1) Is Albert Pujols still the #1 pick? Does he fall in your rankings due to last year’s stats, age, injury, the move to the AL or other players improving?
I think too much gets made of the #1 pick. The name of the game in the first couple rounds is avoiding risk. What's the old saying? "You can't win your league in the first (X) rounds, but you can lose it?" Miguel Cabrera is the definition of consistent, that's who I'd take. Before the whole Braun kerfluffle it would have been him. Pujols does have declining numbers. Otherworldly down to excellent isn't really that big a deal, but it's enough to bump him down to 2.
2) Who is the second shortstop drafted? Hanley Ramirez and Jose Reyes?
It'll be Hanely, but I won't be taking either one. They have have big injury question marks and like I said, I'm risk-averse in the first few rounds. SS is actually a very interesting question this year. I usually identify someone I can pick up in the mid/late rounds. Last year it was Starlin Castro and JJ Hardy. This year it'll probably be Hardy again. I'm amazed that he's going after pick 150. The guy hit 30 HR last year. From the SS spot.
3) How early do you take Stephen Strasburg? Matt Moore? Yu Darvish?
In a redraft someone will take Moore and Darvish long before I'll jump. Strasburg I might have to pounce on in one league or another - and if you want him, it'll have to be around pick 60-70, earlier if you want to be sure. But I might grab him in at least one league just for the sheer fun of it. Owning a player makes him that much more fun to watch, and watching a Strasburg start is already so fun that owning him might push the experience into some kind of cosmic, orgasmic event.
4) Is Mike Napoli the #1 catcher? Victor Martinez? Brian McCann? Carlos Santana? Do you take any of them in the top 50?
I'd take McCann overall, maybe VMart because of the extra AB. In an OBP league I'd jump all over Santana. However I won't be touching C until late rounds this year. There's so much depth at a usually dry spot, it's crazy. Everywhere you look there are sneaky good options. I'd be all over Wieters this year but the "post-hype sleeper" tag might push him too high for me. But there are plenty of other options. Mauer should be pretty cheap. Mesoraco is worth a look. Lavarnway, Arencibia, Rosario... the list goes on.
5) Is Roy Halladay the #1 starting pitcher? Justin Verlander? Clayton Kershaw? Other?
An academic question, as I'll eat dirt before I take a pitcher in the first three rounds. It's Halladay, though. I do have Kershaw in a dynasty league, however.... and let me tell you, the endowment effect is kind of scary. I know it exists, and still... Kershaw is so good and so young that it would take an obscenely lopsided trade for me to move him.
6) How far does Ryan Braun fall in roto leagues? H2H leagues?
Very good question. I think we need to wait and see, get some more information. When Reyes, Utley and A-Rod had their issues (injuries, that is), it was kind of the same. The information came out during the offseason and they fell... hmm.. 3rd round, 4th round-ish. That sounds about right.
7) Which injured/declining third basemen rebounds to last season’s draft spot? Alex Rodriguez, Kevin Youkilis, Ryan Zimmerman or David Wright?
I think David Wright will be a solid pick this year. You should be able to get him at the end of the 2nd round, and I wouldn't hesitate to take him there. Drafting 1st overall, you could go MCab 1, Wright, 24. Kinsler 25. That would be a fine start to a team.
8) Do you draft Aramis Ramirez over any of the previously mentioned third basemen?
Youk, but only because I'm biased. I just do not want to own him again.
9) Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, Jayson Werth, Kendrys Morales (0 AB’s), Adam Dunn and Alex Rios were awful in 2011. Which one(s) do you take a chance on this year?
I don't want a part of Morneau, Werth, Dunn, or Morales. If I could get Dunn really, really late, maybe. But I owned him in too many leagues last year. It leaves a bad impression, you know? Rios I like for a nice bounceback season. I'd trust him to be a decent 3rd OF in a 14 team league. Mauer... tough to tell. Depends on where you can get him. He can really, really hit. I have a good feeling about him this year. (I know, very scientific). A healthy Mauer gives you such a competitive advantage in Runs/RBI... it's hard to ignore the upside there.
10) Whose hype are you buying? Brett Lawrie, Eric Hosmer or Desmond Jennings?
All of them, to a certain extent. Hosmer will mostly likely put up the best numbers, but he's going in the 3rd round. In a redraft, I'm not sure about that. I might need to see it for another season. I would MUCH rather take someone like Mike Stanton with an early 3rd round pick. Jennings should score plenty of runs and steal a bushel of bases, but I think people are overestimating his power potential. He'll probably go too early for me. Lawrie is 3B eligible and that seals the deal for me. If I was going to take a big risk on someone, I'd take it on Lawrie. He didn't come out of nowhere. His minor league credentials look very, very good.
11) Who are your top sleepers? (projected pick #150 or later)
I like Ike Davis a lot, though in some leagues he might go before pick 150. If I can get him right around there, I'll be happy. A great 1B choice if you miss one of the super-elite ones. JJ Hardy will probably end up on a lot of my teams. I will probably be the guy who foolishly gambles on Brandon Morrow again. Soft spot. Also, Cory Lubeke. Shhh. You can get him way late. I don't want to make a wild prediction, but he's got the potential to be one of those guys you take late that ends up carrying your team.