Fantasy Clicks
Classic Avoidance Tactic: Fantasy Preview
Miguel Cabrera: Mark Cunningham/Getty Images

By the time you read this, should have already released the all-encompassing Fantasy Baseball Preview for the 2010 season. So, with that in mind, we'll postpone any post-Preview discussions until Friday's Fantasy Clicks -- which should give readers plenty of time to craft venom-filled e-mails or tweets, in response to the uncoventional positional rankings. In the meantime, here's a hot-off-the-presses look at the Top 200 list for mixed leagues.

Auction This

Obviously, I want to be your primary source for fantasy information and analysis; but I also support the work of other media compaines (ESPN, CBS Sports, Rotowire, Rotoworld, Fanball, etc.) and their accomplished (but not necessarily award-winning) writers. Case in point: On Monday, I participated in an online auction mock draft, using the monetary values in The Sporting News' fantasy preview as my ONLY muse for bidding -- on the caveat that I could not bid higher than TSN's established dollar amounts. Here are the results of that AL-only draft ($260 salary cap):

Phase I -- Spending Spree
1B Miguel Cabrera, Tigers -- $30; TSN value, $36
SP Zack Greinke, Royals -- $26; TSN value, $36
OF Grady Sizemore, Indians -- $24; TSN value, $32
2B Robinson Cano, Yankees -- $23; TSN value, $27
OF Adam Jones, Orioles -- $19; TSN value, $26
SP Matt Garza, Rays -- $14; TSN value, $19
SS/2B Asdrubal Cabrera, Indians -- $14; TSN value, $18
SP John Danks, White Sox -- $13; TSN value, $16
OF J.D. Drew, Red Sox -- $10; TSN value, $15
C Kelly Shoppach, Rays-- $6; TSN value, $7

Phase II -- Smart Shopping
OF Scott Podsednik, Royals -- $6; TSN value, $14
OF Johnny Damon, Tigers -- $4; TSN value, $17
RP Ryan Perry, Tigers -- $2; TSN value, $2
RP Joey Devine, Athletics -- $2; TSN value, $2
RP C.J. Wilson, Rangers -- $2; TSN value, $5
3B Mike Lowell, Red Sox -- $2; TSN value, $14

Phase III -- Bargain Bins
3B/1B Garrett Atkins, Orioles -- $2; TSN value, $5
OF/DH Carlos Guillen, Tigers -- $2; TSN value, $8
SP Ricky Romero, Blue Jays -- $1; TSN value, $2
SP Jeremy Bonderman, Tigers -- $1; TSN value, $1
2B/OF Willie Bloomquist, Royals -- $1; TSN value, $1
SP/RP Brandon Morrow, Blue Jays -- $1; TSN value, $1
SP Ian Snell, Mariners -- $1; TSN value, $1
2B/OF Sean Rodriguez, Rays -- $1; TSN value, $1
RP Jon Rauch, Twins-- $1; TSN value, $1

One Guilty Pleasure -- Rookie Splurge
OF Desmond Jennings, Rays (spent $7 ... TSN had no $$$ value)

Verdict: Walking away from an auction draft with $46 of use-it-or-lose-it money probably isn't the best strategy for maximizing one's roster, and yet, I have a strange appreciation for the entire group -- even the litany of $1 or $2 scrubs. The biggest mistake occurred with J.D. Drew: Yes, I got him for $5 under market value, but I would've preferred to use the extra funds on two prominent outfielders with amazing steals/runs potential ... Julio Borbon and Rajai Davis. But then again, I had no guilt in spending beaucoup bucks on Desmond Jennings, who will be an instant star with the Rays this season.

Auction That

In case you care, these 16 American Leaguers garnered bids of $24 or more in Monday's mock:
1. 3B Alex Rodriguez, Yankees -- $37
2. OF Carl Crawford, Rays -- $32
3. 1B Mark Teixeira, Yankees -- $31
4. 1B Miguel Cabrera, Tigers -- $30
5. 3B Evan Longoria, Rays -- $30
6. C Joe Mauer, Twins -- $28
7. OF Jacoby Ellsbury, Red Sox -- $27
8. 2B Ian Kinsler, Rangers -- $26
9. SP Zack Greinke, Royals -- $26
10. SP Felix Hernandez, Mariners -- $26
11. OF Ichiro Suzuki, Mariners -- $25
12. SP CC Sabathia, Yankees -- $25
13. OF Grady Sizemore, Indians -- $24
14. OF/DH Adam Lind, Blue Jays -- $24
15. SS Derek Jeter, Yankees -- $24
16. 2B Dustin Pedroia, Red Sox -- $23

