Originally Posted by Johnny Footstool
Identify shallow positions (C, 2B, Closer) and pluck a top performer early. But don't go overboard on second-tier talent at those positions. If you don't get Utley, don't waste a 5th round pick on Brian Roberts.
Identify deep positions (1B, 3B) and target them lower in the draft. This is mostly based on how your first two rounds go. If you can get Ryan Howard with the 12th pick, do it. But don't spend a 2nd round pick on Derrick Lee when you can get Todd Helton or Richie Sexson in the 7th round.
Get one top-tier outfielder. Yes, outfield is the deepest position, but everybody needs 3, so it makes sense to get at least one of the top 5 OFs. Otherwise, you're stuck scrounging the waiver wire and crossing your fingers.
Look for guys coming off a down year. Morgan Ensberg and Pat Burrell (is an .890 OPS really a "down year"?) are prime examples.
First point- agree. I say if you don't get Mauer/McCann/Martinez at catcher, or Utley at 2B, you wait til the 9th or 10th round to even consider someone. At catcher look to grab Ramon Hernandez or Russell Martin down there, at 2B you can have your pick of Barfield/Hudson/Phillips/Iguchi/Kinsler, all of which who are close to the same.
Second point- it depends, I think there are about 8 1B that are all top-tier players (Pujols, Ortiz, Howard, Texeira, Berkman, Lee, Morneau, Konerko). I think you need to have one of these guys if you are going to win your league. Some of them (Lee, Konerko) can be had all the way down in the 4th round, so don't overdraft- but don't miss the boat either. 3B you can definitely wait on, there are a plethora of them this year. A nice bargain 1B to go after much later is Adrian Gonzalez.
Third point- disagree. Outfield, ironically, I would say is one of the SHALLOWEST positions. You definitely do need a top tier OFer, but I would also say your 2nd OF needs to be at least middle tier (ie Del.Young, Rios, Dunn, etc.) By the time you get to the third spot, they are all virutally waiver-wire level players that are easily replaceable, and therefore not very valuable (ie Griffey, Kearns, Teahen, Willingham, etc.)
Unless you get a top 5 closer relatively early (Nathan, Papelbon, Rivera, Wagner or Hoffman)- WAIT! Every other closer has virtually no job security, and this is always the best postion to exploit on the waiver wire. Let the other fools go after the Wickmans, the Borowskis, and the Saitos of the world in the mid rounds, the savvy gm will pick up the Wheelers, the Sorias, the Owens and the Sorianos off the wire, and adhere to other needs earlier in the draft.