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Baseball Experts Draft

Krause Publications is the publisher of Fantasy Sports Magazine. Well in advance of the each baseball season, Krause Publications likes to pull together industry experts for a market-setting fantasy draft – typically, it is one of the very first fantasy drafts in advance of the '05 season. That explains why I was frantically trying to make sense of all the MLB offseason movement in mid-December instead of devoting all my attention to my playoff-bound fantasy football teams.

As the fantasy football season is now in the rear-view mirror, I can safely, and without risk of distraction, offer up the results of the Krause Publication Experts Draft for consumption. Before you dive into the picks, I should mention that this was a 12-team, 5x5 roto league. I picked fifth overall, and all my picks are listed in bold:

Krause Publications Experts Draft (December 21, 2004)
Pick Player Comment
1-1 Carlos Beltran, NYM, OF Who could argue with a 40/40-type at the top?
1-2 Alex Rodriguez, NYY, 3B Reasonable to expect .300, 45 HR, 125 RBI, 20 SB
1-3 Albert Pujols, StL, 1B 4-yr avg: .333, 40 HR, 126 RBI, 125 R – still only 24
1-4 Vladimir Guerrero, LAA, OF Monster plate numbers makes 15 steals all gravy
1-5 Randy Johnson, NYY, SP Likely would have won 20-25 with Yanks in '04
1-6 Alfonso Soriano, Tex, 2B Goes this high because 2B depth is so poor
1-7 Miguel Tejada, Bal, SS Has 5 straight seasons of 100-plus RBIs (150 in '04)
1-8 Todd Helton, Col, 1B RBI (96) were down, but a reliable .330/30/100 guy
1-9 Barry Bonds, SF, OF If anyone can handle media pressure, Bonds can
1-10 Bobby Abreu, Phi, OF With a 30/40 season in '04, he's Beltran-lite
1-11 Carl Crawford, TB, OF Maybe a reach, but he covers steals by himself (59)
1-12 Manny Ramirez, Bos, OF OPS above 1.000 in each of past 6 seasons
Comment: The biggest surprise of the first round was Tampa Bay OF Carl Crawford going off the board at No. 11. Clearly, the thinking was that a player with 50-plus steal potential that can also hit near .300 and score upwards of 100 runs is in short supply … I subscribe to the thought that Randy Johnson has at least one more dominating season in him. If he can make 30 starts for the Yanks, he should get 20 wins and 250 Ks. Those are the numbers I'm expecting by nabbing him at No. 5.
2-1 Scott Rolen, StL, 3B Had his best season in StL, but dipped in 2nd half
2-2 Johan Santana, Min, SP Arguably fantasy's best player in '04
2-3 Adrian Beltre, Sea, 3B Has to prove breakout wasn't free agency driven
2-4 Ichiro, Sea, OF Hit .429 after All-Star break
2-5 Juan Pierre, Fla, OF NL version of Ichiro
2-6 Derek Jeter, NYY, SS Justifies pick as a 5-category SS
2-7 Jim Thome, Phi, 1B Pure power pick: 40+ HR in 4 straight seasons
2-8 Miguel Cabrera, Fla, OF Had 33 HR, 112 RBI in '04 despite being just 21
2-9 Edgar Renteria, Bos, SS Steals down in '04; Won't run as much in Boston
2-10 Jimmy Rollins, Phi, SS Turned things around with a career year in '04
2-11 Pedro Martinez, NYM, SP Has a career 1.17 ERA at Shea Stadium
2-12 David Ortiz, Bos, 1B Hit .400 in 55 postseason at bats
Comment: I wasn't a fan of the Edgar Renteria pick at No. 21 overall. He dipped to just 17 steals last season, and Boston traditionally is not a running team – it ranked 10th in the AL in with 68 steals in '04. And despite drawing a fair amount of walks and hitting for a career .289 average, Renteria has never reached 100 runs scored. Is a likely .290, 12 HR, 75 RBI, 90 R and 20 SB worth the 21st pick? Not for me. Personally, I like shortstops Jimmy Rollins, Michael Young, Rafael Furcal, Nomar Garciaparra and Orlando Cabrera more. … I went with the allure of the young Miguel Cabrera, who has that advanced plate presence reminiscent of Albert Pujols. I love his upside, but I could live with a repeat of '04.
