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AL-Only Draft Recap

After a night's sleep, I am slightly more comfortable with the team I drafted.  That does not mean I believe passing on the two categories I needed, Saves and SBs, was the desired result, but I do see the opportunity to trade for either a little further down the road.

By passing on a $39 Francisco Rodriguez, $40 Joe Nathan, $28 Joe Borowski or a $24 Eric Gagne (I did go $23), I had money available to take advantage of the drop in prices following the $30+ run on the top hitters -  14 hitters went for $30 or more.  That extra money turned into a $21 Michael Cuddyer and a $24 J.D. Drew.  Either hitter should be good for a 25/90 season and that type of production is welcome on any team.

The other two hitting spots were filled with an $8 Jose Vidro, who I like as the three-hole hitter on what will be a surprisingly potent offensive Mariners team, and $5 Ross Gload.  Gload the second-to-last player I drafted.  With $6 remaining and a pitcher still to draft, I figured there was no reason to hold the money and went $5 on Gload.  

Hopefully, the Royals remain committed to platooning him with Emil Brown in LF.  Given Gload is the left-handed side of that platoon, he could turn out to be a productive hitter.  I also found his .300+ AVG in his limited opportunities as something worth taking a chance on.

With my pitching, I targetted one of the top starting pitchers and expected to pay between $20 and $30.  Landing John Lackey for $28 fit nicely.  Given the surprisingly upbeat reports on Bartolo Colon, I took a chance that he could be a second quality starter at half the price.

Update [2007-4-2 16:11:55 by Eric Hz]: From Peter Gammons' blog:

Colon is unlikely to ever throw 98 mph again, but he can pitch, and the Angels believe he can win at 89-92 mph, and know the carrot of another free-agent contract drives him.

At the end of the draft, I replaced Colon with  Twins starter Ramon Ortiz.  Why?  Because I had read about his excellent spring and the fact is was attributed to learning a change-up from Johann Santana.  Add-in the fact Ortiz was going to be the next Pedro a few years ago before he was discovered to be several years older than his listed age, and I took the chance.

What surprised me was the lack of interest in drafting Francisco Liriano.  This a a deep keeper league that regularly drafts DL players.  When the bidding involved just myself and one other team, I happily took him at $8.  All that is needed to make him a desirable player is a positive medical update in July.  Then I will be able to deal him to a team building for 2008 in exchange for something I need i.e Saves or SBs.

While not drafting a closer, I did take a flyer on Roberto Hernandez in Cleveland (my last pick) and Brandon Morrow in Seattle.  Are either clearly the back-up closer?  Not necessarily, but both are slated to pitch important 8th inning innings.

Overall, I have a lot of depth in the areas I didn't address and intend to look in the trade market to fix that.