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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
Rotohelp
Sporting News
ProFantasy Baseball
Roto Central
Advanced Fantasy Baseball
Fantasy Sports R Us
Fantasy Baseball Sherpa
Fanball

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 4James 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 5Vernon 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 6Joba Chamberlain.  This is really all I needed for my AL-Only staff and the next guy is gluttony at its worst.

ROUND 7John 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 10Jason Giambi.  Carlos Pena’s baby daddy.

ROUND 11 & 12Jed 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 13Anthony 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 19Taylor 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 23Wilson 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 26Jeremy 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.

  1. Tony says:
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    I have no idea why people want to play NL or AL only leagues? Hey lets take half the talent and play fantasy baseball with that?

    Reinventing the wheel. Stick to roto and H2H. It’s a variation which there are a ton, but its a dumb variation.

  2. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Tony: When I saw Soria go in the 2nd round, I was sorta thinking the same thing, but it does add a certain level of difficulty that can be fun.

  3. Tony says:
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    @Grey: Yeah i see the difficulty in it, i just don’t see the point. But to each his own!

    Can baseball just start already!

  4. Just Another Steve says:
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    I’m only doing an AL-only draft if it’s just me and three other owners.

  5. Freak says:
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    Who’s the dude who went off book? I’d like to visit their blog and tell them that’s not very nice.

  6. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Freak: Down, Freak.

  7. Anthony G says:
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    I dont know why you’re so down on Pena. Wont’t he be the clean up hitter in Tampa? There will always be runners in scorers position there.

  8. Anthony G says:
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    Ditto Tony. Baseball seems like forever away. I need a life.

  9. Yak says:
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    FYI, your ninth round draft choice gave up back-to-back-to-back(breath)-to-back homers this afternoon. It’s gonna be another looooooong summer here in SE Michigan.

  10. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Anthony G: I’m not down on him, but as a third round pick it just doesn’t feel right.

    @Yak: Blech.

  11. I have an AL-only auction coming up this weekend. The joys of a drawn out auction draft and a lack of players. Should be good times.
    /makes mental note to have plenty of beer on hand/

  12. IowaCubs

    IowaCubs says:
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    I like the term “Latin Jacobs.” I’m going to use that.

  13. AZ Bobblehead says:
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    @Grey: I have a draft related question for you. What are your thoughts on traditional snake drafts vs. non-snaking drafts?

    Here’s the situation:
    – 16 team league (5×5 head to head)
    – 6 keepers each year (with salary cap)
    – Player values escalate each year based on prior year performance (and some convoluted formula the commissioner calculates)
    – draft order is reverse of prior year standings

    We had a big debate in our league about doing a snake draft or a non-snake draft. I pushed hard for the traditional snake draft and lost.

  14. Steve says:
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    Uh-oh:

    Updating an ongoing story, Ken Gurnick, of MLB.com, reports Los Angeles Dodgers SP Chad Billingsley (groin) left the game Monday, March 23, for precautionary reasons and he said the injury is not considered serious. He had given up two runs in each inning in Monday’s game. Billingsley is slated to start the team’s third game of the regular season against the San Diego Padres.
    (KFFL)

  15. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @AZ Bobblehead: Your league should’ve just went with a snake draft, but it’s too late now, no?

    @Steve: Are you yelling fire in a crowded theater?

  16. Steve says:
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    @Grey: Well, given that I own Lyon, Guthrie, Wang, Wandy AND Billingsley in my H2H 12-teamer, don’t you think, on this particular day, it’s about time I did?

  17. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Steve: Get on your life preserver!

  18. AZ Bobblehead says:
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    @Grey: Yep. It’s too late. We drafted last night. It was horrible. I was the 12th pick every stinkin’ round (last year I was the 16th). Oh well.

  19. Steve says:
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    @Grey: That Lyon fella is a disgrace to the name.

  20. Tom says:
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    As I read this, I’m thinking “I’ve seen Grey talk mad trash about almost all of his picks.” I am now convinced that I’ll never do an NL or AL only League. But… I love Reyes late, and Danks was a fine pick. But Crawford?

  21. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Steve: Ha!

    @Tom: Hehe… Remember, context is everything. This is an AL-Only team. If I assembled this team in a mixed league, you should put out a hit on my head.

  22. BigFatHippo says:
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    @Steve: @Grey:

    WTF?????

    Hamels has a F’d up elbow, Bills pulls a groin, Webb has a brain analism (< ======== That’s a brain fart, recognize) all spring, and Hippos gonna commit Hari Kari……………

    HOLY COW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  23. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @BigFatHippo: Is that a direct quote from the AP?

  24. BigFatHippo says:
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    @Grey: Nah, Buster Olney called me.

  25. Baron Von Vulturewins

    Baron Von Vulturewins says:
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    @AZ Bobblehead: Hate to point this out, but if the rationale is to order the draft based on last year’s standings — i.e. give the losers the advantage, a la the NFL — then a snake draft makes no sense. Like in the NFL.

    The point of a snake draft is to level the playing field, so it makes more sense in a non-keeper league. Though I understand it doesn’t look that way from pick 12, 24, etc.

  26. Emporers Monkey says:
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    Hurting for a SS in my cash league….I drafted Orlando Cabrera, but his sore back coupled with playing in Oakland propelled me to drop him. Picked up Barmes since he has been tearing it up so far this spring and is eligible at SS. Keep Barnes or roll with another option? Its a roto league.

