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Thread: Draft Strategy

  1. #1
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    Draft Strategy

    What do you guys feel is the best draft strategy - draft for your needs? or take best player available?

    I am in a 10 team 5x5 league with a snake draft so that I pick 2, 19, 22, 39, 42, ..... etc. Originally I had planned on taking a bat at 19 and an arm at 22 after taking Ryan Howard in the first round. Some of the guys in my league aren't the most astute baseball fans and Miguel Cabrera dropped into my lap at pick 19. At pick 22 Carl Crawford was available so I took him.

    After taking Crawford, my plan was to pick up a middle infielder if Jimmy Rollins or Hanley Ramirez was available and an arm with picks 39 and 42. Now it is still 10 picks away from me picking again, but looking at who is available Matt Holiday and Mark Teixeira are still on the board. Are guys like those too valuable to pass up at 39 or 42 or do I draft to my weaknesses since right now I have perhaps the best offensive lineup in my league?

    Oh and to give you guys an idea of the pitching situation in the league, pitchers already drafted are: Johan Santana, Chris Carpenter, C.C. Sabathia (13th pick ), Roy Halladay, Carlos Zambrano, and Pedro Martinez (26th pick ).

    My personal draft board for pitchers available then looks like this:

    1) Jake Peavy - love his peripherals and k rate. ERA should drop a little this year and he pitches in a cavernous park. Probably won't have too high of a win total though given overall parity/mediocrity in NL West

    2) Brandon Webb - if he stays healthy, should improve win total with better team behind him, and has solid K rate, ERA, and WHIP

    3) Roy Oswalt - Win total should go up this year with a better offense behind him and maybe I should have him higher, but to be honest his declining K rates scare me

    4) Francisco Rodriquez

    5) Joe Nathan

    This is a keeper league so I am trying to position myself to have a young core of players either signed to LTC or in their pre-arbitration years.

    Obviously I am counting my chickens before they hatch, but given my offensive surplus and total lack of pitching do I take at least one arm regardless of who is available at my next two picks or if someone like Holliday who I had rated top 20-25 overall is available should I grab him?

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  3. #2
    Member Buckeye33's Avatar
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    Re: Draft Strategy

    As nice as it would be to totally dominate all offensive categories, you have to do reasonably well in pitching to win the whole league.

    I'd take one of Holliday or Teixeria with pick 39 and then take one of Peavy or Oswalt at pick 42.

    BTW, have fun destroying this league. That was some sad stuff you posted about CC Sabathia, and getting Cabrera at 19 and Crawford at 22.

    I have Howard rated 9th, Cabrera 10th, and Crawford 6th on my personal best available list.
    Matta = Really good

  4. #3
    Box of Frogs edabbs44's Avatar
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    Re: Draft Strategy

    I'd go Holliday and then Webb or Oswalt.

    If Holliday is gone, taking one of those SSs would mean you don't have to worry about steals. I'd take either of them over Teixeira.

  5. #4
    Churlish Johnny Footstool's Avatar
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    Re: Draft Strategy

    Your strategy needs some flexibility depending on your draft position. If you end up with the 10th pick and Santana is still available, you might decide to focus on pitching. If Utley is still there, you might take him and decide to pass on outfielders. If Beltran is the best player available, you might need to pass on the best middle infielders and look for value later in the draft. It all depends on who is available when your turn comes up.
    "I prefer books and movies where the conflict isn't of the extreme cannibal apocalypse variety I guess." Redsfaithful

  6. #5
    Manliness Personified HumnHilghtFreel's Avatar
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    Re: Draft Strategy

    I usually draft the best offensive players I can for the first couple of rounds because the way I look at it, you can find some pretty good SP late in the draft while premiere offensive players go to the wayside quickly.

    Usually I'll cede the Saves category unless a great closer just falls into my lap around the 6th or 7th round and I'll just have to take them.

    It's also important to get a player with good steals capabilities by about rd. 3-4 because they disappear fast.

    I also keep a small offensive bench. Maybe 1-2 guys at most. Instead I try to draft as many quality SP as I can. It's a little work when the season rolls around to rotate them in for their starts, but it gets you a lot more chances for wins, K's, etc.

    Hope this helps some for you, it's done me pretty well over the last few years

  7. #6
    Potential Lunch Winner Dom Heffner's Avatar
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    Re: Draft Strategy

    Oh geesh. This is why I am so happy to be playing in a points league and not a category league.

    In no universe is Carl Crawford better than or equal to Ryan Howard, other than a 5x5 category league. It isn't even close.

