If you are in a 12 team mixed league, after 20 rounds, 240 players have been selected.
At this point in your draft, you suddenly realize that you have three to eight rounds left, you have not filled several positions, your draft sheet has no one left on it that is still undrafted and your sleeper picks are also gone.
Is it time to panic?
No, it is time to take a breath and analyze your current team.
Perhaps you did not get as much power or speed as you had hoped. Maybe you are weak in saves or strikeouts.
If your team is well-balanced, you just need to add solid contributors. The only question remains is who to pick from what appears to be the bottom of the barre to balance your team.
When other owners are growing weary or bored, it is the time to focus, bear down, assess your needs and gain an advantage over your fellow owners.
This list contains players eligible at every position that being selected with an average draft position higher than 240. Hopefully you can refer to this list for help in strengthening a specific category or simply adding contributing players in all categories and avoiding that panic attack late in your draft.
Catcher: Josh Thole & Ryan Doumit
Ryan Doumit is a good source of power at the end of the draft. With his expensive contract, he is also a candidate to be traded and has a chance to gain even more at bats. Even in his limited role, you can expect almost 15 HR's and a BA around .250.
Josh Thole's run production is less predictable, but he should be a catcher that helps lift your batting avg. instead of dragging it down to the bottom. Even if Thole has 10 less runs scored and 10 less RBI's than the other available catchers, he is likely to hit around .285 and that is a better choice than a catcher who will hit .225 with 400 AB and drag your BA way down.
1B: Mitch Moreland & Brandon Belt:
The only reason I can see for Mitch Moreland going so late in drafts is the excellent spring Chris Davis is having. The production Moreland showed in the heat of the playoff battle last year clearly gives him the confidence to continue to excel on the major league level. Chris Davis still has an option left and without an everyday position, the team will probably send him down to get regular at bats in AAA. Davis can be called up to play first, third or DH, in case of injury or if they actually find a taker for Michael Young's remaining three years at $48 million dollars. I think Davis is going to end up one of those AAAA players. Too good for the minors, but unable to have success on the major league level.
With so many first basemen being grabbed for CI or utility spots, there are very few good late options at 1B. Brandon Belt is a choice worth the wait. Not only is there a chance he could force Aubrey Huff into the OF to begin the season, it is almost a sure thing that he will be called up from the minors like Buster Posey last year, even if he does not make the club out of spring training. His talent at the plate makes him this years Ike Davis, with even better numbers.
2B: Maicer Izturis & Sean Rodriguez:
Maicer Izturis is primed to get more than 500 at bats for the first time in his career. Alberto Callaspo is still hurt and everyone knows that Brandon Wood is a bust...except for the Angels' front office. With no reliable third baseman, he should be an everyday player there when he is not giving the double play combo of Erick Aybar or Howie Kendrick a day off. Manager Mike Scioscia has committed to having Izturis bat leadoff when he is in the lineup. From that position, he will give you 90 runs scored and should get at least 20 SB this year, to go along with a .290-.300 BA. Add 10 HR and 50 RBI's from the leadoff spot and you have one heck off a productive player. The knock on Izturis has been his durability, but he is healthy coming out of spring training for the first time in several years.
Sean Rodriguez is not guaranteed 500 at bats this year. That is the only reason he should not be drafted higher. Before May is over, the versatile platoon player should qualify at 3B, SS, 2B, OF and possibly 1B. With Manny Ramirez revitalized as the everyday DH, it appears Zobrist will split time between right field and 2B with Sean Rodriguez and Matt Joyce in a platoon, with Rodriguez only assured of hitting against lefties. He is only an injury or a hot streak away from becoming an everyday player. In less than 350 at bats last year, he hit 9 HR, stole 13 bases, scored 53 runs and drove in 40 while hitting.250. Looking at that as his downside, Sean has the potential to easily be a 20/20 player this year.
SS:Jed Lowrie & Reid Brignac are the best late choices at the position with the least depth this year.
Reid Brignac hits from the left side and is the everyday starter at SS for Tampa Bay this year. Joe Maddon, his manager, loves his defense, but will probably rest him against the toughest lefties, which should actually help his batting average. He showed enough pop in his bat last year to hit 8 HR and get 45 RBI's in half a season's at bats. 15 HR, 80 runs & 80 RBI's to go along with a .260 BA should give you similar production of many shortstops being picked ahead of him.
