Fantasy Baseball 2011 Mock Draft, Round 5

Why's he calling me 'Meat'? I'm the one driving the mock. Earlier results right here: Round 1, Round 2, Round 3, Round 4.

49. Kendry Morales(notes), 1B, Los Angeles Angels - At this point, if I were the league commissioner, I might just pause the live draft to take a victory lap and talk some smack. Very pleased with this selection. There's really no penalty for waiting on a first baseman in a 12-team mixed league. Back in '09, Morales delivered 34 homers and 108 RBIs while batting .306. He was on pace for a repeat performance last year through 51 games (11-39-.290), but a fractured leg ended his season. (Unusual circumstances, you'll recall). He'll be ready in the spring. No reason to downgrade this guy. On my overall board, he ranks higher than No. 49. (H. Ramirez, K. Youkilis, I. Kinsler, J. Johnson, K. Morales). -Behrens

50. Adrian Beltre(notes), 3B, Texas Rangers - Yeah, um … I sorta hate this pick, too. Drafting Beltre in the season after he signs the multi-year deal does not seem like a winning approach. But part of the mock exercise is to slot the guys where they'll ultimately go in real drafts, and this feels like the appropriate spot. Third base is a messy position — we're all basically trying to avoid Scott Rolen(notes) — and Beltre's name is next on the cheat sheet. The one nice thing I'll say about his situation is that he landed in nice lineup, in a friendly home park. (A. Pujols, R. Halladay, D. Pedroia, Ichiro(notes), A. Beltre). -Behrens

51. Alex Rios(notes), OF, Chicago White Sox - Great fantasy production in his first full season in Chicago (.284/21/88/34), erasing the memory of a pitiful '09. His strong contact rate (84.9 percent) and a normalized average on balls in play (.306) are major contributing factors to his return to my circle of trust. With my power established early with M-Cab and Dunn, I looked to sure up my speed without sacrificing other categories in the process. Rios is a five-category player and you don't find many of them in Round 5. (M. Cabrera, J. Reyes, F. Hernandez, A. Dunn, A. Rios). -Steingall

52. Justin Morneau(notes), 1B, Minnesota Twins - He's been plagued by some rare baseball injuries during the previous two seasons (fractured back, concussion), which has discounted his price slightly. Doctors are saying he'll be ready to go during spring training, so fantasy owners should feel confident in his return. Morneau won't repeat the .345 average from last season, but should safely land in the .290 range. I'm comfortable taking on the risk of his medical past based on his offensive upside, something along the lines of .290/30/110. (T. Tulowitzki, M. Holliday, T. Lincecum, V. Martinez, J. Morneau). -Steingall

53. Ubaldo Jimenez(notes), SP, Colorado Rockies - Just a handful of years ago, selecting a Rockies pitcher in the early rounds would've likely drawn endless ridicule form the drafting gallery. However, one humidor later, the opposite is true. At 26, Jimenez has developed into a shutdown ace. For the third-straight season his K/9 climbed and his ERA plummeted. Don't fret over his 4.65 ERA after June 23. If the flamethrower cuts back on the free passes (3.74 BB/9 in '10), a Cy Young plaque will soon decorate his trophy room. He's a prime example why you can wait on starting pitching. (C. Gonzalez, P. Fielder, S. Choo, J. Bautista, U. Jimenez). -Evans

54. Jon Lester(notes), SP, Boston Red Sox - Mention Lester's name among pitching elites and the obtuse would laugh sarcastically. Though he may not be a name brand, the steady southpaw deserves to be placed in esteemed company. Simply, the man delivers outstanding numbers across the board. Over the past two years, he's emerged victorious 34 times and amassed a 9.85 K/9, 3.33 ERA and 1.22 WHIP, good enough for consecutive top-15 finishes among starters. Still a tender 27, he's a near lock for another upper-tiered campaign. (J. Votto, R. Zimmerman, N. Cruz, A. McCutchen, J. Lester). -Evans

55. Tommy Hanson(notes), SP, Atlanta Braves - Hanson pitched 200 innings in 2010, logging most of them at age 23. For the final 112.2 of those innings, he produced a 2.40 ERA and 83:25 K-to-BB ratio. Hanson really is the entire package. He has a great frame. He throws strikes. He has two elite offerings (fastball, slider). He’s successful against lefty and righty hitters. He’s pitching for a should-be contender. And he’s got 330 quality innings under his belt by the ripe old age of 24. If he can avoid the May/June swoon this season, he’s got Cy Young upside. (E. Longoria, M. Kemp, J. Upton, D. Uggla, T. Hanson). -Funston

56. Derek Jeter(notes), SS, New York Yankees - Even the hair on the top of Brad Evans’ head isn’t as thin as the shortstop position. Last season, despite hitting 30 points lower than he’d hit in any of the previous five seasons — and 64 points lower than the season before last — Jeter still ranked third at the SS position in fantasy value. With a big giant chip on his shoulder after his contentious contract negotiations this winter, I’m definitely willing to bet he boosts that average at least 15 points while scoring his usual 100-plus runs and pushing 20 SBs. (R. Cano, R. Howard, J. Heyward, B. Posey, D. Jeter). -Funston

57. Elvis Andrus(notes), SS, Texas Rangers - He looked like a fantasy star in the making during the first half of 2010, but some balky hamstrings and a nasty batting slump in the second half collapsed his numbers. The pick here is based on the hope that Andrus will stick in the leadoff spot and get his piece of the Arlington undertow, but it's also possible he might slide to the ninth position with Ian Kinsler(notes) batting first. Obviously there's no power to speak of with Andrus and you get nothing for his plus defense. Bottom line, put Andrus on your players-to-watch radar in March; shortstop is a shallow position, and there's a wide range of potential outcomes here. I'm certainly not dug in on him in January, but I liked him enough to take an upside shot. (A. Gonzalez, J. Hamilton, B. Phillips, CC Sabathia(notes), E. Andrus). -Pianowski

58. Brian McCann(notes), C, Atlanta Braves - Normally I don't like springing for a designer catcher, but the price seems reasonable on McCann and he's settled in at a nice statistical area (.289 career average, with an average of 22 homers and 86 RBIs the last three years). Maybe we'll see a spike from McCann in his age-27 year, but even if he sticks where he's been recently, I'm fine with the purchase. It would be nice to see one year where McCann doesn't have a random eye problem; that's been a trending story throughout his career. (A. Rodriguez, R. Braun, J. Rollins, A. Wainwright, B. McCann). -Pianowski

59. David Price(notes), SP, Tampa Bay Rays - He walks too many to bet on those 2010 averages. But his stuff is so good — 94.6 mph on his fastball, and in plus territory (better than average) with three other pitches even though he throws the heater 74 percent of the time. Price probably needs to throw other pitches more, especially his change (just 5.5 percent of pitches). He could easily be the game’s best pitcher this year, but is best projected as more of a No. 2 fantasy starter given the control questions. (D. Wright, M. Teixeira, R. Weeks, C. Kershaw, D. Price). -Salfino

60. Justin Verlander(notes), SP, Detroit Tigers - Plausible as the No. 1 AL starter. The velocity is great (95.4 mph) but not so great that there’s a need to constantly worry that his arm gets shredded, like so many 100 mph guys before him. What makes him elite is his change-up, which always tantalized but now has arrived — 12.3 runs better than average last year. His curve is also among the game’s best. Verlander has maybe the best arsenal in all of baseball. (C. Utley, C. Crawford, C. Lee, J. Mauer, J. Verlander). -Salfino


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