    This is probably too late, but you have to even things out on your pitching, and I would start with the best available starter and just keep on going until you have enough starters to make you respectable.

    You can always find closers and it's only one category. If you go .500 in that category over a season, be thankful and try and take the others.

  8. #7
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    Re: Draft Strategy

    Thanks for the advice so far. After 5 rounds my roster looks like this:

    C
    1B Ryan Howard
    2B
    3B Miguel Cabrera
    SS -
    CI
    MI
    OF - Carl Crawford
    OF Matt Holliday
    OF
    UTIL
    UTIL
    SP Jake Peavy
    SP
    SP
    SP
    SP
    RP
    RP
    RP
    BN
    BN
    BN
    BN
    BN
    BN
    BN
    BN

    In case anyone is interested here are the draft picks so far from my league. It may give people an idea of how picking with the average fan will go. I definitely consider myself to have below average baseball knowledge in comparison to posters on this board, but I think I have a top 3 draft in this league so far with pitching holding me back.

    Round 1

    #1 Breaking Balls - Albert Pujols, 1B - STL
    #2 LarkinMattingly=HOF - Ryan Howard, 1B - PHI
    #3 Mojos Crickets - Alfonso Soriano, OF - CHC
    #4 TheFrozenWonders - Jose Reyes, SS - NYM
    #5 The Horny Buzzards - Vladimir Guerrero, OF - LAA
    #6 YankeesCircleJerk - David Ortiz, DH - BOS
    #7 Off In The Shower - Johan Santana, SP - MIN
    #8 The Drunken Crunzels - Carlos Beltran, OF - NYM
    #9 thats what she said - Lance Berkman, OF - HOU
    #10 6-4-3 - Chris Carpenter, SP - STL

    Round 2

    #11 6-4-3 - Derek Jeter, SS - NYY
    #12 thats what she said - Chase Utley, 2B - PHI
    #13 The Drunken Crunzels - C.C. Sabathia, SP - CLE
    #14 Off In The Shower - Alex Rodriguez, 3B - NYY
    #15 YankeesCircleJerk - Manny Ramirez, OF - BOS
    #16 The Horny Buzzards - Andruw Jones, OF - ATL
    #17 TheFrozenWonders - David Wright, 3B - NYM
    #18 Mojos Crickets - Travis Hafner, 1B/DH - CLE
    #19 LarkinMattingly=HOF - Miguel Cabrera, 3B/OF - FLA
    #20 Breaking Balls - Grady Sizemore, OF - CLE

    Round 3

    #21 Breaking Balls - Roy Halladay, SP - TOR
    #22 LarkinMattingly=HOF - Carl Crawford, OF - TB
    #23 Mojos Crickets - Miguel Tejada, SS - BAL
    #24 TheFrozenWonders - Carlos Zambrano, SP - CHC
    #25 The Horny Buzzards - Robinson Cano, 2B - NYY
    #26 YankeesCircleJerk - Pedro Martinez, SP - NYM
    #27 Off In The Shower - Mark Teixeira, 1B - TEX
    #28 The Drunken Crunzels - Jermaine Dye, OF - CWS
    #29 thats what she said - Roy Oswalt, SP - HOU
    #30 6-4-3 - Ichiro Suzuki, OF - SEA

    Round 4

    #31 6-4-3 - Derrek Lee, 1B - CHC
    #32 thats what she said - Joe Mauer, C - MIN
    #33 The Drunken Crunzels - Justin Morneau, 1B - MIN
    #34 Off In The Shower - Carlos Lee, OF - HOU
    #35 YankeesCircleJerk - Michael Young, SS - TEX
    #36 The Horny Buzzards - Aramis Ramirez, 3B - CHC
    #37 TheFrozenWonders - Vernon Wells, OF - TOR
    #38 Mojos Crickets - Garret Atkins, 3B - COL
    #39 LarkinMattingly=HOF Matt Holliday, OF - COL
    #40 Breaking Balls - Brandon Webb, SP - ARZ

    Round 5

    #41 Breaking Balls - Hanley Ramirez, SS - FLA
    #42 LarkinMattingly=HOF - Jake Peavy

    My next two picks are at 59 and 62. If Jimmy Rollins is still available at that point I am definitely taking him, although I see that being highly unlikely. I was really hoping that Breaking Balls would take Rollins over Ramirez because I see Hanley Ramirez as more likely to fly under the radar and fall to 59. Otherwise I will probably go with two arms and try to catch my pitching up to my offense.

