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Before drafting a team, one must evaluate the depth at each position to ensure a solid lineup across the board.  Though some big names will sit at the top of the position lists that will be hard to pass on, remember that good first basemen, outfielders, and starting pitchers will still be available later on in the draft.  Catchers on the other hand will be a very thin position where after the top three guys go off the board, the available talent left will most likely hurt a lineup more than it will actually help it out.

Joe Mauer is the top catcher available and most likely will be gone by the end of the first round.  Because he is a catcher, he will not get to the plate as much as the other top hitters on the board, but when comparing his stats to a catcher that would be available later on in the draft, there is a huge downgrade.  Tim Lincecum is a solid ace that will go in the first round in most drafts, but the chances of another pitcher that will be available later in the draft producing usable stats will better those of a late round catcher.

Free agency will always produce some talent one may add to their team, so expect to find decent options at pitching and outfield as the season carries on.  Remember that when drafting your team, because it is highly unlikely that one may pickup a solid option at catcher in free agency, but there will always be pitchers and outfielders still available that could turn out to produce great numbers.


Having a catcher on your roster that is consistently producing solid numbers is a huge advantage.  Joe Mauer is undoubtedly the best catcher available, as well as one of the best hitters in the game, and his domination at this position makes him an outstanding franchise player for your fantasy team.  The downside to this position is the amount of at bats they will receive throughout the season, as well as playing a more injury prone position.  The upside to drafting Mauer is that the talent tremendously drops off at catcher once he is taken.

Brian McCann and Victor Martinez will be the best options after Mauer is gone, but once they are soon off the board, the available talent drastically decreases.  One may roll the dice on a younger player with upside like Matt Wieters, but the risk may not be worth the reward.  Most catchers produce stats that hurt your team, so assuring a top hitting talent at this position is critical.  Drafting Mauer and rolling the dice on a solid pitching prospect later in the draft makes more sense than drafting Lincecum and getting stuck with a sub-par catcher.


Albert Pujols is one of the best players in the game and is always a triple crown threat.  But when evaluating the depth at this position, his stock takes a slight dip.  There are at least ten first basemen available in the draft that may not produce Pujols type numbers, but are capable of hitting over .300, 30+ HR’s, 100+ RBI’s, and 100+ Runs.  Compare the stats of Pujols, the number one ranked first baseman, to Kendry Morales, the tenth ranked first basemen (according to Fantasy Baseball Index).

1. Albert Pujols – .327/47/135/124/16 (Had offseason surgery)

10. Kendry Morales – .306/34/108/86/3 (Only 26 with upside)

Now compare Joe Mauer, the top catcher on the board, to Brian McCann, the third catcher on the board, and Geovany Soto, the tenth catcher ranked.

1. Joe Mauer – .365/28/96/94/4

3. Brian McCann – .281/21/94/63/4

10. Geovany Soto – .218/11/47/27/1 (Hit .285/23/86/66/0 in ’08)

Though Pujols produced monster stats and is capable to do it once again, there will be many first baseman available later in the draft that can produce solid stats as well without such a significant drop off in production.  Pass on Pujols and draft a good hitting first basemen later in the draft.


This has surprisingly become a power hitting position.  Led by Chase Utley, who has mashed over 30+ dingers the last two seasons, there are also another eight players at this position that have 30+ homer potential.  This has always been a position of speed, where at least nine players have the potential to rack up 20+ stolen bases.  Drafting the player that will get you both is the best strategy to pursue.

Second Basemen with 30+ HR/20+ SB potential:

1. Chase Utley (31/23)

3. Ian Kinlser (31/31)

4. Brandon Phillips (20/25) (Hit 30 HR’s in ’07)

8. Ben Zobrist (27/17)

17. Clint Barmes (23/12)

If speed is not of your concern from this position, these hitters have big power potential:

6. Robinson Cano (.320/25/85)

7. Aaron Hill (.286/36/108)

9. Dan Uggla (.243/31/90)

10. Jose Lopez (.272/25/96)

The remaining players at this position among the top ten:

2. Dustin Pedroia (.296/15/72/20)

5. Brian Roberts (.283/16/79/30)

Keep an eye on these younger players:

14. Alberto Callaspo (.300/11/73/2)

16. Howie Kendrick (.291/10/61/11)

20. Martin Prado (.307/11/49/1)

26. Chris Getz (.261/2/31/25)

Given the depth at this position, it makes Chase Utley a less valuable pick.  Put second base on your backburner and turn your focus to another position.  Chances are, there will still be a productive hitting player at this position, or at least a player with speed, available later in the draft.


