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Between the two middle infield positions, I tend to draft a 2nd baseman early and punt shortstop.  This happens for a few reasons.  1) 2nd base has more talent.  That’s right, I draft the deeper position earlier.  Same reason I punt catchers and try to get a 1st baseman early.  If a position is deep, a lot of your leaguemates are going to have one of the top guys.  You don’t want to be one of the 3 or 4 teams without a top guy.  2) There’s less difference between a middle-tiered shortstop and a bottom-tiered one.  (Same could be said of catchers.  We have a theme!  Or is it a genre?  No, it’s a theme!) 3) Shortstops tend to give value with the steal.  You can find cheap steals later.  Most of the 2nd basemen on this list are going after the top 150 in your 2011 fantasy drafts.  This is a supplement to the top 20 2nd basemen of 2011 fantasy baseball. These are 2nd basemen that I’ll be setting the ol’ crosshairs on at my 2011 fantasy drafts after the top options are gone.  Click on the player’s name where applicable to read more and see their 2011 projections.  Anyway, here’s some 2nd basemen to target for 2011 fantasy baseball:

Ryan Raburn – Love him.  No, no I don’t.  Love’s not strong enough.  I lurve him, Woody Allen.  And with all of this lurve, if he doesn’t have 2nd base eligibility in your league, you say alas and wave to him with your WWII-era hat as your train leaves the station.

Aaron Hill – I imagine after Uggla’s average plummets back to .250 and Hill’s average reverts back to its norm in 2011, they will be drafted near each other in 2012.  It’s a hunch.  Sorry to burst your Uggla bubble, or Buggla if you’re into portmanteaus. BTW, my first released album was “Bursting Bugglas.”  Wasn’t that well-received.

Danny Espinosa – His ADP is 340 in mock drafts. Around the same spot as Stephen Strasburg, who is, obviously, not playing this year. Oh, wait, I know! Strasburg is being mock drafted in mock keepers. Gotcha. You people are sneaky!

Howie Kendrick – I could see the universe throwing me some kind of sick, twisted curveball where I end up drafting Kendrick and Russell Martin on the same team. See, two guys I never liked before this year and now I’m liking them. Eh, it’s not important if everyone understands what I’m saying.

Gordon Beckham – Here’s what I said in the top 20 2nd basemen post, “He started to show signs in the 2nd half (in 171 ABs, 6 home runs and a .310 average).  Some continuation of that progress and he’ll outproduce his draft spot.  There’s still 15 homer power in his mollywhoppers and 10 steal speed in his gams.”  And that’s me cutting and pasting me!

Sean Rodriguez – To save one commenter the time, I don’t know if Sean-Rod is starting.  For where he’s being drafted, it doesn’t matter.  Take a flyer.  If it doesn’t work out, you can always grab a different MI.

Eric Young Jr. – Please refer 1/8th of an inch above or what I said about Sean-Rod.

Neil Walker – He’s currently at 264 on the Mock Draft Central ADP list.  Is he really over a 100 spots behind Mike Aviles?  Wait, is Mike Aviles family all drafting Aviles in the first round to bump up his draft slot?

Tsuyoshi Nishioka – I had an interesting exchange with Rudy the other day on IM. He IM’d me, “Do a sleeper post about Tsuyoshi.” I IM’d him back, “I already highlighted him in my rankings and talked about him when the Twins signed him.” He IM’d back, “Sorry, I don’t read your posts.”

Jose Lopez – Well, ain’t that an exciting name to end the targets with!  Yeah, Jose Lopez is yawnstipating to draft.  Sure, you’re right, but guess his age.  No, lower.  Lower still.  No, he’s not twelve years old!  He’s 27.  It would shock you if a 27-year-old went to Coors and hit 25 homers, matching his career high that he achieved while playing in Safeco?  Wouldn’t shock me.  Cust kayin’.

From Around The Web

  1. OaktownSteve

    OaktownSteve says:
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    If Walker hits 3rd all year between McCutch, Tabata and Alvarez, he looks real nice there. He was a three sport star in Pennsylvania and he’s like 6’3″ 220. A good athlete all around. Like him a lot this year.

    Rodriguez is a big guy too. I saw him hit a game winning home run in Oakland last year off Craig “Smartest Man in Baseball” Breslow that was just absolutely pure. Crushed to straight away where you don’t see a lot of balls hit in Oakland.

    Spring training is one long exercise in seeing your sleepers get hyped.

