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My AL-Only League Draft Results

Apr 7, 2012; Anaheim, CA, USA; Los Angeles Angels first baseman Albert Pujols (5) during a pitching change against the Kansas City Royals during the seventh inning at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-US PRESSWIRE
Apr 7, 2012; Anaheim, CA, USA; Los Angeles Angels first baseman Albert Pujols (5) during a pitching change against the Kansas City Royals during the seventh inning at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-US PRESSWIRE

I participated in my first AL-Only auction league draft yesterday and came away with a roster full of hitters, one ace-level starting pitcher and some cheap starters with some upside. The league is a 4 x 4, 12 team, $260 salary cap league that has been in existence since 1996, I believe. I took over a team that had very little keepers and no minor league prospects, so I decided to blow up the team, and wrote about it here.

Before I get into the results of my draft, here are the results of the minor league draft that took place on Friday/Saturday. I had picks 2, 4, 5, 8 and 11 in the MLD, and here is the results of the first round, with my picks in bold:

#1 - Travis d'Arnaud

#2 - Jake Marisnick

#3 - Bubba Starling

#4 - Dylan Bundy

$5 - Xander Bogaerts

#6 - Mike Olt

#7 - Danny Hultzen

#8 - Taijuan Walker

#9 - Chris Archer

#10 - Leonys Martin

#11 - Jarrod Parker

#12 - WilL Middlebrooks

I went against the grain and took Jake Marisnick who I have a man-crush on due to the speed and power potential he possesses. Add in the fact that ESPN's Keith Law stated in a chat awhile back that one of his scouting contacts told him that "he would be surprised if Marisnick is not an impact player" when he gets to the big leagues, and that sealed the deal for me. KLaw also mentioned that he feels Marisnick can stay in center field in his chat on Thursday. Here is the Q & A from the chat:

Danny (NY)

Klaw, I caught an article the other day with a guy saying Marisnick reminded him an awful lot of Braun -- snarkiness kept to a minimum, please -- any chance that happens? Seriously, if everything goes right for Marisnick, what kind of ceiling does he have?

(1:05 PM)

Marisnick's a better athlete, better runner, should stay in CF.

Here is a link to the article by the writer comparing Marisnick to Braun, but if Marisnick can be a 20-20 hitter in the big leagues, he will be very valuable. More on my draft results after the jump:

I targeted Bundy with the 4th pick in the MLD and was glad he fell to me. Had the owner with the #3 pick taken Bundy, I would have grabbed Starling with the 4th pick. Jason noted in his chat excerpts article on Saturday that Bundy struck out 6 in his first start at Low A on Friday, and there is a school of thought he will quickly make his way to AA this season. I grabbed Xander Bogaerts with the 5th overall pick as his power potential was too much to pass on there.

With the 8th overall pick, I chose Taijuan Walker, as he has ace level potential and will be pitching in a pitchers park when he finally makes it to the majors, which could be as soon as 2013, as he started the 2012 season in AA. I closed out my first AL-only MLD by selecting A's starter Jarrod Parker with the idea that he will be pitching in the big leagues in the very near future, and should benefit from pitching in a pitchers park.

Onto the results of the AL-Only league auction. I drove up to Port Chester, NY for this draft, about 2 hours away from my house in central New Jersey. I got to the draft about a half hour early, and pondered waiting out the $45-50 players in the draft, as I was mapping out my draft strategy. There were 5 owners with at least $180 to spend on the draft, including me (I had $245 to spend), as I thought I could get some decent value after guys like Albert Pujols, Adrian Gonzalez, Mark Teixeira and Prince Fielder were off the board. I was also targeting some injured players including Victor Martinez, Joakim Soria, Andrew Bailey, Brett Anderson and Carl Crawford, along with some second year starting pitchers with some potential to breakout.

Here are the results of my draft, with dollar values:

C - Victor Martinez ($7)

C - Stephen Vogt ($1)

1B - Albert Pujols ($51)

2B - Ben Zobrist ($32)

SS - Jamey Carroll ($3)

MI - Maicer Izturis ($1)

3B - Danny Valencia ($5)

CO - Alberto Callaspo ($7)

OF - Eric Thames ($10)

OF - Alex Gordon ($30)

OF - Shelley Duncan ($5)

OF - Cody Ross ($11)

DH - David Ortiz ($26)

DH - Kendrys Morales ($28)

P - Yu Darvish ($22)

P - Andrew Bailey ($8)

P - Joakim Soria ($3)

P - Brian Matusz ($2)

P - Brett Anderson ($2)

P - Kyle Drabek ($1)

P - Wade Davis ($1)

P - Jake Arrieta ($1)

P - Jonathan Sanchez ($1)

As you can see, I got a lot of the guys that I targeted before the draft, especially the starters. If one or two of them can pan out with a semi-breakout season this year, I should be set heading into the 2013 season where I plan to compete. If I don't deal Yu Darvish during the season, I think he should perform to a level that will make him retainable heading into the 2013 season. Bailey should be back this season so he will be a decent source for saves this year and next. I just worry that he won't be able to handle the pressure of pitching in Boston.

I also wonder if Soria will return to a closer role in 2013, but for $3 it was worth the shot. I think at least one of my cheap starters can have a breakout season this year. Arrieta got his 2012 season off on the right foot as he threw shutout innings on Friday night, with reports that his fastball was sitting in the 94-95 mph range for a good part of that start. Matusz and Drabek are two other starters who I feel can improve upon their poor showing in their 2011 rookie seasons.

I am happy with the offense I drafted and will be looking to deal some of them this season. I have been high on Alex Gordon all offseason and he was a player I targeted before the draft. I think he can repeat his 2011 breakout season this year with a 20-20 season a possibility, and for $30, he was worth the high bid.

Albert Pujols was the first player I bought, and with that purchase I threw away any thoughts of not buying a $50 player, as he was the most expensive player drafted at $51. I have been down on Pujols as I ranked him as my 3rd ranked first baseman this offseason, but he should bring back several keepers in a trade during the season.

I was surprised with the prices I had to pay for Ben Zobrist and Kendrys Morales, but there was a lot of money in this draft, so I had to pay up for them. I was very happy with the price I paid for David Ortiz, as I was sure he would go for $30+.

Red Sox outfielder Cody Ross had a good spring, and I bought into the reports that he could flourish in the Red Sox lineup and hitting at Fenway Park this season.

Overall, I was happy with the results of my draft and look forward to seeing how my rebuild strategy pans out going forward.