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Who should you take with the 4th pick?

We received an email today from Mike asking what to do with the fourth pick in the draft. After Hanley Ramirez, Albert Pujols and Alex Rodriguez, there are a variety of directions you can go based on your league’s settings and your draft strategy. Here are our thoughts:

“Hi guys!

Could use some help if you don’t mind. I’m in a 10 team H2H (every cat = 1 pt) league. The categories are…

H, R, RBI, HR, SB, AVG, OBP, SLG

W, L, SV, OUTS, K, ERA, WHIP, BSV (blown saves)

We play one at every field position with two utility spots and start three SP, three RP and two P.
Having trouble with the 4th pick. It’s a snake draft and I’m leaning toward Fielder in the 1st round. I figure Pujols, Hanley and ARod will go 1-2-3, though I could see the 2nd pick guy taking Lincecum. I like Fielder because we have OBP and SLG. I might even take Fielder over Hanley and ARod. Don’t like Utley and Braun. Not sure about an OF in the1st rd. Would like to have 2B, 3B and SS by the end of round 4. Whaddya think? Thx in advance!

Mike”

Alright, Mike. Let’s see what we’ve got here.

We’ll approach this from the strengths and weaknesses of all the players worthy of consideration and position depth.

Prince Fielder
- Strengths: R, HR, RBI, OBP, SLG
- Neutral: H, AVG
- Weaknesses: SB

Chase Utley
- Strengths: R, HR, RBI, SB, OBP, SLG
- Neutral: H, AVG
- Weaknesses: none

Ryan Braun
- Strengths: R, H, HR, RBI, SB, AVG, OBP, SLG
- Neutral: none
- Weaknesses: none

As you can see, Ryan Braun is the best, most balanced contributor, providing plus to plus plus production in every category. I know you don’t want to take an outfielder, but why not? The position really isn’t that deep because after Braun, Matt Kemp, Matt Holliday and Justin Upton, every other player has a weakness.

You could also go Chase Utley here as well since he is far and away the best second baseman and produces elite numbers in every category except hits and average, where he is still above average with elite potential. After Utley, you have the oft-injured Ian Kinsler and then a bunch of guys like Pedroia, Cano, Zobrist, Hill and Phillips who all have some weaknesses.

I’m not really sure what it is you have against Braun and Utley, though. They seem A-OK with me.

I love Prince Fielder, too, but first base is way to deep to take someone not named Pujols ahead of Braun. In the event that the second pick is Tim Lincecum, you take whichever of the top three is still there. Presumably, this will be Alex Rodriguez. With the extreme lack of depth at third base compared to other positions, Rodriguez becomes the must-pick guy.

If you go Braun or Utley, you can then focus on someone like David Wright, Felix Hernandez or Ian Kinsler (if you went Braun) at the end of the second round. I know you wanted a 2B, SS and 3B after the first four rounds, so Utley would be a great way to get that started. Call me crazy if you want, but I have no problem stocking up on elite talent at shallow positions and waiting for Justin Morneau or Kevin Youkilis in the fourth or fifth round.

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About the author: Bryan is the co-founder of Baseball Professor and works as a consultant specializing in operational metrics and efficiency analysis. When he’s not working, blogging, or tending to basic human needs, he enjoys pondering the vastness of the universe, rewatching episodes of Breaking Bad, and avoiding snakes. (@BaseballProf)

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