The Detroit Tigers' signing of 1B Prince Fielder has led to a temporary euphoria surrounding the expected fantasy value for 1B Miguel Cabrera in 2012. ESPN's Eric Karabell leads the chorus of commentary that Cabrera is now the top ranked player going into 2012 fantasy drafts. To test that assertion, I joined a 14-team 5x5 mixed league draft at Mock Draft Central and chose the #1 draft slot.
My immediate concern was who I would select at the turn of the 2nd and 3rd round, the 28th and 29th picks overall. Given Cabrera's expected 3B eligibility, my initial strategy was to hope one of the elite power producing 1B would be available. This would allow me to shift Cabrera to 3B in season and to start two elite 1B without cloging the Corner position.
Before the first round was over, I knew this was unlikely to come to fruition. Four of the first seven picks were firstbasemen, and a 5th -Prince Fielder - was selected at the end of the 1st round. (FWIW, all the 1B selections were made by mock drafters present at the draft.)
With Mark Teixeira going 24th, I immediately rued having the first pick as the elite outfielders, middle infielders and starting pitchers were all gone by the end of the 2nd round (28th overall selection.) This left me searching amongst all the positions for any stand out values.
There were none from my perspective, and I took OF Andrew McCutcheon and 3B Adrian Beltre. And did not like it.
The rest of the draft was a repeat of the same lack of obvious value, and I shifted to selecting players I believed will out perform current ADPs but may not last another 27 selections. This is a method I use typically in the 8th or 9th round of previous year's drafts.
At the 5th/6th round turn I grabbed C Matt Weiters and SP Stephen Strasburg. Then at 7th/8th, I took Jimmy Rollins and Lance Berkman.
In no way am I happy with my team so far. At the 9th/10th turn, I added Yu Darviush and Ryan Madsen. Then I grabbed Dustin Ackley and Jesus Montero with the hope that Montero will gain catcher-eligibility and be shifted into my second C slot. (FWIW, Ackely was the top player on the board per MDC and there were several teams on AI draft status.)
At this point in the draft (142 selections), the rest is a hodge podge of risk control i.e. production of Gaby Sanchez versus 500 ABs of Brandon Belt and high volatility i.e. Aroldis Chapman lasting as a SP. So I won't go too far into who I selected as this part of a mixed team roster is meant to be churned once the season begins.
Overall, I am unsatisfied with the #1 pick and selecting Miguel Cabrera in a deep mixed league format. Whether I can execute the two elite 1B in a 12-team draft is the next question to be answered. (Stop the BABIP regression on Mark Teixeira and maybe it will!)