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FLB: FSTA Draft Review

3/9/2007

Recently, I had the opportunity to participate in the Fantasy Sports Trade Association's mixed league 5 x 5 Rotisserie Baseball draft. Here are the results from the first 15 rounds of the draft, with my perspectives on my own choices and other picks during each round. The final selections from the 23-round draft will be posted in the near future.

Round One

1. Pro Football Weekly: Alfonso Soriano, OF, Cubs
2. Baseball HQ: Albert Pujols, 1B, Cardinals
3. SportBabestv.com/SportsBuff.com: Alex Rodriguez, 3B, Yankees
4. Draft Dynamix: Johan Santana, P, Twins
5. GOPPPL/CBS Sportsline: Jose Reyes, SS, Mets
6. ESPN.COM, ENGEL: Ryan Howard, 1B, Phillies
7. Humware Media Corp.: Carlos Beltran, OF, Mets
8. Mock Draft Central: Chase Utley, 2B, Phillies
9. Yahoo Sports: Grady Sizemore, OF, Indians
10. ESPN Radio 1000 Chicago/Brian Swaw: David Ortiz, DH, Red Sox
11. Fantasy Baseball Sherpa/Spinning Blue Films: Travis Hafner, DH, Indians
12. CDM Sports: Carl Crawford, OF, Devil Rays

Engel's take: Was Soriano picked first because the draft was held in Chicago? You have to like the ballpark and lineup he's hitting in, and he's still a great pick for multi-category production even without second base eligibility. But I would personally go for Pujols first overall, a very safe choice for amazing annual production. Santana was a terrific pick at No. 4, as a dominant and dependable starting pitcher is always a gem. I was very happy to get Howard as my top player. He is a top five pick in many leagues so I think I made out nicely. Utley is a smart pick considering he is certainly the best player at one of the two middle infield positions. As much as I like Sizemore, I think it was a bit early to pick him, especially with Crawford still available. I was considering Crawford at the No. 6 spot and he's a nice gift at the end of the first round. FYI: GOPPPL stands for the Greater Oakland Professional Pigskin Prognosticators League, the first-ever fantasy football league, represented by founding member Andrew Mousalimas.

Round Two

13. CDM: Lance Berkman, 1B, Astros
14. FBS/SBF: Derek Jeter, SS, Yankees
15. Swaw: Vladimir Guerrero, OF, Angels
16. Yahoo: David Wright, 3B, Mets
17. MDC: Miguel Cabrera, 3B, Marlins
18. HMC: Matt Holliday, OF, Rockies
19. Engel: Jimmy Rollins, SS, Phillies
20. GOPPPL/SPLN: Manny Ramirez, OF, Red Sox
21. DD: Bobby Abreu, OF, Yankees
22. SBTV/SBU: Mark Teixeira, 1B, Rangers
23. HQ: Aramis Ramirez, 3B, Cubs
24. PFW: Joe Mauer, C, Twins

Engel's Take: I hope I won't get barred from my longtime second home, Shea Stadium, after taking a pair of Phillies with my first two picks. But with Reyes and Jeter already off the board, and in need of steals after tabbing Howard for the power, Rollins was the natural selection. Guerrero was nice pick for Swaw early in the second round, and Yahoo made a solid choice with Wright after taking Sizemore slightly early. The Manny Ramirez pick drew a lot of positive buzz, as it was widely agreed he was still a very good pick late in the second round. Abreu is in a contract season and could turn out to be quite a nifty pick towards the end of the second round. Mauer is certainly the best player at a weak position, but I certainly believe it was too early to grab him. It will be awhile until PFW is on the board again after their next pick, but I'd rather have passed on the very best catcher, take a more impressive offensive performer here, and settle for a decent catcher later on.

Round Three

25. PFW: Miguel Tejada, SS, Orioles
26. HQ: Rafael Furcal, SS, Dodgers
27. SBTV/SBU: Hanley Ramirez, SS, Marlins
28. DD: Jason Bay, OF, Pirates
29. GOPPPL/SPLN: Justin Morneau, 1B, Twins
30. Engel: Chris Carpenter, P, Cardinals
31. HMC: Derrek Lee, 1B, Cubs
32. MDC: Jermaine Dye, OF, White Sox
33. Yahoo: Carlos Lee, OF, Astros
34. Swaw: Andruw Jones, OF, Braves
35. FBS/SBF: Ichiro Suzuki, OF, Mariners
36. CDM: Garrett Atkins, 3B, Rockies

Engel's Take: There's a run on top shortstops early in this round, and with so many offensive players having gone off the board so far, I don't fail to notice that some of the very best pitchers are still available. It's too early to think closer, so after waffling between Chris Carpenter and Roy Oswalt, I nab Carpenter to anchor my pitching staff and I can focus more on building my offense in the next round. I love the Bay pick here, and I would have been pleasantly surprised to see him fall two slots, but it didn't happen. Carlos Lee was also a good choice here, and I questioned the selection of Dye right ahead of him. I was also a little surprised to see Ichiro fall this far, and was considering taking him instead of Carpenter. But with Rollins already on board for steals, I felt it was time to begin building my starting staff.

