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Scott Pianowski

Tip Drill: Upside, floor, and the A-Rod dilemma

Scott Pianowski
Roto Arcade

After the runaway success begrudging reader acceptance of the Tip Drill series last summer, we've decided to bring it back for the baseball draft season. Look for a couple of TDs every week, and as always your intelligent disagreement is most welcome.

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In a couple of weeks you're going to pick up the 2009 Yahoo! Fantasy Baseball Magazine, you're going to thumb to the mock draft, and you're going to see Alex Rodriguez parked in the No. 1 slot. That selection came from yours truly in late December, back when Barack Obama was president-elect and the Arizona Cardinals were deader than Disco.

See, I'm all about avoiding risk in the first round. Rodriguez, two months ago, was the safest guy I could find. Today, I'm not so sure.

Let's be clear that I'm not intending to be Chicken Little or the Morality Police here. I don't want to see Rodriguez forever crucified for his transgressions. The documentation on the Steroid Era has been done elsewhere, you don't need me to rehash what's happened and why it happened. A-Rod didn't drive the story, he was just a part of it.

But when I make my No. 1 overall pick, I don't want any fleas, and Rodriguez, all of a sudden, has some red ink. The level of the stress he's likely to feel from the constant media scrutiny and public backlash has been overblown – he was already the game's No. 1 star tied to the highest salary and most-visible city – but I can't say it's completely a non-factor. The link that's come out to A-Rod and banned trainer Angel Presinal can't be ignored. And while Rodriguez's stolen-base totals have held up nicely into his early 30s, I'm not going to bet on more than 13-15 there.

I recognize the sophistication of our Roto Arcade readers and most of you know this already, but let's put it in bold print anyway: Early rounds are about floor, later rounds are about upside. Don't look to be a hero with those early selections, take what the draft gives you. There will be plenty of chances to let your hair down later in the process.

Over to you – what's your philosophy on the early rounds? When do you flick the switch and start taking some chances? Where's A-Rod on your current big board? He's still somewhere in my Top 5, but honestly, I really haven't decided on the right slot yet, and I might feel differently tomorrow. And so it goes.

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