Sunday morning, I had my AL-Only 4x4 draft. This is a keeper league going into its 13th season with a five-man maximum minor league roster. Very few players with any sort of ability are unknowns. Typically, the response to a relatively unproven player is "You paid that much for Player X?" and not "I slipped his guy through!"
Going into this draft, hitting was plentiful and starting pitching was barren. There were five plus starting hitters available at each starting infield position along with four full-time DHs (Dave Ortiz, Jim Thome, Frank Thomas and Jose Vidro.) In the rotation, the top starting pitchers were Roy Halladay, Joe Blanton, John Lackey, Scott Kazmir, Mark Beurhle and Rich Harden.
My strategy going in was to ignore pitching and try to land the top two catchers (Victor Martinez and Joe Mauer), one of the top power hitters (Dave Ortiz, Alex Rodriguez and Miguel Cabrera) and a speed player (Carl Crawford, Brian Roberts and Carlos Gomez). I allocated $60 for the two catchers, $45 for one of the top power hitters and $30 for the speed. Obviously, Crawford would complicate that allocation as he would go for $40+. In that case, I'd focus on the second-tier power of Magglio Ordonez, Vladimir Guerrero, Justin Morneau and Paul Konerko.
I thought I had left enough wiggle room in those allocaions that I would be able to successfully execute all four legs. But I was wrong. There was so much money available in the $260 budget (lowest available money was $112/highest $170) that I had to pay $25 for Joe Mauer. That still left $35 for Victor Martinez. As a catcher, I figured I could still get him. Wrong.
VMart went for $37. Some would say, "That was just $2 more than you expected." Not me, though. I had figured the $60 as a maximum that included extra for hyper-inflation. The additonal consideration was the fact I wanted VMart as my firstbaseman. As such, my back-up plan was to get Kevin Youkilis or Casey Kotchman for $20 or so if I somehow lost out on VMart. And I executed that contingecy when I got Youkilis for $23 - a little more than I had hoped.
The contingent plan was born from my fear that Victor Martinez would break down after three seasons of 500+ ABs and the fact he is 29. Maybe that is why I refused to get over $35. Who would you rather have - VMart at $37 or a 1B with the likelihood of getting close enough to VMart's production?
Where did that extra cash allocated for VMart go? Into Jhonny Peralta at $22. In hindsight, along with Victor Martinez's injury on Monday, this looks to have worked out for the best.
The one mistake I made was getting stuck with Shannon Stewart for $6. Not that he won't return that value, but my max bid at that point was $6 and I still needed to fill four pitching slots. This left me unable to go an extra dollar or two once the draft was down to minimal bids by all teams. As a result, I lost out on Rangers' reliever Joaquin Benoit or Mariners' SP Carlos Silva.
There are issues with my team, but I take solace in having gotten 9 of the 11 minor leaguers I targeted having lost out on Desmond Jennings and Brandon Wood. If I am correct in my assessments, I should have some valuable trade chips I can use to address my team's weaknesses (pitching, corners and power in the OF.)
Here is my Opening Day 2008 roster. I drafted the players with A Contracts and all the minor leaguers. Elliot Johnson and Alberto Callaspo were DL pick-ups for Eric Chavez and Danny Richar.
|RESER (2B)||Danny Richar||CWS||1||A|
|RESER (3B)||Eric Chavez||OAK||2||A|
|FARM (1B)||Chris Carter||OAK||5||A|
|FARM (C)||Matt Wieters||BAL||5||A|
|FARM (OF)||Austin Jackson||NYY||5||A|
|FARM (OF)||John Mayberry||TEX||5||A|
|FARM (OF)||Michael Saunders||SEA||5||A|
|FARM (OF)||Nick Weglarz||CLE||5||A|
|FARM (OF)||Carlos Gonzalez||OAK||5||A|
|FARM (OF)||Ben Francisco||CLE||5||A|
|FARM (SS)||Mike Moustakas||KC||5||A|
Update [2008-4-1 10:26:34 by Eric Hz]: Here is a link to Rotoman's AL-Only auction results. A lot of what he writes smells exactly like my Al-Only league.
Hat tip to Roto Think Tank.