Round Four

37. CDM: Joe Nathan, P, Twins
38. FBS/SBF: Carlos Zambrano, P, Cubs
39. Swaw: Vernon Wells, OF, Blue Jays
40. Yahoo: Chone Figgins, 3B/OF, Angels
41. MDC: Brandon Webb, P, Diamondbacks
42. HMC: Roy Oswalt, P, Astros
43. Engel: Roy Halladay, P, Blue Jays
44. GOPPP/SPLN: Mariano Rivera, P, Yankees
45. DD: Michael Young, SS, Rangers
46. SBTV/SBU: Juan Pierre, OF, Dodgers
47. HQ: Hideki Matsui, OF, Yankees
48. PFW: Francisco Rodriguez, P, Angels

Engel's Take: I was ready to pounce on Young as a middle infielder or Matsui as my first outfielder, but when Halladay fell to me, the temptation to have both Carpenter and Halladay leading my pitching staff was too great to resist. If he can stay healthy, Halladay will turn out to be a fine pick at this point. He's striking out fewer guys these days, but he's still highly effective overall. Closers start to go off the board here, but I can always wait and load up on positions with fewer question marks or simply go for the best players available. Young's power was down last year, but he is still a very good pick at this point, and Matsui is one of my favorite selections of the draft so far that's not one of my own. You can't slip a guy like that past guru Ron Shandler. Matsui will enjoy a big rebound year and Shandler will once again look like a genius.

Round Five

49. PFW: Adam Dunn, OF, Reds
50. HQ: Billy Wagner, P, Mets
51. SBTV/SBU: Jake Peavy, P, Padres
52. DD: Paul Konerko, 1B, White Sox
53. GOPPPL/SPLN: Victor Martinez, C, Indians
54. Engel: Carlos Delgado, 1B, Mets
55. HMC: Gary Sheffield, OF, Tigers
56. MDC: Huston Street, P, Athletics
57. Yahoo: B.J. Ryan, P, Blue Jays
58. Swaw: Bill Hall, SS, Brewers
59. FBS/SBF: Robinson Cano, 2B, Yankees
60. CDM: John Smoltz, P, Braves

Engel's Take: I hate to criticize PFW again, because I grew up reading their publication and would begin my football week by reading publisher/editor Hub Arkush, one of my all-time faves in the business. The PFW guys know all sports very well, but the pick of Dunn is a head-scratcher. This is way too early for such a drain on the batting average. The Martinez pick is also further proof you don't have to jump on a top catcher too early. Sidestepping the closer flow, I add Delgado for more power and the first whispers of "homer" from those who know me pretty well. I nearly went for Cano, a top option at his position who should build on an impressive 2006 season.

Round Six

61. CDM: Daisuke Matsuzaka, P, Red Sox
62. FBS/SBF: Johnny Damon, OF, Yankees
63. Swaw: Ryan Zimmerman, 3B, Nationals
64. Yahoo: Brian McCann, C, Braves
65. MDC: Ben Sheets,P, Brewers
66. HMC: Brian Roberts, 2B, Orioles
67. Engel: J.J. Putz, P, Mariners
68. GOPPPL/SPLN: C.C. Sabathia, P, Indians
69. DD: Delmon Young, OF, Devil Rays
70. SBTV/SBU: Carlos Guillen, SS, Tigers
71. HQ: Torii Hunter, OF, Twins
72. PFW: Jim Thome, DH, White Sox

Engel: I absolutely love Swaw's pick of Zimmerman here, and was hoping he would drop a few more slots to me. The McCann pick further assures me that my stance on waiting for quality catchers still stands strong. Sheets' status as a risk is well-known, but he is definitely a quality choice by this point. Landing Putz here is a great move, as he can easily lead my team in the saves department and proves I didn't have to use an earlier pick to nab a high-quality fireman. I think it's too early for Young, who could still be available a round or two later. The Thome pick draws some whispers of approval.