Hanley Ramirez is an excellent player who will only get better with age.  But the key to drafting this position is finding the poor man’s Ramirez.  Shortstop is not an incredibly deep position, holding Ramirez’s value very high, but there will be a couple players available later in the draft that could produce similar stats.  This is also a position where there is plenty of top-flight talent on the way.

Ramirez compared with other top-five shortstop talent:

1. Hanley Ramirez (.342/24/106/101/27)

3. Jimmy Rollins (.250/21/77/100/31) (Hit .296/30/94/139/41 in ’07)

4. Derek Jeter (.334/18/66/107/30)

5. Troy Tulowitzki (.297/32/92/101/20)

6. Jason Bartlett (.320/14/66/90/30)

Despite Ramirez’s dominating stats and room for improvement, a shortstop with some upside should be available a little later in the draft.  But considering the fall off after the first six players at this position, plan on drafting a shortstop relatively sooner than other positions.

If a shortstop run leaves you thin at this position or stuck with an older player, keep an eye on these younger players.  You can always draft two late and cross your fingers.

10. Alcides Escobar – Age 23

11. Asrubal Cabrera – Age 24

12. Elvis Andrus – Age 21

13. Everth Cabrera – Age 23

19. Ian Desmond – Age 24


Alex Rodriguez is still listed as the top player available at this position, but his stats have dramatically decreased due to age and lack of steroids.  This has become a relatively deep position with solid talent rounding out the top ten of available players.  Passing on A-Roid and drafting a younger player with some upside might be the route to pursue.

Here is a list of younger third basemen with potential to improve on last season’s stats.

2. David Wright – Age 27 – (.307/10/72/88/27) (Homers down, stolen bases up from ’08)

3. Mark Reynolds – Age 26 – (.260/44/102/98/24) (He did strike out 223 times in ’09)

4. Evan Longoria – Age 24 – (.282/33/113/100/9) (Primed for a monster season)

5. Ryan Zimmerman – Age 25 – (.292/33/106/110/2)

8. Pablo Sandoval – Age 23 – (.330/25/90/79/5)

13. Gordon Beckham – Age 23 – (.270/14/63/58/7)

17. Ian Stewart – Age 24 – (.228/25/70/74/7)

25. Andy LaRoche – Age 26 – (.258/12/64/64/3)

It’s most likely better to target a third basemen sooner than later, but probably not worth wasting a top draft pick on this position considering the amount of younger talent that will be available later on in the draft.


The outfielders position is obviously the deepest next to starting pitchers.  There will be plenty of talent here later on in the draft.  There will also be talent available in free agency at this position as the season transpires.  Wasting a high draft pick on an outfielder may hurt your team at another position, where talent is thin.

Ryan Braun has become the stud at this position, but considering the depth, he might not be worth your first round pick.  Considering that you must start at least three outfielders on your roster, you do not want to ignore this position, but it might be a better strategy to allow solid talent to fall to you later in the draft.

Here is a list of outfielders that should be available later in the draft that could produce similar stats to that of a Ryan Braun.  Players with speed and power are in italics.

13. Curtis Granderson (.249/30/71/91/20) (Average should rise dramatically this season)

15. Grady Sizemore (.248/18/64/73/13) (Injured last season, hit .268/33/90/101/38 in ’08)

16. Josh Hamilton (.268/10/54/43/8) (Injured last season, hit .304/32/130/98/9 in ’08)

17. Nick Markakis (.293/18/101/94/6) (Only 26 years old)

18. Adam Lind (.305/35/114/93/1) (Also only 26 years old)

19. Carlos Lee (.300/26/102/65/5)

20. Jayson Werth (.268/36/99/98/20)

21. Justin Upton (.300/26/86/84/20) (Only 22 years old)

22. Tori Hunter (.299/22/90/74/18)

23. Nate McLouth (.256/20/70/86/19)

25. Nelson Cruz (.260/33/76/75/20)

26. Denard Span (.311/8/68/97/23)

27. Shin-Soo Choo (.300/20/86/87/21)

28. Carlos Gonzalez (.284/13/29/53/16)

30. Raul Ibanez (.272/34/93/93/4)

31. Andre Ethier (.272/31/106/92/6)

32. Vernon Wells (.260/15/66/84/17)

39. Adam Dunn (.267/38/105/81/0)

Targeting a couple of these players later in the draft could help you round out the rest of your team.  There are also many young players like Jay Bruce, Jason Kubel, Garret Jones, Nolan Reimold, Chris Coglan, and Brett Gardner who could step up and have big seasons this year as well.  Also keep an eye on rising stars emerging from the minors who get called up due to injury.

