Here’s a post that’s gonna make you wanna slap ya mama and call her Frances Fisher. The other day I told you how to draft your pitchers for 2012 fantasy baseball. I laid it out to you nice and simple (if you have a degree in “What The Hell Is Grey Talking About?” Not a PhD, mind you. Just a BS.) Today, we forget all that jabberwocky on the who-ha and get down to business old school-style (which means if you don’t comprehend, I will hit you over the head with a baseball bat signed by Joe Clark.) What I’m hoping to lay out to you is who do you draft 2nd if you’ve drafted so and so first. I think it might be helpful to go through pairings for your 5 outfielders, all your middle and corner infielders too. I’m not sure I’ll have the time or patience to do them though. We’ll see! Or not. Your choice. For easy reference, the royal we will be using the top 10 2012 fantasy baseball rankings and the top 20 2012 fantasy baseball rankings. I’m going to assume you’re in a 12 team, 5×5, MI, CI, 5 OF, 1 Utility, 1 Catcher league. Anyway, here’s some pairings for the first two rounds of 2012 fantasy baseball drafts:
Miguel Cabrera – I’d put him with just about anyone, but another 1st baseman. The reality of the situation is you want to get someone that is going to give you a few steals, say, 10. A third baseman would work, but it might be unrealistic to think you’re going to get Longoria. That leaves you with Wright. That doesn’t sound too shabby. Think about how for the last five years prior to 2011 and you would’ve loved to have Wright and Miggy on the same team. I say, live in the past and do it. But I’d say “Do it” like Ben Stiller in the Starsky & Hutch remake. Now it’s totally not ideal to grab Wright if you think Miggy will get 3rd base eligibility. Right now, I put it at about 85% that he will have 3rd base eligibility within a few weeks of Opening Day, so if you wanna grab an outfielder instead, I’m not hating the game or the playa (that’s not Spanish for beach). I say grab Andrew McCutchen or Jay Bruce. Wanna go for a 2nd baseman? Kinsler might be there. Swiggy with one of those three looks real nice to me. Your team would be balanced heading off to the third pick. Someone like Reyes or Hanley would also work, though they might not be there. Now, the risk with not grabbing a 3rd baseman is if Miggy starts treating grounders at third like they’re empty beer cans and starts booting them. Then you may have punted 3rd and Miggy is sent back to first before his 3rd base eligibility kicks in. Kicks being the operative word. Really, as long as you avoid a 1st baseman, catcher and a starter while getting some combo of power and speed, you should be fine. For those of you who are thinking you can grab a 1st baseman and then move Miggy to 3rd two weeks in, you’re screwed if Miggy doesn’t get 3rd base eligibility, even if that possibility is only slim. And, yes, that’s the only time Miggy and slim will ever be used in a sentence. In summation, don’t put unnecessary risk on the table in the first two rounds.
Albert Pujols – More or less the same deal as Miggy, obviously without the possible 3rd base eligibility caveat. I wouldn’t worry about anything other than trying to get a 2nd pick with at least 10 steals, and no 1st baseman, catcher or starter.
Joey Votto – You could pair Votto with Yuniesky Betancourt and you’d be fine. Votto’s that good. Wouldn’t be surprised if he’s a number one pick next year. Let’s run away together, Joey! Wait, what am I saying? Oh, pairings, right. Yeah, you don’t want Votto with a 1st baseman, obviously. He’s similar to Miggy and Pujols. You want a third baseman, but he can work with just about anything.
Jose Bautista – Hey, something other than a 1st baseman. Yay, Joey Bats! Anyone but a 3rd baseman would work. You really want a 1st baseman. (This is a common theme. Leave the first two rounds with a 3rd baseman and a 1st baseman and you’re in better shape than the schmohawk who took Hanley and Cano.) Also, I worry that Bautista’s average might bottom out a little (to the .265 range), so I’d avoid a guy like Kinsler or Stanton. You don’t want to leave the 2nd round with a potential combined average of .260. If you take Baustista and a 3rd baseman because you think Bautista can play your outfield, you’re overthinking. Think of Bautista as a 3rd baseman. If during the season you need to put him in the outfield because you picked up a 3rd baseman off waivers, then more power to you. Right now you don’t put him in the outfield because then you’re only going to draft 4 outfielders and scrounge for a 3rd baseman. Your 3rd baseman is gonna be crap and you’re gonna end up with Bautista there anyway and you’re gonna be short at outfield. One thing you can do later on is draft a 3rd baseman at your corner infidel slot. Then if he does well, you can move him into 3rd, Bautista into your outfield and have the flexibility to grab a 1st baseman or 3rd baseman off waivers for your corner slot.
