Through the early days of March, Miguel Cabrera has been the most popular Fantasy player in terms of average draft position, and the trend held in our 10-team AL-only Head-to-Head mock draft. Cabrera was chosen ahead of Jose Bautista, Albert Pujols and Adrian Gonzalez, as hitters dominated the first round. Though pitching is scarce in the AL relative to the NL, Justin Verlander (fifth overall) and CC Sabathia (10th overall) were the only pitchers represented through the end of Round 1.
High-end outfielders and shortstops are also in relatively short supply in the AL, and once the top options came off the board, owners were in no hurry to fill the position. Through the first four rounds, only seven outfielders had been selected, and one of those -- Bautista -- will likely fill a third base slot. It wasn't until the middle of the fifth round that owners started targeting outfielders in earnest, as Desmond Jennings, Nick Swisher, B.J. Upton and Ichiro Suzuki were all claimed within a span of six picks. The first shortstop, Asdrubal Cabrera, was not taken until the third round, and by the time Derek Jeter was picked to start off Round 10, only three more -- Elvis Andrus, Alexei Ramirez and Jhonny Peralta -- had been drafted. It's common for owners to bide their time in getting a starting shortstop, but the results of this mock draft suggest that there is enough scarcity among AL outfielders that you can also be patient in targeting them, even for your No. 1 slot.
Owners didn't start pursuing relief-eligible pitchers until the seventh round, and initially, pitchers who are slated to be starters with relief eligibility were of great interest. Matt Moore (65th overall) and Neftali Feliz (77th overall) were among the first four relief-eligible pitchers taken, and Chris Sale (109th overall) and Daniel Bard (122nd overall) were among the top 13 relievers taken. In Head-to-Head formats, starters often make a better use of an RP slot than an actual closer, so be sure to keep the likes of Moore and Feliz on your radar.
Finally, there is the perennial question of where to take players who are not eligible at a position other than utility, as they are full-time designated hitters in real life. Billy Butler and David Ortiz can be just as productive as many of the hitters taken in the earlier rounds, but because of their lack of position flexibility, both were passed over until the sixth round.
Scoring for Batting Categories
Singles - 1 point
Doubles - 2 points
Triples - 3 points
Walks (Batters) - 1 point
Caught Stealing -1 point
Hit by Pitch - 1 point
Home Runs - 4 points
Strikeouts (Batter) - -0.5 points
Runs - 1 point
Runs Batted In - 1 point
Stolen Bases - 2 points
Scoring for Pitching Categories
Walks Issued (Pitchers) -1 point
Earned Runs -1 point
Hits Allowed -1 point
Hit Batsmen -1 point
Innings - 3 points
Strikeouts (Pitcher) - .5 points
Losses - -5 points
Quality Starts - 3 points
Saves - 7 points
Wins - 7 points
The owners and draft order ...
1. Dave Richard, Senior Fantasy Writer
2. Al Melchior, Data Analyst
3. Ed Gauna, Fantasy Writer
4. Adam Moore, Fantasy Writer
5. Michael Hurcomb, Fantasy Writer
6. Jeff Lippman, Fantasy Writer
7. Peter Madden, Editorial Director, Fantasy Sports
8. Kevin Goodwin, Fantasy Writer
9. Scott White, Fantasy Writer
10. Jeff Tobin, Associate Managing Editor, Fantasy Sports