    My other options are:

    Yunel Escobar
    Renteria
    Lowrie
    Felipe Lopez
    Brandon Wood
    Felipe Lopez

  27. Steve says:
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    @Emporers Monkey: I’d go with Felipe Lopez. But Felipe Lopez is pretty good too.

  28. Baron Von Vulturewins

    Baron Von Vulturewins says:
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    @Emporers Monkey: Lopez! Lopez! Lopez!

    He’s my Favorite Sleeper of the Year(tm).

    @Steve: Ha!

  29. BigFatHippo says:
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    @Baron Von Vulturewins: Adam Jones is my favorite sleeper of the year,……….. boom tish!

  30. James says:
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    TEMPE, Ariz. — Kelvim Escobar’s fastball hit 96 mph in a triple-A game against the Chicago Cubs today, another indication that the veteran right-hander is well ahead of schedule in his recovery from shoulder surgery. – LA Times

  31. agarthered says:
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    I like when Lopez and Jones get mentioned as favorite sleepers, and I just took both of them respectively in the 16th and 17th round of my draft.

  32. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @James: Give him two months, he’ll find a way to injure himself again.

  33. BigFatHippo says:
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    @Grey: I hate the WBC, Bud’s on there right now telling how they can make it better for the USA.

    You know how they can make it better? Scrap it!

  34. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @BigFatHippo: Agreed. Spring training is so key to get players up to speed for the season and then they go and fly them all around the world to play exhibition games.

  35. BigFatHippo says:
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    @Grey: Look at the empty seats behind home plate, looks like a Marlins game.

  36. arussell1983 says:
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    Just drafted in a 12-team, 7×7, 6 keeper / team league. How does everyone think I did?

    C Ryan Doumit, Pit
    1B Pablo Sandoval, SF
    2B Jose Lopez, Sea 2B
    3B Alex Rodriguez, NYY 3B
    SS Michael Young, Tex SS
    OF B.J. Upton, TB OF DTD
    OF Carlos Quentin, CWS OF
    OF Nate McLouth, Pit OF
    UTIL Nelson Cruz, Tex OF
    Bench Lastings Milledge, Was OF
    Bench Chone Figgins, LAA 3B
    Bench Elijah Dukes, Was OF
    Bench Randy Winn, SF OF
    Bench Kazuo Matsui, Hou 2B

    SP Tim Lincecum, SF SP
    SP James Shields, TB SP
    SP Joba Chamberlain, NYY SP, RP
    SP Wandy Rodriguez, Hou SP DTD
    RP Jose Valverde, Hou RP
    RP Heath Bell, SD RP
    P Frank Francisco, Tex RP
    P Jeremy Guthrie, Bal SP
    P Dave Bush, Mil SP
    Bench Jonathan Sanchez, SF SP, RP

  37. BigFatHippo says:
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    @arussell1983: Dangerously weak in the power cats, but speed is nice.

    Post it in the forums and Grey can help you out. Dave Bush shouldn’t be on anyone’s fantasy team btw. Ditch him for a Mr B.

  38. BigFatHippo says:
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    @Grey: A guy named Bum Ho Lee plays for Korea.

    That’s gotta be a Razzball Glossary term in waiting.

  39. big o says:
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    wbc venues : mexico city . toronto , miami , san diego , los angeles .

    spring training games AND regular season game venues : japan and china

  40. cubbies299 says:
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    Is it just me or does Sin Choo Choo hit like 10 hrs a night in the WBC?

    AAAAnyways, what are you expecting from Adam Dunn this year? I’m thinking he drops to somewhere around 35 hrs and a big drop in R/RBI without the lineup around him. Thoughts?

  41. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @cubbies299: He’s hit 40 HRs for the last 6 years and he’s only 29, there’s no reason to think he falls this year. The Nats hitting could actually be somewhat respectable this year if Zimmerman, Dukes and Milledge come into their own.

  42. Doc says:
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    Sowers and LaPorta were optioned today. Well, they probably weren’t given an option, but hey.

  43. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Doc: Thanks for the heads up! I mean, crap!

  44. Doug Ault says:
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    Is Lowrie going to split with Lugo? and even if he goes fulltime,is he worth it?

  45. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Doug Ault: Lowrie overtook Lugo last year and I think he can hold the job again after Lugo returns from injury. He’s not as safe as some other guys, but in a league this deep I like him. Lowrie is better than Lugo and hopefully he Wally Pipp’s Lugo.

  46. PaulyOH says:
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    AL-only leagues are garbage, but only because the AL is garbage. The top tier hitting talent just isn’t there.

    Oh, and mixed leagues are for wimps and chumps. They’re no challenge. I’m in two NL-only leagues, one a 10-team, and one an 11-team, and my only regret is that they aren’t both 12-team leagues.

    And auction-style is the only way to go. Straight draft? *Yawn*

  47. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @PaulyOH: You’re a real aficionado, huh?

  48. PaulyOH says:
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    Yeah, I’m pretty into it.
    Started my first league back in 1987 with four guys drafting from just the old NL west. I did mixed league, straight draft before, back in my younger, non-married days when I had time to do 4-5 leagues of various types.
    The mixed leagues were OK, but auctions are so much better because no one can stop you from getting the player you want. As I got older, and had less time, it was an easy decision to ditch the mixed leagues for the NL-only leagues. Where else can I experience the joy of deciding last season between Chris Coste and Javier Valentin for my second $1 catcher?
    Oh, and both my leagues have keepers. Wouldn’t have it any other way.

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