I'm in too many leagues, let's just establish this up front. I wasn't even sure of the exact count until I went through today's exercise. It's seven, in all.
When you go through the draft and auction car wash that many times, you're going to wind up with a few common thread players. For better or for worse, these players will be a large defining point to my season. (Players are listed by the number of times I selected them.)
Coco Crisp(notes): No one has a problem with his skills, it's a matter of staying on the field. He's the Rickie Weeks(notes) of center fielders. If Crisp can stay out of harm's way for even 120 games, he's a major profit guy. If he can't, it's not the end of the world – outfield is fairly deep and you get a replacement for two months.
Derek Jeter(notes): This doesn't count all the mocks I selected him in. Regression isn't always linear. The womb of the Yankees lineup provides a nice floor. Jeter was still a useful player last year even when he hit .270 – go look at the counting numbers again – and I'd venture anything his average improves in 2011.
Francisco Cordero(notes): I'm forever going ugly at closer, and the buzz of Aroldis Chapman(notes) made Cordero a good, cheap option this spring. I'm banking on two things: closing really isn't that hard to do, and Dusty Baker is patient with his veterans.
Carlos Zambrano(notes): When the Cubs put him back in the rotation last year and left him alone, he was fantastic. I don't need Zambrano to be an ace, just someone worth using every week as a support guy.
Brett Gardner(notes): Please let him bat leadoff most of the time, Joe Girardi. Do the right thing. Gardner vs. Jacoby Ellsbury(notes) could be a dead heat in 2011, and Gardner came much cheaper in all formats.
Bill Hall(notes): A sneaky power/speed guy. Peter King hated on him most of last summer, which made me appreciate Hall more. The Astros have no choice but to play Hall every day. Have fun with the Crawford Boxes.
Carlos Pena: I'm just asking him to hit .240. That's not asking too much, is it?
Mark Teixeira(notes): There's not a lot of difference between him, Ryan Howard(notes) and Prince Fielder(notes), value-wise, though they're all good at different things. Being parked in New York makes Teixeira a safe play.
Shin-Soo Choo(notes): His haul from the last two years is almost identical, and there's something to be said for knowing what you're paying for in the third round. Choo no longer has to worry about pending military service.
I thought Jonathan Papelbon(notes) (misunderstood 2010) and Matt Garza(notes) (fly-ballers are not death sentences) would be on a lot of my clubs, but I only got them once each. And I kept missing Gio Gonzalez(notes), who everyone is obviously in love with.
Some notable players that I didn't draft (or purchase) at all:
Robinson Cano(notes): I've seen some discussing him as a Top 5 player; that's too pricy for my liking. No speed. Good power, but it's not elite. Worrying about position scarcity in Round 1 of a mixed league doesn't make sense to me.
Matt Wieters(notes): I don't accept that he's a post-hype guy – to me, that term means you're getting a massive discount. Alex Gordon(notes) is a post-hype player. People are still paying for Wieters to do things that he hasn't done yet.
Rickie Weeks: His sticker price expects a full season. Good luck with that one.
And for what it's worth, here's the 2010 edition of this column.
Image courtesy Associated Press