Outfielders also produce most of the stolen base leaders, so drafting a player like Carl Crawford, Jacoby Ellsbury, Andrew McCuthchen, B.J. Upton, Michael Bourn, Nyjer Morgan, Rajai Davis, Dexter Fowler, or Julio Borbon could help you out in that category tremendously.  But instead of wasting a high draft pick on Crawford or Ellsbury, look to draft one of the other guys listed after them later on.

As far as drafting your outfield, attempt to draft one stolen base stud, one power stud, and then draft as many players with potential to do both.  Also attempt to draft outfielders that have the potential to bat over .300.  There should be at least three outfielders available later on in your draft with .300/25/100/100/25 potential.


Tim Lincecum is arguably the best pitcher in baseball and will always help your fantasy team.  But starting pitchers are always the most susceptible to injury, they do not help out your lineup everyday, and it is by far the deepest position.  So think twice before you use your first round pick on Lincecum.

Every season, there is plenty of pitching talent that can be found in free agency.  There are also plenty of pitchers taken early that end up getting injured or having sub-par seasons (Cole Hamels).  There’s also emerging stars like Felix Hernandez and Josh Johnson who could churn out Lincecum type seasons that you won’t have to waste a first round pick on.

Drafting an ace for your fantasy team is mandatory, so you should focus on taking one of the top twenty pitchers relatively high.  The longer you can wait to draft at least one of those pitchers the better, but don’t allow your starting pitching staff to run too weak.  But once you have drafted an ace or two within the first six rounds of your draft, wait to see who falls down the board and scrap together the remainder of your staff with players who have strong upside.  There will be some great pitchers available after round ten, and always some talent that emerges from free agency throughout the season.

Young talent like Ricky Romero, Mat Latos, Dallas Braden, Rick Porcello, Marc Rzepczynski, Jon Niese, Bud Norris, David Price, or Chris Volstad could turn out to be the steals of the draft this season.  Rolling the dice on some younger pitchers with upside will help you build a better team.  Draft at least four dependable aces, then wait for the end of the draft to pick up some young talent and see who pans out.


Making sure that you have at least two solid closers is a good strategy to pursue.  You do not have to waste a high draft pick on a premier closer, but you don’t want to be left on the outside of a closer run in your draft.  Though guys like Jonathan Broxton and Joe Nathan will be quick to go, there are still plenty of relievers that will post 30+ saves and have good ERA’s.

This is also a position where throughout the year, players will receive their opportunity to close games.  There is always a couple high profile closers that get injured or don’t pan out, and their replacements can be scooped up in free agency.  You don’t necessarily have to draft a top closer to hang in the save category, but it is a good idea to target at least two closers that will have the opportunity to save 30+ games.  There should be at least 20 guys this season that will have that opportunity and you must have at least two of them to compete in saves.


The goal for your draft is to have a complete team when all said and done.  You want to build a well rounded roster so that you can compete in every category.  Sometimes you may have to pass on a better player strictly due to the position they play.  Taking the best available shortstop over a better hitting outfielder or starting pitcher is the way to go if you consider the depth at the other positions and lack of depth at shortstop.

Listed below are the top players at the position and comparable players at that position that will be available later in the draft.