Jed Lowrie, like Reid Brignac, qualifies at both SS and 2B. If Kevin Youklis, Dustin Pedroia and Adrian Gonzalez all remain healthy, they will each play everyday, leaving Lowrie with just an occasional start, resting those three players and being the primary backup for Marco Scutaro. For leagues with keepers, he is clearly the SS of the future, but I see that future beginning in 2011. Scutaro wore down late last season and is 35 years old. The switch-hitting Lowrie is the far superior defensive shortstop and has finally stayed healthy long enough to begin hitting well and showing off his potential late last season. Last year, Boston employed a pitching and defense lineup and Lowrie fits well into that mold. He also makes the Red Sox younger. With 500 total at bats in the majors, he has 70 runs scored, 80 RBI's and 13 HR's, all in sporadic at bats over several seasons. With less opportunity to get at bats this year, he nevertheless has more upside than Brignac long term.
3B: Danny Valencia & David Freese are very similar players with similar production.
David Freese does have more power potential and has had shown more of that power in the minors. They each played only half a season as everyday players last year. Freese was hurt half way through the season and now appears healthy after surgery on both his ankles.
Valencia was called up for the second half of the season in Minnesota. Each clearly showed they belong in the majors and had statistics mirroring their minor league numbers. Valencia is turning 27 this year and Freese is 27 now. They each hit around .300 with limited power last year but both will play everyday and should produce 80/80 runs/rbi's 10 HR and .300 batting averages.
OF: Coco Crisp, Ty Colvin, David Murphy and Gerardo Parra
Coco Crisp seems primed for a very big year IF he can stay healthy. 50 stolen bases would be no surprise if he plays 145 games this year. Add 15 home runs, 60 RBI's and 95 runs scored to a .280 batting average and you have a fabulous end of the draft pick up. Since he is being drafted in the last few rounds, there is no risk if he gets hurt but there is huge upside. If Crisp stays healthy, he will produce numbers exceeding those of Juan Pierre and Michael Bourn, two players being drafted early in most leagues.
Ty Colvin, even without an every day slot, had 20 HR, 60/56 runs/rbi's & five SB in 350 at bats last year. He will get at least that many at bats this year. Some should come at first base in addition to the time he spends in outfield. He will surely get to play on days when the DH is in use. He is an excellent power source late in the draft, as he could hit 35+ home runs if he gets a full season of at bats. At 25 years of age, Ty Colvin also has lots of upside.
David Murphy - This very consistent outfielder's only variable is playing time. It has taken the past three years for him to play the equivalent of two full seasons. He has produced 20HR, 15SB, 90 runs, 90 RBI's and a .280 batting average per year if his stats were extended for a full season. With Nelson Cruz & Josh Hamilton being injury prone and Julio Borbon being an unproven everyday player, this just might be the year Murphy gets his chance.
Gerardo Parra is looking more like the developing player he was in 2009 than the disappointing 2010 version. Xavier Nady has had only one good year in the majors, in 2008. Coming off multiple surgeries, he will not be able to hold off Parra for long. As a lefty hitter, expect Parra to get the lion's share of the at bats in a platoon with Nady to begin the season. As the season progresses, Parra's defense should lead to his playing full-time. Plus, it's not like Arizona will be in the pennant race all season. At one point, they will want to see if Parra can still produce while playing every day.
Starting Pitchers: Bartolo Colon, Phil Coke, Chris Capuano
Bartolo Colon should get the first chance out of spring training for the Yankees. Freddy Garcia is a known commodity, so they can leave him in the bullpen at the beginning of the season. If Colon is merely a spring training wonder and does not sustain the velocity and success he showed this past month, they can release him and plug Garcia into his spot. If Colon really has found the fountain of youth and health, then they have an explosive pitcher potentially way more dominant and attractive than Freddy Garcia, who battles on the mound with nothing more than moxie and good location.
Phil Coke should be this year's version of the 2010 C.J. Wilson. A relief pitcher for the past three years getting a chance at the back end of the rotation, no one is giving him his due. He throws four pitches for strikes and misses bats. He strikes out about 7.5 batters per nine innings. He will be passed over several times in April when there is not always a need for a fifth starter. Soon enough, his value will shine through and you will be rewarded with a steady pitcher providing solid numbers in all categories except saves.
Chris Capuano has not been a starter since 2007. Since then he has had two Tommy John surgeries and missed all of 2008 & 2009. He pitched in relief last year and had good results, reminding everyone of the pitcher he was in 2005 & 2006. A pitcher who gets a good amount of fly ball outs can not find a better home park to pitch in than CitiField in NY. I would expect a low amount of wins pitching for the Mets this year, but he should be a solid contributor in WHIP, ERA and strikeouts.
Relief Pitchers: Ryan Madson, Tyler Clippard:
Ryan Madson will collect saves when Brad Lidge is hurt. He is a dependable setup man who will get opportunities early, since Lidge is currently hurt.
Tyler Clippard had had a poor spring training, if not he would have been drafted much higher. Drew Storen, everyone's appointed closer for Washington is clearly not ready yet. Tyler had a wonderful season last year and should find his rhythm in time to collect some saves.