March 15, 2010
Fantasy Clicks
By Jay Clemons
The Obligatory AL-Only Fantasy Spectacular
Juan Rivera: Harry How/Getty Images

With the NCAA tourney and St. Patrick's Day on the brain, this is the perfect time to tackle rankings for the Junior and Senior circuits in baseball -- aka the AL-Only Fantasy Spectacular (today) and NL-Only Fantasy Spectacular (Friday). Hence, there'll be no Fantasy Clicks from me on Wednesday for two reasons: 1) Officially, it'll give loyal Clicks readers time to digest the work of our new writer, David Komer, whose column should run every Tuesday from this point forward. 2) Unofficially, I will be hosting a going-away-party/St. Pat's Day bar crawl for our colleague, Jeff Ritter (who's leaving us for -- a subsidiary of See ya Friday!

Auction This

I partook in a lightning-fast AL-only auction draft Sunday night. Here are the results from the $260-limit mock selection show ... where, once again, it paid to be extremely prudent about the early run on superstars AND relatively frugal midway through the draft:

Phase I -- Early Spending Spree
SP Justin Verlander, Tigers -- $24
1B Justin Morneau, Twins -- $23
3B Gordon Beckham, White Sox -- $21 (left holding the bag when trying to raise auction price)
SP Josh Beckett, Red Sox -- $21
RP Joakim Soria, Royals -- $16

Phase II -- Restrained, Yet Jubilant Spending
OF Shin-Soo Choo, Indians -- $18 (a burgeoning 5x5 monster)
OF/1B Michael Cuddyer, Twins -- $14
OF Denard Span, Twins -- $14
OF Juan Rivera, Angels -- $14
SP Jered Weaver, Angels -- $12
RP Kerry Wood, Indians -- $11
SP Wade Davis, Rays -- $11
OF Juan Pierre, White Sox -- $14 (could steal 60 bases for the go-go ChiSox)

Phase III -- Smart Shopping
RP/SP Netfali Feliz, Rangers -- $9
SS Cliff Pennington, Athletics -- $4
RP Ryan Perry, Tigers -- $5
3B/1B Garrett Atkins, Orioles -- $5 (wayyyyyy overdue for a breakout)
SP Colby Lewis, Rangers -- $2

Phase IV -- Guilty Pleasure
SP Chris Tillman, Orioles -- $8 (the future strikeout king of fantasyland)

Phase V -- Bargain Bins
2B/SS Willie Bloomquist, Royals -- $3 (a productive jack of all positional trades)
OF Desmond Jennings, Rays -- $2
2B/OF Sean Rodriguez, Rays -- $3 (a 5th-round pick in next year's AL-only drafts)
C Alex Avila, Tigers -- $2
2B Willy Aybar, Rays -- $1
C John Buck, Blue Jays -- $1

Verdict: For a fourth consecutive auction draft, I have landed Verlander at-or-below his market value; and while I did shell out $8 more for him compared to last week's mixed-league draft ... it's always nice to corral a workhorse for under $25. The same could be said for Morneau, Beckett and Soria -- all of whom should be at the top of their respective positions in the American League. The biggest steal of the night? Look no further than Texas pitcher Colby Lewis, who's back from a two-year tour of duty in Japan (11-9 with a 2.96 ERA for Hiroshima in 2009; 15-8 with a 2.68 ERA with 183 strikeouts in 178 innings in '08) ... and (finally) ready to dominate in America.

Auction That

In case you care, these 26 American Leaguers garnered bids of $22 or more in Sunday's mock:
3B Alex Rodriguez, Yankees -- $37
1B Mark Teixeira, Yankees -- $37
1B Miguel Cabrera, Tigers -- $36
OF Carl Crawford, Rays -- $34
OF Jacoby Ellsbury, Red Sox -- $32
3B Evan Longoria, Rays -- $32
SP Felix Hernandez, Mariners -- $29
C Joe Mauer, Twins -- $29
SP CC Sabathia, Yankees -- $28
SP Zack Greinke, Royals -- $27
2B Ian Kinsler, Rangers -- $27
SP Jon Lester, Red Sox -- $26
SS Derek Jeter, Yankees -- $25
1B Kevin Youkilis, Red Sox -- $25
OF Ichiro Suzuki, Mariners -- $25
SP Justin Verlander, Tigers -- $24
1B Kendry Morales, Angels -- $23
OF Grady Sizemore, Indians -- $23
SP Cliff Lee, Mariners -- $23
1B Justin Morneau, Twins -- $23
OF B.J. Upton, Rays -- $23
2B Robinson Cano, Yankees -- $23
2B Dustin Pedroia, Red Sox -- $22
2B Brian Roberts, Orioles -- $22
OF/DH Adam Lind, Blue Jays -- $22
C/1B Victor Martinez, Red Sox -- $22

