Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen (31 HR, 96 RBI, 107 runs, 20 steals, .327 BA) notched absurd marks of .446 batting and 1.249 OPS last July.
Consider this post to be a soft indoctrination into the 2013 fantasy baseball season...as I need time to ease into the process of crafting positional rankings and developing theories for sound drafting.
A spring-training period for couch-based eggheads, if you will.
After all, it's hard to get truly serious about fantasy baseball before Super Bowl Sunday—or even the Pro Bowl. But we're getting very close to pitchers and catchers reporting (life is good).
Here's a dry run of draft expectations when holding the No. 6 pick in a 12-team mixed roto league, specifically working off the Average Draft Position report from our friends at Mock Draft Central.
My only strategy, aside from getting value with each pick: Snag six offensive assets in the first eight picks. After that, anything goes.
Round 1, Pick 6 overall—Best overall player
First option: OF Andrew McCutchen, Pirates
Second option: 1B Joey Votto, Reds
Third option: OF Josh Hamilton, Angels
Round 2, Pick 19 overall—Best overall player
First option: OF Josh Hamilton, Angels
Second option: SP Stephen Strasburg, Nationals
Third option: OF Giancarlo Stanton, Marlins
Round 3, Pick 30 overall—Best corner infielder
First option: 3B Evan Longoria, Rays
Second option: 1B Adrian Gonzalez, Dodgers
Third option: SS Starlin Castro, Cubs
Round 4, Pick 43 overall—Best player available
First option: 2B Ian Kinsler, Rangers
Second option: OF Yoenis Cespedes, Athletics
Third option: 3B Ryan Zimmerman, Nationals
Round 5, Pick 54 overall—Best starting pitcher
First option: SP Madison Bumgarner, Giants
Second option: SP Matt Cain, Giants
Third option: 2B Jason Kipnis, Indians
Round 6, Pick 67 overall—Best corner infielder or outfielder
First option: 1B Anthony Rizzo, Cubs
Second option: OF Mark Trumbo, Angels
Third option: 2B Brandon Phillips, Reds
Round 7, Pick 78 overall—Best starting pitcher
First option: SP Chris Sale, White Sox
Second option: SP Max Scherzer, Tigers
Third option: SP Roy Halladay, Phillies
Round 8, Pick 91 overall—Best offensive player
First option: OF Alex Rios, White Sox
Second option: 3B Pablo Sandoval, Giants
Third option: C Wilin Rosario, Rockies
Round 9, Pick 102 overall—Best player available
First option: SP Matt Moore, Rays
Second option: 3B Pablo Sandoval, Giants
Third option: RP Jonathan Papelbon, Phillies
Round 10, Pick 115 overall—Best player available
First option: SP Aroldis Chapman, Reds
Second option: RP Jonathan Papelbon, Phillies
Third option: OF Josh Willingham, Twins
Round 11, Pick 126 overall—Best pitcher available
First option: SP Josh Johnson, Blue Jays
Second option: SP Jeff Samardzija, Cubs
Third option: RP Fernando Rodney, Rays
Round 12, Pick 139 overall—Best pitcher available
First option: RP Fernando Rodney, Rays
Second option: RP Rafael Soriano, Nationals
Third option: SP Jon Lester, Red Sox
Round 13, Pick 150 overall—Best player available
First option: SP Jon Lester, Red Sox
Second option: SP Anibal Sanchez, Tigers
Third option: SP Matt Harvey, Mets
Round 14, Pick 163 overall—Best infielder available, preferably shortstop
First option: SS Alcides Escobar, Royals
Second option: 3B Will Middlebrooks, Red Sox
Third option: 2B Rickie Weeks, Brewers
Round 15, Pick 174 overall—Best pitcher available
First option: RP Jim Johnson, Orioles
Second option: RP Kenley Jansen, Dodgers
Third option: RP Addison Reed, White Sox
Round 16, Pick 187 overall—Best first baseman
First option: 1B Adam Dunn, White Sox
Second option: 1B Justin Morneau, Twins
Third option: 1B Yonder Alonso, Padres
Round 17, Pick 198 overall—Tangible upside pick
First option: SS Josh Rutledge, Rockies (could have 2B eligibility by April 20)
Second option: SS Jean Segura, Brewers
Third option: OF Wil Myers, Rays
1. I had no trouble sticking to my plan of grabbing six offensive players in the first eight picks, although I will concede that Anthony Rizzo (15 homers in 337 at-bats last year)—a supreme talent who has yet to accrue one full season in the bigs—was a mild reach. But then again, you can never have enough corner infielders with power.
2. When my rankings come out, Alex Rios will have a considerably higher number than 91. He's in his relative prime as a hitter...and it's hard to pass on a five-category talent (and 20-20 linchpin) in Round 8.
3. I may be one of Matt Cain's biggest (East Coast) supporters in fantasy...but by a slight margin, I'll take Madison Bumgarner's reasonable upside for 17 wins, 205 strikeouts, a sub-3.25 ERA and robust WHIP of 1.08. That aside, I'm sure Cain will be available in Round 6 of most March drafts.
4. I purposely blanked on catchers in the first 17 rounds. In leagues where only one backstop starts ... there's no motivation to take a middle-of-the-road asset above value. Just wait for Salvador Perez, Jonathan Lucroy, Travis d'Arnaud or even Brian McCann to drop on the board.
5. For Round 16, I'll buy anything that Adam Dunn's selling—if it comes with 37-plus homers and 100 walks again.
6. It's typically not my style to select five straight pitchers (four starters, one reliever) in the middle of a roto draft, but the quintet of Matt Moore (one of my top-20 hurlers), Aroldis Chapman (his June numbers as a closer were obscene), Fernando Rodney (anything between a 0.61 and 1.25 ERA will be appreciated), Josh Johnson and Jon Lester (value picks) has great intrigue.
If anything, the pitcher-heavy approach for Rounds 9-15 will apply more pressure to (again) unearth this year's Chase Headley and Mike Trout after Round 21.
Jay Clemons can be reached on Twitter, day or night, at @ATL_JayClemons.