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Rounding Third
By Jeff Erickson
RotoWire Senior Editor


Article first appeared 2/28/2012.

Late February Updated Top 200

This is our top 200 for 12-team, mixed-league drafts. It assumes that you start two catchers, start 14 hitters and 9 pitchers. If this were to translate to auction values, it would assume a 70-30 hitter/pitcher split. Hence, pitchers end up slotting below where they might otherwise, especially closers. Your mileage, of course, may vary as you plot your draft strategy.

1. Miguel Cabrera, 1B - Cabrera is as reliable as it gets these days. The safest pick on the board. I've decided to value reliability a little bit more, and thus have Miggy and Pujols 1-2. That he'll eventually, probably, qualify at third base can't hurt, but that wasn't what pushed him to the top.
2. Albert Pujols, 1B.
3. Ryan Braun, OF - Braun immediately goes back into the top-five with his suspension overturned.
4. Matt Kemp, OF - Very slight downgrade - I don't want to fully pay for a career year, but let's face it, 2010 is the outlier.
5. Jose Bautista, 3B/OF.
6. Troy Tulowitzki, SS - I initially didn't give a positional scarcity boost to shortstops, but I think one is merited towards the elite of the position, so Tulo moves up to #6.
7. Robinson Cano, 2B - If I'm going to boost Tulo, I have to boost Cano, too.
8. Joey Votto, 1B.
9. Adrian Gonzalez, 1B - Gonzalez should hit more homers this year - his drop in homers last year might have been more due to his shoulder rather than playing in Fenway.
10. Jacoby Ellsbury, OF.
11. Carlos Gonzalez, OF.
12. Justin Upton, OF.
13. Evan Longoria, 3B.
14. Prince Fielder, 1B.
15. Dustin Pedroia, 2B.
16. Hanley Ramirez, SS.
17. Ian Kinsler, 2B.
18. Curtis Granderson, OF.
19. Mike Stanton, OF - I understand the arguments against Stanton this high, but in a league where power is at such a premium, I'm still willing to take the risk. That he has a history of improving with each successive year at a level is encouraging to me, and he's still had just 1.5 seasons at the majors and hasn't hit his peak. If your plan is to avoid batting average risks early on, however, he's a bad fit for you.
20. Mark Teixeira, 1B.
21. Clayton Kershaw, P - Kershaw and Halladay are lower this time than last, which is entirely reflective of my preference to start off with two hitters in snake drafts if possible.
22. Roy Halladay, P.
23. David Wright, 3B.
24. Andrew McCutchen, OF.
25. Jose Reyes, SS.
26. Carlos Santana, C - This assumes you're in a two-catcher league.
27. Cliff Lee, P.
28. Adrian Beltre, 3B - This is a slight overpay based strictly on the stats, but it reflects how I'd choose to build my team.
29. Brett Lawrie, 3B - I get the notion that we undervalue reliability at the expense of upside at times, but since when are Lawrie's peers at third base (Zimmerman, Aramis Ramirez or even A-Rod at this point) considered reliable? I think he's this year's Mike Stanton - pass on him at your own peril.
30. Starlin Castro, SS.
31. Alex Gordon, OF - If he sticks at leadoff all season, given him a handful fewer RBI and more runs scored.
32. Desmond Jennings, OF - It's a risk to put him this early, but at least in many of my circles, this is where I have to take the plunge to get him.
33. Shin-Soo Choo, OF.
34. Justin Verlander, P.
