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Picks of the litter (cont.)

Posted: Thursday June 28, 2007 11:31AM; Updated: Thursday June 28, 2007 2:40PM
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9) Joe Mauer, Twins catcher. Superb all-around catcher can win a batting title and stop the running game.

10) Brandon Webb, Diamondbacks starting pitcher. Jake Peavy's tempting, but this guy's more consistent. Not too bad for my No. 4 starter.

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(I would have liked a center fielder but couldn't decide between Carlos Beltran, Andruw Jones, Torii Hunter, Curtis Granderson and Grady Sizemore.)

By concentrating on pitching and thinking about my up-the-middle defense, I stole a page out of the book of my 14 experts. However, I generally went for more power and age than they did.

The 14 panelists I polled all took a starting pitcher among their five, a majority took a closer and exactly half took a catcher. Reyes won the poll of experts; he tied Papelbon with eight total votes but easily took the tiebreaker of points based on five first-place votes and my 5-4-3-2-1 scoring system.

The experts' emphasis on up-the-middle defense and concern about payroll in some cases produced a decidedly youthful and cost-efficient roster of 25 who received at least one vote. Here was how the experts voted:

1) (tie) Reyes, Mets 8 votes (36 total points)
1) (tie) Papelbon, Red Sox 8 votes (17)
3) Rodriguez, Yankees 7 votes (23)
4) Verlander, Tigers 6 votes (18)
5) (tie) Mauer, Twins 5 votes (15)
5) (tie) Peavy, Padres 5 votes (11)
7) Sizemore, Indians 4 votes (14)
8) (tie) Santana, Twins 3 votes (13)
8) (tie) Pujols, Cardinals 3 votes (11)
8) (tie) Derek Jeter, Yankees 3 votes (9)
8) (tie) Ichiro Suzuki, Mariners 3 votes (9)
12) Chase Utley, Philllies 2 votes (7)

Thirteen other players received one vote: Takashi Saito, Guerrero, J.J. Putz, Dan Haren, Miguel Cabrera, Mariano Rivera, Prince Fielder, Roy Halladay, Hunter, Josh Beckett, Beltran, Russell Martin and Yadier Molina.

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