Rank & File, Part I

Here's something that didn't make the Preview's first cut -- the top 25 NL-only outfielders:
1. Ryan Braun, Brewers
2. Matt Kemp, Dodgers
3. Matt Holliday, Cardinals
4. Jayson Werth, Phillies
5. Justin Upton, Diamondbacks
6. Carlos Lee, Astros
7. Jason Bay, Mets
8. Shane Victorino, Phillies
9. Andrew McCutchen, Pirates
10. Andre Ethier, Dodgers
11. Carlos Beltran, Mets
12. Alfonso Soriano, Cubs
13 Adam Dunn, Nationals
14. Hunter Pence, Astros
15. Corey Hart, Brewers
16. Carlos Gonzalez, Rockies
17. Jay Bruce, Reds
18. Manny Ramirez, Dodgers
19. Garrett Jones, Pirates
20. Nate McLouth, Braves
21. Kyle Blanks, Padres
22. Ryan Ludwick, Cardinals
23 Raul Ibanez, Phillies
24. Michael Bourn, Astros
25. Dexter Fowler, Rockies

Rank & File, Part II

What's good for the goose is good for the gander ... the top 25 AL-only outfielders:
1. Carl Crawford, Rays
2. Grady Sizemore, Indians
3. Jacoby Ellsbury, Red Sox
4. Nelson Cruz, Rangers
5. Ichiro Suzuki, Mariners
6. Bobby Abreu, Angels
7. Adam Jones, Orioles
8. Nick Markakis, Orioles
9. Josh Hamilton, Rangers
10. Shin-Soo Choo, Indians
11. B.J. Upton, Rays
12. Torii Hunter, Angels
13 Curtis Granderson, Yankees
14. Adam Lind, Blue Jays
15. Carlos Quentin, White Sox
16. Ben Zobrist, Rays
17. Johnny Damon, Tigers
18. Denard Span, Twins
19. Michael Cuddyer, Twins
20. Juan Rivera, Angels
21. Jason Kubel, Twins
22. Alex Rios, White Sox
23 Vladimir Guerrero, Rangers
24. Julio Borbon, Rangers
25. Vernon Wells, Blue Jays

I Tweet, Therefore I Am

With pitchers and catchers already settled in at camp, and Cactus and Grapefruit League games soon in the offing, it's the perfect time to take our first fantasy question, via Twitter:

@JasonFingerman says: I have a keeper question. Who's the best value in my 13-team, 5x5 mixed league: Derrek Lee (Round 6), Adam Dunn (Round 3), Juan Pierre (18), Garrett Jones (20) or Nolan Reimold (20)?

Answer: Lee will bring consistent production for 3-4 months -- lest we forget his June-September rampage last year (30 HRs, 92 RBIs) -- but he's a Round 5 or 6 pick in mixed leagues, just like '09. The steals-heavy Pierre would be a sound, low-risk investment for Round 18, but the White Sox' outfield is just too crowded (even without Johnny Damon) ... which brings us to Jones versus Reimold. By the slimmest of margins, I'd go with Jones, who has greater 20/20 potential with Pittsburgh this season -- even though Reimold will likely bash more homers.

Green Light Goodness: Hitters
Brian Roberts: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

In an earnest effort to inject today's Clicks with happy news, here are a few sensory-pleasing trends from 2009 to build upon when evaluating veterans for this season. In lay terms, we're guaranteeing the following hitters will equal or eclipse these thresholds:

First Base
Albert Pujols: Expect ... 135 RBIs
Miguel Cabrera: Expect ... 96 runs/103 RBIs
Ryan Howard: Expect ... 105 runs
Adrian Gonzalez: Expect ... 99 RBIs
Joey Votto: Expect ... 25 HRs
Billy Butler: Expect ... 21 HRs
Garrett Jones: Expect ... 10 steals
Chris Davis: Expect ... 21 HRs

Brian McCann: Expect ... 94 RBIs
Victor Martinez: Expect ... 88 runs/.303 average
Matt Wieters: Expect ... .288 average
Miguel Montero: Expect ... 61 runs

Second Base
Ian Stewart: Expect ... 70 RBIs
Placido Polanco: Expect ... 82 runs
Robinson Cano: Expect ... 103 runs
Dan Uggla: Expect ... 90 RBIs
Asdrubal Cabrera: Expect ... 17 steals
Brandon Phillips: Expect ... 78 runs
Ian Kinsler: Expect ... 101 runs
Dustin Pedroia: Expect ... .296 average
Brian Roberts: Expect ... 110 runs/30 steals
Chase Utley: Expect ... 93 RBIs

Elvis Andrus: Expect ... 33 steals
Yunel Escobar: Expect ... 14 HRs
Ryan Theriot: Expect ... 81 runs
Alexei Ramirez: Expect ... 14 steals
Miguel Tejada: Expect ... 14 HRs
Jimmy Rollins: Expect ... 100 runs/.250 average
Derek Jeter: Expect ... 107 runs
Hanley Ramirez: Expect ... 24 HRs/27 steals