  2. Wilsonian says:
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    Starting to wonder if having three of these guys (Rayburn, Hill, Sean Rod) on one 16 Team H2H league (we do play 2 UTIL spots, luckily) is a good thing or if I drank waaaay too much of the 2B Kool-Aid this sason…

  3. Buddo Chezuski says:
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    solid chuckle out of this one:

    “mock drafted in mock keepers”

    and the IM exchange with Rudy as well

  4. Wilsonian says:
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    @Wilsonian: damn, should say “season” not “sason”. I’m not exactly sure what a “sason” is.

  5. JustMatt says:
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    Without properly thinking through the hurt my actions might cause, much like my platoon-make Johny Gomes, I celebrated being the second-poster in this space when Adam Wainwright’s injury was announced. My singing and celebrating was not directed towards Mr. Wainwright. If anyone has a direct number for the Cardinals, I would like to apologize to the team as well. Thank you.

  6. Wake Up says:
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    @Wilsonian: its like a French season it isn’t that athletic and doesn’t shower much…

  7. Jimmy says:
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    Hey Grey, does the Utley “injury” news worry you in that hes getting old and injury prone or excite you in that he might fall a bit in drafts making him more of a bargain?

  8. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @OaktownSteve: If he hits third all year, he’ll be huge. I do have some doubts about him though.

    @Wilsonian: Maybe a bit much.

    @Buddo Chezuski: Thanks!

    @JustMatt: Your conscience is clear, man. Don’t beat yourself up about it.

  9. mockme says:
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    re: UGGLA, i had just checked his stats right before you put this up, I like Uggla, but in the 3rd round? People are buying last year and not really looking at the dude that hit .243-.260 the previous 3 seasons, not a near .290 hitter. Sure he’ll get you 30 HR’s, but the 100 rbi’s isn’t even a lock with this guy, in that ATL lineup it should happen, but who knows. I’m just not really all about taking .240 hitters with my 3rd pick, unless they’re hittingme 85 HRs.

    I agree with you grey that Hill and Uggla will both be mid round picks next year say rounds 5-8, depending on 2011.

  10. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Jimmy: Worries me a bit, but it’s too early to say how much. Need to hear how he’s going to be moving forward in the next week or so.

  11. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @mockme: Yeah, Uggla’s a bit high this year and Hill’s a bit low. They’re pretty close to even in value.

  12. Commish Cauda says:
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    Not a 2B question, but I have a dilemma just the same…

    20-team, mixed, H2H-Points Keeper League

    In the middle of our slow draft. I’m a year or two away from contending. It’s my turn and the following pitchers are far and away the best values compared to the bats available.

    Chris Carpenter
    Roy Oswalt
    Shaun Marcum

    I can put anywhere up to a 5-year contract on whoever I pick. I think Carpenter would be the choice if I were contending in 2011, but that is not the case. Oswalt is higher ranked but Marcum is younger.

    Who would you choose?

    Thanks.

    MJC

  13. eduardo says:
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    hi. this is my first auction draft this year. what do you think, is good team or not? last 5 picks was autobid

    1. Dustin Pedroia (Bos – 2B) $30
    2. Max Scherzer (Det – SP) $9
    3. José Reyes (NYM – SS) $29
    4. Kevin Youkilis (Bos – 1B) $26
    5. CC Sabathia (NYY – SP) $21
    6. Ichiro Suzuki (Sea – OF) $19
    7. Andre Ethier (LAD – OF) $19
    8. Jayson Werth (Was – OF) $21
    9. Carlos Santana (Cle – C) $10
    10. B.J. Upton (TB – OF) $11
    11. Aramis Ramírez (ChC – 3B) $13
    12. Casey McGehee (Mil – 3B) $3
    13. Jonathan Sánchez (SF – SP) $7
    14. Hiroki Kuroda (LAD – SP) $5
    15. Carlos Peña (ChC – 1B) $2
    16. Jose Tabata (Pit – OF) $5
    17. Carlos Zambrano (ChC – SP,RP) $3
    18. Bobby Abreu (LAA – OF) $2
    19. Phil Hughes (NYY – SP) $4
    20. Ryan Franklin (StL – RP) $1
    21. Luke Gregerson (SD – RP) $2
    22. Alfonso Soriano (ChC – OF) $2
    23. David Aardsma (Sea – RP) $1

  14. camram003 says:
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    Grey, I’m in a 20 team league, 5×5 and have the 4th and 37th overall pick. I usually punt catcher but should I take a catcher with the 37th pick, i know you like mccann in two catcher leagues, but how high? or should I go for someone like McCutchen in that spot? Thanks.

