March 19, 2014
Depending on what you value, there’s a distinct separation in 12-team 5x5 draft formats when it comes to the fifth pick. Mike Trout, Miguel Cabrera, Paul Goldschmidt,and Andrew McCutchen all deserve to go in the no. 1-4 spots, and I don’t think there can be much debate on that. The big question facing owners picking fifth is a value-based one. I was handed the no. 5 pick in a home league, so let’s take a look at some of the names that I thought about taking there. (Note: I’m concentrating solely on 12-team leagues, so your mileage may vary).
PECOTA projects Kershaw to finish fifth in K’s and first in both ERA and WHIP among starting pitchers. Wins are a mess to project, but one would expect his value to hold there given that the Dodgers are a good team and Kershaw tends to pitch deep into games.
Last season, Gonzalez posted another 20-20 season and hit over .300. PECOTA expects more of the same in 2014 with a jump in plate appearances and the subsequent jump in RS/BI. There’s a huge health caveat when it comes to Gonzalez; his injury history section is depressingly long and he hasn’t crossed the 140-game threshold since 2010. Durability is a serious concern here.
Ramirez is a gifted player with extreme short term potential despite turning 30 years old this year. It’s difficult to label him a breakout candidate, but I do think he has a great chance at producing at a fifth-overall-pick level of production.
If you believe in building around an ace pitcher in fantasy formats, you should pop Kershaw at no. 5. Personally, I think there’s too much risk in that. I’m open to selecting Kershaw in the first round—I think right around pick seven is ideally where I’d take him in redrafts—with the understanding that he’s not likely going to fall that far in most leagues. I’m hesitant to tie in that sort of value to a player who doesn’t contribute every day. Kershaw’s dominance changes the equation a lot but I need everyday contributions from a top-five guy if I have that pick with rare exception.
I wanted to take Carlos Gonzalez there, but the injury history is scaring me off from investing a top-five pick for him. Gonzalez has a long and concerning habit of missing big chunks of seasons, and I’d rather let someone else assume the risk.
Robinson Cano was seriously considered because of his increased plate discipline and penchant for churning out 25-plus HR seasons with a good average. I think Cano can produce like a top-five player this year and earn his draft spot selection.
Hanley Ramirez was the player I targeted at no. 5, though. If Ramirez is healthy all year, I think he has 30 HR and 20 SB potential. Discard the position he plays for a second; .290 – 30 – 20 – 90 – 90 has all sorts of insane value. The shortstop eligibility is just gravy at this point.
I ended up taking Paul Goldschmidt, because Kershaw was selected at no. 3 and McCutchen was taken in front of me at no. 4. Every so often, you find yourself in a position in which, for all the pre-draft planning you did, your decision ends up being completely off your board.