Third Base
Alex Rodriguez: Expect ... 30 HRs/78 runs
David Wright: Expect ... 88 runs/.307 average
Evan Longoria: Expect ... 100 runs/33 HRs/9 steals
Pablo Sandoval: Expect ... 25 HRs
Kevin Youkilis: Expect ... 99 runs
Michael Young: Expect ... .322 average
Gordon Beckham: Expect ... 14 HRs/58 runs/63 RBIs
Chase Headley: Expect ... 12 HRs/10 steals

Compare & Contrast

If we based our fantasy draft boards solely off the 2009 postseason, Cliff Lee and CC Sabathia would be low Round 1 picks come late March ... and Chase Utley would be pushing Albert Pujols for the No. 1 overall pick in 5x5 leagues. But alas, the gulf between Utley and fellow second basemen Ian Kinsler, Dustin Pedroia, Brian Roberts and Brandon Phillips isn't that profound, right? (Wrong?)

Here are four early projections (, Fanball, The Sporting News, Rotowire) for Utley, Kinsler, Pedroia, Roberts and Phillips -- all of whom will likely be taken within the first 35 picks in standard leagues:

Utley 30 HRs, 107 RBIs, 117 runs, 23 steals, .296 BA
Fanball: 32 HRs, 103 RBIs, 105 runs, 16 steals, .294 BA
Rotowire: 30 HRs, 98 RBIs, 111 runs, 18 steals, .293 BA
The Sporting News: 34 HRs, 98 RBIs, 119 runs, 21 steals, .290 BA

Kinsler 30 HRs, 95 RBIs, 100 runs, 30 steals, .268 BA
Fanball: 22 HRs, 74 RBIs, 90 runs, 27 steals, .278 BA
Rotowire: 27 HRs, 85 RBIs, 111 runs, 31 steals, .275 BA
The Sporting News: 32 HRs, 85 RBIs, 107 runs, 33 steals, .273 BA

Pedroia 15 HRs, 72 RBIs, 112 runs, 20 steals, .308 BA
Fanball: 15 HRs, 78 RBIs, 114 runs, 18 steals, .309 BA
Rotowire: 18 HRs, 72 RBIs, 111 runs, 18 steals, .310 BA
The Sporting News: 17 HRs, 77 RBIs, 112 runs, 20 steals, .307 BA

Phillips 20 HRs, 90 RBIs, 80 runs, 25 steals, .265 BA
Fanball: 22 HRs, 79 RBIs, 87 runs, 26 steals, .269 BA
Rotowire: 22 HRs, 91 RBIs, 84 runs, 26 steals, .274 BA
The Sporting News: 22 HRs, 92 RBIs, 86 runs, 22 steals, .274 BA

Roberts 12 HRs, 69 RBIs, 105 runs, 29 steals, .285 BA
Fanball: 13 HRs, 69 RBIs, 112 runs, 37 steals, .289 BA
Rotowire: 13 HRs, 68 RBIs, 108 runs, 36 steals, .289 BA
The Sporting News: 13 HRs, 64 RBIs, 106 runs, 33 steals, .285 BA

Positional Assumptions

Here's a list of players with multiple-position eligibility in 2010:
3B Pablo Sandoval, Giants (now 1B-eligible)
3B Mark Reynolds, Diamondbacks (now 1B-eligible)
1B Kevin Youkilis, Red Sox (now 3B-eligible)
C Victor Martinez, Red Sox (now 1B-eligible)
1B Adam Dunn, Nationals (now OF-eligible)
2B Asdrubal Cabrera, Indians (now SS-eligible)
3B Jorge Cantu, Marlins (now 1B-eligible)
2B Ian Stewart, Rockies (now 3B-eligible)
2B Martin Prado, Braves (now 1B/3B-eligible)
OF Garrett Jones, Pirates (now 1B-eligible)
3B Chase Headley, Padres (now OF-eligible)
2B Maicer Izturis, Angels (now SS-eligible)
3B Mark Teahen, White Sox (now OF-eligible)
C Ramon Hernandez, Reds (now 1B-eligible)
2B Luis Valbuena, Indians (now SS-eligible)
3B Jhonny Peralta, Indians (now SS-eligible)
2B Casey McGehee, Brewers (now 3B-eligible)
SS Julio Lugo, Cardinals (now 2B-eligible)
1B Nick Swisher, Yankees (now OF-eligible)
OF Jake Fox, Athletics (now 3B-eligible)
2B Jeff Baker, Rockies (now 3B-eligible)
1B Garrett Atkins, Orioles (now 3B-eligible)
3B Ty Wigginton, Orioles (now 1B-eligible)
2B Eugenio Velez, Giants (now OF-eligible)
2B Jeff Keppinger, Astros (now 3B-eligible)
1B Micah Hoffpauir, Cubs (now OF-eligible)
2B Willy Aybar, Rays (now 1B-eligible)
SS/OF Jerry Hairston, Jr., Padres (now 3B-eligible)
OF Willie Bloomquist, Royals (now SS-eligible)
SS/OF Ben Zobrist, Rays (now 2B-eligible)

