You know fantasy baseball season is upon us when the first fantasy baseball experts league draft takes place, as the 13 participants gathered in Las Vegas on Thursday night. You can find the complete draft results in the link below, but i will offer some thoughts as well.
First, the participants:
Steve Gardner - USA Today
Glenn Colton and Rick Wolf - Sirius XM Radio
Ron Shandler - Baseball HQ and Shandler Park
Charlie Wiegert - CDM Sports
Anthony Perri - Fantistics
Tom Kessenich and Greg Ambrosius - NFBC
Lawr Michaels and Todd Zola - Mastersball
Dr. Roto Mark Bloom - Scout Fantasy
Christopher Liss - Rotowire
Jeff Paur - RT Sports
Jeff Mans - Fantasy Alarm
Ray Flowers - SiriusXM Radio/Fantasy Alarm
Mike Cardano - RotoExperts
The Crazy First Round
Yeah, there were some surprising picks made in the first round, none more surprising than Anthony Rizzo being selected with the 7th overall pick, and Miguel Cabrera falling to the NINTH pick. Here's a look at the players selected in the first round:
1. Mike Trout, Angels (Steve Gardner)
2. Andrew McCutchen, Pirates (Glenn Colton and Rick Wolf )
3. Jose Abreu, White Sox (Ron Shandler)
4. Paul Goldschmidt, Diamondbacks (Charlie Wiegert )
5. Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers (Anthony Perri)
6. Giancarlo Stanton, Marlins (Tom Kessenich and Greg Ambrosius)
7. Anthony RIzzo, Cubs (Lawr Michaels and Todd Zola)
8. Carlos Gomez, Brewers (Dr. Roto Mark Bloom)
9. Miguel Cabrera, Tigers (Christopher Liss)
10. Adam Jones, Orioles (Jeff Paur)
11. Felix Hernandez, Mariners (Jeff Mans)
12. Robinson Cano, Mariners (Ray Flowers)
13. Jose Bautista, Blue Jays (Mike Cardano)
No surprises with the first pick in the draft, as Mike Trout was selected by Steve Garder of the USA Today. Can't go wrong with Trout at #1.
I have to say I am a little surprised with McCutchen going off as the second overall pick in the draft. He's certainly not a reach, as he is one of the best players in the game, but I felt that Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton or Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw would go at #2.
Ron Shandler took White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu with the third overall pick, and you really can't blame him. Abreu at #3 was a bit of a surprise, but Abreu did it all last season and should repeat in a better White Sox lineup in 2015.
Charlie Wiegert selected Diamondbacks first baseman Paul Goldschmidt with the fourth pick. Goldy is coming off an injury, but should have another fine season at the plate in the hitter friendly environment at Chase Field.
Greg and Tom from the NFBC must have been pretty happy that Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton fell to them at the six spot in the draft. Stanton stayed healthy all year last year and I wouldn't be surprised we see a 40 home run season out of him in 2015. The only question mark is whether he will be scarred from the beaning he took last year. Hopefully not, for fantasy owners, Marlins fans and the Marlins front office.
The guys from Mastersballs pulled off the biggest surprise of the first round by selecting Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo with the seventh pick. I don't see Rizzo as a first round pick…..yet…..but he did hit .286 with 32 home runs last season, led all first baseman in fWAR last year, and is only 25 years old. I would love to know what they know about Rizzo that helped them make the decision to draft Rizzo at 7 overall.
Next off the board was Brewers outfielder Carlos Gomez. I can't blame Dr. Roto for jumping at the opportunity to grab Gomez as he has become one of the more valuable fantasy hitters due to his power and speed skills.
Chris Liss must have been giggling when Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera fell to him at the 9 spot in the draft. There are definitely concerns about Miggy's health as we approach spring training, but he has shown that he can play hurt, and hit when he is hurt. He won't start baseball activities for another few weeks, but it is a good sign that he has been approved to remove the walking boot he has been wearing since his surgery.
At #10, Jeff Paur from RT Sports got one of the most consistent fantasy hitters out there in Orioles outfielder Adam Jones. You can count on a .280+ batting average, 25-30 home runs, and 90+ RBI from Jones year in and year out.
With the 11th pick, Jeff Man from Fantasy Alarm grabbed the American League version of Clayton Kershaw, Felix Hernandez. In an era where run scoring is down, Felix is a first round pick as he provides owners with elite level stats in four categories. The Mariners are shaping up to be one of the better teams in the AL in 2015, could this be his first 20 win season?
At #12, Ray Flowers from SiriusXM Radio and Fantasy Alarm grabbed what I call a "safe" pick in Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano. Cano's power dropped after signing with the Mariners, but his other counting stats and batting average were solid once again in 2014. Can we see a little more power from Cano in 2015?
With the last pick in the first round, Mike Cardano grabbed one of the premier power hitters in the game in Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista. One really can't argue drafting power in the first round, and Bautista, when healthy, is one of the best.
Top 50 Overall Rankings
I am going to start my Top 50 Overall Rankings this weekend and post them as soon as they are completed, so check back this weekend for that. I will update them as I progress toward my top 200-300 rankings heading into spring training.
If you are looking for more fantasy baseball rankings, make sure you check out Fantasy Rundown, your one stop on the 'net for all of your fantasy news and rankings.