  15. mockme says:
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    Im thinking I need to start taking HEYWARD more in my drafts, i always end up with mccutch, and i love both, but i keep getting tabata on my team as well and mix a neil walker in that mix, wow…. too many pirates! I will say the pirates have something brewing, if they could ONLY get some pitching…..

    what do u think grey? go with heyward…. even if mccutch is batting 3rd?

  16. Frank Rizzo says:
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    As a Tiger fan, I like Raburn but don’t lurve him. His fielding in left is so atrocious that if he falters much at the plate we could see him sharing quite a bit or being replaced by Wells or Boesch.

    I really like Aaron Hill and could see me punting 2b and taking him late. He probably won’t be at the top of the order anymore but could bat 5th or 6th and supply power numbers along with a much better BA than last year. He could be a steal.

    2B is maybe deeper than some think while 1B and Outfield aren’t. I could see myself passing on a stud 2b for 1B, 3B, or outfielders early.

  17. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Commish Cauda: Marcum

    @eduardo: You have a bunch of picks I don’t like but you know that from reading my rankings. Sorry, don’t love the team.

    @camram003: I’d take McCutchen.

    @mockme: Someone just said above Walker was batting 3rd.

  18. NewBVick says:
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    Circle gets the square for Jose Lopez. Four in a row, diagonally! Pretty sneaky, sis.

  19. Wilsonian says:
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    @Grey: but the Kool-Aid tasted so good and that giant Kool-Aid guy kept jumping through the wall every time it was my pick and I just kept drinking and drinking.

  20. OaktownSteve

    OaktownSteve says:
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    @Grey: Walker hit third very consistently the end of last year, but just checked the early spring box scores and it looks like they are leaning Tabata-Walker-McCutch. Still not a bad slot.

  21. trick dad says:
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    In a Yahoo league, I have Kinsler and Sizemore. With the injury-proneness of the two, Raburn is the perfect back up (2B, LF, CF, RF eligible). If only I could use him in two slots!

  22. Big Nate says:
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    Grey – In my 14 team auction league please help me choose my 4 keepers out of the following:

    Aaron Hill – 9
    Uggla – 16
    Crawford – 38
    Weaver – 18
    Hanley – 48
    Big Tex – 41
    Oswalt – 16

    I’m leaning towards going with both of the 2B’s and offsetting their power with Crawford’s speed but I defer to you o wise sage of swing.

  23. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Big Nate: Tex, Crawford, Uggla and Oswalt…

  24. Big Nate says:
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    @Grey: I’m on board with ponying up for a big 1B but do you think that $41 is too high a price for Tex? In my current budget, I have allocated $35 and hoping to land Miggy, Votto or Howard.

  25. A Hill O' Beans says:
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    I think Hill is going to end up on almost all my teams, he is just being ranked WAY too low by most. One bad season of AVG (helped by injuries and that horrible BABIP) and it’s like he’s being forgotten by most. Too much value there to pass up.

    Okay, I think this may be my best team….or at least it looks that way to me, spring is full of hope right?

    12 team keeper league, first year of the league and I had the 10th pick. Players are going to be kept 2 rounds before you draft them, except anybody drafted in the 18th and on would be kept in the 16th round (* of course you can’t keep 2 guys in the same round unless you have 2 picks in that round). So essentially you’d only be able to keep 1 guy you draft after the 17th round.

    Here goes:

    C – Salty (25)
    1B – Teixeira (2)
    2B – Hill (10)
    SS – Andrus (8)
    3B – Youkilis (3) * When he’s eligible after 5 starts
    CI – Beltre (6)
    MI – A. Escobar (20)
    OF – Braun (1)
    OF – J. Upton (4)
    OF – Gardner (11)
    UT – G. Sanchez (23)
    Bench – Berkman (21), D. Brown (15), Moustakas (17)

    SP – J. Johnson (5)
    SP – Liriano (7)
    SP – Marcum (9)
    RP – Broxton (12)
    RP – Axford (14)
    P – D. Hudson (13)
    P – Kuroda (18)
    P – I. Kennedy (19)
    P – Kimbrel (16)
    Bench – League (22), Farnsworth (24)

    Looks pretty decent right? I ran all the teams through the WAR Room (Which is AWESOME if I haven’t already mentioned that) and it has my team with 95 points and the second place team with……79 points! So I think for this year I should be pretty decent. Plus, with the way the keepers are set up, I figured rounds 15, 16 and 17 would be good spots to pick some prospects, so I got Dominic Brown, Kimbrel and Moustakas.