Evan Longoria – Since Longoria’s speed is a little wonky, I’d have no problem pairing him with a guy like Kemp, McCutchen or Reyes. Kemp might not be realistic though considering he’s been going first in some mocks. In my fantasy fantasy world, they’d both be there though. Same goes for Ellsbury. I’d even pair Longoria with Pedroia since he usually gives hella at-bats and a decent average. Someone like Kinsler or Stanton aren’t terrible, but you’re putting yourself in a potential average hole that you’ll need to dig out of later. Just keep in mind, Longoria’s average and steals may need help.
Matt Kemp – Position-wise, he doesn’t go with many. Stats-wise, he goes with everyone, except a pitcher. This is probably why he’s going number one overall in mocks. The problem with that is you draft Kemp and you have one outfielder but still need four more of those and have no infielders. That guarantees you will leave the 2nd round missing at least two of 2nd base, 1st base or 3rd base. In the best case scenario, you draft Kemp and Longoria or Wright, so you don’t have to worry about 3rd base. If you get Kemp and Longoria or Wright, you’ll need to pray your Hosmer, Konerko or other 1st base pick works out. Otherwise, it might be a long season. Remember, Hosmer looks great right now, but if he was a sure thing, he’d be going in the first round. If you can get Kemp and Prince Fielder, then more power to you, though that seems like a pipe dream in the mocks I’ve seen. Kemp and Kinsler is okay, but then you have no 1st baseman or 3rd baseman and you’ll be up against teams with Miggy, Pujols, Longoria, Prince etc. I.e., you’ll be doomed. Kemp plus another outfielder is you throwing in the towel after the first two rounds.
Troy Tulowitzki – This isn’t about pairing, but I don’t see how I’m going to draft Tulo in any league this year. Just going too early for my taste. Any the hoo! If I do, I’d give a lookie-loo to a 1st baseman or 3rd baseman, Sam I am, ma’am. Since Tulo is a power threat at a normally weaker position, I’d also take a speed/power outfielder (McCutchen, CarGo). You are dealing with more risk though if you go the speed route with your second pick because if Tulo craps out with another injury and you have, say, McCutchen, you may only get around 35 homers combined from your first two picks while Fielder can produce that by himself. I’d also be wary of going with CarGo. Not because of the team thing, but more because of the injury-prone thing. I don’t love the idea of Cano and Tulo. You’re all middle infield. Why don’t you just go and marry Adam Everett? Realistically, if you have to draft Tulo in the top 5 to get him, you’re gonna be looking at Wright, Beltre or Bruce at the end of the 2nd round. I’d take any of them, but now with Bruce, you will have no corner infidels. It’s precarious. (Do you see why I always try to go 1st base or 3rd base in the 1st round?)
Justin Upton – Upton is similar to Kemp. No outfielders with him. You really should take a corner man. Longoria’s great if he’s still there, Fielder will work wonders and clean up after himself!
Prince Fielder – I’d take Longoria with Fielder, I’d also take Fielder with Longoria. See how that works? Since Fielder is power first, I’d pair him with Reyes, Hanley or McCutchen too. He’s a similar pairing to Pujols and Miggy. Kinsler? Fine! Wright? Great! Instead of gum, chew bacon! It all works!
Adrian Gonzalez – He could have a bit more risk than Fielder on the average side, but for our purposes he’s nearly identical to Fielder in projections and pairing.
Robinson Cano – No Kinsler or Pedroia. Similarly to Tulo, since Cano is a power threat at a normally weaker position, I’d take a speed/power outfielder (McCutchen, CarGo), a 1st baseman or a 3rd baseman. I’d try to avoid Reyes or Hanley. You don’t want to have to scrounge together an outfield and two corners leaving the 2nd round.
Jacoby Ellsbury – You don’t want an outfielder. You can take Reyes, Hanley, Pedroia or Kinsler, but then you might only have 35-40 homers after two picks and some people are getting that with one pick. If a 1st baseman (Votto, Fielder) is there, then you just scored. If no one is there without reaching down to David Wright, you might have yourself a Javid Wrightsbury combo player that goes 60/60. Or you might get a player that hurts his hamstring and complains the fences are still too far, leaving you wanting Justdrian Gonzaton. (<–And that’s how you make an already confusing post, more confusing!)