3-1 Mark Prior, ChC, SP Comes at a discount because of '04 injuries
3-2 Eric Gagne, LAD, RP Has averaged 50 saves and 122 K's as a closer
3-3 Ben Sheets, Mil, SP Only a lack of wins tainted a stellar '04 campaign
3-4 Eric Chavez, Oak, 3B Lack of lineup protection hurts
3-5 Melvin Mora, Bal, 3B Hard to ignore back-to-back seasons of .400-plus OBP
3-6 Jason Schmidt, SF, SP Awful September can be blamed for (unfair) draft fall
3-7 Aubrey Huff, TB, 1B, 3B Oft-overlooked premier fantasy 3B
3-8 Vernon Wells, Tor, OF We'll see if '04 was just a hiccup on road to stardom
3-9 Mark Teixeira, Tex, 1B About to embark on a long run of 40-HR seasons
3-10 Nomar Garciaparra, ChC, SS Have to like incentive of 1-yr. contract
3-11 Gary Sheffield, NYY, OF May be even better in '05 as bum shoulder is fixed
3-12 Michael Young, Tex, SS Easier to buy into him with two straight strong seasons
Comment: Mark Prior seems like a steal in the 3rd round. Remember how Randy Johnson dropped in drafts after an injury-plagued '03 season? I expect Prior to return to dominance in the same manner as RJ did in '04 … Melvin Mora is not the type of player I typically take. But two straight seasons above a .400 OBP convinces me that he has made himself into a star. In hindsight, though, Aubrey Huff might have been the better "sleep-at-night" pick.
4-1 Carlos Delgado, FA, 1B Still a force with 22 HR, 63 RBI after All-Star break
4-2 Jim Edmonds, StL, OF .301, 42 HR, 111 RBI in '04. Not bad for 38th pick.
4-3 Curt Schilling, Bos, SP Will he be able to rebound from problematic ankle?
4-4 Orlando Cabrera, LAA, SS Will run like never before in Anaheim
4-5 Scott Podsednik, CWS, OF Steals alone lands him in the top 50 picks
4-6 Billy Wagner, Phi, RP One of a few closers with 100-K potential
4-7 Mariano Rivera, NYY, RP With Yanks offense, 50-plus saves expected
4-8 Victor Martinez, Cle, C Led all catchers in HR's and RBI in '04
4-9 Marcus Giles, Atl, 2B .300, 20-HR, 15-SB ability plays big at shallow 2B
4-10 Aramis Ramirez, ChC, 3B Career back on the upswing; still just 26 years old
4-11 Tim Hudson, Atl, SP Who doesn't feel like he'll be great in NL?
4-12 Rafael Furcal, Atl, SS Setting the bar at 15 HR's, 25 SB's
Comment: Tim Hudson is a great gamble at no. 47 overall. He's fared very well in inter-league play, with a career 10-2 record. He has the kind of stuff that you have to see many times before you have much chance of hitting him. He'll get to face a bunch of NL hitters that don't have a book on how to approach him. And he'll get to face opposing pitchers. All this should add up to a better ERA and more strikeouts in '05. … I took the first catcher off the board, choosing Victor Martinez instead of Ivan Rodriguez. My reasoning was that Martinez is coming into his prime at age 26, and he showed consistency throughout '04. Pudge's OPS dropped 200 points after the All-Star break and, at 33, he's heading into the downside of his career.