WHIP Masters

Citing my favorite pitching stat, here are's projections for American League starting pitchers with WHIPs of 1.28 or less ... and at least 100 innings pitched this season (ruling out Rangers superstud Martin Perez for the time being):

1. Javier Vazquez, Yankees -- 1.12
2. Justin Verlander, Tigers -- 1.17
3. CC Sabathia, Yankees -- 1.17
4. Zack Greinke, Royals -- 1.18
5. Josh Beckett, Red Sox -- 1.19
6. Cliff Lee, Mariners -- 1.20
7. Scott Baker, Twins -- 1.21
8. John Lackey, Red Sox -- 1.21
9. Jake Peavy, White Sox -- 1.21
10. Ben Sheets, Athletics -- 1.23
11. James Shields, Rays -- 1.23
12. Jered Weaver, Angels -- 1.23
13. Jon Lester, Red Sox -- 1.23
14. Joel Pineiro, Angels -- 1.24
15. Felix Hernandez, Mariners -- 1.24
16. Justin Duchscherer, Athletics -- 1.26
17. John Smoltz, Free Agent -- 1.27
18. Phil Hughes, Yankees -- 1.28
19. Brett Anderson, Athletics -- 1.28
20. Kevin Slowey, Twins -- 1.28
21. David Price, Rays -- 1.28
22. Mark Buehrle, White Sox -- 1.28
23. Gavin Floyd, White Sox -- 1.28

We Rank 'Em, You Draft 'Em: Catchers

Here are the up-to-date rankings for American League catchers (5x5 scoring):
1. Joe Mauer, Twins
2. Victor Martinez, Red Sox
3. Jorge Posada, Yankees
4. Matt Wieters, Orioles
5. Mike Napoli, Angels
6. Kurt Suzuki, Athletics
7. A.J. Pierzynski, White Sox
8. Kelly Shoppach, Rays
9. Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Rangers
10. John Buck, Blue Jays
11. Gerald Laird, Tigers
12. Jason Kendall, Royals
13. Jeff Mathis, Angels
14. Alex Avila, Tigers
15. Dioner Navarro, Rays
16 Taylor Teagarden, Rangers
17 Jason Varitek, Red Sox
17. Rob Johnson, Mariners
18. Carlos Santana, Indians
20. Lou Marson, Indians

**For a complete list of catcher rankings, click here.

We Rank 'Em, You Draft 'Em: First Base

1. Miguel Cabrera, Tigers
2. Mark Teixeira, Yankees
3. Justin Morneau, Twins
4. Kendry Morales, Angels
5. Kevin Youkilis, Red Sox
6. Victor Martinez, Red Sox
7. Carlos Pena, Rays
8. Billy Butler, Royals
9. Michael Cuddyer, Twins
10. Paul Konerko, White Sox
11. Chris Davis, Rangers
12. Garrett Atkins, Orioles
13. Russell Branyan, Indians
14 Nick Johnson, Yankees
15. Lyle Overbay, Blue Jays
16. Matt LaPorta, Indians
17. Justin Smoak, Rangers
18. Hank Blalock, Rays
19. Daric Barton, Athletics
20. Mike Carp, Mariners

**For a complete list of first base rankings, click here.

We Rank 'Em, You Draft 'Em: Second Base

1. Ian Kinsler, Rangers
2. Dustin Pedroia, Red Sox
3. Brian Roberts, Orioles
4. Robinson Cano, Yankees
5. Aaron Hill, Blue Jays
6. Ben Zobrist, Rays
7. Asdrubal Cabrera, Indians
8. Howie Kendrick, Angels
9. Jose Lopez, Mariners
10. Scott Sizemore, Tigers
11. Mark Ellis, Athletics
12. Maicer Izturis, Angels
13 Orlando Hudson, Twins
14. Alberto Callaspo, Royals
15. Sean Rodriguez, Rays
16. Chris Getz, Royals
17. Luis Valbuena, Indians
18. Willy Aybar, Rays
19. Jayson Nix, White Sox
20. Ramon Santiago, Tigers