Round Seven

73. PFW: Dontrelle Willis, P, Marlins
74. HQ: Ian Kinsler, 2B, Rangers
75. SBTV/SBU: Josh Barfield, 2B, Indians
76. DD: Dan Uggla, 2B, Marlins
77. GOPPPL/SPLN: Julio Lugo, 2B/SS, Red Sox
78. Engel: Barry Bonds, OF, Giants
79. HMC: Trevor Hoffman, P, Padres
80. MDC: Prince Fielder, 1B, Brewers
81. Yahoo: John Lackey, P, Angels
82. Swaw: Rickie Weeks, 2B, Brewers
83. FBS/SBF: Jered Weaver, P, Angels
84. CDM: Howie Kendrick, 2B, Angels

Engel's Take: While Willis shouldn't be a No. 1 fantasy starter, as he is for PFW, I would like to get him as a No. 2 starting pitcher by this point if I could. There are mixed opinions about Uggla, but he's a fine selection by this round. Any time you pick Bonds, it will draw a reaction, and while you should never care about what others say on draft day, my gamble on him gets some compliments. By this point, I am fully willing to take the chance that Bonds will hit 25 homers and drive in 80 runs, as Jennie Finch has outlined in ESPN the Magazine.

Round Eight

85. CDM: Edgar Renteria, SS, Braves
86. FBS/SBF: Justin Verlander, P, Tigers
87. Swaw: Nick Swisher, 1B/OF, A's
88. Yahoo: Alex Rios, OF, Blue Jays
89. MDC: Coco Crisp, OF, Red Sox
90. HMC: Troy Glaus, 3B, Blue Jays
91. Engel: Felix Hernandez, P, Mariners
92. GOPPPL/SPLN: Barry Zito, P, Giants
93. DD: Jeremy Bonderman, P, Tigers
94. SBTV/SBU: Scott Rolen, 3B, Cardinals
95. HQ: Richie Sexson, 1B, Mariners
96. PFW: Corey Patterson, OF, Orioles

Engel's Take: Rios could have a real breakthrough season in 2007, and looks like a terrific selection for outfield depth here. As a third starter, Hernandez is a fine pick for me here, as he still has a lot of upside as a power pitcher. Rolen no longer has the same pop he used to, but he's a very solid pick in this round. With PFW needing more steals, the Patterson pick does make sense.

Round Nine

97. PFW: Josh Beckett, P, Red Sox
98. HQ: Frank Thomas, DH, Blue Jays
99. SBTV/SBU: Jeff Francoeur, OF, Braves
100. DD: Curt Schilling, P, Red Sox
101. GOPPPL/SPLN: J.D. Drew, OF, Red Sox
102. Engel: Chris Ray, P, Orioles
103. HMC: Felipe Lopez, SS, Nationals
104. MDC: Rocco Baldelli, OF, Devil Rays
105. Yahoo: Jason Giambi, 1B, Yankees
106. Swaw: Brett Myers, P, Phillies
107. FBS/SBF: Raul Ibanez, OF, Mariners
108. CDM: Jason Schmidt, P, Dodgers

Engel's Take: Thomas becomes even more of an injury risk with additional games on artificial turf, but the power numbers will still be impressive when he is healthy. Ray is an outstanding value pick here, a young closer who should continue to rise in '07. The Giambi pick is a fine one as well. The fact that he was available here made me question my choice of Delgado a few rounds earlier.

Round 10:

109. CDM: Magglio Ordonez, OF, Tigers
110. FBS/SBF: Todd Helton, 1B, Rockies
111. Swaw: Dan Haren, P, A's
112. Yahoo: Cole Hamels, P, Phillies
113. MDC: Scott Kazmir, P, Devil Rays
114. HMC: Chris Young, P, Padres
115. Engel: Jorge Posada, C, Yankees
116. GOPPPL/SPLN: Rich Harden, P, Athletics
117. DD: Adrian Gonzalez, 1B, Padres
118. SBTV/SBU: Aaron Harang, P, Reds
119. HQ: Matt Cain, P, Giants
120. PFW: Chipper Jones, 3B, Braves

Engel's Take: My, how the mighty Helton has fallen. In this savvy group, no one was going to pick him too early based on past performances. Hamels is a very good pick for upside here, and you have to figure Kazmir would go earlier if he played for a team other than the Devil Rays. I was very happy to land Posada here, as I will still get quality production out of the No. 1 catcher spot for a 10th round selection. If Cain has a full season that looks like his second half of '06, he could be the best value pick of the draft here.

Round 11

121. PFW: Jonathan Papelbon, P, Red Sox
122. HQ: Erik Bedard, P, Orioles
123. SBTV/SBU: Bobby Jenks, P, White Sox
124. DD: Akinori Iwamura, 3B, Devil Rays
125. GOPPPL/SPLN: Chad Cordero, P, Nationals
126. Engel: Kenji Johjima, C, Mariners
127. HMC: Jeff Kent, 2B, Dodgers
128. MDC: Lyle Overbay, 1B, Blue Jays
129. Yahoo: Nick Markakis, OF, Orioles
130. Swaw: Mike Mussina, P, Yankees
131. FBS/SBF: Rich Hill, P, Cubs
132. CDM: Takashi Saito, P, Dodgers

Engel's Take: Papelbon won't be an elite starter, but he's a very solid choice in this round. Considering I nearly took Johjima over Posada a round earlier, I can't pass on the chance to have both of them as my catcher duo. Kent is no longer one of the best at his position, but he can still fill a need here very nicely. Some might consider Saito a nice value here, but I'm skeptical that he can continue to build on last year's success.

