On Monday, I participated in the Twitter-fed TheRotofeed.com AL-Only 5x5 draft. It is the 4th of 6th leagues I intend to actively particpate in during the 2009 fantasy baseball season (two mixed, two NL-Only, two AL-Only).
I drew the 4th selection and went with Texas Rangers' 2B Ian Kinsler based on the likelihood of five-category dominance at a middle infield position. Just as I have done in other drafts, I intended to pay close attention to position scarcity in the middle infield. Catcher was not as much of a concern in this format at there are several who can be expected to hit 10-20 HRs with a mediocre AVG..
The additional strategy for an AL-Only league that did differ from the ones easily employed in mixed formats was the focus on pitching. In a single league format, the depth of pitching doesn't allow one to pick through the leftovers of the 3rd, 4th and 5th starters of the 30 major league teams.
The #1s and 2s number just 28 in an AL-only format. With 12 teams, that leaves seven spots left empty on a roster. In a mixed format, there are 60 of those pitchers at an average of 5 per team.
Closers also fit within this analysis. There are just 14 closing jobs in an AL-Only format and 12 teams chasing them. 1.17 closers per team for those who haven't quite caught on. In a 12-team mixed league, there are 2.5 closers per team.
One can easily argue that pitching is scarce in the single-league format. Accepting that, I set out to add two aces and two closers and fill the rest with safe relievers and possibly a 3rd starter.
To the extent my strategy was correct, I executed it. I drafted Blue Jays' ace Roy Halladay and followed up with the Twins closer Joe Nathan. A couple rounds later, Kevin Slowey was added as my second ace, and Tigers' closer Brandon Lyon wrapped up the core of my team in the 11th.
At least through the first half of the draft, I held to my plan. The second half was a bit trickier as I had to juggle another draft - an auction one that didn't allow for the six minutes breaks between picks that gave one time to search for the next selections in standard snake drafts.
Did I juggle the two well enough to be competitive? (The other draft started after my Josh Fields selection.)