This was, as they say in Italy, an Experto Callaspo AL-Only draft. What AL-Only means to me? Thanks for asking, random italicized voice. It means I probably won’t have one pitcher that I would usually have in a mixed league. I contemplated about how I wanted to go about this draft. It’s good to have a game plan, ya know? So I decided, since I don’t really like AL pitchers, I would get solid pitchers anyway. Zoinks! I figured that solid pitchers would be at a premium and if I got my share, I’d be in good shape. Also, from my knowledge of other ‘pert drafts, no one drafts starters early, so while they’re zigging, I decided to zag. “Knowing your opponents’ weaknesses is half the duel,” Aaron Burr. When you see my pitchers, you’ll see I didn’t really get that many great ones, but for AL-Only I have a top three pitching staff going into the season. Then there’s the strategy I employed for hitters. I decided to punt catchers, of course, and up the middle. Punting the MIs was because I knew who I wanted late and I knew guys like Alexei Ramirez would go way early (He went in the 2nd round.) Okay, before I get to my thoughts I jotted down during the AL-Only draft, here’s my co-conspirators:
Fantasy Baseball Dugout
The Fantasy Man
Fantasy Sports Commissioner Training Institute
Advanced Fantasy Baseball
Fantasy Sports R Us
Fantasy Baseball Sherpa
Here’s my team:
C: Taylor Teagarden (19)
1B: Carlos Pena (3)
2B: Asdrubal Cabrera (15)
SS: Jed Lowrie (11)
3B: Brandon Wood (12)
MI: Wilson Betemit (23)
CI: Jason Giambi (10)
OF: Carlos Quentin (1)
OF: Carl Crawford (2)
OF: Vernon Wells (5)
OF: Franklin Gutierrez (14)
OF: Brett Gardner (16)
UT: DeWayne Wise (25)
P: James Shields (4)
P: Joba Chamberlain (6)
P: John Danks (7)
P: Brad Ziegler (8)
P: Brandon Lyon (9)
P: Anthony Reyes (13)
P: Dan Wheeler (17)
P: Kevin Millwood (18)
P: Rafael Betancourt (22)
Bench: Melky Cabrera (20), Wladimir Balentien (21), Matt Thornton (24), Jeremy Sowers (26), Damaso Marte (27)
Notes I jotted down during the draft:
ROUND 1 & 2 – I get Carlos N Carl with my first two picks. Yuck. Seriously, I hate AL-Only. I have no idea where all the good players have gone, but I think it’s into the NL. (To make matters worst, I drafted the first five rounds, then we needed to do it over because something was wrong with the draft room. (I once loved you, CBS! Nevermore.) Then, to make matters even worse, our do over was supposed to be a shot by shot remake of the original, but someone decided to make it an adaptation. At one point, one of the ‘perts asked another ‘pert if they could see they were giving them the middle finger. Fun times!)
ROUND 3 – I wanted lots of power from my corners. That became a pipe dream when Aubrey Huff was drafted ahead of me in the 3rd (!) round. Drafting Carlos Pena in the third round is a tragic-comedy.
ROUND 4 – James Shields. It was between him and Liriano. And I got to draft both at one point, but that was the first AL-Only ‘pert draft that we will never speak of again. Actually, I’m pleased with Shields.
ROUND 5 – Vernon Wells. This is barely an endorsement of Wells, but he was the last outfielder that’s halfway reliable and he’s supposed to be healthy by April. Of course, that will turn into June any day now.
ROUND 6 – Joba Chamberlain. This is really all I needed for my AL-Only staff and the next guy is gluttony at its worst.
ROUND 7 – John Danks. Hey, Gluttony, good to see you. Okay, before you call me out for this. Here’s the guys that were taken after him that I could’ve had:
Kevin Slowey – I want Danks over him. You do too.
Nick Swisher – Okay, but doesn’t have a secure job and will bat .240.
Mike Jacobs – I already drafted the Latin Jacobs.
Orlando Cabrera – Eh.
Denard Span – Blah.
Frank Francisco – Solid pick.
Scott Baker – On the risky pitcher list.
Troy Percival – Too early for him.
Fausto Carmona – Danks is twice the pitcher of Carmona.
Carlos Gomez – Great pick, but because of Crawford I couldn’t have made it.
Gavin Floyd then Joe Saunders then Crapolanco… You get my point.
ROUND 10 – Jason Giambi. Carlos Pena’s baby daddy.
ROUND 11 & 12 – Jed Lowrie and Brandon Wood. A) They have the superfecta of eligibility, which is crucial for a single league. B) They have upside. C) Would you really have wanted Crapolanco and Orlando Cabrera over these two? D) As T.J. Lavin would say, “They are both killing it in spring training.” (Speaking of T.J. Lavin, The Challenge is back in two weeks. I can’t wait.)
ROUND 13 – Anthony Reyes. This could be the steal of the draft. Or a guy I drop by May. Stay tuned!
ROUND 14 – The Big FraGu. At this point in the draft, there wasn’t even a lot of guys who had starting jobs let alone one that could go 15/15. Granted, my average is in the dumpster at this point.
ROUND 15 – As…DRUBAL! I almost took him in the 10th round, but I quickly saw where everyone else’s team stood with middle infielders and I realized I could wait. This is Grey. This is Grey on his toes. (BTW, it’s really sad when you get this excited about Asdrubal Cabrera. It’s AL-Only. Small victories.)
ROUND 19 – Taylor Teagarden. Honestly, I don’t know what his playing time will be like, but if he hits 10 HRs, I win with this pick. Not to mention, he’s a better defender, so he could see 250+ ABs. Think Napoli last year.
ROUND 21 – We like to Wladdy… We like to Wladdy…
ROUND 23 – Wilson Betemit. I think he hits 15 HRs in a super-utility role. Or flat-out takes over for Josh Fields. Or I drop him and fill-in my MI spot with someone else. At this point, Punto, Bobby Crosby and Zobrist were being drafted so this pick is really no harm, no foul.
ROUND 26 – Jeremy Sowers. For this late in the draft to get a starter on a good team– Oh, who am I kidding? I’ll probably drop him by April 7th.