This was my first FOXSports.com "expert" fantasy baseball draft. If you looked closely, beads of sweat could be found glistening above my brow as the draft clock neared zero. The heat was on and without knowing it at the time, I was burning myself pick after embarrassing pick.
In fact, my current roster during this MLB All-Star break boasts six of the original 21 draft picks. The quick math shows my team is 28.5 percent original or 71.5 percent player pool prospects.
So, forget joining the 40/40 Club, I’m about to make some noise in Club 20/20 where hindsight is always welcomed.
Over the next two days Joel Beall and I will revisit our fantasy baseball drafts and break down who we took, why we did, the coulda’s and shoulda’s.
Coming down in 3-2-1 …
The Fine Print
Roster size: 21 players (16 starters comprising of 9 hitters and 7 pitchers, and 5 bench slots)
Positions: Catcher (1), First Base (1), Second Base (1), Shortstop (1), Third Base (1), Outfield (3), Utility (1), Starting Pitchers (3), Relief Pitchers (2), Pitchers: Starters or Relievers (2)
Scoring system: 5×5 categories (Hitting: Average, Home Runs, RBI, Stolen Bases and Runs; Pitching: Wins, Saves, Strikeouts, WHIP and ERA)
8. Ryan Howard, 1B, PHI
Why: He’s averaged 41 home runs and 132 RBI the previous three seasons. The mistake I made was discounting the value of Jayson Werth. Looking at his numbers with the Nationals this season, that may sound silly. But Werth in the five-hole forced pitchers to make a decision: pitch to Howard or Werth who averaged 29 home runs himself the last three seasons with Philadelphia. Howard has Ben Francisco in 2011. Ouch.
Why: The guy won a Cy Young despite a deplorable offense with a 2.27 ERA and 1.05 WHIP. I’m aware the Mariners failed to construct a robust offense in the off-season, but it was King Felix’s 225 strikeouts per season the last two years that sold me.
Why: I ask myself this every single day. The reason stems from the last few months of the 2010 fantasy season where I traded for Uggla and he produced on a consistent basis. My "fan goggles" blinded me to the fact this was wayyyyy too early to take the Braves second baseman. I have Darwin Barney now. He’s no Robinson Cano, but at least his average is above .200.
Could have drafted: Brandon Phillips
Should have drafted: Rickie Weeks
41. Chris Johnson, 3B, HOU
Why: I remember John Halpin made a comment following this pick. Something to the effect of "Chris Johnson in the fourth-round" and I retorted "Yes, signed Arian Foster." Halpin – 1 Fowler – 0. I really believed Johnson was ready to break out in 2011. Two issues with this: he’s currently hitting .243 with 74 strikeouts and I could have drafted him four to five rounds later. If we don’t fail, we never learn. Write that down.
Could have drafted: Aramis Ramirez
Should have drafted: Justin Verlander
56. Austin Jackson, OF, DET
Why: I was in search of runs and stolen bases with a high average. Jackson has 43 runs and 15 stolen bases to go along with 100 strikeouts and a .245 batting average through 91 games. He scored 103 runs with 27 stolen bases while batting .293 last season (170 strikeouts).
Could have drafted: Michael Bourn
Should have drafted: Jacoby Ellsbury
65. Corey Hart, OF, MIL
Why: You may disagree, but I look at Hart as the Carlos Quentin of the National League. He’s a guy with good power that can drive in some runs. Hart starting the season on the disabled list and missing a good chunk of the first half drastically devalued this pick (know that we drafted on January 10th). In 60 games, Hart has 10 bombs and has driven in 26.
Could have drafted: Josh Johnson
Should have drafted: Curtis Granderson (everybody saw this coming … right?)