5-1 Roy Oswalt, Hou, SP Has a career .700 winning percentage
5-2 Francisco Rodriguez, LAA, RP Should be one of the few 100-K closers
5-3 Javy Lopez, Bal, C '03 was likely an anomaly, but '04 #'s still look good
5-4 Hank Blalock, Tex, 3B That he finally hit lefties offset his 2nd half swoon
5-5 Bret Boone, Sea, 2B Despite .251 BA, you have to like 24 HR's from a 2B
5-6 Ivan Rodriguez, Det, C Still a reliable .300, 15-20 HR backstop
5-7 Jorge Posada, NYY, C 20+ HR's for five straight seasons
5-8 Keith Foulke, Bos, RP Has a sub-3 ERA in each of past 6 seasons
5-9 Chipper Jones, Atl, OF, 3B Added back 3B eligibility; Had 18 post-break HR's
5-10 Richie Sexson, Sea, 1B Repaired shoulder passed thorough medical scrutiny
5-11 David Wright, NYM, 3B Set a 30-HR pace in his first taste of MLB pitching
5-12 Brad Lidge, Hou, RP Nasty stuff; 15 K's per 9 IP in '04
Comment: Because closers pitch so few innings, rarely do any of their stats, other than saves, carry weight in fantasy leagues. But there are a few closers in the league with potential for 100 K's, which is an impact number for roto squads. Add Francisco Rodriguez to this select group. He averages 1.3 K's per every inning pitched. He should also be a lock for 40-plus saves as Anaheim's stopper … 2B has emerged as the most depth-challenged fantasy position, which was the main reason I took Bret Boone in this round. Sure, he struggled a bit last season, but he's been no worse than 24 home runs in each of the past four years. And the additions Adrian Beltre and Richie Sexson to the lineup will provide the type of protection that was unavailable to him last season.
6-1 Mike Mussina, NYY, SP Can be inconsistent, but is very durable
6-2 Francisco Cordero, Tex, RP Was 2nd to Rivera in save opps in '04
6-3 Roger Clemens, Hou, SP A steal at this point, if he returns
6-4 Jeff Kent, LAD, 2B Soon-to-be 37-year old is just .250 at Dodger Stadium
6-5 Mike Lowell, Fla, 3B Habitually a 2nd-half swooner
6-6 Joe Nathan, Min, RP A Gagne-like transition to closer
6-7 Kerry Wood, ChC, SP Still waiting for that one great full season
6-8 Carlos Guillen, Det, SS Tough pick, as '04 breakout was so surprising
6-9 Jake Peavy, SD, SP Incredible makeup for a 23-year old
6-10 Carlos Lee, Mil, OF Will have to adjust to NL pitching
6-11 Magglio Ordonez, FA, OF How he returns from knee injury is 64k question
6-12 Armando Benitez, SF, RP Giants had 4th-most save opps in '04
Comment: It was hard to pass up Jake Peavy in this round but the fact of the matter is, there is just too much pitching depth this season to justify going after two starters in the first six rounds. Frankly, if I was going with a pitcher here, I would have taken Peavy ahead of arms drafted ahead of him like Mike Mussina and Kerry Wood. Peavy is only 23 years old, making his league-leading 2.27 ERA all the more amazing. He's a guy that will get a K per inning and his mental makeup is off the charts for a player his age. He's set to be one of the top pitchers of the next decade … I went with Detroit SS Carlos Guillen in this round, and I'll admit that this pick scares me. He blossomed into one of the top hitters from the SS position in '04 before undergoing ACL surgery. And that's the crux of the problem. Guillen has taken many trips to the DL and has yet to play more than 140 games in his career.
7-1 Adam Dunn, Cin, OF Iffy BA is no excuse for 45-50 HR guy falling this far
7-2 Sammy Sosa, ChC, OF HR's have declined in each of past 3 seasons
7-3 Jason Isringhausen, StL, RP Had 13 more saves (47) than previous career high
7-4 Trevor Hoffman, SD, RP Top-notch change-up survived shoulder injury
7-5 Octavio Dotel, Oak, RP Needs to settle in after spotty performance with A's
7-6 Hideki Matsui, NYY, OF Power started to translate in '04 (31 HR)
7-7 Jose Reyes, NYM, 2B Will be able to use his speed at 2B or SS in '05
7-8 Eddie Guardado, Sea, RP Coming back from shoulder, knee injuries
7-9 Oliver Perez, Pit, SP With his power, '04 not likely to be a fluke
7-10 Dan Kolb, Atl, RP No reason not to expect 40 saves in Atlanta
7-11 Justin Morneau, Min, 1B Had 17 2nd-half HR's
7-12 Corey Patterson, ChC, OF With consistency, he'll be a regular 25/25 guy
Comment: Adam Dunn was the big prize of this round. To get a guy who scored 100 runs, drove in 100 runs and hit 46 bombs at the 73rd pick was a steal. And that worrisome batting average was an acceptable .266. Dunn is still only 25 years old and, with his power, he could top 50 home runs in '05. Shame on me and the rest of the league for allowing him to fall this far … Generally, I like to start runs, not piggyback on them. But as closers started to go off the board, I was forced to be a follower instead of a trend-setter. After Armando Benitez, Jason Isringhausen and Trevor Hoffman went off the board just ahead of my pick, I opted for Oakland closer Octavio Dotel. The fact that he has 100-K potential means more to me than his occasional bouts of inconsistency.