**For a complete list of second base rankings, click here.

We Rank 'Em, You Draft 'Em: Shortstop

1. Jason Bartlett, Rays
2. Derek Jeter, Yankees
3. Alexei Ramirez, White Sox
4. Elvis Andrus, Rangers
5. Miguel Tejada, Orioles
6. Asdrubal Cabrera, Indians
7. Jhonny Peralta, Indians
8. Marco Scutaro, Red Sox
9. J.J. Hardy, Twins
10. Erick Aybar, Angels
11. Maicer Izturis, Angels
12. Jack Wilson, Mariners
13. Sean Rodriguez, Rays
14 Cliff Pennington, Athletics
15. Luis Valbuena, Indians
16. Alex Gonzalez, Blue Jays
17. Willie Bloomquist, Royals
18. Ramon Santiago, Tigers
19. Mike Aviles, Royals
20. Cesar Izturis, Orioles

**For a complete list of shortstop rankings, click here.

We Rank 'Em, You Draft 'Em: Third Base

1. Alex Rodriguez, Yankees
2. Evan Longoria, Rays
3. Michael Young, Rangers
4. Chone Figgins, Mariners
5. Gordon Beckham, White Sox
6. Adrian Beltre, Red Sox
7. Alex Gordon, Royals (this one is subject to change before April 5)
8. Jhonny Peralta, Indians
9. Garrett Atkins, Orioles (gets bonus points for positional versatility)
10. Jake Fox, Athletics
11. Brandon Wood, Angels (the kid finally gets a chance to justify the legend)
12. Kevin Kouzmanoff, Athletics
13. Brandon Inge, Tigers
14 Mike Lowell, Red Sox
15. Mark Teahen, White Sox
16. Brett Wallace, Blue Jays
17. Ty Wigginton, Orioles
18. Edwin Encarnacion, Red Sox
19. Jose Bautista, Blue Jays
20. Don Kelly, Tigers (should get plenty of April at-bats, with Inge recuperating)
**Note: Shortstop Miguel Tejada is slated to be Baltimore's third baseman on Opening Day ... making him 3B-eligible for the hot corner sometime around April 11.

**For a complete list of third base rankings, click here.

Flamethrowers 'R Us
Brett Anderson: Brad Mangin/Getty Images

Since you can never have enough great pitching, here are's projections for strikeout leaders. The cut-line for this elite list stands at 160:

1. Justin Verlander, Tigers -- 251
2. Zack Greinke, Royals -- 230
3. Felix Hernandez, Mariners -- 220
4. Jon Lester, Red Sox -- 220
5. Javier Vazquez, Yankees -- 220
6. Scott Kazmir, Angels -- 219
7. Josh Beckett, Red Sox -- 205
8. A.J. Burnett, Yankees -- 205
9. CC Sabathia, Yankees -- 201
10. Jake Peavy, White Sox -- 200
11. Matt Garza, Rays -- 200
12. Max Scherzer, Tigers -- 200
13. Rich Harden, Rangers -- 185
14. Ervin Santana, Angels -- 179
15. Jered Weaver, Angels -- 175
16. Cliff Lee, Mariners -- 173
17. Brett Anderson, Athletics -- 173
18. Clay Buchholz, Red Sox -- 171
19. James Shields, Rays -- 170
20. Gavin Floyd, White Sox -- 170
21. Daisuke Matsuzaka, Red Sox -- 170
22. David Price, Rays -- 169
23. Chris Tillman, Orioles -- 167
22. Brandon Morrow, Blue Jays -- 166
23. Scott Baker, Twins -- 163
24. Francisco Liriano, Twins -- 163
25. Wade Davis, Rays -- 161
26. John Danks, White Sox -- 160

