The 'Perfect' Draft: Think balance early 

March, 25, 2014
Mar 25
12:35
PM ET
Between myriad mock drafts, a few random and planned explorations into the mock draft lobby, and a few real ones that will be played out, I'm already well into double digits in ESPN leagues for March alone. While I've felt differing degrees of satisfaction, or occasionally lack thereof, when trying a new strategy, the fact is I have yet to have what I would call a "perfect draft." That makes sense, considering that in each of these drafts, others are selecting players, as well, and some of them are wise and well aware of my personal strategies and/or the names I've touted as sleepers and busts.

Regardless, I thought I'd try something we do prior to the football season, which is to construct the perfect draft. To do this, I use current ESPN live draft results as basically the lone rule and draft as if I'm competing in one of ESPN's 10-team standard leagues and everyone else is going by the book. Also, though I would almost always prefer the first or last pick in this league setup, I'll change it up and select in the middle of each round. You might not agree that a certain player would be available for me to take, but going strictly by ESPN ADP, they should be. I'm not bothering to calculate projected standings because my personal numbers wouldn't match yours or what's in the system, but I will say this team should project very well no matter what projections are used. Plus, the goal isn't to win the projected standings; it's to win the real standings, and we'll all pick up saves and injury replacements during the season!

[+] EnlargeCarlos Gonzalez
AP Photo/Jack DempseyCarlos Gonzalez played in only 110 games last season, yet still managed to finish 32nd overall on the ESPN Player Rater.
Round 1: Carlos Gonzalez, OF, Colorado Rockies If I get the fifth pick, which is the first one an owner must do some thinking about since Mike Trout, Miguel Cabrera, Andrew McCutchen and Paul Goldschmidt are a clear top four, I'm passing on the awesome Clayton Kershaw, who is currently fifth in ADP, for Gonzalez. There were nine players who hit 20 or more home runs and stole 20 or more bases last season, and CarGo has achieved this feat four consecutive seasons while hitting better than .300 along the way.