80. Dan Hudson, SP, ARI
Why: Hudson is 9-1 since April 26th. He shaved his ERA from 5.92 to 3.74 over that time span. His 99 strikeouts rank him 33rd in MLB. This is why I drafted him. His 0-4 start to the season and fat ERA was why I dropped him. I admit it was a knee-jerk reaction. I’m the jerk. Funny sidenote: I dropped Hudson to pick up Barney (robbing Peter to pay Paul). Kyle Lohse would later fill the spot in the rotation.
Could have drafted: Trevor Cahill
Should have drafted: Dan Hudson
89. Mike Aviles, 2B, KC
Why: I tried to get too cute with this pick. It became my first hard lesson of why spring training stats should be taken with a grain of salt (Mike Morse contradicts this notion). Aviles hit .356 in the spring and would provide my team a jolt in the stolen base category. He’s currently a member of the Omaha Storm Chasers after his .213 BA and .257 OBP effort with the Royals didn’t impress the front office or this owner.
Could have drafted: Where do I begin?
Should have drafted: Michael Bourn
104. Tim Hudson, SP, ATL
Why: A 17-game winner with an ERA under 3.00 was available. Hudson has double-digit wins in all but ONE season (when he was recovering from Tommy John surgery).
Could have drafted: Josh Beckett
Should have drafted: Tim Hudson
113. Brett Gardner, OF, NYY
Why: Speed. I held my breath and prayed Joe Girardi would bat him either first (.290 BA in 2010) or eighth (.310 BA in 2010) and not ninth (.243 BA in 2010). Only then would Gardner improve upon his 47 stolen bases. He has 98 plate appearances in the nine-hole and is hitting .207 and 106 PA leading off, but could only muster a .215 clip in the first half. Overall Gardner has produced a .265 average with 43 runs and 23 SB, but has been caught stealing 10 times (was CS nine times in 150 games in 2010).
Could have drafted: Michael Bourn (again)
Should have drafted: Adam Lind
128. Ryan Franklin, RP, STL
Why: Saves and the goatee. I admit I did not see the 8.46 ERA coming.
Could have drafted: John Axford
Should have drafted: Joel Hanrahan
137. C.J. Wilson, SP, TEX
Why: Strikeouts and an offense to back him up.
Could have drafted: Edwin Jackson
Should have drafted: C.J. Wilson (nine wins and 117 Ks at the break)
152. Jorge Posada, C, NYY
Why: Needed a catcher.
Could have drafted: Carlos Ruiz
Should have drafted: Alex Avila
161. Joe Nathan, RP, MIN
Why: Saves … eventually.
Could have drafted: Leo Nunez
Should have drafted: John Axford
176. Jose Valverde, RP, DET
Could have drafted: Jose Valverde
Should have drafted: Jose Valverde (zero BSV at the break)
185. Placido Polanco, 3B, PHI
Why: Consistency at the plate.
Could have drafted: Howie Kendrick
Should have drafted: James Shields
200. Carlos Lee, 1B/OF, HOU
Why: Home runs.
Could have drafted: Lance Berkman
Should have drafted: Lance Berkman
209. Carlos Ruiz, C, PHI
Why: Questions about Jorge’s job security.
Could have drafted: Kurt Suzuki
Should have drafted: Alex Avila
224. Ryan Ludwick, OF, SD
Why: Although I wouldn’t trade him for Hanley Ramirez, I wanted his bat on my bench.
Could have drafted: Mike Morse
Should have drafted: Asdrubal Cabrera
233. Ty Wigginton, 1B/2B/3B, COL
Why: Colorado’s thin air and Wigginton’s big bat.
Could have drafted: Jeff Francouer
Should have drafted: Asdrubal Cabrera
248. Cliff Pennington, SS, OAK
Why: Just in case Aviles didn’t pan out. Ouch.
Could have drafted: Jair Jurrjens (second-to-last pick)
Should have drafted: Erick Aybar
It’s last call at the 20/20 Club! A friendly reminder to owners: do your homework and make a good decision before picking up any free agents and heading for home. We will see you back here in October.