It's All About The Slot: #10

The No. 10 pick in a 12-team fantasy draft really isn't so bad. Basically, you get to watch other owners reach for players -- god knows why -- before settling on a sensible value pick (presumably with wonderful upside). And if that's not grand enough, BOOM!, there's another pick coming down the pipe just five slots later! OK, so maybe I'm overselling the experience a bit ... but there's really nothing to worry about here -- especially when possessing a great strategy for the 10th and 15th slots:

Round 1, Pick 10 overall: Motive -- Best overall player
1st option: 1B Ryan Howard, Phillies ... 2nd option: 2B Ian Kinsler, Rangers

Round 2, Pick 15 overall: Motive -- Best corner infielder or outfielder
1st option: 3B Evan Longoria, Rays ... 2nd option: 3B David Wright, Mets

Round 3, Pick 34 overall: Motive -- Best outfielder or starting pitcher
1st option: OF Jayson Werth, Phillies ... 2nd option: SP Felix Hernandez, Mariners

Round 4, Pick 39 overall: Motive -- Best outfielder or power-hitting infielder
1st option: OF Nick Markakis, Orioles ... 2nd option: 1B Joey Votto, Reds

Round 5, Pick 58: Motive -- Best outfielder, pitcher (or guy named 'Lee')
1st option: OF Carlos Lee, Astros ... 2nd option: SP Cliff Lee, Mariners

Round 6, Pick 63 overall: Motive -- Best starting pitcher or top-ranked closer
1st option: SP Jon Lester, Red Sox... 2nd option: RP Jonathan Papelbon, Red Sox

Round 7, Pick 82 overall: Motive -- Best pitcher or middle infielder
1st option: SP Yovani Gallardo, Brewers ... 2nd option: SS Jason Bartlett, Rays

Round 8, Pick 87 overall: Motive -- Best starting pitcher or 5-category outfielder
1st option: SP Matt Cain, Giants ... 2nd option: OF Andrew McCutchen, Pirates

Round 9, Pick 106 overall: Motive -- Best middle infielder or power hitter
1st option: 3B/SS Gordon Beckham, White Sox ... 2nd option: 1B Billy Butler, Royals

Round 10, Pick 111 overall: Motive -- Best high-end closer
1st option: RP Heath Bell, Padres ... 2nd option: C Matt Wieters, Orioles

Round 11, Pick 130: Motive -- Best corner infielder or starting pitcher
1st option: OF/1B Garrett Jones, Pirates ... 2nd option: SP Matt Garza, Rays

Round 12, Pick 135: Motive -- Best starting pitcher or middle infielder
1st option: SP Matt Garza, Rays ... 2nd option: SS Elvis Andrus, Rangers

Round 13, Pick 154: Motive -- Best middle infielder
1st option: 2B Ian Stewart, Rockies ... 2nd option: 2B/3B Casey McGehee, Brewers

Round 14, Pick 159: Motive -- Best outfielder or versatile infielder
1st option: OF Corey Hart, Brewers ... 2nd option: 2B/3B Casey McGehee, Brewers

Round 15, Pick 178: Motive -- Best closer or catcher
1st option: RP Chad Qualls, Diamondbacks ... 2nd option: C Miguel Montero, Diamondbacks

Round 16, Pick 183: Motive -- Best player available
1st option: SP Kevin Slowey, Twins ... 2nd option: RP Francisco Cordero, Reds

Round 17, Pick 202: Motive -- Best closer or outfielder (emphasis on speed)
1st option: RP Billy Wagner, Braves ... 2nd option: OF Julio Borbon, Rangers

Round 18, Pick 207: Motive -- Best middle infielder or outfielder
1st option: 2B Howie Kendrick, Angels ... 2nd option: OF Drew Stubbs, Reds

Round 19, Pick 226: Motive -- Best starting pitcher or power reliever
1st option: SP Brett Anderson, Athletics ... 2nd option: SP/RP Joba Chamberlain, Yankees

Round 20, Pick 231: Motive -- Best catcher
1st option: C Mike Napoli, Angels ... 2nd option: RP Jason Frasor, Blue Jays

Round 21, Pick 250: Motive -- Young player with greatest upside
1st option: 1B Jason Heyward, Braves ... 2nd option: SP Wade Davis, Rays

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