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The RotoWire 350: Preaching What I Practice

Jeff Erickson

Jeff Erickson is a co-founder of RotoWire and the only two-time winner of Baseball Writer of the Year from the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. He's also in the FSWA Hall of Fame. He roots for the Reds, Bengals, Red Wings, Pacers and Northwestern University (the real NU).

The RotoWire 350 - First March Update

This is my latest top 350 for 12-team, mixed-league drafts. I'll do one more in two weeks as part of our RotoWire Roundtable composite rankings.

If this feature is new to you, here are our standard assumptions: We're looking at a standard 12-team, 5x5 mixed league with trading allowed. To qualify at a position, the player needs 20 games there last year or 10 this year. Our hypothetical league starts two catchers. Typically I value players on 68-32 hitter/pitcher ratio on a hypothetical budget, though auction values don't necessarily perfectly translate to draft values. Where you draft is important, as the decision to pass up one commodity at the draft slot means you'll definitely get a lesser version of that commodity if you have a long wait for your next pick, whereas in an auction you can allocate your budget more to how you see fit.

So far there aren't too many additions or drops to the list (for instance, Rafael Furcal wasn't in the list to begin with), but plenty of changes in the rankings within the list.

1. Ryan Braun, OF
2. Miguel Cabrera, 3B
3. Mike Trout, OF
4. Robinson Cano, 2B
5. Andrew McCutchen, OF
6. Matt Kemp, OF - I'm starting to get cold feet a little bit about Kemp. The Dodgers are taking a pretty cautious approach with him, and I'm not entirely convinced he'll run like he used to run.
7. Jose Bautista, OF
8. Carlos Gonzalez, OF - I'm drafting seventh in my RotoWire Fantasy Baseball Online Championship, and I'm not entirely sure who I want to take. I hate this spot. Right now I'll go with Bautista over CarGo, but ask me again tomorrow. Actually, don't ask me.
9. Joey Votto, 1B - Votto still looked a little tentative on the basepaths in the World Baseball Classic; the stolen bases might be a thing of the past.
10. Albert Pujols, 1B - (Knee) still not expected to play in the field for another couple of weeks.
11. Giancarlo Stanton, OF
12. Prince Fielder, 1B
13. Justin Upton, OF
14. Bryce Harper, OF
15. Clayton Kershaw, P
16. Justin Verlander, P
17. Adrian Beltre, 3B
18. Troy Tulowitzki, SS
19. Stephen Strasburg, P
20. Buster Posey, C
21. David Wright, 3B
22. Edwin Encarnacion, 1B
23. Josh Hamilton, OF
24. Jason Heyward, OF - Dealing with a sore shoulder. Stay tuned.
25. Jay Bruce, OF
26. Jacoby Ellsbury, OF
27. Jose Reyes, SS
28. Paul Goldschmidt, 1B
29. Dustin Pedroia, 2B
30. Cliff Lee, P
31. David Price, P
32. Hanley Ramirez, SS/3B
33. Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
34. Adam Jones, OF
35. B.J. Upton, OF
36. Evan Longoria, 3B
37. Ian Kinsler, 2B
38. Allen Craig, 1B/OF
39. Ryan Zimmerman, 3B
40. Starlin Castro, SS - Dealing with inflammation in his hamstring, expected to return to action this week.
41. Billy Butler, 1B
42. Cole Hamels, P
43. Yadier Molina, C
44. Craig Kimbrel, P
45. Chase Headley, 3B
46. Freddie Freeman, 1B
47. Yu Darvish, P
48. Matt Cain, P
49. Felix Hernandez, P - Made his spring training debut finally over the weekend, peaked at 92 mph.
50. Matt Holliday, OF
51. Joe Mauer, C
52. Yoenis Cespedes, OF - Judging from what I've seen, this probably won't get him. I like the player, but I'm ok with that.
53. Jered Weaver, P
54. Carlos Santana, C
55. Brandon Phillips, 2B
56. Ben Zobrist, 2B/SS/OF
57. Jason Kipnis, 2B
58. Aramis Ramirez, 3B - Ramirez is injury prone and already has a sprained knee. He gets bumped down a little bit here.
59. Matt Wieters, C
60. Madison Bumgarner, P
61. Adam Wainwright, P
