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NL-only Sportsline.com Experts Draft Results

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As I mentioned before, I participated in an NL-only Experts Draft over at CBS Sportsline earlier today. I was representing the Roto Times, and I was joined by representatives from Baseball Info Solutions, Rotowire.com, Patton and Co., Elias Sports Bureau, CBS Sportsline, FantasyBaseball.com, Mastersball.com, SportsBlurb.com and Baseball Prospectus.

This certainly wasn't a mock draft -- we'll be playing this one out. Using a standard 23-man roster and a seven-man bench, we drafted 30 rounds in roughly four hours. I had the fifth pick in the first round, and after Albert Pujols, David Wright, Derrek Lee and Chase Utley were taken off the board, I picked up Bobby Abreu. I came back with Lance Berkman in the second round, Roy Oswalt in the third, Chad Tracy in the fourth and John Smoltz in the fifth. The rest of my roster is below, and you can view everyone else's roster on Sportsline.

#    Pos.    Name
188    C    Javier Valentin (CIN)
212    C    Dioner Navarro (LA)

20      1B    Lance Berkman (HOU)
44      3B    Chad Tracy (ARI)
173    CI    Tony Clark (ARI)

101    2B    Luis A. Gonzalez (COL)
92      SS    David Eckstein (STL)
221    MI    Rich Aurilia (CIN)

5        OF    Bobby Abreu (PHI)
68      OF    Randy Winn (SF)
116    OF    Juan Encarnacion (STL)
140    OF    Dave Roberts (SD)
149    OF    Cory Sullivan (COL)

29      P    Roy Oswalt (HOU)
53      P    John Smoltz (ATL)
77      P    Eric Gagne (LA)
125    P    Matt Morris (SF)
164    P    Travis Bowyer (FLA)
197    P    Anthony Reyes (STL)
245    P    Brett Tomko (LA)
269    P    Brandon Medders (ARI)
293    P    Clay Hensley (SD)

Bench:
260    1B    Brad Eldred (PIT)
236    2B    Tony Womack (CIN)
284    2B    Dan Ugga (FLA)
356    SS    Anderson Hernandez (NYM)
332    OF    Richard Hildalgo (unsigned FA)
341    OF    Ben Johnson (SD)
308    P    Jose Capellan (MIL)
317    P    Chad Billingsley (LA)

The way I figure, I made a couple of big mistakes. I shouldn't have panicked about my middle infielders. David Eckstein in the 8th round was a respectable pick, but coming right back and taking the Rockies' Luis Gonzalez in the ninth was just silly. I regretted it as soon as I hit the "draft" button, and the frustration mounted as I saw a string of respectable outfielders taken that I should have more strongly considered: Preston Wilson, Austin Kearns, Mike Cameron, Luis Gonzalez (AZ), Jacque Jones, etc. In hindsight, I should have waited at least an extra round, taken an outfielder in the ninth and drafted Josh Barfield in the 10th, like Pattan and Co. did.

Around the middle of the draft I became self-conscious about my lack of power, which is why I drafted Tony Clark as a starting CI, Brad Eldred as a reserve, and Richard Hidalgo as a reserve (if he signs with an AL team, I'll lose him, but with the 332nd pick in the draft, it was worth a shot). I might have some speed to deal later in the year with David Roberts in my starting lineup and Tony Womack and Anderson Hernandez on my bench.

I decided to take a shot on Travis Bowyer in the 14th round, ideally hedging my bets in case he didn't win Florida's closing job by picking up Joe Borowski a few rounds later. Unfortunately, David Gonos of Sportsline must have figured that battle would go the other way, because two spots before my turn he took Borowski. I stuck to my guns and still took Bowyer, just because he was the best potential closer left, but I wonder if I could have waited at least another round, since he suddenly became a lot less valuable to every team that did not have Borowski.

I was on the fence about taking young Cardinals stud Anthony Reyes or former Cardinals vet Matt Morris in the 11th round. I was this close to taking Reyes, but was talked out of it by my Roto Times colleague Nate Ravitz, who lives in St. Louis and suggested it might be a 50-50 chance that Reyes opens the year in the bullpen minors. So I went with Morris, who I'm hoping will enjoy Pac Bell... err, SBC... I mean, AT&T Park. In the end, it completely worked out, as the rest of my leaguemates must have been just as concerned about Reyes and I was able to snag him in the 17th.

My catchers basically suck, no need to point that out. But at least Javier Valentin will (hopefully) hit for power while (hopefully) not tallying a lot of at-bats. I'm not really convinced Dioner Navarro is completely ready, but he has a heck of a lot more upside than any of the other guys that were still available. I was thinking about taking a chance on new Rockies catcher Yorvit Torrealba as my second guy, but Will Carroll of Baseball Prospectus snagged him at the top of the 18th round, several picks before I eventually took Navarro.

As for my bench, I took Eldred strictly for his power, just in case he ends up with a starting job. Uggla could be a nice sleeper this year, as could be Anderson Hernandez if he somehow finds his way past Kaz Matsui and Bret Boone with the Mets. I don't expect to ever play Tony Womack, but if he ends up starting and starts racking up the steals, he'll be a useful bargaining chip. I figured Ben Johnson would be a good insurance policy on Dave Roberts, and I like Jose Capelellan and Chad Billingsley as sleeper pitchers, no matter what role they play.

Any questions? Comments? Let me know what you think in the comments section.