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AL-Only Keeper Advice

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As the Thursday midnight deadline approaches for my AL-only keeper list, I am torn on my 14th, and final, keeper. The decision has come down to a $19 Milton Bradley, a $5 DH-only Jonny Gomes or a $6 Ben Zobrist. Two of the three are having great springs.

Zobrist is hitting .370 with 5 BBs and 6 Ks in 46 ABs. His minor league track record supports that type of production. A Punto-esque 17 SBs is also within the realm of reasonability. His past three seasons' SB totals were 15, 18, and 15.

Milton Bradley has taken me by surprise because I have tired of his personality and injury-history. In 2004, he logged more than 500 ABs, and that is the only time he's done so. But a .395/.511/.684 spring makes me reexamine his value at $19. Could 2006 be the next 500+ AB season? If it is, then he will be a bargain at $19. If he only gets 350 ABs, then he is a dissappointment at that price, but the inflation at the draft will likely bring him very close to that price anyhow. If he repeats those 10 SB in the SB-deprived AL, then the hurt of a $19 350-AB hitter would be mitigiated. Slightly.

Finally, reports of Greg Norton winning the DH role must have turned the competitive juices loose in Jonny Gomes. He is up to .269/.339/.596 after langusishing at levels nearly half that 10 days ago (for AVG). Greg Norton has put-up an Angel-Berroa-bad .220/.286/.280.

As recently as last week, I had resigned myself to letting Gomes go back into the draft pool. With Dave Ortiz in the draft, I'd at least be able to be in the bidding for the top HR hitter. When I considered that that Ortiz plus Thome, Thomas and Hafner would occupy four of the possible 12 DH spots on draft day, I figured Gomes could slip between the cracks if he did lose the job to Norton - and still made the team! Now I am reconsidering.

Any advice would be welcome, and there is a poll inside to register your vote.