Experts draft: Top 10 bargains

BY foxsports • February 9, 2011

See the top 10 bargains from a recent experts draft for the FOX Sports Fantasy Baseball Magazine. The rotisserie draft consisted of 12 experts and 21 rounds using a 5x5 scoring system.

View all 252 picks of a recent experts draft.

1. Alexis Rios, OF, Chicago White Sox (6th round, pick 68)

Rios didn’t have a disastrous 2009 season, though his 41 games in Chicago certainly didn’t inspire anyone. As a result, owners backed off in 2010, and Rios responded with a career year (with 21 home runs, 88 RBI, 34 stolen bases and a .284 batting average). He was the 17th outfielder selected in this particular draft, which is a tremendous value based upon his five-year run of solid five-category production.

2. Francisco Liriano, SP, Minnesota (6th round, pick 70)

Liriano won 14 games in his second full season back from injury. He reduced his ERA markedly, while lowering his walk and hit rates. Liriano’s strikeout punch is back in full effect. We just might see a return to his 2006 brilliance.

3. Josh Johnson, SP, Florida (7th round, pick 73)

The 6-foot-7 behemoth has averaged one strikeout per inning in the past two seasons while locating his pitches more effectively. Johnson was the 19th starting pitcher selected in this draft despite his miniscule ERA and WHIP numbers.

4. Carlos Santana, C, Cleveland (9th round, pick 92)

I drafted Buster Posey in the fourth round. I love the selection, but I like this one even more. Santana is a powerhouse in the making (with 19 extra-base hits in 150 at-bats) and at least one reason to get excited about Cleveland. I ranked him highly this spring, so I certainly did not expect a five-round spread between my Posey selection and this one.

5. Matt Garza, SP, Chicago Cubs (11th round, pick 131)

I’m torn on Garza upon his arrival to Chicago. He generated a sub-4.00 ERA in three consecutive seasons for the Rays in the rough AL East. The move to Chicago allows him to face pitchers and more weak-hitting middle infielders. Can he reduce the number of home runs surrendered in Wrigley Field? If so, there’s tremendous upside from this selection point.

6. Jason Bay, OF, New York Mets (14th round, pick 157)

Bay was a top-10 outfielder during draft season one year ago. His power numbers disappeared last season. Bay missed 67 games because of injuries and had to adjust to his new Citi Field home. He’s a fantastic bounce-back candidate.

7. Joe Nathan, RP, Minnesota (14th round, pick 161)

Nathan had become one of the most prolific closers of the past decade prior to last year’s injury. He’s expected to be ready early in 2011 for the always-competitive Twins. If his velocity returns, Nathan will put up numbers in line with the leaders in every category. I suspect that he’s brought along slowly (perhaps a reason that he slid here) before returning to his everyday role.

8. Mark Reynolds, 3B, Baltimore (15th round, pick 172)

Reynolds won’t bat .198 again. He may not rebound to his past batting average heights, but a rise to his .260 career mark with great power and a few stolen bases constitutes a steal here.

9. Aaron Hill, 2B, Toronto (18th round, pick 212)

Hill is a .270 career hitter. Owners may have been scared off by last season’s .205 mark, but he was a victim of bad luck. Hill still hit 26 home runs with 22 home runs in his 138 games. Take the power and bank on his batting average to rebound in line with his career mark.

10. Mike Adams, RP, San Diego (21st round, pick 252)

Adams is the forgotten man in the San Diego bullpen. Heath Bell is the closer with Luke Gregerson waiting in the wings. Still, Adams is a strikeout machine (more than one per innings pitched) with a career 2.31 ERA. He logs enough innings to help shore up a team’s production in three pitching categories.

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