by Moonlight Graham
Got a call the other day from Jack Sullivan, proprietor of The Big Steins in the Hausier’s Krowedum Rotisserie League and proud owner of the second and sixth picks in the upcoming HKRL Fantasy Baseball Draft. Jack had just started his draft prep by going over a few mock drafts and Top 100 lists. He was surprised to find Joe Mauer listed no higher than 12th on any of the material he was studying and had a question for me. “Now, with the second pick, Hanley Ramirez is a no-brainer. But, with the sixth pick, I want Joe Mauer.” “The list I’m looking at has him listed 12th but I’m not sure he even lasts until number 6. Am I crazy?”
Well, Jackson, one could make the argument that, in fact, you are; especially after your tragic decision to waive Jason Kubel just a day after last year’s draft. But, in this case, you’re right on the mark with Kubel’s teammate, the great Joe Mauer. As a matter of fact, the rationale behind your first pick confirms Mauer as worthy of a mid-first round choice.
In most drafts, Albert Pujols is the logical first choice. Ramirez usually goes second, not so much because his statistics are markedly better than alternative choices such as Ryan Braun or Alex Rodriguez but due to the fact that he produces at their level while playing a very thin position. Think about what your roster would look like were you to pick Braun. You’d have a stud outfielder but would now be forced to dip down into the shortstop pool later on; let’s say to the 10th round where both Jason Bartlett and outfielder Nelson Cruz will be available. Your team is obviously stronger with Ramirez and Cruz than with Braun and Bartlett.
The same logic must be applied to Mauer. He’s a three time batting champ and the reigning MVP who, by the way, became a stud power hitter last year while batting .370. Those stats put him in the first round no matter what his position. That his is actually the weakest of all, you absolutely cannot afford to turn down his kind of production at that spot. So, do you think you’re better off with Mauer and Joey Votto in the fifth round or with Mark Teixeira and Brian McCann? Looks like an easy decision, Jack. Good luck.