8-1 Johnny Damon, Bos, OF 100 runs in 7 straight seasons
8-2 Shawn Green, Ari, OF Career .629 slug% at Bank One Ballpark
8-3 Brian Giles, SD, OF 25 HR now more likely than 35
8-4 Chone Figgins, LAA, OF, 2B, 3B Leads Angels' busy running game
8-5 Roy Halladay, Tor, SP Could wind up being the best pick in this draft
8-6 Jason Varitek, Bos, C Expect solid, if not spectacular, production
8-7 Garret Anderson, LAA, OF Arthritic knee is the X-factor
8-8 Derrek Lee, ChC, 1B Power/speed combo at first base is rare
8-9 Carlos Zambrano, ChC, SP If he repeats '04 #'s, this pick is a big-time steal
8-10 J.D. Drew, LAD, OF Can he stay healthy two straight years?
8-11 Travis Hafner, Cle, 1B His sweet stroke was a feel-good story of '04
8-12 Paul Konerko, CWS, 1B 41 HR's was a dramatic rebound from '03
Comment: Fatigue was pointed to as the main culprit behind Roy Halladay's demise in '04. But this is a pitcher who won a combined 41 games in the two seasons prior to last season. Like Mark Prior, fantasy owners tend to be quick to write a pitcher off after one hiccup of a season. Halladay should easily out perform the expectations that come with where he was drafted … Needing a first baseman, I opted for Derrek Lee. While he should hit 30 home runs, it was his 15-steal potential that broke a tie between him and Travis Hafner, Sean Casey and Paul Konerko. With speed at such a premium, you got to take it when you can get it without losing much in the exchange.
9-1 Jason Kendall, Oak, C SB's are down, power is minimal, but BA is all good
9-2 Mark Mulder, StL, SP Move to NL should drop his ERA back into the low 3's
9-3 Livan Hernandez, Was, SP Has started 30-plus games for 7 straight seasons
9-4 Josh Beckett, Fla, SP Super talent but 7 DL stints in past 3 seasons
9-5 Rich Harden, Oak, SP 8-2 after All-Star break
9-6 Andruw Jones, Atl, OF Despite 5-tool talent, he only offers HR, RBI help
9-7 Sean Casey, Cin, 1B Hit a surprising .361 on the road
9-8 Troy Percival, Det, RP Detroit had only 4 fewer save opps than the Angels
9-9 Javier Vazquez, Ari, SP Look for a revival back in the NL
9-10 Brian Roberts, Bal, 2B Satisfies a speed need (29 SB's in '04)
9-11 Kazuo Matsui, NYM, SS Bust of '04 moves to 2B
9-12 Carl Pavano, NYY, SP Don't expect his 1st AL season to match '04 #'s
Comment: Josh Beckett is my favorite pick in this round. His ability is on par with that of the Mark Priors and Kerry Woods of the league, he just can't stay healthy. Eventually he's going to put it all together and, if he does, he's likely to produce top 5-10 starter numbers. This could be the year … I feel very good about my Rich Harden pick at No. 101 overall. He has ace ability and his 8-2 mark in the 2nd half of '04 suggests he'll start reaching his potential in the very near future. I won't be surprised if he performs like a top 50 fantasy player.