    Okay, now you can bring me back down to earth Grey, or anybody else!

  26. Steve says:
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    @Grey: Stupid question time – if you do get one of the better 2Bs earlier in the draft, are these guys good MI options?

    Or are you rummaging around in a different bag for those?

  27. Clodbuster says:
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    @Grey: Hey Grey, will you explain why you like Gardner(81) this year but not Pierre? Thanks!

  28. Francis says:
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    @Grey: Interesting. Mine would be Uggla, Crawford, Weaver, and Hanley. Maybe Hill over Crawford. I guess in auction keepers I go for value. I think BigNate can get Tex for close to $41 again if he really wants him. I am always intrigued by your strategy in auction keeper leagues. Thanks for always responding and doing an amazing job!

  29. dsimon says:
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    Does anyone have an opening in an RCL they’re running? My email is simon daniel j at gmail with of course no spaces. Hit me up and I’ll sign up. I finished, I think 5th last year in my RCL so I was no slouch just letting it slide after May.

    Thanks,

    Dan

  30. Big Nate says:
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    @Francis: My current thinking is Uggla, Hill, Weaver and Crawford. I paid $45 for Hanley last year (the most expensive pick of the draft) so I’m certain that I could get him back for less than $45. I’m just struggling with Hill’s “value” at $9. I’ve seen rankings where he’s at $22 and others where he is at $6. I’m also questioning the “value” of Crawford at $38….He complements Uggla at 2B and Hill at MI so well though.

  31. Curt says:
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    Your trade evaluation….CC Sabathia, Josh Hamilton, Brett Gardner and Mike Minor for Hunter Pence, Krispie Young, Madison Baumgartner and Jhoulys Chacin…….I have power, but my ace before this trade was Oswalt…..I would be the team getting CC……Fair trade???

  32. Eddy says:
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    Grey, how deep does a league have to be to roster Morse at CI?

  33. Beau Bracksih says:
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    I’m in a deep keeper league that counts holds. I have very solid SP depth but could use a potentially dominant closer. I’ve been offered Jacob McGee for Josh Beckett. I like Beckett to bounce back this year, but I like McGee as a possible closer this year, or a very solid SP down the road. Is McGee enough for Beckett?

  34. Eddy says:
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    @Eddy:

    Apologies, I meant Moreland, not Morse.

  35. Lava says:
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    Uh oh, Raburn is featured on Yahoo today. Get him while the getting’s good!

  36. Cain Fan says:
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    Grey, being that you IM I am (stutterer) guessing that you must be between 28-30. I have begun to notice that the only people left IMing are those in that age bracket. Either you text or make phone calls. Weird how fast that died out (well not really).

  37. Cain Fan says:
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    @Curt: I like your end better, as long as Hamilton doesn’t do his every other down year thing.

  38. Curt says:
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    @Cain Fan: Thanx

  39. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Big Nate: $41 is a bit steep.

    @A Hill O’ Beans: Nothing bad to say about the team, looks very solid.

    @Steve: Usually I take steals at MI, so some of these guys are fine at MI.

    @Clodbuster: He can hit for some slight power.

    @Francis: No problem.

    @dsimon: You should email the last organizer in the sign up post.

    @Curt: It’s fine for you.

    @Eddy: 15 teams

    @Beau Bracksih: I’d get an actual closer with Beckett.

    @Cain Fan: It’s easy for Rudy and I to quickly talk about a topic over IM rather than email, text or calls.

  40. Buge Hoobs says:
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    @Grey: (two ?s similar to Steve’s not so stoopid one)

    For s’s and g’s I’m conducting a mock solitaire draft using your rankings and current ADPs for a 10 team standard 5X5 league.

    Pick 1: Pujols
    Pick 20: Zimmerman (getting the corners done with)
    Pick 21: Kemp
    Pick 40: CC
    Pick 41: ???

    You say that you could see yourself owning Kinsler this year, well here it is. Right here right now, push comes to shove, are you:

    picking up your 28th ranked Kinsler,
    OR
    Punting for A. Hill and picking up
    a 2nd OF like #22-24 J-Up, Heyward, McCutch
    or possibly Lester and fortify pitching?
    None of them are making it back for the 61.

    AND

    When would you target Raburn for your MI spot? last pick? or a little earlier to make sure you get your lurve because you’re not sure if you’re competing with any fellow Razzers.

  41. Mr2Bits says:
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    Grey : 10 team keeper. Who would you go after first as its slim pickings? Tex or Halladay?