62. Alex Gordon, OF - I still find him slipping everywhere - just yesterday I picked him 113th overall in an 11-team mixed league, albeit one where we have just three OF's and two UT's.
63. Roy Halladay, P
64. Eric Hosmer, 1B
65. Anthony Rizzo, 1B
66. Miguel Montero, C
67. Wilin Rosario, C - I bought Rosario in the NL LABR auction at the same price as Montero. Have to preach what I've practiced - his playing time projection will go up accordingly.
68. Aaron Hill, 2B
69. Gio Gonzalez, P
70. Michael Bourn, OF
71. Johnny Cueto, P
72. Desmond Jennings, OF
73. Kris Medlen, P
74. James Shields, P
75. Melky Cabrera, OF
76. Chris Sale, P - Just signed a huge contract extension.
77. Ian Desmond, SS
78. Shin-Soo Choo, OF
79. Jose Altuve, 2B
80. Jimmy Rollins, SS
81. Brett Lawrie, 3B - Had to miss the WBC due to a strained rib cage.
82. CC Sabathia, P
83. Austin Jackson, OF
84. Ike Davis, 1B
85. Mike Napoli, C
86. Paul Konerko, 1B
87. Jason Motte, P
88. Alex Rios, OF
89. Curtis Granderson, OF - Fractured right forearm, out until mid-May.
90. Jonathan Papelbon, P
91. Fernando Rodney, P
92. Jordan Zimmermann, P
93. Pablo Sandoval, 3B - Heroic victory in an early spring training battle against the scale.
94. Mariano Rivera, P
95. Asdrubal Cabrera, SS
96. Mat Latos, P
97. Sergio Romo, P
98. Adam LaRoche, 1B
99. Joe Nathan, P
100. Max Scherzer, P
101. Hunter Pence, OF
102. Yovani Gallardo, P
103. Carlos Beltran, OF
104. R.A. Dickey, P
105. Jon Niese, P
106. Ryan Howard, 1B
107. Matt Moore, P
108. Elvis Andrus, SS - This is where my refusal to place much emphasis on positional scarcity really registers. You won't get Andrus this late, and I'm ok with that.
109. Mark Trumbo, OF
110. Josh Willingham, OF
111. Chris Davis, 1B/OF
112. Angel Pagan, OF
113. Nick Swisher, 1B/OF
114. Kyle Seager, 3B
115. Nelson Cruz, OF - A health scare regarding Cruz's chest turned out to be just that - a scare, and nothing more.
116. Jesus Montero, C
117. Dan Haren, P
118. J.J. Putz, P
119. Shane Victorino, OF
120. Rafael Soriano, P
121. Tom Wilhelmsen, P
122. Greg Holland, P
123. Rickie Weeks, 2B
124. Brandon Morrow, P
125. Chase Utley, 2B - His knees will always be a level of concern, but he's as healthy as he's been in three years right now.
126. Zack Greinke, P - Getting his elbow checked out in LA on Monday.
127. Derek Jeter, SS - Made his spring training debut as a DH over the weekend.
128. Salvador Perez, C
129. Pedro Alvarez, 3B
130. Justin Morneau, 1B - Looked pretty solid in the WBC, even roping a hit off of lefty Derek Holland.
131. Aroldis Chapman, P
132. Torii Hunter, OF
133. Hiroki Kuroda, P
134. Ian Kennedy, P
135. Cameron Maybin, OF - Dealing with a sore back, his second injury so far this spring.
136. Victor Martinez, C - Dealt with a sore back last week, but it appears that he's fine now.
137. Jonathan Lucroy, C
138. Alfonso Soriano, OF
139. Jayson Werth, OF
140. Dustin Ackley, 2B
141. Danny Espinosa, 2B/SS - So far his ability to play through his rotator cuff injury has gone unscathed.
142. Will Middlebrooks, 3B
143. John Axford, P
144. Mike Moustakas, 3B
145. Coco Crisp, OF
146. C.J. Wilson, P
147. Josh Reddick, OF
148. Mike Morse, OF
149. Jim Johnson, P
150. Martin Prado, 3B/OF
151. Jon Lester, P
152. Norichika Aoki, OF
153. Tim Hudson, P
154. Alejandro De Aza, OF
155. Nick Markakis, OF - Markakis has been bothered by a neck injury over the last week.
156. Kendrys Morales, 1B
157. David Ortiz, DH - Has inflammation in his heel after finally running the bases for the first time, out 5-to-7 days, might not be ready for the start of the season. I'm getting a Ryan Howard circa 2012 vibe on him.
158. Mark Teixeira, 1B - Teixeira's wrist injury will keep him out until mid-May, though he's already talking about how he won't need surgery unless he re-injures it. That could skew positive, but the fact that he even has to talk about a possible surgery scares me. I'm more confident about Granderson when he returns.