10-1 Mike Piazza, NYM, C, 1B Can only hope for 20-25 HR's at this point
10-2 Jason Bay, Pit, OF NL ROY was surprisingly consistent
10-3 Paul Lo Duca, Fla, C The definition of a serviceable fantasy catcher
10-4 Guillermo Mota, Fla, RP With Benitez bolting, the closer role is all his
10-5 Joe Mauer, Min, C Knee injury ended what was sure to be a ROY season
10-6 Braden Looper, NYM, RP Mets should get more save opps with Beltran, Pedro
10-7 Dallas McPherson, LAA, 3B Power potential made it easy to let Glaus go
10-8 Shingo Takatsu, CWS, RP Submariner lived up to "Mr. Zero" nickname
10-9 Pat Burrell, Phi, OF Not a full rebound in '04, but progress was made
10-10 Luis Castillo, Fla, 2B No longer a difference-maker with his speed
10-11 Lance Berkman, Hou, OF Likely out until May after ACL surgery
10-12 John Smoltz, Atl, SP Last season as starter: 11 W, 156 K, 3.19 ERA
Comment: If Joe Mauer stays healthy this season, he's a great pick at 113 overall. He is incredibly advanced at the plate for being so young. He is very likely to hit .300 or better and that power which was supposed to take time to develop was already emerging last season before he hurt his knee … With the remaining full-time closers flying off the board, I opted for Shingo Takatsu. His age (36 years old) is a bit concerning, but he was excellent in '04 and was strong in September, convincing me that he is not the type of pitcher that will be quickly figured out.
11-1 Mark Loretta, SD, 2B 12-1 Matt Clement, Bos, SP 13-1 Luis Gonzalez, Ari, OF
11-2 A.J. Burnett, Fla, SP 12-2 Jose Vidro, Was, 2B 13-2 B.J. Ryan, Bal, RP
11-3 Brad Radke, Min, SP 12-3 Jose Mesa, Pit, RP 13-3 Danys Baez, TB, RP
11-4 Barry Zito, Oak, SP 12-4 Odalis Perez, LAD, SP 13-4 Danny Graves, Cin, RP
11-5 Brad Wilkerson, Was, 1B 12-5 Bartolo Colon, LAA, SP 13-5 Brandon Webb, Ari, SP
11-6 B.J. Upton, TB, SS 12-6 Kelvim Escobar, LAA, SP 13-6 Chase Utley, Phi, 2B
11-7 Coco Crisp, Cle, OF 12-7 Chad Cordero, Was, RP 13-7 Richard Hidalgo, Tex, OF
11-8 Johnny Estrada, Atl, C 12-8 Troy Glaus, Ari, DH 13-8 Rafael Palmeiro, Bal, 1B
11-9 Jeff Bagwell, Hou, 1B 12-9 Mike Sweeney, KC, 1B 13-9 Mike Lieberthal, Phi, C
11-10 Mark Buehrle, CWS, SP 12-10 Jose Guillen, Was, OF 13-10 Randy Winn, Sea, OF
11-11 Jeremy Affeldt, KC, RP 12-11 Preston Wilson, Col, OF 13-11 Jon Lieber, Phi, SP
11-12 Phil Nevin, SD, 1B 12-12 Torii Hunter, Min, OF 13-12 Steve Finley, LAA, OF
14-1 Trot Nixon, Bos, OF 15-1 Freddy Garcia, CWS, SP 16-1 Mark Bellhorn, Bos, 2B
14-2 Aaron Rowand, CWS, OF 15-2 Ken Griffey Jr., Cin, OF 16-2 Matthew LeCroy, Min, C
14-3 Chris Carpenter, StL, SP 15-3 Andy Pettitte, Hou, SP 16-3 D'Angelo Jimenez, Cin, 2B
