'Miguel Cabrera' photo (c) 2012, Keith Allison - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/ For the fifth straight year I was invited to play in an expert’s league by the folks over at KFFL.com (you can click on the link to see how everyone else in the draft evaluated their own selections). Nicknamed K-BAD, for Baseball Analysis Draft, the league pits 11 of the top minds in the game against one flunky (that would be your truly). I thought I would give my analysis of the team I was able to roster in the 12-team, 5×5 mixed league with 28 rounds (I had the third overall pick in the draft which was completed just wrapped up as the month of February came to a conclusion).

A little bit about the league and what to expect in the three part piece.

I'll break down my draft, pick-by-pick. Part I will be a review of selections 1-14. In Part II I'll review selections 15-28. Finally, in Part III, I'll give an overview of the draft and share how my team worked out, where I missed out on players, and let you know if The Oracle made any mistakes (shockingly he made one glaring mistake).

12 teams, 28 rounds 14 hitters: C, C, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, CI, MI, OF, OF, OF, OF, OF, UT 9 pitchers: P, P, P, P, P, P, P, P, P Bench: five spots

Round 1: Ray Flowers, BaseballGuys.com Player: Miguel Cabrera, 3B The most consistent hitter in the game. He lacks the speed of others taken at the top of most drafts, but he makes up for it with unmatched consistent excellence. I would never have taken Mike Trout here, so I was very pleased when this future HOFamer fell to me.

Round 2: Ray Flowers, BaseballGuys.com Player: Hanley Ramirez, 3B/SS If a down year is 20/20, and that player qualifies at two positions, sign me up. HanRam has been a .250 hitter the past two years, and that's obviously a significant issue, but his ability to contribute across the board while giving me flexibility is well worth drafting at this spot, though I was secretly pining for Dustin Pedroia who went one spot ahead of me.

Round 3: Ray Flowers, BaseballGuys.com Player: Starlin Castro I really wanted to take David Wright here. However, with a 3B (Cabrera) and another 3B eligible player (Hanley) already on my roster with my first two picks, I couldn't justify locking up my corner infield spot this early with a third 3B eligible player.

Round 4: Ray Flowers, BaseballGuys.com Player: Austin Jackson, OF For the second time in three rounds the guy I wanted was taken one spot ahead of me (this time it was B.J. Upton who I also considered in the third round). At this point of the draft I wanted to get an athletic outfielder which I was able to accomplish.

Round 5: Ray Flowers, BaseballGuys.com Player: Shin-Soo Choo, OF I could have gone the route of Michael Bourn here, but there seem to be players falling much later with similar skills (Pierre, Revere types). In the 5th I went with another across the board talent in Choo who should thrive hitting in Great American Ballpark.

Round 6: Ray Flowers, BaseballGuys.com Player: Martin Prado, 3B/OF As I continue to pile up offense, I targeted a versatile hitter who qualifies at two spots. Prado's a nice little hitter, and I know Howard Bender wanted him badly so why not take him. A .300 season with 10/15 and 100 runs seems possible.

Round 7: Ray Flowers, BaseballGuys.com Player: Yadier Molina, C You can make a legitimate case that my team, after seven picks, has to be looked at as a club that could hit .300. It's not often you can say that. However, Molina was my third choice as the two players I had teed up – Hill and Bumgarner – went with the two selections before my spot came up.

Round 8: Ray Flowers, BaseballGuys.com Player: James Shields, SP Others might be nervous with Shields as their top arm. I'm not. He's about as stable as they come on the hill, get's a lot of punchouts (8.82 per nine last year), and combines that skill with an increasing ground ball rate (52 percent in '12).

Round 9: Ray Flowers, BaseballGuys.com Player: Yovani Gallardo, SP I was faced with a real toss up between the power arm and consistency of Gallardo, and the likely better ratios but less dominating arm that Johnny Cueto brings. Since Cueto is coming back from an injury, I went with Gallardo.

Round 10: Ray Flowers, BaseballGuys.com Player: Nick Markakis, OF Markakis is exactly the type of player I like to target. He's consistently solid across the board, is a veteran, and his value is depressed since he's coming off an injury plagued season. Many don't know that per 162 games his 5x5 line is .295-18-85-89-9. I'll gladly take that.

Round 11: Ray Flowers, BaseballGuys.com Player: Mark Trumbo, OF/1B He was amazing in the first half, then he was awful in the second. All told he hit 32 homers with 95 RBIs while batting .268. I'll gladly take a repeat at this point of the draft from the dual position threat.

Round 12: Ray Flowers, BaseballGuys.com Player: Dexter Fowler Will he ever learn to hit on the road? His BABIP was league leading last year so the average might fall a tad from .300, but I think there could be a 20/20 season here.

Round 13: Ray Flowers, BaseballGuys.com Player: Ben Revere, OF Smart to take him with Juan Pierre and Coco Crisp still on the board? Probably not, but I'm a big fan of Revere's speed game (turns out I was right and should have waited to draft Pierre rounds later).

Round 14: Ray Flowers, BaseballGuys.com Player: Jon Lester, SP I believe Lester will rebound in 2013. Here's the reasons why.

I'll continue my review in my next column by looking at selections from rounds 15-28.

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-Thurs 7 PM, Fri. 9 PM EDT), Ray also hosts a 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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