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NL-Only League Draft: Speed Goes Crazy Early

March 18, 2012; Lake Buena Vista, FL, USA; Atlanta Braves center fielder Michael Bourn (24) against the Baltimore Orioles during a spring training game at Disney Wide World of Sports complex. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE
March 18, 2012; Lake Buena Vista, FL, USA; Atlanta Braves center fielder Michael Bourn (24) against the Baltimore Orioles during a spring training game at Disney Wide World of Sports complex. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE

On Thursday night, I participated in my biggest money league out of the 4 money leagues I participate in. My definition of big is most expensive. This league is a 20+ year league and where I have owned a team for the last 7-8 years. It is a 10 team, NL-Only redraft league, where we draft 14 hitters and 9 pitchers with a 1,100 inning minimum. This draft is like no draft you have ever participated in because it lasts around 5 1/2 hours. Yes, there is no time limit to make a pick, and the commissioner is the worst offender.

You know when you are preparing for a redraft league draft, you try to see predict what the first round will look like, and who will be available with your pick in the second round? Well, this draft took a crazy path with the 10th pick in the first round. Here are the first round picks (I had the 2nd pick:

1. Matt Kemp

2. Ryan Braun

3. Carlos Gonzalez

4. Joey Votto

5. Justin Upton

6. Troy Tulowitzki

7. Hanley Ramriez

8. Roy Halladay

9. Jose Reyes

The 10th pick after the jump:

For me, if I had the 10th pick, I would have taken Giancarlo Stanton, Andrew McCutchen or Clayton Kershaw. But this owner, who follows/reads Baseball HQs Ron Shandler, decided to take Braves outfielder Michael Bourn. Michael Bourn!! Bourn is a nice player, who will hit for a good BA, score 90+ runs and steal 50+ bases. His ADP in NL-only leagues, according to Mock Draft Central is 25.31, so basically he is a mid-third round pick. That is where he should go in most NL-only drafts, with mid-second round being the earliest I would take him depending on the strategy used.

The Bourn pick was followed by a normal 2nd round, except for the fact that the owner who took Bourn also took Cardinals outfielder Matt Holliday. But the third round brought on a run on speed, guys with the potential to steal 30+ bases in 2012. Here is what the 3rd round looked like:

3.1 - Shane Victorino

3.2 - Pablo Sandoval

3.3 - Starlin Castro

3.4 - Drew Stubbs

3.5 - Cameron Maybin

3.6 - Zack Greinke

3.7 - Jimmy Rollins

3.8 - Chris Young

3.9 - Dee Gordon

3.10 - Stephen Strasburg

I think I mentioned before that the draft in this league is different than most, as the rounds go in this order:

First round: 1 - 10

Second round - 10 -1

Third round: - 10 - 1

Fourth round - 1 - 10

Then the draft is a regular snake draft.

Anyway, the second round saw a run on speed like I have never really seen before, and it was capped by my Dee Gordon selection in the third round. Yeah, I drafted him about a round or two before I would have liked, but wanted a top stolen base guy to keep my head above water in the stolen base category.

Here is the rest of my draft:

1. Ryan Braun, OF

2. Ryan Zimmerman, 3B

3. Dee Gordon, SS

4. Madison Bumgarner, SP

5. Andre Ethier, OF

6. Aramis Ramirez, CI

7. Anibal Sanchez, SP

8. Buster Posey, C

9. Jaime Garcia, SP

10. Jason Bay, OF

11. Javy Guerra, CL

12. Jose Altuve, 2B

13. J.D Martinez, OF

14. Kenley Jansen, RP

15. Chris Carpenter, SP

16. Todd Helton, 1B

17. Chris Capuano, SP

18. Ty Wigginton, OF

19. Aroldis Chapman, SP-RP

20. Willie Bloomquist, MI

21. Wilin Rosario, C

22. A.J. Burnett, SP

23. Nate McLouth, U

I have to say that I was second guessing my Dee Gordon choice in the 3rd round, as guys like Dan Uggla and Brandon Phillips were still available, but Gordon has the potential to steal 40+ bases, at a minimum. This assumes he will hit well enough to stay in the Dodgers lineup, but at the moment, the Dodgers really don't have anyone pushing him for the starting shortstop spot.

I think my team has balance between power and speed, with Braun, Zimmerman, Etheir, Ramirez and Bay anchoring my power, and Gordon, Braun, Altuve providing 20+ bases, and guys like Bay and Bloomquist offering 10+ stolen bases.

Another mistake I made was to draft Dodgers closer-in-waiting Kenley Jansen ahead of Braves starter Tim Hudson. I think he will be fine when he returns from the DL sometime in May, but he was drafted two picks after my Jansen choice in the 14th round.

I was happy that Cardinals starter Chris Carpenter was still available in the 15th round, as he would make up for not taking Hudson, and could round out my pitching staff if he can prove to be healthy when he returns from the DL, which should be sometime in May according to a report on Friday.

I think Reds starter Aroldis Chapman could be a steal if he makes the rotation or closes in place of injured Ryan Madson. If spring training is any indication of a turnaround in Chapman's control, he could be a breakout starter in 2012.