35. Cole Hamels, P.
36. Josh Hamilton, OF.
37. Matt Holliday, OF.
38. Buster Posey, C.
39. Felix Hernandez, P.
40. Hunter Pence, OF.
41. Paul Konerko, 1B.
42. Tim Lincecum, P.
43. Jay Bruce, OF.
44. Ryan Zimmerman, 3B - Contract extension at least removes that aspect of uncertainty for Zimmerman, but this still isn't high enough to get him. Your mileage may vary.
45. Mike Napoli, C - Napoli is making good progress with his ankle.
46. Brian McCann, C.
47. B.J. Upton, OF - You won't have to pay this much to get Upton, if my past drafts are any indication.
48. CC Sabathia, P.
49. David Price, P.
50. Nelson Cruz, OF.
51. Aramis Ramirez, 3B.
52. Michael Cuddyer, OF/1B.
53. Elvis Andrus, SS.
54. Michael Bourn, OF.
55. Alex Rodriguez, 3B.
56. Eric Hosmer, 1B - A slight tweak to my values to bump up power and de-emphasize speed made Hosmer jump up significantly in my rankings.
57. Yovani Gallardo, P.
58. Jered Weaver, P.
59. Zack Greinke, P.
60. Jon Lester, P.
61. Stephen Strasburg, P - The only reason he's not even higher on my board is because of a potential innings cap.
62. Dan Haren, P - There's some potential he'll get overdrafted because of last year's season.
63. Adam Jones, OF.
64. Brandon Phillips, 2B.
65. Dan Uggla, 2B.
66. Ben Zobrist, 2B/OF - Why is Zobrist's ADP significantly below that of Phillips and Uggla?
67. Matt Cain, P - It's amazing what adding two wins to a pitcher's projection does to his overall value, and somewhat depressing, given how fluky wins are as a category.
68. Pablo Sandoval, 3B.
69. Michael Young, 3B.
70. Miguel Montero, C.
71. Joe Mauer, C.
72. Matt Wieters, C.
73. Drew Stubbs, OF.
74. Dan Hudson, P.
75. Mark Reynolds, 3B.
76. Kevin Youkilis, 3B - This is where the drop-off is among third basemen, depending upon how you value Martin Prado.
77. Shane Victorino, OF.
78. Derek Jeter, SS.
79. Jayson Werth, OF.
80. Andre Ethier, OF.
81. Ricky Romero, P.
82. Josh Beckett, P.
83. James Shields, P.
84. C.J. Wilson, P.
85. Craig Kimbrel, P.
86. Rickie Weeks, 2B.
87. Chase Utley, 2B.
88. Asdrubal Cabrera, SS.
89. Alex Avila, C.
90. Mariano Rivera, P.
91. Matt Garza, P - The flip side of Cain - see what happens when you remove two wins from a projection.
92. John Axford, P.
93. Corey Hart, OF.
94. Ichiro Suzuki, OF.
95. Carl Crawford, OF - Gets hurt both by a de-emphasis of speed and a reduction of projected playing time due to his wrist injury.
96. Jason Heyward, OF - Looks to be closer to the 2010 version than the 2011 version, though this is before the heat of games.
97. Drew Storen, P.
98. Jonathan Papelbon, P.
99. Madison Bumgarner, P.
100. Michael Morse, 1B/OF - Big dropoff at first base in the NL this year.
101. Matt Moore, P.
102. Mat Latos, P.
103. Adam Wainwright, P.
104. Dee Gordon, SS - Also moves down considerably with the declining value of a marginal stolen base.
105. Jimmy Rollins, SS.
106. David Ortiz, DH.
107. Ike Davis, 1B.
108. Paul Goldschmidt, 1B.
109. Danny Espinosa, 2B.
110. Chris Young, OF.
111. Jemile Weeks, 2B.
112. Yu Darvish, P - I trust the Rangers' track record in Japan, plus he's different from the profile of other pitchers that have come over.
113. Cory Luebke, P.
114. Josh Johnson, P.
115. Ian Kennedy, P.
116. Lance Berkman, 1B/OF.
117. Howie Kendrick, 2B/OF.
118. Neil Walker, 2B - Walker gets a small bump up with the greater emphasis on power.