FRANCHISE CATCHER – Joe Mauer (The drop off at this position is drastic)

LATER OPTION – Matt Wieters


LATER OPTION – Kendry Morales or Joey Votto


LATER OPTION – Aaron Hill or Ben Zobrist


LATER OPTION – Troy Tulowitzki


LATER OPTION – Pablo Sandoval

FRANCHISE OUTFIELDERS – Ryan Braun, Matt Holiday, Matt Kemp

LATER OPTION – Justin Upton, Nelson Cruz, Hunter Pence

FRANCHISE PITCHERS – Tim Lincecum, Zack Greinke, Roy Halladay

LATER OPTION – Felix Hernandez, Clayton Kershaw, Tommy Hanson

FRANCHISE RELIEVERS – Jonathan Broxton, Joe Nathan, Jon Papelbon

LATER OPTION – Andrew Bailey, Rafael Soriano, David Aardsma



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  1. Danny Shapiro Mar 6 201012:44 pm


    Ok, so are you saying that with the number 1 pick you take Mauer over Pujols?
    I get the position scarcity arguement, I play Fantasy Baseball like my life depended on it. The best strategy is to take the best player available. Straight up, regardless of position. Here’s the deal, Catcher is a volitle position, a year ago Russell Martin was the consensus #2 catcher, not now. Mauer has always been a BA champ, but the power didn’t show up til last season. Mauer is by far the best Catcher, but his numbers aren’t even close to what you get from Pujols, Howard, Longoria, Fielder, A-Rod, Braun and so on. You can’t win with your first pick, but you sure can lose. Spend your first picks on players that you can count on for the most stats possible. OF and the Corners are where you find the best players that fill up the stat sheet in 4 or 5 cats. If you do that you are already ahead of the game. In Rotisserrie you don’t compete by position, you compete by totals stats accrued, get the guys that give you the most.

    1. Josh Souder Mar 7 20104:50 pm


      I would take Mauer and this is why. Pujols will no doubt accumulate overall better numbers, but Mauer will have a higher batting average, and could chase .400 this season. He’s that good of a hitter, and he’s still very young. I feel that there is enough outfielder talent that will be available later on in the draft to confidently pass on Pujols and lock down my catcher. If a catcher run starts early, which could happen because of the lack of depth at that position, there is a good chance that you could end up with a guy on your team struggling to stay above .250. I’m not worried about finding an outfielder that is capable of hitting .300+, 30+, 100+, 100+, 20+, later on in the draft. I feel that those guys with that potential will still be sitting there a couple rounds down the road. But the catcher that will be available later on in the draft will most likely not post good stats, and could ruin your team.

      Projected Stats:

      Joe Mauer – .370/25/100/100/5 &
      Justin Upton – .300/30/100/100/25


      Albert Pujols – .335/45/130/120/15 &
      Russell Martin – .270/10/60/70/15

      If you take Pujols with the first pick and don’t pick again until the 20th+ pick in the draft, you’re rolling the dice on a catcher after Mauer goes off the board in the first round. Martinez and McCann could go in the second, only because once those guys are off the board, you’re stuck with Martin, Posada, Doumit, Suzuki, Napoli, or Weiters (a guy who I like a lot), but you can not depend on any of those guys completely. I can though depend on Mauer completely.

      If you do decide to take Pujols number one, you better cross your fingers that Martinez or McCann will still be on the board with your next pick. You can roll the dice on a catcher besides Mauer, but I’ll stick with Joe and draft a couple outfielders with upside, hopefully drafting the next Pujols out there. But I would recommend taking Hanley Ramirez over Pujols anyway, only because of the lack of depth at shortstop as well.

      1. Danny Shapiro Mar 15 201010:04 am


        one problem with your projection. if you get Mauer you aren’t getting Upton 20 picks later. You won’t unless you play with idiots.

  2. Josh Souder Mar 8 20105:30 am


    Drafting solid late round talent in the outfield is the best way to build a fantasy squad. Draft solid players at the positions with the least amount of depth (catcher and short stop), and wait to draft guys who play 1B, OF, & SP (which is why I pass on Pujols). With the amount of talented outfielders out there that can produce solid numbers, grabbing a guy like Votto later in the draft over Albert is the way to go (hopefully after drafting Mauer and Tulowitzki). Some people go after the corners, but this season I will go after catcher and short. Pujols is a beast at firstbase, but there are at least ten players at that position that I feel comfortable with. I can’t say that about the catcher position. That is why I take Mauer over Pujols, because there will be plenty of firstbase and outfielder talent available later in the draft. Mauer, Tulowitzki, Upton, and Votto is the way to go, then fill out the rest of your lineup with 2B, RP, and as many OF and SP with upside as possible.

