Sunday, April 09, 2006

2006 AL Draft

Things went as I anticipated. I landed Chone Figgins for $41. That was a little discomforting, but he was the first player named and I knew there would be a couple other bids that would make me feel better.

That player was Carl Crawford. He went for $50! Brian Roberts followed that for $33.

The bidding for the four closers available was also heated. Mariano Rivera went for $49. Todd Jones went for $23 and Keith Foulke went for $24! To a Red Sox fan nonetheless. Dan Miceli was the bargain of the four. He went for $17.

Those levels precluded me from taking a flyer on any of them. Foulke's price really surprised me because he is looking at a Wally Pipp moment right now with Papelbon. Nevermind Craig Hansen in the minors.

I did get a top starter at a price I was made me very comfortable. Johann Santana went for $41, and Randy Johnson went for $38 (to a Yankee fan). That left two pitchers I considered at the top, Mark Buerhle and Curt Schilling. I let Buerhle go for $25 and was left with the possibility of not landing any of those four if Schilling got out of control. That did not happen. Schilling went to me for $24.

I rounded out the remaining three openings on my pitching staff with $5 Joel Zumaya and Latroy Hawkins and a $2 Joaquin Benoit. I'm not thrilled about Hawkins, as anyone who has owned him since his early Twins days would be, but there is no other option in Baltimore if Chris Ray stumbles, and maybe Leo Mazzone will provide that certain je ne sais quoi Hawkins' previous crusty managers could not.

Zumaya was the one sleeper I was willing to go to $12 or so. I think he is going to be a Scot Shields type of reliever this season. Whatever happens after that would be gravy. I was thrilled to get him for $5 when I had planned to spend more than twice that. (Whether $12 for a middle relieving rookie is wise is besides the point.)

The catchers all went for $18-$20. I landed Jorge Posada for $18 and Toby Hall for $6. Neither is undervalued but neither is over-valued, and I had money to spend. I feel comfortable with the expected levels of production for those salaries.

At the hot corner, there was a lot of depth. Troy Glaus, Hank Blalock, Chone Figgins, Adrian Beltre, Eric Chavez, Melvin Mora, Aaron Boone, Joe Crede and Tony Batisita. I already landed Figgins, but I wanted him in the OF. With a desire for a middle of the order hitter, I focused on Eric Chavez, Adrian Beltre, Hank Blalock and Troy Glaus. I was basically indifferent to any of them but liked Chavez and Beltre slightly better than the other two. Blalock has not performed up to expectations, and I question if he ever will. Glaus is an injury risk and cannot be expected to hit higher than .250.

Blalock was the first off the board at $32. I wasn't involved much in the bidding. Eric Chavez was next, and that bidding I did take to $30, but he went for $31. Glaus and Beltre still remained. Beltre was next and I landed him at $26. Glaus ended-up going for $28. Overall, I was very pleased to get one of the four I wanted and to get him for the least amount.

After getting Figgins, Posada, Schilling and Beltre, I stopped seriously bidding for a while. I'd push some players up in price but not agressively and with no desire to land them. It got to the point where I had the most money remaining ($52). At this point, the best players available were Carl Everett, Nick Markakis, Jason Michaels and Placido Polanco.

I didn't really want Everett because he is good for 450 ABs at most, is old with an attidude and gets hurt. Jason Michaels is not a favorite of mine, but with Todd Hollandsworth backing-up LF and RF, I did not see Michaels under any threat whatsoever to lose ABs, and he is batting second in an excellent line-up one through nine.

Nick Markakis offers the upside potential that makes him more attractive than either Michaels or Everett. I wanted him.

Polanco is a undisputed full-time player and offers excellent AVG, and with Beltre and Posada already on board for .265ish AVG, I decided I wanted him, too.

One for two isn't too bad. I landed Polanco for $17. Not a late draft bargain but a better value than Carlos Guillen who went for $21.

Then came the Nick Markakis bidding. I had three spots left (SS, OF and P) with $19 to address them. I bid Markakis up to $16 and lost him to another team who said $17 knowing I was done. Disappointing but a normal occurence at the end of every draft.

Fortunately, I still had the money. Unfortunately, there was no one left in the pool that I thought offered good value for $17, and pitchers were already going for a $1 or $2 so any of those would not reach double-digit bids.

Still on the board was Jason Michaels, and I said to myself (after 8 beers or so), "WTF! Jason Michaels it is!" and landed him for $16. With some time to think it over, I believe that was as good a selection as Markakis for this year. Michaels will play and likely hit. 280+. So I shrug my shoulders and let things fall where they may.

When I entered the minor league draft, I wanted Brandon Wood #1, one of the other top four (Gordon, Kendrick, Marte, Hansen) at #5, Adam Jones at #8, Brad Snyder and Jose Tabata with the 17th and 21st picks in a 24-pick draft. I would have taken Jeff Clement at #8 if Jones was taken. The last two picks would have been an on-the-fly adjustment depending on who was left at that point.

As it turned out, I got all five players.

Overall, I was pleased with my draft and hope I analyzed my needs as accurately as possible because I executed my plan flawlessly. That worries me very much.

(After checking the scores prior to stumbling to bed, I noticed Schilling pitched a gem. I passed out feeling much better about my draft.)

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