As MLB Opening Day approaches us, I had one last draft to complete for the year. This is my second year in this particular league and I managed to finish 4th last year. It is a keeper league, last year we drafted 30 players, and were able to keep 20 players for the 12’ season. I needed to draft 10 players to complete my roster. I managed to grab 2 picks in the first round (3rd and 9th overall out of 10 teams). With my first selection, the 3rd overall pick in round 21, I grabbed Arizona Diamondback starting 1B Paul Goldschmidt.
As expected, Goldschmidt does have trouble with the AVG, and I realize that, however, I was able to look past it and hopefully nab my 1B of the future for this team in round 21. Thus far this spring, he is batting just .255, .553 SLG, and .950 OPS. He has hit 3 HR, with 9 RBI, and 3 EBH. At this point late in the draft, if you can find a player with 30 HR potential, you need to grab him up, even if he is a bench player.
In round 23, with the 8th overall pick in this round, I selected Kansas City CF Lorenzo Cain. I have had my eyes set on Cain this whole spring, and was hoping he would turn out. So far, so good, now if he can only keep up the work and keep the starting CF job, as well as hold down the No. 2 slot in the batting order. I can see the Royals putting up runs this year, with Power bats in Billy Butler, Eric Hosmer, Jeff Francouer, Alex Gordon, and Mike Moustakas. Cain is batting .431, with .843 SLG, and 1.316 OPS. He has 22 H, 9 2B, and 4 HR in just 51 AB.
In round 26, I grabbed San Francisco LF Brandon Belt. Belt has played particularly well this spring, batting .382, .636 SLG, 1.063 OPS. If Brandon can continue his sweet swing into April, he will have earned the starting LF job and perhaps 1B if Aubrey Huff struggles early on. Belt has hit 3 HR, this spring with 7 RBI. Belt should be hitting in the No. 6 Hole and could produce some great sleeper numbers in the long run. Once again, drafting Belt in these late rounds is a gamble, but with a guy who rocked the ball in the minor leagues, as he swept through all 3 levels in one season, why would you not pick him up in round 26.
With my last pick in round 29, I grabbed ex-Redsox prospect and favorite 1B Anthony Rizzo. Yes I realize Rizzo was sent down to AAA, however, he was not going to get the starting 1B job at Wrigley anyways. Once LaHair struggles and Rizzo is producing at AAA, look for a swap of players. Both Rizzo and LaHair have done an excellent job this spring, but it is LaHairs’ to lose and perhaps it’s Rizzos’ job to put pressure on him. In 14 games, and 33 AB, Rizzo has 2 HR, 5 RBI, 12 H, while batting .364, with a .545 SLG, and .962 OPS. Rizzo will be playing my bench for the entire season, and I will not give up on him.
With 200 keepers being kept before this draft, it is amazing how deep the offensive categories are. The players listed above always have high ceiling potential as does any prospect, but if players can produce good numbers and picked in the last 10 rounds of any draft, it is a win-win situation.