We Rank 'Em, You Draft 'Em: Starting Pitchers

Here are the up-to-date rankings for American League starting pitchers (5x5 scoring):
1. Zack Greinke, Royals
2. Jon Lester, Red Sox
3. CC Sabathia, Yankees
4. Justin Verlander, Tigers
5. Felix Hernandez, Mariners
6. Cliff Lee, Mariners
7. Javier Vazquez, Yankees
8. Josh Beckett, Red Sox
9. Jake Peavy, White Sox
10. James Shields, Rays
11. Kevin Slowey, Twins
12. Matt Garza, Rays
13 Jered Weaver, Angels
14. John Lackey, Red Sox
15. A.J. Burnett, Yankees
16. Scott Baker, Twins
17. Brett Anderson, Athletics
18. Daisuke Matsuzaka, Red Sox
19. David Price, Rays
20. Brian Matusz, Orioles
21. John Danks, White Sox
22. Jeff Niemann, Rays
23. Rick Porcello, Tigers
24. Wade Davis, Rays
25. Rich Harden, Rangers

**For a complete list of starting pitcher rankings, click here.

We Rank 'Em, You Draft 'Em: Relief Pitchers

1. Jonathan Papelbon, Red Sox
2. Mariano Rivera, Yankees
3. Joakim Soria, Royals
4. Rafael Soriano, Rays
5. Frank Francisco, Rangers
6. Brian Fuentes, Angels
7. Netfali Feliz, Rangers
8. Jose Valverde, Tigers
9. Andrew Bailey, Athletics
10. Kerry Wood, Indians
11. Jon Rauch, Twins
12. Mike Gonzalez, Orioles
13. David Aardsma, Mariners
14. Jason Frasor, Blue Jays
15. Bobby Jenks, White Sox
16. C.J. Wilson, Rangers
17. Michael Wuertz, Athletics
18. Chris Perez, Indians
19. Daniel Bard, Red Sox
20. Ryan Perry, Tigers
21. Joba Chamberlain, Yankees
22. Juan Cruz, Royals
23. Alfredo Aceves, Yankees
24. J.P. Howell, Rays
25. Joey Devine, Athletics
26. Fernando Rodney, Angels
27 Kevin Gregg, Blue Jays
28 Matt Guerrier, Twins
29. Matt Thornton, White Sox
30. Joel Zumaya, Tigers

**For a complete list of reliever rankings, click here.

Depth Of Knowledge

There is no greater draft-day resource than the official depth charts for each AL club:
American League
Red Sox | Orioles | Rays | Yankees | Blue Jays

White Sox | Tigers | Indians | Royals | Twins

Rangers | Angels | Athletics | Mariners

We Rank 'Em, You Draft 'Em: Outfielders

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

**For a complete list of outfielder rankings, click here.

We Rank 'Em, You Draft 'Em: DHs

Here are the up-to-date rankings for designated hitters (5x5 scoring):
1. Adam Lind, Blue Jays
2. Jason Kubel, Twins
3. Vladimir Guerrero, Rangers
4. David Ortiz, Red Sox
5. Jose Guillen, Royals
6. Hideki Matsui, Angels
7. Luke Scott, Orioles
8. Pat Burrell, Rays
9. Travis Hafner, Indians
10. Jim Thome, Twins
11. Carlos Guillen, Tigers
12. Ken Griffey, Jr., Mariners
13 Nick Johnson, Yankees
14. Andruw Jones, White Sox
15. Jack Cust, Athletics

It's All About The Slot: #5

The No. 5 overall pick in mixed-league drafts might be the equivalent of fantasy torture ... but there's a certain coolness to landing the 5-spot in 10-team AL- (or NL-only) leagues. For starters, you have a decent shot at stealing Miguel Cabrera in Round 1; and then you have a sublime chance at either Zack Greinke, Justin Morneau, Brian Roberts, Adam Jones or Grady Sizemore sometime in Rounds 2 or 3. More importantly, it buys you time to monitor the rosters and drafting habits of your fellow owners; because, as we all know, owners must be incredibly savvy and prepared to succeed in restricted-player drafts. Any moron can win a mixed league ... but a true fantasy expert kills when swimming in a shallow player pool. Enough rambling -- here's an excellent strategy for nailing an AL-only draft at this slot:

Round 1, Pick 5: Motive -- Best overall player
1st option: 3B Evan Longoria, Rays ... 2nd option: C Joe Mauer, Twins

Round 2, Pick 16 overall: Motive -- Best 5-category stud
1st option: 2B Brian Roberts, Orioles ... 2nd option: SP Jon Lester, Red Sox