    1. Josh Souder Mar 8 20105:34 pm


      I left out 3B above, but depending on how the draft was rolling, I would draft a 3B either in the 3rd round to 6th round depending on the available players. But I would take a 3B over a 2B, because I think that 2B is a deep position this year.

      But regardless, filling out your roster starting with the positions with the least amount of depth is the way to go (not best available player overall). There will be a solid 1B, and plenty of OF’s and SP’s still available later in the draft. But you can’t say that for C, SS, and 3B. Position runs in a draft can leave you with a very poor catching option, a weak SS or 3B, or sketchy relief pitchers. I’d rather take what was left from 1B, OF, and SP later in the draft, which is why I would pass on Pujols, Braun, or Lincecum.

      The young talent at those positions are very strong with players that I feel have potential to put up big numbers this season. And if you score those guys later in the draft after you’ve already selected the best available players at the thin positions first, you’re team will be very solid.

  3. Dan Rakusan Mar 8 20105:42 pm


    These types of discussions actually make me want to follow baseball, which to be honest, I totally don’t… I love stats, and prognostication, but I have no clue other than the big names. Maybe I’ll enter a Yahoo pool this season, just to see what it’s all about… Thanks for the insight!

  4. Danny Shapiro Mar 15 201010:03 am


    I get the depth arguement Josh, I’m a firm believer in the depth arguement, but you don’t waste a first round pick on a scarce position just because its scarce. Take Mauer with a late first round, but if you have the first pick you take Pujols. You can find a decent catcher in the 2nd, 3rd, or even 4th rounds dude. YEah there are less good catchers, that doesnt mean you have to get Mauer, there are other guys available a bit later, McCann in the 3rd. Wieters in the 4th, in ROTO get the guys that get you the most stats. bottom line. CHeck the site later for my Mock draft results posted in the Fantasy section!!!!

    1. Trent Kondo Mar 15 20104:44 pm


      I agree with Danny, I had last pick so I took Mauer, but if I had a higher pick it would not have been him.

      If you get a lower rate Catcher you should be able to cover and make up his stats with with the depth of your other picks.

  5. Josh Souder Mar 16 20107:54 pm


    If you get Mauer with a later pick in the first round, you obviously scored. My problem, is that when I’m sitting with the first pick, I feel like I have to take Pujols, and then I don’t have a shot to take Mauer, because he will obviously be off the board by the time I pick again. That’s my problem. And the bottom line, above the player with the best stat potential, is that I would rather have Maeur as my catcher than Pujols as my first basemen. I’m fine with waiting on a first basemen, and rolling with a guy like Votto, Morales, or even Butler (chances are you can still snag Gonzalez or Youkillis as well) later on down the road, but Mauer is the ONLY catcher I’m one hundred percent sold on.

    Sure, McCann is a good player, but he’s not great. Mauer is great (not that Pujols isn’t though). And I’ve seen McCann and Martinez go in the second round after Mauer went off the board because of the dramatic drop off at catcher in some drafts. Then you’re stuck with Wieters, who’s young and still unproven to date. Not worth the risk in my eyes. If you don’t draft Mauer in the first, you’re rolling the dice on catcher.

    The entire point to this strategy is having a catcher that’s hitting .350+ for you all season, rather than a couple catchers you’re weeding through all year who are struggling to hit .250 all season (or get you stats in no categories), the ultimate ruination your team.

    You’re free to take Pujols with your first pick, but you better hope you’re still able to grab a decent catcher in the next couple of rounds (which also forces you to take McCann, Martinez, or Wieters over other players with more category helping statistical potential), in rounds 2-5. So it balances out right there anyway. But Mauer, whether it’s the first pick or the last pick in the first round, is first round talent. When you have to draft McCann over Upton in the second or third round because you’re afraid that you might get stuck with Russell Martin, that’s when the strategy pans out.