159. Josh Johnson, P
160. Howie Kendrick, 2B
161. J.P. Arencibia, C
162. Ryan Vogelsong, P
163. Jeff Samardzija, P
164. Neil Walker, 2B
165. David Freese, 3B
166. Brett Anderson, P - Injured his right trapezius in his last start, and that forced his neck to spasm. Fortunately he throws with his left arm, and that the injury itself isn't expected to be serious.
167. Mike Minor, P
168. Andre Ethier, OF
169. Chris Perez, P - Shut down with a sore shoulder, but resumed his throwing program from 60 feet Sunday.
170. Adam Dunn, 1B
171. Joel Hanrahan, P
172. Alexei Ramirez, SS
173. Glen Perkins, P
174. Jake Peavy, P
175. Doug Fister, P
176. Alexi Ogando, P
177. Ryan Doumit, C
178. Dexter Fowler, OF
179. Todd Frazier, 1B/3B
180. Dan Uggla, 2B
181. Ryan Ludwick, OF
182. Carl Crawford, OF - Had a setback and won't be ready for Opening Day.
183. Rafael Betancourt, P
184. Starling Marte, OF
185. Brian McCann, C - McCann (shoulder) has started taking batting practice before games - it appears that he's still going to be returning in mid-April.
186. A.J. Pierzynski, C
187. Jarrod Parker, P
188. Homer Bailey, P
189. Michael Saunders, OF
190. Ben Revere, OF
191. Anibal Sanchez, P
192. Matt Harvey, P
193. Jeremy Hellickson, P
194. Alcides Escobar, SS
195. Erick Aybar, SS
196. Brett Gardner, OF
197. Lorenzo Cain, OF
198. Wade Miley, P
199. Brandon Belt, 1B - Having a strong start to his spring - does Belt finally have job security?
200. Grant Balfour, P - Had arthroscopic knee surgery on Valentine's Day and is already throwing now - barring any setbacks, should be ready close to Opening Day.
201. Jonathan Broxton, P
202. Mark Reynolds, 1B
203. Jason Grilli, P
204. Addison Reed, P
205. Brandon League, P
206. Michael Cuddyer, 1B/OF
207. Michael Young, 1B/3B
208. Huston Street, P
209. Steve Cishek, P
210. Corey Hart, 1B/OF - A recent MRI showed significant healing in Hart's knee joint.
211. Tim Lincecum, P - Lincecum has been dealing with a blister on his middle finger, but pitched two innings in a simulated game over the weekend.
212. Ichiro Suzuki, OF
213. Carlos Gomez, OF - I'm still not totally onboard, but his defense is going to provide more plate appearances for Gomez, and that should translate into at least a close repeat in stolen bases, if not everything else.
214. Jason Kubel, OF
215. Justin Ruggiano, OF
216. Adam Eaton, OF - Getting a lot of love in expert leagues - he's going from being a source of cheap speed to a source of middle-tier speed.
217. A.J. Burnett, P
218. Alex Avila, C
219. Carlos Ruiz, C
220. Brandon Moss, 1B/OF
221. Dayan Viciedo, OF
222. Ernesto Frieri, P - Working on a cutter and a changeup to improve his offspeed offerings.
223. Carlos Quentin, OF - Has not yet been cleared to play the outfield this spring.
224. Matt Harrison, P
225. Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
226. Stephen Drew, SS - Has missed time over the last week with a concussion.
227. Trevor Cahill, P
228. Alex Cobb, P
229. Derek Holland, P
230. Juan Pierre, OF
231. Welington Castillo, C
232. Tyler Flowers, C
233. Lance Lynn, P
234. Wil Myers, OF
235. Garrett Jones, 1B/OF
236. Russell Martin, C
237. Josh Beckett, P
238. Manny Machado, 3B
239. Edwin Jackson, P
240. J.J. Hardy, SS
241. David Murphy, OF
242. Chris Carter, 1B
243. Jean Segura, SS
244. Billy Hamilton, SS
245. Mike Olt, 3B
246. Derek Norris, C
247. Justin Smoak, 1B
248. Kenley Jansen, P - Starting to believe in Brandon League getting the save chances more - I think this year is different from last, if for no other reason because of League's contract, a protection Javy Guerra just didn't have.
249. Matt Joyce, OF
250. Kevin Youkilis, 3B
251. Hisashi Iwakuma, P
252. Chris Young, OF
253. Wandy Rodriguez, P
254. Ryan Dempster, P
255. Michael Brantley, OF
256. Josh Rutledge, SS