Round 12

133. CDM: Willy Taveras, OF, Rockies
134. FBS/SBF: Randy Johnson, P, Diamondbacks
135. Swaw: Ervin Santana, P, Angels
136. Yahoo: Tadahito Iguchi, 2B, White Sox
137. MDC: Francisco Cordero, P, Brewers
138. HMC: Joe Crede, 3B, White Sox
139. Engel: Adam LaRoche, 1B, Pirates
140. GOPPPL/SPLN: Eric Chavez, 3B, Athletics
141. DD: Brian Giles, OF, Padres
142. SBTV/SBU: Mike Cameron, OF, Padres
143. HQ: Luis Castillo, 2B, Twins
144. PFW: Michael Cuddyer, OF, Twins

Engel's Take: The move to Colorado makes Taveras a very good choice for speed in this round. Cordero is a fine selection here, but I am more focused on the glee I'm basking in when LaRoche falls to me as my utility man. I have other needs to fill, but the power production is too tempting to let him slip by any longer. Cameron is a nice value pick here, and while Cuddyer doesn't offer the same versatility he did last year, he's still a very solid selection in Round 12. It's a mild surprise that he slipped this far.

Round 13

145. PFW: Adam Wainwright, P, Cardinals
146. HQ: Dave Roberts, OF, Giants
147. SBTV/SBU: Bronson Arroyo, P, Reds
148. DD: Dave Bush, P, Brewers
149. GOPPPL/SPLN: Ramon Hernandez, C, Orioles
150. Engel: Brandon Phillips, 2B, Reds
151. HMC: Brian Fuentes, P, Rockies
152. MDC: Chris B. Young, OF, Diamondbacks
153. Yahoo: Stephen Drew, SS, Diamondbacks
154. Swaw: Bob Wickman, P, Braves
155. FBS/SBF: Ivan Rodriguez, C, Tigers
156. CDM: Eric Byrnes, OF, Diamondbacks

Engel's take: This round offers more proof that good bargains are always available in mixed league drafts for those who do their homework. Roberts is still a quality source of steals, and the underrated Bush should continue to get better. Fuentes is a quality closer who will really help owners who overlook the Colorado factor, and Rodriguez is an absolute steal at this point. Byrnes is a quality value selection, as is Phillips, who played above expectations last season and is worth the gamble again.

Round 14

157. CDM: Alex Gordon, 3B, Royals
158. FBS/SBF: Tom Gordon, P, Phillies
159. Swaw: Josh Johnson, P, Marlins
160. Yahoo: Brad Lidge, P, Astros
161. MDC: Orlando Cabrera, SS, Angels
162. HMC: Nomar Garciaparra, 1B, Dodgers
163. Engel: Hank Blalock, 3B, Rangers
164. GOPPPL/SPLN: Ryan Freel, OF, Reds
165. DD: Derek Lowe, P, Dodgers
166. SBTV/SBU: Brad Penny, P, Dodgers
167. HQ: Michael Barrett, C, Cubs
168. PFW: Marcus Giles, 2B, Padres

Engel's Take: The Alex Gordon selection elicits much interest and talk, and could prove to ultimately be one of the best upside picks of the draft. Freel is an injury concern, but worth the risk in this round, especially for the speed. Also, note that this draft occurred prior to the knowledge that Josh Johnson was going to miss the first two months of the season.

Round 15

169. PFW: Mike Jacobs, 1B, Marlins
170. HQ: Javier Vazquez, P, Diamondbacks
171. SBTV/SBU: Mike Piazza, C, Athletics
172. DD: Pat Burrell, OF, Phillies
173. GOPPPL/SPLN: Chien-Ming Wang, P, Yankees
174. Engel: Matt Murton, OF, Cubs
175. HMC: Chris Capuano, P, Brewers
176. MDC: Russell Martin, C, Dodgers
177. Yahoo: John Patterson, P, Nationals
178. Swaw: Jon Garland, P, White Sox
179. FBS/SBF: Melvin Mora, 3B, Orioles
180. CDM: A.J. Burnett, P, Blue Jays

Engel's Take: The Piazza pick is outstanding here. He will qualify at catcher is most leagues, and he proved he wasn't quite finished in 2006. Wang may not strike out too many guys, but he is a superb pick for wins in this round. Patterson is also an excellent value choice if he can stay healthy. Looking for more outfield depth, I take the chance on the upside of Murton here. He is a definite sleeper candidate and could be headed for a breakout year.

Scott Engel covers fantasy sports for ESPN.com. You can contact Scott here.