Roto Arcade - Fantasy

Mock season is here at last, and we've assembled six accredited fantasy experts for a 12-team draft. We'll get through one round each day. You can find Picks 1-12 here. Our 2008 Friends & Family League champ will get things started in Round 2...

Tim Lincecum, Giants SP -- Round 2, Pick 1. He's quickly becoming a polarizing case in our little make-believe game; some shriek at his workload and innings jump, while others feel he's simply a gifted freak who will continue to make up his own laws of physics and maintenance (keep in mind Lincecum doesn't ice his arm between starts and yet he's never missed a turn). I'm generally not the type of fantasy player who take as pitcher this early but if Lincecum even takes the slightest step forward (and remember he was better in the second half last year), 300 strikeouts is not out of the question. Sometimes you have to toss the dice with a pick and essentially declare "this is the type of risk that could win the league for me." I'm dead serious about winning this mock, and Tim Lincecum is my ace. (Scott Pianowski)

This team's roster so far: C --empty--, 1B Mark Teixeira, 2B --empty--, 3B --empty--, SS --empty--, OF --empty--, UTIL --empty--, SP Tim Lincecum, RP --empty--

Ryan Howard, Phillies 1B -- Round 2, Pick 2. Let's not forget just how lost he was at times during the 2008 season; Howard needed a .352 September merely to finish at .251. He continues to backslide against left-handed pitching and his GB rate had an ominous spike last year (we can all agree Howard won't be legging out too many infield hits). In short, you're always going to get batting-average risk here, steals aren't in the picture, and first base isn't the trickiest fill to begin with. And then you see the 153 homers, 431 RBIs and 303 runs from the last three seasons, you start thinking about that tiny park in Philadelphia, and you say the heck with it, get him on my team. (Pianow)

C --empty--, 1B Ryan Howard, 2B --empty--, 3B --empty--, SS Jimmy Rollins, OF --empty--, UTIL --empty--, SP --empty--, RP --empty-- 

Chase Utley, Phillies 2B -- Round 2, Pick 3. Two second basemen may seem indulgent, but Middle Infield is just as important a starting roster spot to fill as any other – I know Yahoo! default doesn't use MI and CI, but I don't play in league configurations that omit those roster spots, so I'm drafting as if those positions are in play (I'll plug him in to the UT hole for this mock). And filling my fictitious MI spot with an elite player allows me to avoid the Edgar Renterias of the world. Obviously, Utley fell this far because of concerns about his surgically repaired hip, but the rehab reports have all been favorable so far, and Utley believes he’ll be ready for opening day. But, hey, if he misses 10-20 games, he’s already proven in the past few years that he’ll still be a strong bet for a .300/25/100/100/10 line. (Brandon Funston)

C --empty--, 1B --empty-- 2B Ian Kinsler, 3B --empty--, SS --empty--, OF --empty--, UTIL Chase Utley, SP --empty--, RP --empty--

Evan Longoria, Rays 3B -- Round 2, Pick 4. Some will be skeptical of taking a 23-year-old with the 12th-highest K% (27.2) in the league last season early in the second round. But Longoria, in his first major league go-round, also hit .279 with 28 home runs and 78 RBI in his final 100 games of ’08 (16 postseason games included). There’s 40-home run upside here, and his minor league and college track record show that he’s been able to make quick corrections when his plate discipline has slipped a bit. With this pick, BFun Team 1 now has two upper echelon third- base-eligible players, and there’s just not too many of those out there this season. (BFun)

C --empty--, 1B Miguel Cabrera, 2B --empty--, 3B Evan Longoria, SS --empty--, OF --empty--, UTIL --empty--, SP --empty--, RP --empty--

B.J. Upton, Rays OF -- Round 2, Pick 5. The postseason power surge translates to 65 homers over 150 games, which is nice. Not paying for that here, of course, but offseason shoulder surgery, once he's up to speed, should put him back on his 2007 power path. Not thrilled about going OF-OF to kick off a draft, but you have to get the numbers from somewhere and the 30-50 potential here is very real. The Rays run continues. (Matt Romig)

C --empty--, 1B --empty--, 2B --empty--, 3B --empty--, SS --empty--, OF Josh Hamilton, OF B.J. Upton, UTIL --empty--, SP --empty--, RP --empty--

Johan Santana, Mets SP -- Round 2, Pick 6. At least 33 starts, 15 wins and 200 strikeouts for five straight seasons, and there are no signs of slowing. The second half of his first season in the National League produced this tasty line: 8-0, 2.17, 1.10. When you can lock in numbers like these, you do it. (Mig)

C --empty--, 1B --empty--, 2B --empty--, 3B --empty--, SS --empty--, OF Grady Sizemore, UTIL --empty--, SP Johan Santana, RP --empty--