    And on top of everything, if Mauer hits close to .400 this season, and he’s the catcher of my fantasy squad, it’s game over. I’m more than confident that I can find solid talent at other positions to pass on a couple extra points from a great first basemen. But regardless, if you have Pujols or Mauer on your fantasy team, you still have a chance to win. Mauer will never ruin your team, even if you take him over Pujols, but a catcher hitting .220 the first couple months of the season, forcing you to find a better one available in free agency, well, I’ll let you guys deal with that one…

    1. Danny Shapiro Mar 17 201010:41 am


      Josh, Don’t forget Victor Martinez you batted 303 last season with 23 homers and 103 rbi’s. Thats not that big a drop off from Mauer, yeah in BA maybe, but thats just one category, McCann had 7 less homers and 2 less RBI’s. Just because you don’t get Mauer doesnt mean you are screwed. If you know what you are doing and do your research, you can get somebody good and you dont have to be scrambling all season with 250 guys, A good fantasy manager will find a good player. Russell Martin has always been good, he had a bad season but don’t be surprised if he picks it up.

  6. Trent Kondo Mar 16 201010:54 pm


    I actually entered another league, I got first pick and took Pujols. I hate having first pick and would rather have lower so I get back to back great players. Ended up having to pick up Martin as my C. But my team is not that strong, I have Rollins, Ethier, Manny, Cantu those type of guys. Heck I even have Vernon Wells as a starting OF. When I got to my picks after round 1 I was forced to get jacked up on pitching where I have all dominant pitchers and closers.
    What I am trying to say here is I HATE first pick overall lol.

  7. Kevin Lee Mar 16 201011:46 pm


    Now this is a discussion like Dan mentioned. We are going to have a MLB Fantasy Contest!

    1. Trent Kondo Mar 18 20103:59 pm


      @ Kevin

      let us know when that is starting that would be great to have. NHL is first to me with MLB a close second but for fantasy I like baseball the best.

  8. Mike Santa Barbara Mar 17 20102:09 am


    Fantasy Baseball is certainly an animal unto itself. A lot of it has to do with how your league is scored. It seems to differ more than any other fantasy sport. I think that has a lot more to do with things than position scarcity or anything like that.

    Great analysis though, very informative.

  9. Josh Souder Mar 18 20102:55 pm



    Just using stats from last season…

    Best case scenario for your argument:

    Pujols – .327/47/135/124/16 (in his prime)
    Martinez – .303/23/108/88/1 (Might not be available by the time your next pick comes around and definitely gone by round four. Also not getting any younger at 31, but I would take McCann over him anyway.)

    The reason I take Mauer.

    Mauer – .365/28/96/94/4 (Still getting better)
    Votto – .322/25/84/82/4 (Still on the board for quite some time after round four, giving you more picks to lock up other positions. Also, still young with a lot of room for improvement)

    So now let me give you a couple examples from other positions of guys that you will have to pass on to draft Martinez. This is where you make up for the majority of the stat production loss from Pujols to Mauer.

    These guys listed below will all increase in production this season as Pujols and Martinez have reached their ceilings. We don’t know Mauer’s ceiling yet… .380/30/110/110/5… from your catcher?

    Tulowitzki – .297/32/92/101/20 (which also locks you up at SS, the second thinest position)

    Zimmerman – .292/33/106/110/2 (young and getting better)

    Justin Upton – .300/26/86/84/20 (who we both seem to like, but could still be available after the second round)

    I’d hate to have to pass on the youthful players listed above because I felt pressured to draft an older Martinez. I would be really frustrated if I was some how stuck with Russell Martin as my catcher this season (sorry Trent).

    If Martinez and McCann go off the board sooner than you expect, the Mauer pick then begins to look a lot better. Because when you filter in Martin’s stats in the equation, it’s no longer a debate. The one thing I know for sure is that Mauer will not be hitting .250 as my catcher.

    Take Mauer. He is the aspirin to your first round head ache. The rest is smooth sailing after you lock him down behind the plate. Pujols produces monster stats, no doubt giving you a huge boost in HR’s, RBI’s, and runs, but snatching up a C and SS as early as possible that produce good stats that help you in all of the categories is better than settling with a C and SS later in the draft that could possibly not really help you in any categories.

    If you draft Pujols, I’d recommend targeting McCann and Tulowitzki and hopefully they will still be there when you pick again in round two (though I’ve seen Troy go in the first and Brian go in the middle of the second).

    There will be plenty of 1B and OF talent on the board later on in the draft that will ultimately make up for the stat production loss from Pujols to Mauer. But any way you look at it, if you know what you’re doing, you can win with Pujols or Mauer. That’s why I’m ultimately comfortable drafting Mauer. It just makes filling out the rest of my roster a lot easier form that point on.

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