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Round #1: The Easy Part

Hopefully you do not get stuck on the back elbow, it is not a friendly

place this season.  It usually isn’t regardless, but this season

especially.  There are seven names on my round #1 list this season, if

you do get stuck on the back end and miss them we will explore plan B.

#1 Miguel Cabrera

#2 Albert Pujols

#3 Joey Votto

#4 Adrian Gonzalez

#5 Jose Bautista

#6 Prince Fielder

#7 Evan Longoria

Notice a theme?  All corner infielders, all the time.  This year more

than any other you must corner the market on (pun intended) corner

infielders before your league mates.  3B depth has been thinning out

over the last few years (although it’s starting to see a resurgence),

but now 1B is too.  A quick skim of the players available between the

above five 1B’s and the Problem Child (my term for Mark Reynolds) are

not pretty.  A guy who could fall off the cliff any year (Paul

Konerko), an over rated kid (Eric Hosmer), a late bloomer with warts

(Michael Morse), a health hazard (Ike Davis), a last ditch effort

(Adam Lind), and a couple of other unknowns in Freddie Freeman and

Paul Goldschmidt.  Those look like some fine CI’s, but at 1B you’re at

a huge disadvantage to those who went 1B in round 1, especially when

you compare your OF replacements to guys like Kemp and your shortstop

replacement to Tulowitzki.

Lesson of the story, get your power early.  As we move on from the

steroid era power numbers are dwindling and speed is becoming more

prevalent.  Get your power now because you don’t want to be chasing it

later in the form of Carlos Pena, the Problem Child, and (gulp) Adam

Dun.  You can chase other categories, but now power, and especially at

the corner infield spots.

Now, what if you’re one of those poor souls that miss on the top 7?

Evan Longoria has fallen out of round #1 (by the way, big bounce back

on the horizon) in some leagues, but not all so you must develop a

plan B if you’re on the back end of the round.  Elbow drafting

requires a combination of projection, anticipation, and leaving

yourself as many options as possible.  Looking at what is likely to be

available at your next set of picks your best bet at the back elbow is

to double up on outfielders.  You do not want too many outfielders too

early because there is a lot of value at outfielder later in the

draft, but there does not appear to be any good values at outfielder

at the next elbow (unless Giancarlo ‘Mike’ Stanton falls) so you will

probably head into round 5 with only two outfielders on your roster.

You do not want more than two outfielders at this point and you will

see why later.  Do not expect either Kemp or Ryan Braun to fall (if

they somehow do by all means pick one) so you’re probably looking at

two of Justin Upton, Jacoby Ellsbury, Andrew McCutchen, and Carlos

Gonzalez – in that order.  All of them should be five category

producers, but won’t dominate in any one category and should leave you

with plenty of options going into the next elbow.  Again, flexibility

is key.

Strategy for auction players is much simpler.  See that list of 7 guys

I listed above?  Get one of them.  Based on how others have them

valued, probably Votto or Longoria.  Simply go to three or four

auction websites, get the average $ amounts for those two, add $5,

budget, acquire, and move on.  If you get one of them for less than

budget, great!  You’re welcome.

Next time we’ll dive into rounds 2 through 4…

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