I have already participated in two online pools, and there are some developing trends that are truly shocking. Even in the opening rounds I’ve seen some risky picks. I love Miguel Cabrera’s potential in the revamped Marlins’ lineup, and I see him going .300,40,110 in the not too distant future, maybe even this season, but on Sunday I witnessed him going no. 1 in a mixed-league head-to-head. Yup, before A-Rod, Pujols, Vladdy and Beltran, but its not as far fetched as it sounds. After all, Pujols is hurt coming into the season, A-Rod has developed the reputation of being soft, Beltran hit .260 in a contract year, and Vladdy’s back is always a cause for concern.
People are willing to take chances on younger guys, knowing that at least one or two of them will take the next step. The same goes for all positions, where owners would rather draft last year’s ERA champ Jake Peavy, who only pitched 166.1 innings last season, than 42-year old Roger Clemens, who still strikes out more than a batter per inning.
Here are some trends I’ve noticed thus far that could affect your draft strategy:
Stock falling: Mike Piazza is by no means the catcher of old, but how many backstops can claim they even remotely have a shot at 25 homers? If you don’t get your hands on Javy or V-Mart, Piazza is your next choice. So why is it that one-season-wonders like Johnny Estrada and Michael Barrett are being taken in the first 10 rounds, but Piazza is barely a starter in a 12-team mixed league?
Adam Dunn: When I drafted him for $19 in an auction league last season, a rival owner joked that Dunn would be more valuable if strikeouts were a category. My reply was simply that his unbelievable power would finally translate in 45 homers. We were both right, since he did hit 46 dingers, but he also set the major league record for whiffs in a season. Apparently all anyone remembers are the strikeouts, because I was chastised for taking him in the fifth round this season. He has as good a chance as anyone to lead the league in homers this season.
Erubiel Durazo: Grab him in Yahoo pools, since he’s only listed as a utility hitter. It’s a contract year for the DH; so 30 homers are not out of the question. I snagged him in round 15, while the other prominent DH, Travis Hafner, went in round 5.
Stock rising: Dallas McPherson has been going at around the same time as David Wright. This despite his early season injury that could keep him out opening day, and his horrendous K-BB ratio. His power potential is amazing, and he’s great for keeper leagues, but to expect Adam Dunn-like production is foolish for this blue-chipper
Boston Red Sox: Everyone becomes a chowd on draft day. You can forget about David Ortiz and Man Ram after the first round, but overrated Sox are going early too. I saw their new SS Edgar Renteria go in the late second round. Matt Clement is considered a top-20 starter. Even Bronson Arroyo is being taken ahead of established NL starters Brian Lawrence, Brandon Webb and Kip Wells. If it’s an auction league, I suggest calling up the overrated “idiots” early.
Beware the Ides of March. No, I’m not talking about Mark McGwire crying out with one final breath, “Es tu Jos