257. Marco Estrada, P - Not really a sleeper any longer, at least if my drafts are any indication.
258. Chris Capuano, P
259. Kelly Johnson, 2B
260. Justin Maxwell, OF
261. Mike Fiers, P
262. Zack Cozart, SS
263. Trevor Bauer, P
264. Everth Cabrera, SS
265. Gordon Beckham, 2B
266. Lucas Duda, 1B/OF
267. Jeff Francoeur, OF
268. Yonder Alonso, 1B
269. Clay Buchholz, P
270. Wei-Yin Chen, P
271. Phil Hughes, P - Hughes is a couple of weeks behind because of his back injury.
272. Kyle Lohse, P - Still unsigned, I have to downgrade him now as it would take too long for him to ramp up to be ready by Opening Day.
273. Brandon McCarthy, P
274. Shaun Marcum, P
275. Andrelton Simmons, SS - Those paying attention to the Far East games in the WBC are aware of how good Simmons could be. Then again, those that are watching those games are probably big enough baseball geeks (and I use that affectionately) to already know about Simmons' potential.
276. Marco Scutaro, 2B/SS
277. Tommy Milone, P
278. Ervin Santana, P
279. Matt Garza, P - Garza will begin the season on the DL with a strained lat.
280. James McDonald, P
281. Casey Janssen, P - Throwing bullpen sessions now, but still hasn't seen any game action.
282. Daniel Murphy, 2B
283. Andy Pettitte, P
284. Denard Span, OF
285. Hiroyuki Nakajima, SS
286. Delmon Young, OF
287. Drew Stubbs, OF
288. A.J. Ellis, C
289. Colby Rasmus, OF - Missed some time with a pectoral injury, but he's back in action now.
290. Chris Johnson, 3B
291. Adam Lind, 1B
292. Ricky Romero, P
293. Scott Baker, P - Threw a simulated game Friday, but his velocity was two mph slower than his pre-injury fastball.
294. Kurt Suzuki, C
295. Carlos Marmol, P
296. Jhonny Peralta, SS
297. Peter Bourjos, OF
298. Gavin Floyd, P
299. Will Venable, OF
300. Ross Detwiler, P
301. Omar Infante, 2B
302. Chris Iannetta, C
303. Zach McAllister, P
304. Emilio Bonifacio, OF
305. Kyuji Fujikawa, P - Still could displace Carlos Marmol as the closer, but it's looking later rather than sooner.
306. John Jaso, C
307. Wade Davis, P - Skipped a start to rest his shoulder.
308. Carlos Pena, 1B
309. Brett Myers, P
310. Miguel Gonzalez, P
311. Scott Feldman, P
312. Yasmani Grandal, C
313. Tyler Colvin, 1B/OF
314. Paul Maholm, P
315. Jurickson Profar, SS
316. Lonnie Chisenhall, 3B
317. Lance Berkman, 1B
318. Mitch Moreland, 1B
319. Edinson Volquez, P
320. Jed Lowrie, SS
321. Josh Donaldson, 3B
322. Chris Nelson, 3B
323. Chris Tillman, P
324. Shelby Miller, P - Getting closer to winning the fifth starter's job for the Cardinals, with Trevor Rosenthal moved to the bullpen.
325. Johan Santana, P - Hasn't pitched in game action yet - seems unlikely to be ready for Opening Day.
326. Hyun-Jin Ryu, P - Ryu's rotation slot isn't guaranteed - the Dodgers have eight viable starting pitchers, and Ryu showed up to camp overweight.
327. Jordan Pacheco, 3B
328. Clayton Richard, P
329. Logan Morrison, 1B/OF
330. Travis d'Arnaud, C
331. Al Alburquerque, P
332. Bobby Parnell, P
333. Wily Peralta, P
334. Jose Veras, P - Has the inside track to be the Astros' closer.
335. Drew Storen, P
336. Rob Brantly, C
337. Jedd Gyorko, 2B - Having a big spring and getting more reps at second base thanks to Logan Forsythe's spring training injuries. Even if he starts the year in the minors, he'll be up earlier than I initially projected.
338. Jon Jay, OF
339. Seth Smith, OF
340. Andy Dirks, OF
341. Cody Ross, OF - Lower leg strain, might not be ready for Opening Day.
342. Matt Dominguez, 3B
343. Ryan Madson, P - Scheduled to throw his first bullpen session of the spring Monday.
344. Cory Luebke, P - Shut down from his throwing program after feeling pain in his surgically repaired elbow.
345. Bronson Arroyo, P
346. Robbie Erlin, P
347. Bruce Rondon, P
348. Yunel Escobar, SS
349. Oscar Taveras, OF
350. Trevor Plouffe, 3B

Added: Jose Veras
Dropped Out: Logan Forsythe