Winners and Losers of My 2012 MLB Fantasy Draft! Pick by Pick We Study 10 Teams

James Kennedy@jkhey1234Contributor IMarch 23, 2012

Pujols and Kemp are both legit No. 1 overall Fantasy picks.
Pujols and Kemp are both legit No. 1 overall Fantasy picks.Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Welcome to a behind-the-scenes look of my finished 2012 MLB Fantasy League, which is comprised of 10 competitive baseball minds in a non-keeper, H2H format!

This is your chance to follow along and vote on the good moves and bad, the brilliant strategies and the questionable ones and how you would have done things differently!

The draft that is about to unfold in this article is an actual major website "snake" fantasy draft that took place five days ago.  Baseball news unfolds so quickly during this time of year, so it will be interesting to see if those five days have already rendered some picks (and even teams) already brilliant, and if that time has already crippled certain owners.

You are encouraged to vote along as you will be asked at every turn to comment on what you think about each move and strategy, and what you would have done differently.  Have fun, enjoy and hopefully learn from the mistakes!

1Matt Kemp, LAD OFTeam Kemp
2Robinson Cano, NYY 2B  James Kennedy's Team
3Albert Pujols, LAA 1BTeam Pujols
4Ryan Braun, Mil OFTeam Braun
5Miguel Cabrera, Det 1BTeam Cabrera
6Jose Bautista, Tor 3BTeam Bautista
7Troy Tulowitzki, Col SSTeam Tulo
8Joey Votto, Cin 1BTeam Votto
9Roy Halladay, Phi SPTeam Doc
10Justin Verlander, Det SPTeam Verlander

Don't hate me because I'm unconventional, but yes, I know that my pick seems to be the one that sticks out in the very first round.  Before you deem me "Mickey the Dunce," hear me out.  With the second pick (which means I wouldn't choose another player again until 17 picks later), I had my pick of anyone in the league not dating Rihanna.  (Yes, reportedly Kemp is).  Out of these nine remaining players, let me quickly tell you what kept me away.

With Pujols, nothing really kept me away, but I was uncertain if a change in leagues and a new enormous contract might lead to a slight drop in production, which in Pujols's case, since he only explodes in the HR and RBI categories, may not be worthy of a #2 pick.  Braun has too much on his mind.  Cabrera and Bautista are good players, but I had already thought of players at 1B and 3B I'd be taking. 

Tulowitzki would have been my next best option, as the reason I drafted Cano was solely because of the lack of second baseman that could near his output.  Tulo is similar, in that it would be hard to find a SS that good.  And I wasn't going pitcher, a position which I feel is has a deep amount of quality this year, and to me, Votto just inst a first-rounder.

So Cano it was.

In my opinion, Votto and Halladay were the most shaky picks, as Jacoby Ellsbury and Adrian Gonzalez would have been my choices. 

Round 2 leads off with Team Verlander and Team Doc picking first and second, respectively.  The round played out like this:

11Cliff Lee, Phi SPTeam Verlander
12Prince Fielder, Det 1BTeam Doc
13Hanley Ramirez, Mia SSTeam Votto
14Adrian Gonzalez, Bos 1BTeam Tulo
15Jacoby Ellsbury, Bos OFTeam Bautista
16Evan Longoria, TB 3BTeam Cabrera
17Clayton Kershaw, LAD SPTeam Braun
18Dustin Pedroia, Bos 2BTeam Pujols
19Carlos Gonzalez, Col OF  James Kennedy's Team
20Giancarlo Stanton, Mia OFTeam Kemp

Team Verlander adds Cliff Lee, setting up a 1-2 punch in the rotation.  I'm not thrilled with the idea, so I'll ask you to weigh in here.

Picks 14 and 15 are impressive, considering both, on average, go in Round 1.  First base is actually thin this year, but OF isn't.  Ellsbury is the better pick, as he will contribute to more categories.  I feel I'm one of the few minority team owners that don't rely on mock draft averages to make my picks; rather, I key in on certain guys I want, and draft them about one round earlier than where they go on average. 

Many will argue that "taking the best player on the board" is a better strategy, but the board isn't even based on history, but rather "projections" from various prognosticators.  That's fine and well, but as a team owner, don't you want to be the one who makes projections?  Isn't that the point of this?

Kershaw stands out to me as a reach this early.  How many runs are the Dodgers going to score for him?  Can he improve on a CY Young year?  Pedroia is solid, but seems to have stretches too often where he's injured or slumping for weeks at a time. 

And despite my love for five-tool wunderkinds, I think Hanley Ramirez is rated way too high, as he has a marginal lineup around him to maximize multi-category contributions.  Longoria fits in that same category, but he's even less attractive, as he only excels in the typical "power/RBI" mold. 

I really liked my Car-Go pick at 19, and for some reason, despite my ballyhoo over "power only" guys, I feel "TAFKAMS" (aka The Artist Formerly Known As Mike Stanton) may have a 2010 Jose Bautista-esque season with an insane amount of home runs.

21Jose Reyes, Mia SSTeam Kemp
22Andrew McCutchen, Pit OF  James Kennedy's Team
23Tim Lincecum, SF SPTeam Pujols
24Felix Hernandez, Sea SPTeam Braun
25Justin Upton, Ari OFTeam Cabrera
26Mark Teixeira, NYY 1BTeam Bautista
27Curtis Granderson, NYY OFTeam Tulo
28Ian Kinsler, Tex 2BTeam Votto
29Josh Hamilton, Tex OFTeam Doc
30CC Sabathia, NYY SPTeam Verlander

Let's be honest, the first few rounds of any draft aren't the most debatable, as these players are bona fide superstars.  Age and injury-riddled pasts are really the only things you can argue against—unless you're looking at Team Verlander. 

Taking CC after Verlander and Lee seems goofy, as most of the "tough position" studs will be gone by Pick 31 (in which he takes Adrian Beltre). Chicks dig the long ball, but do pitchers win fantasy leagues?  By this point I am pretty sure I have ID'd Team Verlander's M.O.: he is a newbie, and  playing this by ear.


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