Recently, the folks at The Platoon Advantage, decided to put together a mock expansion draft.  Here’s how it worked – someone from each of the team blogs (in this case, I represented our blog) had the opportunity to protect players in each round of the draft (similar to the 1997 expansion draft rules).  I figured I’d take the opportunity to talk about who I protected and why, and provide you with the links to the new “expansion” teams.  You can read more about the draft here.

During the first round, I was allowed to protected 15 players; so I protected: Carlos Santana, Matt LaPorta, Asdrubal Cabrera, Michael Brantley, Shin-Soo Choo, Nick Hagadone, Nick Weglarz, Carlos Carrasco, Josh Tomlin, Justin Masterson, Chris Perez, Tony Sipp, Jason Kipnis, Lonnie Chisenhall, and Alex White.

Why: I wanted to protect the Indians’ core players, and some of their more valuable prospects.  Notably absent from this list – Travis Hafner, Grady Sizemore, and Fausto Carmona.  I left Hafner unprotected, primarily due to the fact that I figured an expansion team would not want to pick up a hefty salary for a player that can only DH.  With Sizemore, he’s obviously battled injuries and has struggled at the plate.  In addition, he’s only signed through 2012 on an option; it’s a real possibility he may walk with a large free agent contract (that’s if his numbers improve).  I figured a team may not want to take a chance on all of that, and even if they did, He’ll probably be leaving Cleveland in a little over a year anyway.  With Carmona, it was primarily the same line of thinking.  I figured his struggles may make another GM wary to take a chance on him.

Who I lost in the first round: Cord Phelps.  To be honest, I kind of forget about Phelps sometimes (and we put this together before he was called up to Cleveland).  If I had it to do over, I’d probably protect him over Nick Weglarz.  I actually put my initial 15-person list together while I was in Florida earlier this spring, typing them out on my phone as I waited in line for rides at Epcot.  It made it a bit of an inexact science!

In the second round, I was able to protect three additional players.  This time I protected Kelvin De La Cruz (LHP), Jeanmar Gomez (RHP), and Josh Judy (RHP).

Why: I like Josh Judy and think he will be a great addition to the bullpen in the near future.  He’s impressed me the past two spring trainings, and I was glad to see him get a brief call-up earlier this season.  Even though Jeanmar Gomez struggled with his command and consistency earlier this season with the Indians, I still think he could be a solid contributor to the starting rotation in the future.  Maybe I’m still mesmerized by the perfect game he threw in Akron with the Double-A Aeros in 2009, but I still like Gomez.  I’ve always been impressed with De La Cruz when I’ve seen him pitch at Akron, but he’s struggled some this season.

Who I lost:  Austin Adams (RHP) Drafted in the fifth round by the Indians in 2009, I kind of wish I would’ve protected him over De La Cruz.  Pitches consistently 94-96 mph.

In the third round, I got to protect three additional players.  Who I protected: Matt McBride (1B), Chun Chen (C), and T.J. McFarland (LHP).  McBride has been hitting well this spring, and recently earned a call up to Triple-A Columbus.  Even though the Indians obviously have Santana and Lou Marson at catcher, Chen ranked second in all Indians minor leaguers in batting average in 2010 and was a Midwest League All-Star.  T.J. McFarland was an All Star last year with the Class A Kinston Indians and had a good 2010 season (he’s now with Akron).  I did not lose anyone in the third round.

Who I’m a little surprised wasn’t drafted, despite my lack of protection: Vinnie Pestano, Rafael Perez, Fausto Carmona, Hector Rondon, David Huff, and Lou Marson.

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