Last year, I brought home a pennant for Rotowire in CBSSportsline's 5x5 NL-only 'Experts' Draft league, thanks in large part to Ryan Howard and a catching tandem of Brian McCann and Josh Willingham.
We just conducted the 2007 draft this afternoon. I got the #9 slot out of 12 teams, with competition that includes Will Carroll (representing Baseball Prospectus), Damon Lichtenwalner from Baseball Info Solutions and Rob Tracy from the Elias Sports Bureau. Here's how my draft went, with various snarky after-the-fact comments...
#9 - Jason Bay, Pit
Coin flip between Bay and Lance Berkman (who fell to #12) at this spot. Was hoping to get Hanley Ramirez coming back around in the second round, but he went at #10. In retrospect that's not as surprising at it seemed at the time.
#16 - Jimmy Rollins, Phi
Maybe a bit early, but I wanted to shore up steals and he wouldn't have lasted until my 3rd round pick (Soriano, Reyes, Beltran, Ramirez were all gone by this time, and Furcal and even Pierre went later in the 2nd.)
#33 - Ben Sheets, Mil
#40 - Brett Myers, Phi
Starters were beginning to drop, and I was quite happy grabbing both these guys when I did.
#57 - Carlos Quentin, Ari
My first "reach for upside" pick. I ended up having to go for more of a balanced approach on offense this season, so a potential four category stud in a young, blossoming offense was very enticing. Stephen Drew went five picks earlier, but Chris Young (#71) and Conor Jackson (#95) lasted much later, so I can't tell how much of an overpick this was.
#64 - Freddy Garcia, Phi
#81 - Edwin Encarnacion, Cin
#88 - Mike Jacobs, Flo
Much less sexy picks. Garcia was just a value grab, given the general track record of AL pitchers moving to the NL, and Encarnacion and Jacobs filled a growing need for some pop.
#105 - Jeremy Hermida, Flo
Post-hype sleeper poster boy?
#112 - Chris Burke, Hou
I didn't yet have a second baseman, and Burke was the proverbial Last Good Player At the Position. (Mark DeRosa went three picks earlier... the next 2B taken was Adam Kennedy at #182.)
#129 - Nick Johnson, Was
A risk, given that he'll get a late start to the season due to his broken leg, but if I can get 3/4 of a season of production from him (.300/15/75, or thereabouts) I'm content.
#136 - Zach Duke, Pit
#153 - Chris Ianetta, Col
More upside picks.
#160 - Mike Gonzalez, Atl
In 5x5 leagues I pay no attention to closers, and instead look for a few closers-in-waiting with good K rates and troll the free agent pool during the season to get saves. Last year I got very lucky with Jorge Julio midseason using that method, which netted me a few critical points in saves. Later picks following this strategy include Ricky Nolasco (#184), Jon Rauch (#232) and Jonah Bayliss (#304). If only one of them pans out (or two of them half-pan out) I'm good.
#177 - Jose Bautista, Pit
Yarrrr. I guess I'm rooting for the Pirates to be this year's Tigers... a Pirates/Diamondbacks NLCS would be even better...
#184 - Nolasco
#201 - Kevin Mench, Mil
#208 - Ryan Theriot, Chi
Hitters who have a chance at providing some value. 200+ picks in, that's all I'm asking for.
#225 - Dana Eveland, Ari
#232 - Rauch
Not a fan of either of these picks, really, but I needed live arms.
#249 - Felix Pie, Chi
#256 - Scott Hairston, Ari
One of these guys will be my Utility hitter. I don't care which. Seeing Hairston get traded in spring training to an NL team that needs offense would certainly be nice.
#273 - Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Atl
#280 - Kyle Davies, Atl
Back-to-back upside Braves. Somebody's got to start for Atlanta, and it might as well be Davies, while Salty will either be a steal as my 2nd catcher or not be in the majors at all. I like 2nd catchers who won't be able to hurt me.
#297 - Travis Lee, Was
#304 - Bayliss
#321 - Brett Tomko, LA
#328 - Enrique Gonzalez, Ari
#345 - Jeff Salazar, Col
#352 - Aaron Boone, Flo
Say hello to a bunch of guys who will get cut when I start signing free agents... Lee, at least, will fill in for Johnson while he's out.
There weren't too many players I was sorry I didn't get. Aside from Ramirez, probably my biggest forehead slap came when Joey Votto went off the board at #278, after I passed him over to take Salty.
All in all, a solid but unspectacular roster. A little light on power, but I should have some steals to trade depending on how much action Theroit sees.