Two mock drafts in, Ryan Braun is looking pretty definitively like a first-rounder.
It didn't seem possible given the backlash over his long overdue PED suspension and the possibility of a Melky Cabrera-like regression, but so far, we're 2 for 2 with someone -- and not even the same someone -- choosing to take him that early.
It's not so surprising given the uncertainty surrounding the next crop of players after the top nine or so. In Head-to-Head points leagues, Clayton Kershaw is the clear No. 10, but in standard Rotisserie leagues like this one, it's wide open.
The better-safe-than-sorry types will choose Edwin Encarnacion, Prince Fielder or Adam Jones. The position-scarcity types will choose Troy Tulowitzki or Hanley Ramirez. And the upside-at-all-costs types will choose Braun.
As with every Rotisserie draft, the power-speed guys were in high demand in this one, with Matt Kemp, Carlos Gomez and Jean Segura all going a round or two earlier than in our Head-to-Head points draft. I was actually the one to take Segura even though I had already filled my shortstop stop with Tulowitzki in the first round. My need for a proven speedster who wouldn't kill me in the other categories trumped my need for a second baseman (in this case, Matt Carpenter), especially with my sights set on renewed sleeper Jurickson Profar following the Ian Kinsler trade.
As far as middle infielders went, we were all over the place in this draft. Jose Altuve, with his 35-steal potential at second base, went in the second round while Brian Dozier, with his 20-homer, 15-steal potential at the same position, went in the 14th. Granted, Altuve is a good bit safer than Dozier, but that gap will be much smaller in most leagues. Jhonny Peralta, meanwhile, went in Round 11, just as second-tier hurlers like Matt Moore, Gerrit Cole, Michael Wacha and Alex Cobb were beginning to go off the board. That probably speaks to the lack of depth at shortstop relative to second base, but if you're going to reach at the position, it should be for someone like Xander Bogaerts, who went two rounds later. True, he's not eligible there yet, but within the first week of the season, he will be.
Even by Rotisserie league standards, the quality of starting pitchers available in the later rounds of this draft was staggering. For most of the draft, pitchers came at a discount. Yes, five were gone by the end of the third round, but Madison Bumgarner, Cole Hamels and Zack Greinke, who were all in the discussion for that top tier, didn't go until three or four rounds later. With so many hitter slots to fill, nobody cared to reach at the position after the best of the best had gone off the board -- and for good reason. Check out the pitchers we had to "fall back" on in Round 17 and beyond.
The players who I think deserve special distinction for their steals potential in this format are Billy Hamilton and Emilio Bonifacio (with Hamilton being the more fascinating of the two). Frankly, even in a part-time role, both would be worth starting in Fantasy. If their real-life roles were more secure, both probably would have gone much earlier.
But you know, at this stage of the offseason, it's a learning experience for all of us. Nobody has drafted enough to anticipate how others will react, which makes every pick or series of picks a welcome source of debate. So instead of trying to make sense of it all here, let's just get to the draft and take the next couple months to sort it all out.
First, a quick introduction to the participants:
1. Jameson Fleming, CBSSports.com Social Media Editor
2. Chris Towers, Fantasy Writer
3. Peter Madden, Director, Fantasy Sports
4. Larry Hartstein, Fantasy Writer
5. Michael Hurcomb, Fantasy Editor
6. Al Melchior, Data Analyst
7. Joe Polito, Social Media Coordinator
8. Nando Di Fino, Senior Fantasy Writer
9. Adam Aizer, Fantasy Video/Podcast Host
10. Scott White, Senior Fantasy Writer
11. Jeff Tobin, Associate Managing Editor
12. Igor Mello, Fantasy Writer