119. Nick Swisher, OF - As does Swisher.
120. Alexei Ramirez, SS.
121. Johnny Cueto, P.
122. Derek Holland, P.
123. Brandon Beachy, P.
124. Ryan Madson, P.
125. Gio Gonzalez, P.
126. Michael Pineda, P.
127. Peter Bourjos, OF.
128. Billy Butler, DH.
129. Brett Gardner, OF.
130. Kenley Jansen, P - Hasn't yet been named the closer, so this is a bit of a leap of faith.
131. Max Scherzer, P.
132. Cameron Maybin, OF.
133. J.P. Arencibia, C.
134. Colby Lewis, P.
135. Brandon McCarthy, P.
136. Brandon League, P.
137. Jason Kipnis, 2B.
138. Gaby Sanchez, 1B.
139. Chris Carpenter, P.
140. Anibal Sanchez, P.
141. Freddie Freeman, 1B - Watch out to see if Freeman's knee injury lasts any longer than the two weeks he's projected to miss.
142. Logan Morrison, OF.
143. Tommy Hanson, P - Hanson stays down this low because of last season's shoulder woes, not because of his concussion this spring.
144. Jaime Garcia, P.
145. J.J. Putz, P.
146. Joel Hanrahan, P.
147. Jason Motte, P.
148. Rafael Betancourt, P.
149. Coco Crisp, OF.
150. Wandy Rodriguez, P.
151. Yadier Molina, C.
152. Adam Lind, 1B - Lind is another player that benefited from me raising the value of power and lowering that of steals.
153. Trevor Cahill, P.
154. Scott Baker, P.
155. Ubaldo Jimenez, P.
156. Brian Wilson, P - So far, so good this spring. That Wilson “admitted” he was pitching with elbow pain all season doesn't do much to make me more optimistic about this season, as that in and of itself isn't proof that his elbow will be better this year.
157. Jordan Zimmermann, P.
158. Joe Nathan, P.
159. Erick Aybar, SS.
160. Vernon Wells, OF.
161. Ryan Howard, 1B - Howard is ahead of schedule on his rehab from his Achilles' injury.
162. J.J. Hardy, SS.
163. Hiroki Kuroda, P - More run support with the Yankees, but Kuroda also switches over to the tougher league and in a tougher ballpark.
164. Brandon Morrow, P.
165. Alexi Ogando, P.
166. Carlos Marmol, P.
167. Huston Street, P.
168. Jose Valverde, P.
169. Carlos Beltran, OF.
170. Tim Hudson, P - Out for the first month of the season with his recovery from back surgery.
171. Nick Markakis, OF - Markakis had abdominal surgery in January and might not be ready for the start of the season.
172. Sergio Santos, P.
173. Jordan Walden, P.
174. Joakim Soria, P.
175. Bud Norris, P.
176. Ervin Santana, P.
177. Doug Fister, P.
178. Torii Hunter, OF.
179. Angel Pagan, OF.
180. Yoenis Cespedes, OF - Oakland might hurt him from a park effects standpoint, but he'll be up quicker.
181. Jeff Francoeur, OF.
182. Carlos Pena, 1B.
183. Kelly Johnson, 2B.
184. Martin Prado, 3B/OF.
185. David Freese, 3B.
186. Heath Bell, P.
187. Grant Balfour, P.
188. Andrew Bailey, P - Current injury illustrates why I don't have them higher.
189. Jhoulys Chacin, P.
190. Mike Moustakas, 3B.
191. Chris Perez, P - Will miss a good chunk of spring training with an oblique injury.
192. Melky Cabrera, OF.
193. Austin Jackson, OF.
194. Matt Joyce, OF.
195. Jeremy Hellickson, P.
196. Emilio Bonifacio, SS/3B/OF - Bonifacio has more job security with Cespedes signing in Oakland.
197. Dustin Ackley, 2B.
198. Ryan Roberts, 3B/2B.
199. Colby Rasmus, OF.
200. Jhonny Peralta, SS.

Dropping Out:

Victor Martinez
Mark Trumbo
Stephen Drew
R.A. Dickey

New To the List:

Carlos Pena
Kelly Johnson
Jhoulys Chacin
Yoenis Cespedes