Round 3, Pick 25 overall: Motive -- Best corner infielder or outfielder
1st option: 1B Justin Morneau, Twins ... 2nd option: OF Nelson Cruz, Rangers

Round 4, Pick 36 overall: Motive -- Best starting pitcher or 5-category outfielder
1st option: SP Javier Vazaquez, Yankees ... 2nd option: OF Torii Hunter, Angels

Round 5, Pick 45 overall: Motive -- Best overall player
1st option: OF Shin-Soo Choo, Indians ... 2nd option: 3B Gordon Beckham, White Sox

Round 6, Pick 56 overall: Motive -- Best outfielder
1st option: OF/2B Ben Zobrist, Rays ... 2nd option: OF Denard Span, Twins

Round 7, Pick 65 overall: Motive -- Best middle infielder or high-end pitcher
1st option: SS Alexei Ramirez, White Sox ... 2nd option: SP Matt Garza, Rays

Round 8, Pick 76 overall: Motive -- Best flame-throwing starting pitcher
1st option: SP Brett Anderson, Athletics ... 2nd option: SP Jered Weaver, Angels

Round 9, Pick 85 overall: Motive -- Best high-end closer
1st option: RP Rafael Soriano, Rays ... 2nd option: RP Brian Fuentes, Angels

Round 10, Pick 96 overall: Motive -- Best 5-category offensive talent
1st option: OF Juan Rivera, Angels ... 2nd option: SP Brian Matusz, Orioles

Round 11, Pick 105: Motive -- Best starting pitcher
1st option: SP Kevin Slowey, Twins ... 2nd option: 1B Paul Konerko, White Sox

Round 12, Pick 116: Motive -- Best overall player (positional versatility crucial)
1st option: SS Miguel Tejada, Orioles ... 2nd option: RP Jon Rauch, Twins

Round 13, Pick 125: Motive -- Best starting pitcher
1st option: SP Wade Davis, Rays ... 2nd option: SP Ben Sheets, Athletics

Round 14, Pick 136: Motive -- Best young player with great upside
1st option: RP/SP Netfali Feliz, Rangers ... 2nd option: 2B Scott Sizemore, Tigers

Round 15, Pick 145: Motive -- Best power-hitting outfielder or starting pitcher
1st option: OF Magglio Ordonez, Tigers ... 2nd option: SP Francisco Liriano, Twins

Round 16, Pick 156: Motive -- Best closer
1st option: RP Jason Frasor, Blue Jays ... 2nd option: SP Phil Hughes, Yankees

Round 17, Pick 165: Motive -- Best available player
1st option: RP Daniel Bard, Red Sox ... 2nd option: SP Justin Masterson, Indians

Round 18, Pick 176: Motive -- Best outfielder
1st option: OF Desmond Jennings, Rays ... 2nd option: C Kelly Shoppach, Rays

Round 19, Pick 185: Motive -- Best overall player
1st option: SP Justin Duchscherer, Athletics ... 2nd option: OF Ryan Raburn, Tigers

Round 20, Pick 196: Motive -- Best player with positional versatility
1st option: 1B/3B Garrett Atkins, Orioles ... 2nd option: RP Jason Frasor, Blue Jays

Round 21, Pick 205: Motive -- Best catcher or starting pitcher available
1st option: C Alex Avila, Tigers ... 2nd option: SP Brad Bergesen, Orioles

Round 21, Pick 205: Motive -- Best starting pitcher
1st option: SP Colby Lewis, Rangers ... 2nd option: SP Marc Rzepczynski, Blue Jays

Wanna Join Our Baseball League?

Back by popular demand, we've decided to admit at least one lucky Fantasy Clicks reader into the & Friends fantasy baseball league. Up until March 21, we'll be accepting short-essay submissions (limit 1-2 paragaphs please) for the final slot in our small, but prestigious league (kind of like George Costanza). The requirements are simple: Outside of having reliable computer access for Draft Day (either March 31 or April 1), you must demonstrate passion for fantasy baseball (hence, the short essay) and derive regular pleasure from posting humorous retorts on our league message board.

One last thing: It certainly helps to be comfortable with accepting or declining blockbuster trade proposals during the graveyard-shift period of 2-6 a.m. -- the bewitching hours for all the Atlanta-based employees. You can also hit me up on Twitter for this contest ... although it'll be hard to meet the above requirements in 140 characters or less. Good luck!

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