Prince Fielder, Brewers 1B -- Round 2, Pick 7. We've had lots of position scarcity discussion so far. That's terrific. Very expertly. But this owner is primarily concerned with accumulating stats, not middle infielders. (Also, in mixed leagues, the 12th best shortstop or second baseman simply isn't that bad). There are very few hitters in baseball who have a realistic shot at belting 45 homers and driving in 120 runs. With Fielder and Braun on the roster, this team now has two such players. No matter what long-term worries you have about Fielder, you have to like him now, entering his age-25 season. The man delivered a 109-50-119-.288 line when he was 23. (Andy Behrens)

C --empty--, 1B Prince Fielder, 2B --empty--, 3B --empty--, SS --empty--, OF Ryan Braun, UTIL --empty--, SP --empty--, RP --empty--

Carlos Beltran, Mets OF -- Round 2, Pick 8. This owner was really hoping to pair Fielder with Wright. When that plan fell apart, he typed a few regrettable things in chat, then took the full 1:30. He's not crazy about selecting the draft's fourth Met, but Beltran's commitment to stealing bases (25 in '08, 23 in '07) and the huge recent R and RBI totals (116 and 112 last year) proved enticing. Alfonso Soriano and Lance Berkman received serious consideration, too. Like Beltran, those guys are four-stat players, and they have 40-homer seasons in the recent past. (AB)

C --empty--, 1B --empty--, 2B --empty--, 3B David Wright, SS --empty--, OF Carlos Beltran, UTIL --empty--, SP --empty--, RP --empty--

Manny Ramirez, Free Agent OF -- Round 2, Pick 9. Baseball's mental drifter could be described as a second-round liability based on his current unemployment situation and questionable brain activities. Hey, turning down a small nation's GDP in a slumping economy without blinking would be construed as unconscionable behavior by anyone. But from a fantasy perspective, the Manny circus is worth paying top admission. In 53 games with the Dodgers last year, he was a one-man statistical army, smacking a .396 BA with 17 homers and 53 RBI. Simply put, if Manny played in PetCo on Pluto he would still rake. No matter where he ends up, the future HOFer will be one of virtual baseball's most destructive forces. Even at 36, he's a solid bet for numbers in range of .310-35-120-100. Once he signs, it's likely you won't be able to draft him in this position. (Brad Evans)

C --empty--, 1B --empty--, 2B --empty--, 3B --empty--, SS Jose Reyes, OF Manny Ramirez, UTIL --empty--, SP--empty, RP --empty--

Lance Berkman, Astros 1B -- Round 2, Pick 10. Ensnared by poachers after an historic start, the Big Puma faded dramatically after the break, notching a .259 BA with just seven homers and 33 RBI. Hell, long-ball midget Ben Zobrist proved more power productive (9 HRs in 144 post-break at-bats) down the stretch in mixed leagues. But outside of last year's second-half swoon, his peripherals finished close to career averages. Without question, Berkman remains one of the game's most consistent yearly producers. Coming off a season in which he established career bests in runs (114), and shockingly steals (18), he should be relied upon for totals around, .300-30-110-100-10. Assuming this league would have a CI spot, a Pujols/Berkman tandem would be a salivating foundation to build around. (BE)

C --empty--, 1B Albert Pujols, 2B --empty--, 3B --empty--, SS --empty--, OF --empty--, UTIL Lance Berkman, SP --empty--, RP --empty--

Dustin Pedroia, Red Sox 2B -- Round 2, Pick 11. What's not to like about a hitter who went .326/.376/.493 while hitting 17 homers, stealing 20 bags and scoring 118 runs at age 24? Given that he put up nearly identical rate numbers the year before as a 23-year old -- save for the extra 41 points in slugging percentage, which is normal growth for a hitter in his early 20s -- last year's production was no fluke. Pedroia's still hitting in front of a stacked lineup and, oh yeah, he fills your middle infield slot. (Chris Liss)

C --empty--, 1B --empty--, 2B Dustin Pedroia, 3B Alex Rodriguez, SS --empty--, OF --empty--, UTIL --empty--, SP --empty--, RP --empty--

Carlos Lee, Astros OF -- Round 2, Pick 12. This is a boring pick, but boring is OK as long as it comes with 35 HR, and .300 average and a handful of bags. Lee was having the best year of his career in 2008 before a pinkie injury cut it short. The good thing about Lee is that he doesn't strikeout or walk much, meaning his plate appearances almost always result in at-bats where the ball gets put into play. That makes it easier to hit for average (strikeouts are automatic outs, balls in play have a chance) and also boosts home run and RBI totals because he's not taking many free passes. Walks are great in real life baseball, but in fantasy, you want a guy who swings the bat and doesn't miss. (CL)

C --empty--, 1B --empty--, 2B --empty--, 3B --empty--, SS Hanley Ramirez, OF Carlos Lee, UTIL --empty--, SP --empty--, RP --empty--


Photos via Getty Images, US Presswire 

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