14-4 Dave Roberts, SD, OF 15-4 J.D. Closser, Col, C 16-4 C.C. Sabathia, Cle, SP
14-5 Tony Womack, NYY, 2B 15-5 Cesar Izturis, LAD, SS 16-5 Craig Wilson, Pit, OF
14-6 Kevin Millwood, Cle, SP 15-6 Greg Maddux, ChC 16-6 John Thomson, Atl, SP
14-7 Larry Walker, StL, OF 15-7 Rodrigo Lopez, Bal, SP 16-7 Jarrod Washburn, LAA, SP
14-8 Lew Ford, Min, OF 15-8 Omar Vizquel, SF, SS 16-8 Michael Barrett, ChC, C
14-9 Matt Lawton, Pit, OF 15-9 Reggie Sanders, StL, OF 16-9 Austin Kearns, Cin, OF
14-10 Julio Lugo, TB, SS 15-10 Moises Alou, SF, OF 16-10 Jaret Wright, NYY, SP
14-11 Juan Uribe, CWS, 2B 15-11 Bobby Crosby, Oak, SS 16-11 Darin Erstad, LAA, 1B
14-12 R. Hernandez, SD, C 15-12 Bob Wickman, Cle, RP 16-12 Ray Durham, SF, 2B
17-1 David Wells, Bos, SP 18-1 John Buck, KC, C 19-1 Mark Kotsay, Oak, OF
17-2 Orlando Hudson, Tor, 2B 18-2 Adam Eaton, SD, SP 19-2 Jason Giambi, NYY, 1B
17-3 Geoff Jenkins, Mil, OF 18-3 Miguel Batista, Tor, RP 19-3 Tom Gordon, NYY, RP
17-4 Jose Valverde, Ari, RP 18-4 Doug Davis, Mil, SP 19-4 Frank Thomas, CWS, DH
17-5 Joel Pineiro, Sea, SP 18-5 Brian Lawrence, SD, SP 19-5 Corey Koskie, Tor, 3B
17-6 Greg Aquino, Ari, RP 18-6 Dmitri Young, Det, 1B 19-6 Pedro Feliz, SF, 1B,3B,SS
17-7 Milton Bradley, LAD, OF 18-7 Kevin Mench, Tex, OF 19-7 Ryan Freel, Cin, 3B, OF
17-8 Jacque Jones, Min, OF 18-8 Jason Lane, Hou, OF 19-8 Rocco Baldelli, TB, OF
17-9 LaTroy Hawkins, ChC, RP 18-9 Zack Greinke, KC, SP 19-9 Scott Kazmir, TB, SP
17-10 Ted Lilly, Tor, SP 18-10 Aaron Boone, Cle, 3B 19-10 Endy Chavez, Was, OF
17-11 Mike Adams, Mil, RP 18-11 A.J. Pierzynski, CWS, C 19-11 J. Bonderman, Det, SP
17-12 Lyle Overbay, Mil, 1B 18-12 Cliff Floyd, NYM, OF 19-12 Khalil Greene, SD, SS
20-1 Kris Benson, NYM, SP 21-1 Jason Frasor, Tor, RP 22-1 Vicente Padilla, Phi, SP
20-2 Jeff Weaver, LAD, SP 21-2 Brandon Inge, Det, C 22-2 Jason Marquis, StL, SP
20-3 Casey Blake, Cle, 3B 21-3 Erubiel Durazo, Oak, 1B 22-3 Eric Hinske, Tor, 1B
20-4 Chin-Hui Tsao, Col, RP 21-4 Dontrelle Willis, Fla, SP 22-4 David DeJesus, KC, OF
20-5 Brad Penny, LAD, SP 21-5 Jermaine Dye, CWS, OF 22-5 Darrell May, SD, SP
20-6 Craig Monroe, Det, OF 21-6 Nick Swisher, Oak, OF 22-6 Jose Contreras, CWS, SP
20-7 Akinori Otsuka, SD, RP 21-7 Bronson Arroyo, Bos, SP 22-7 Al Leiter, Fla, SP
20-8 Kevin Brown, NYY, SP 21-8 Kip Wells, Pit, SP 22-8 Woody Williams, SD, SP
20-9 Angel Berroa, KC, SS 21-9 Todd Walker, ChC, 2B 22-9 Mike Cameron, NYM, OF
20-10 Alexis Rios, Tor, OF 21-10 Eric Milton, Cin, SP 22-10 Toby Hall, TB, C
20-11 Randy Wolf, Phi, SP 21-11 Juan Rivera, LAA, OF 22-11 Jerome Williams, SF, SP
20-12 Michael Cuddyer, Min, 3B 21-12 Brett Myers, Phi, SP 22-12 Jesus Colome, TB, RP

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