  42. Mr2Bits says:
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    @Mr2Bits:

    Also keep in mind its a QS league and not wins.

  43. Giant JJ says:
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    Grey,
    I’m going to follow the advice you give in your tiers rankings but I’m in a 20 team league and your tiers rankings are based on a 12 team. I would think the advice works the same in a deep league. Is there something I’m missing or something I should keep in mind? Thanks.

  44. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Buge Hoobs: I wouldn’t draft CC so those aren’t my rankings and I wouldn’t take two top tier SPs either.

    @Mr2Bits: Tex

    @Giant JJ: Works fine, make sure you have you have starting players at every hitting spot. Don’t take flyers on guys like Eric Young or Desmond Jennings because there’s not enough on waivers to fix your potential problems.

  45. Emporersmonkey says:
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    If any of you are doing the Salary Cap Fantasy Baseball on facebook I started a league with the name “Razzball”.

    Join up if you wanna, it would be great to go against some of you guys.

  46. Jim says:
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    Grey,

    What about Erik Bedard as a late sleeper. reports out of Spring Training is he’s looking good. Take him as a last pick in draft, gets hurt u cut him. No loss. When he pitches hes good and has some upside.

  47. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Jim: Sure, as a last round pick if he’s healthy. Wouldn’t draft him before that.

  48. Buge Hoobs says:
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    @Grey:

    In a previous post, you said that in a 10 man league starting 7 P (any mix of SP, MRP, RP) that you would have to be more aggressive drafting your hurlers.

    Looking at your rankings, the only one I’ve looked at this year, I see CC at 45 and Lester from your “I’m going to have one of these” tier at 49. I know that you are wary of CC, but you still have him ranked higher than Lester, no??? I don’t see how this isn’t using your rankings.

  49. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Buge Hoobs: Ranked higher for someone else to take. You shouldn’t be taking a starter at pick 40 unless it’s Halladay.

  50. MAC DADDY says:
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    @Jim:
    I took Bedard late last year because I had fond memories of a few years ago. He would have to go VERY cheap in my auction to go there again.

  51. Arod Loves Frost says:
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    Grey:

    How would you adjust your draft approach for a 7×6 format with 3 of the offensive categories being semi redundant (hits, average, OPS) the other 4 are standard Runs, HR, RBIS and Steals.

    It seems to seriously inflate the value of the normally crappolanco type players while deflating guys like Krispie Young. Would you alter your draft strategy at all? ie instead of punting catcher make sure and grab mauer/posey?

  52. Tom says:
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    Hey Grey

    Who should i keep this year – Jay Bruce or Francisco Liriano – Liriano right?

  53. herschel says:
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    @Grey: which 1b/3b pairing do you prefer? votto and youk or fielder/howard and zim?

    thanks.

  54. Luke T says:
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    Hi Grey,
    I know you get a ton of these types of questions, I’ll try to keep it short and sweet. I use your top 100 in my mock drafts. I am drafting 11th in my league so that is where I mock draft from. I consistently wind up with the same guys, Wright and Howard 1-2. At pick 4 I have a toss up usually between B. Phillips and J. Hey. Should I take Phillips, or draft J. Hey and wait for Hill. Also, I consistently draft Liriano first for pitching, then Gallardo usually falls to me (not in this draft). Is that a godd one two for you. The rest usually works out as you see. Thanks for the head up.

    1. David Wright (NYM – 3B)
    2. Ryan Howard (Phi – 1B)
    3. Justin Upton (Ari – OF)
    4. Jason Heyward (Atl – OF)
    5. Francisco Liriano (Min – SP)
    6. Elvis Andrus (Tex – SS)
    7. Chris Young (Ari – OF)
    8. Roy Oswalt (Phi – SP)
    9. Mark Reynolds (Bal – 3B)
    10. Aaron Hill (Tor – 2B)
    11. Brett Anderson (Oak – SP)
    12. Brett Gardner (NYY – OF)
    13. Gio González (Oak – SP)
    14. Edinson Vólquez (Cin – SP)
    15. Craig Kimbrel (Atl – RP)
    16. Joel Hanrahan (Pit – RP)
    17. Jose Tabata (Pit – OF)
    18. Ian Kennedy (Ari – SP)
    19. Johnny Cueto (Cin – SP)
    20. Frank Francisco (Tor – RP)
    21. Matt Capps (Min – RP)
    22. Chris Sale (CWS – RP)
    23. Jarrod Saltalamacchia (Bos – C)

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