'Andrew McCutchen' photo (c) 2012, Keith Allison - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/ In 2011 I was the FSTA Champion even though I selected Carl Crawford in the first round (he appeared in just 130 games hitting .255 with 65 runs and 18 steals in his worst season of more than 100 games played.). In 2012 I had another first round selection fail to live up to expectations as Evan Longoria had an injury filled campaign. This time I finished in 11th out of 13 teams. Embarrassing. I'm back for blood in 2013. Here's how the just completed draft went down in Las Vegas (I love vodka and Red Bull by the way... just thought I would share that).

13 teams, Mixed League, 5x5 14 hitters: C, C, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, MI, CI, OF, OF, OF, OF, OF, UT Nine pitchers (any combination of SPs and Rps) Six bench spots

Here's the team I selected out of the #6 hole (you can see the results of the entire draft at the RT Sports Link). The number in parenthesis is the round the player was drafted.

C: Joe Mauer (5), Russell Martin (21) 1B: Adam LaRoche (12) 2B: Howie Kendrick (10) 3B: Martin Prado (6) SS: Hanley Ramirez (2) MI/CI: Asdrubal Cabrera (7), Kevin Youkilis (14) OF: Andrew McCutchen (1), B.J. Upton (3), Jay Bruce (4), Coco Crisp (18), Denard Span (19) UT: Mark Reynolds (20) SP: James Shields (8), Max Scherzer (9), Tim Lincecum (11), Tim Hudson (16), Wandy Rodriguez (22), Shaun Marcum (23), Edinson Volquez (25), Erasmo Ramirez (28) RP: J.J. Putz (13), Joel Hanrahan (15), Jason Grilli (17), Sean Marshall (29)

BENCH: Chris Young (24), Jemile Weeks (26), Justin Maxwell (27)

So how did this team turn out? Let me explain how things evolved.

I almost took Joey Votto in round one, but instead went for the more well-rounded game of McCutchen.

In the second I nearly took Jose Reyes. Ultimately I went for HanRam who has more power and qualifies at two spots (SS, 3B). I worry a bit about Reyes playing on Astro Turf, the fact that he is been hurt a fair amount, and that he doesn't steal bases like he once did.

Round three I grabbed B.J. Upton – who now gets to play with his brother Justin Upton in Atlanta. After three rounds I felt like I had three guys who could all go 20/20. I like that.

In Round four I took the power bat of Bruce, who in my eyes isn't much different than Ginacarlo Stanton who was taken in the first round. Bruce was another strong pick, but his selection caused a problem. Ramirez/Upton/Bruce could get 1,500+ at-bats with a batting average of .260. That's not a strong start in that category. So, in order to address that situation my next two picks were guys who should be strong batting average plays – Mauer and Prado. I don't normally take a catcher this early, but Mauer is pretty much a lock for a .300 average. I just hope he plays 140 games. Prado, who was just dealt to Arizona (which could help his offensive game out a wee bit), is another guy with a batting average floor of about .285. He makes contact, steals a few bags, and should score a ton of runs hitting near the top of the D'backs batting order. He also qualifies at third base and the outfield as well which doesn't hurt.

Noticing that the middle infield was getting really thin, I took Cabrera for my MI spot. I'd be happy with a slight improvement on last year's numbers (.270-16-68-70-9). Even a repeat would be alright. Jemile Weeks is a forgotten man but just 12 months ago people thought we could be looking at a .280 hitting, 30 steal guy at second base.

Youkilis and Reynolds are my corner infield options. Neither is great, but I should be able to cobble together something solid there. LaRoche at first base is boring but he did hit 33 homers with 100 RBIs last year. I'd rather have him in the 12th round than Ryan Howard in the 5th.

My outfield has an impressive top-3 (McCutchen, Upton, Bruce). Crisp has a great fro, and he's stolen at least 32 bases each of the last three years. Span has a .285, 95 run season in him in Washington. I'm telling ya. For support I rostered Young and Maxwell, both of whom have huge holes in their games. Still, both have the talent to make a run at a 20/20 season. I only need one to hit.

I did my normal waiting thing on starters, and I like how it turned out. Shields and Scherzer can win 30 games with 400 plus Ks. You don't think so? Lincecum could win 15 games and strike out 200 too, even if you don't think he can. As I noted at the draft table, I think Lincecum in the 11th has every chance of matching Yovani Gallardo who was taken in the 9th. Hudson/Wandy/Marcum might all be the same hurler, but as 4-6 starters I like a trio that is going to be solid in the ratio categories (3.50 ERA, 1.25ish WHIP). Volquez has a huge arm (see his Player Profile). No one seems to think much of my Erasmo pick. Hey, the guy pitches for the Mariners, had a 1.00 WHIP an a 4.00 K/BB ratio over 59 innings last season. I'll take a shot on that.

In the bullpen – huge arms abound. Putz and Hanrahan, if healthy, should give me 70 saves. Those that think Putz is at the end of his rope aren't looking at the numbers (or the contract extension he was given by the Diamondbacks). Grilli has never been a closer, but he struck out 13.8 batters per nine innings last season and had a 4.09 K/BB ratio. I like that and so should you. Marshall is the best left handed setup man in the NL. If Aroldis Chapman starts as planned, guess who is the #2 option in Cincy for 9th inning work? It's Marshall who would only be behind Jonathan Broxton, you know the guy who struck out 6.98 batters per nine innings last season, only four batters below his career mark of 10.96. Broxton is also a year removed from a 6.39 BB/9 mark. Sure it was 12.2 innings, but that should make you nervous if you plan on counting on Mr. Broxton.

To sign up for your baseball league this year make sure you check out Fleaflicker.

By Ray Flowers




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About Ray Flowers

The co-host of The Drive on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio (Sirius 210, XM 87: Mon-Fri 7-10 PM EDT), Ray also hosts his own show Sunday night (7-10 PM EDT). Ray has spent years squirreled away studying the inner workings of the fantasy game to the detriment of his personal life. Specializing in baseball, football and hockey, some consider him an expert in all three.

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