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NL-Only Keeper League Draft Results: Changing Strategy Mid-Draft

March 20, 2012; Mesa, AZ, USA; Chicago Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo (44) singles in the fourth inning against the Texas Rangers at HoHoKam Park.  Mandatory Credit: Rick Scuteri-US PRESSWIRE
March 20, 2012; Mesa, AZ, USA; Chicago Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo (44) singles in the fourth inning against the Texas Rangers at HoHoKam Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Scuteri-US PRESSWIRE

I had my first NL-only 5 X 5 keeper league auction draft of the year on Friday night, and have to say this might be the first time I ever changed my draft strategy in the middle of the draft. I went into the draft with the following list of keepers:

Matt Kemp ($38)

Andrew McCutchen ($29)

Ryan Zimmernan ($29)

Jimmy Rollins ($25)

Corey Hart ($24)

Chris Young ($20)

Alfonso Soriano ($14)

Jordan Zimmernann ($6)

Jonathan Niese ($5)

Sergio Romo ($1)

So, as you can see, I went into the draft with a solid, yet a bit expensive, group of hitters, and little starting pitching. My plan heading into the draft was to target one of the 5-7 ace level starting pitchers and go from there. Well, that didn't work out too well.

Details of why and the change in my draft strategy after the jump:

Going into the draft, I had $69 to spend on 13 players, so I really couldn't spend a lot on any one player if I wanted a balanced team. I felt I had enough power, speed and BA so I focused on drafting one of the following starting pitchers:

Roy Halladay

Cole Hamels

Tim Lincecum

Yovani Gallardo

Gio Gonzalez

Josh Johnson

Tommy Hanson

I listed Johnson and Hanson, but really had no interest in spending money on them with their injury histories. I usually don't like spending a lot on starters, but felt I would go to $25 on one of the first four starters listed. As it turns out, all but Hanson and Gonzalez went for $25 or more, with Hanson going for $21 and Gio $19. Halladay went for $32, Hamels went for $30, Lincecum-$27, Gallardo- $27 and Johnson- $25.

Now that the top starters were off the board, and I didn't draft any of them, I changed course and focused on a semi rebuild strategy, where I would draft some prospects on the 40 man roster (we draft off the 40 man roster in this league, not the 25 man roster), who could see time in 2012. I also focused on drafting a few set up guys who could close at some point this season. Finally, I wanted too draft a few players who will start the year on the DL.

Here is the list of players I drafted:

C - Devin Mesoraco ($10)

C - Yasmani Grandal ($3)

1B - Ryan Howard ($14)

CI - Anthony Rizzo ($3)

2B - Mark Ellis ($1)

MI - Rafael Furcal ($3)

U - Anthony Rendon ($1)

P - Frank Francisco ($10)

P - Aroldis Chapman ($5)

P - Kenley Jansen ($7)

P - Chris Carpenter ($6)

P - Trevor Bauer ($5)

P - Rex Brothers ($1)

I half-heartedly think this team could compete, but a lot would have to go right for me. Howard would have to be healthy and playing by late May-early June, Devin Mesoraco would be starting and hitting like he did in AAA by May, Bryan LaHair loses his job in early May and Rizzo hits as soon as he is called up, and on and on. But, in a seriousness, I am in full rebuild state right now, and have already made offers for Andrew Cashner who I wanted in the worst way, and Bryce Harper, who was drafted last year. I thought I would be able to sneak Cashner as my very last pitcher for a $1, but my brother read that I liked him here on Fake Teams, and he bid him up to $2, and I couldn't outbid him as I was dollared out.

I think Jansen and Brothers will be closing by the end of the year, so grabbing two future closers for $8 is pretty good. I am not confident that Ryan Howard will return before June, if then even, but he represents solid value at first base, solely for his power, come 2013.

The trade to Chicago definitely increased the value of Anthony Rizzo for 2012 and beyond, as Wrigley Field is quite friendly to left handed power hitters, so he just needs to improve the whiff rate to reach his potential. If he doesn't, he only cost me $3.

Mesoraco went for higher than I wanted, but he was called out mid-draft and he was the best catcher available. I am not sure he will be worth $10 in 2012, but can see him exceeding that in 2013. Grandal won't see much time in the Padres lineup in 2012, unless the Padres decide to deal starting catcher Nick Hundley, but he could be the Padres catcher of the future and will start the season in AAA where he should excel in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League.

Diamondbacks pitching prospect Trevor Bauer is about a month or so away from pitching in the big leagues, in my opinion. Diamondbacks 5th starter Josh Collmenter is having a horrible spring, and if that should continue early in the regular season, he could be sent down for Bauer, who will start the season at AA Mobile.

So, how did I do with the change in strategy mid-draft?