position, dominates two categories, is above average in 2 more, and doesnt hurt you in HR like a lot of the other base stealers will.
He plays on a contender with the guys in place behind him to knock him in.
Jose Reyes is off the board.
Id probably try to fill the corner infield spots with my next two picks unless there was an elite outfielder still available.


I'm long since retired from fantasy ball, but the scoring system for a 5 X 5 is weighted towards pitching. And Santana is far and away the best pitcher available. This cannot be said for Howard or Reyes.

It's not clear to me that Pujols is more valuable than Santana from a fantasy perspective.

Johan Santana. Hands down. He seems to be past his injury years in pretty good shape and nobody is more dominant.

A-Rod or Santana. Depends on how you've decided to go about building your pitching staff.

Can't really go wrong with either and this isn't the pick that is going to "make or break" your fantasy season.

johan in class by himself
a-rod, reyes, howard----pick-um if had to have a hitter.

Clearly you take Eckstein for the intangibles and grittiness. Those are valid statistical categories in this league, right?

REYES.......or you could convince me on.....


A-Rod, hands down. Even in a slump year, his production is still head and shoulders above the rest of the league's 3B. With the exception of a Pujols or a Todd Helton circa 2000, I hate spending an early pick on a 1B/OF just because the positions are typically so deep that you can get good value well into the later rounds.

And on an unrelated note, I completely forgot Bill Hall hit 35 HR last year. I just saw that and went "huh?"

Happy to be a homer:

If Saves and K/9 are in the 5 for pitchers, Frankie Rodriguez.

If RBI and Avg. are in the 5 for hitters, Vlad Guerrero.

Not interested, really, in non-keepers; but for a keeper league, I'd take Miguel Cabrera. I actually think his numbers will regress a bit this year, and he'll probably be slightly 'outnumbered' by Howard. That said, though, he's a better hitter than fatboy, and has much, much more upside long-term.

Also, I prefer RH hitters to lefties, if given the choice. It just seems like superstar righties in the Manny/Miguel mode don't have to fake it against a huge population of pitchers.

A-Rod; behind Pujols, he is the most consistent 5x5 player, contributing in every category

15-team 5 x 5? I'm taking Reyes or Soriano or Santana at number 2.

Now Santana's the best pitcher in baseball, but pitching is becoming very undervalued in fantasy and guys like Carpenter, Halladay, Oswalt, Webb, Peavey, Zambrano and Sheets are going to be available in the next few rounds, and I'd rather two of them and a round 1 hitter than Johan.

I'd have to think there would be a premium on base-stealers -- in a league of that size, Reyes could keep a team in the SB hunt all by himself while not hurting it in any other category. However, Soriano's power in Wrigley (PF 1.08), plus his speed, might trump Reyes' pure speed, I think. I'd flip a coin, probably, and take either the guy who is pretty much guaranteed to go at least 30-30, or the guy who'll go at least 15-60.

This may surprise some, but I'd be very tempted to take Santana even at the #1 spot.

Consider this: pitchers tend to be far more inconsistent year to year in fantasy. One year's ace becomes a pumpkin, while young guys develop or former greats regain some magic. I tend to shy away from pitching in general in most of the top 10 rounds, because I think it's better to invest in the risk/reward pitchers, considering how much risk there already is with a pitcher (and by extension, the greater consistency of hitters means you should be able to stockpile them and make some trades to fill holes).

So after all this, take Santana. Not only has he been very consistent the last three years, but his production also trumps every other SP! Not only do you get a much better guaruntee at a position that doesn't really offer them, but he also performs better than anyone else at the position.

Crawford or Reyes, with the MI getting the nod

I understand the Santana love, but I think I'd rather grab the 5 category hitter first and then Carpenter, Oswalt, Halladay in round 2.

And I'd take Hafner before Howard, Ortiz, or any other slugger after Pujols. A full 600 AB and he should out-produce any of them.

I've been in 7 mock drafts - Soriano's gone #2 four times, Reyes twice, and Santana once. I think it's a coin flip amogst the 3 of these guys, and I'd lean towards Reyes.

I am the developer of a Mock Draft Software program that takes a given set of player projections, roster configuration, category configurations and ranks players based on a replacement level value algorithm. The software can then be used to conduct a mock draft, or help you during a live draft. The software updates projected standings in real-time, keeps track of rosters, and gives advice on who to draft among other things. When I use CHONE as the projection method, Vladimir Guerrero comes out as the #2 player to pick overall given a standard 5x5 configuration and a 14/9 hitter/pitcher split. Valuations change slightly if you change configurations. Santana comes out #3, almost the same value as Vlady.

Check out the software at:

vr, Xeifrank

Ugh, there is so much good solid starting pitching that will be available in the mid-rounds this year that it would be a mistake to take a pitcher that high in the draft, including Santana.

Reyes is probably the best choice at #2. The SBs with some power at SS, can't beat it. Otherwise Howard or Soriano are solid alternatives. By wasting the #2 pick on Santana, you'll find it very difficult to get a 4/5 cat hitter with your 2nd pick and even if one falls, you'll constantly need to make up for the offense the rest of the draft.

But then again, if you're in a draft with me, please take Santana at #2, especially if I'm picking 3rd or 4th.

Jurgen, I wouldn't suggest Halladay as a fallback option for not getting Santana. Roy will kill you in Ks and isn't a lock for a superior WHIP either. Then you have his history of bad luck injuries.

I would take Cabrera, especially in a keeper league. He is going to be an Albertian monster for years to come.

This isn't as hard as yall are making it. With the 2 pick you want someone to help you in 4 or 5 categories (so he needs speed). Also, there are tons of 1B out there so that rules out Howard. I would be looking to get Soriano, Reyes, or even Beltran.
If it was me, I would take Soriano, he hits in a hitters park with protection. He is also a fly ball hitter so the wind there will help him.