    I might take a closer with a high k rate in the 7th round if Joe Nathan or Francisco Rodriguez is available and given how this draft is turning out they probably will but as per HumnHilghtFreel I am not going to pay for a relieve that only gives me saves and therefore I value someone like Mariano Rivera who does not k many batters a lot less than Nathan and Rodriquez.

    Thanks again everyone for the advice so far. If people are interested I will continue to post the draft results and my thought process approaching each pick for the league. It is an e-mail draft averaging about a round a day so it goes pretty slow.

  9. #8
    Moderator Gallen5862's Avatar
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    Re: Draft Strategy

    yes keep us updated. You have a good draft so far.

  10. #9
    Potential Lunch Winner Dom Heffner's Avatar
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    Re: Draft Strategy

    Thanks so much for posting this. It gives me an idea where people will go in our draft.

    David Ortiz always falls a bit but man, he is valuable in our league.

    If he's there at 4, I'm going to take him.

  11. #10
    Potential Lunch Winner Dom Heffner's Avatar
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    Re: Draft Strategy

    I am not going to pay for a relieve that only gives me saves and therefore I value someone like Mariano Rivera who does not k many batters a lot less than Nathan and Rodriquez.
    Try and get the Dodger's one two combo, if you need K's from your closer. Putz is also a stud.

    I can't believe someone took Carpenter 10th, but I guess if you are not drafting until it comes all the way back around, maybe I'd do that, too.

    Also- Hafner is an unbelievable grab at 18.

  12. #11
    Score Early, Score Often gonelong's Avatar
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    Re: Draft Strategy

    Its been awhile since I could do this, but take each of your categories in your league and get the total/avg of each category. Take RBIs for example. If you league had 10,000 RBI, take note of that. Find the BA for your entire league, ERA, etc. Now find out the average per player in your league. (.265 BA, 19 HRs, 68 RBIs, 12 steals, etc.) Now take each of the players eligible for your league and rate them (+/-) the average in each category and in total. Figure out which stats are more rare (steals, HR) and weight that against those that are less rare (RBIs). Now you have a weighted system. Figure out how what totals you'll need (based on past years results) to get in each category to have a chance to win and then draft accordingly.

    There will be natural drop-offs in some of your lists, mark them. When a position is getting scarce, make sure you get a guy on the list before the large drop off.

    Note guys that produce in each area and target them. Avoid guys that are very well healed in one category such as steals. If they get injured you have issues. If your guys produce in several categories and injury will allow you to focus on picking up guys that will aid you in one or two categories.

    I played in 3 different good sized money leagues and literally dominated them all over a period of years using this procedure. There is a bit more to it, but you define position scarcity, etc.

    I would create an xls spreadsheet and put the teams on the row and the positions in the column. I'd then put in each players name and the total score I had assigned them. I'd then color code the top tier I wanted to target (so that you could easily identify how many were left) as well as the drop-off guys for the same reason.

    Now I had one single sheet with all the players and their values on them. I'd highlight guys as they went off the board and keep track of everyones draft (not just the players, but the totals they have based on your system.) That would give you some idea of who was going to go with what position or type of player next. I'd also keep track of draft tendencies over a few years. (One guy took Joe Carter every year for 4 yrs straight, one guy took CLE players, one guy concentrated on pitchers, another on steals, etc.)

    If this seems like and involved process, it is to some degree. Though once you've done it the first year its much easier to update your spreadsheet for the next year.

    Maybe that is TMI? Ha Ha, good luck.

    GL

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    Re: Draft Strategy

    GL - thanks a lot. That is a great idea and definitely appeals to my inner stat geekdom. This is a keeper league so I will definitely have to implement a system like that for next year. It may be too late to do so this year.

    My observations so far are that the NAME guys go early. "Name" guys being perennial allstars who may be on downside of their careers or guys who play for media-beloved teams like the Yankees. There is a huge Yankee fan in my league and his third and fifth round choices were Cano and Wang. He overpaid for both. Certainly Cano is an excellent secondbaseman for a fantasy league and perhaps the best one after Utley. However, there is a huge dropoff at second after Utley and he probably could have gotten Cano much later. Wang is an excellent pitcher and someone I would love to have on the Reds staff, but he does not put up big fantasy numbers and was taken much too early in the fifth.

    It looks to me like you can wait to pick up and comers on bad teams like Marlins and D-rays or even on good west coast teams that do not get exposure like the Angels (Lackey, Francisco Rodriguez, etc) and get excellent value late in the draft.

    Also, as in the case of the Yankee fan in my league many fantasy players seem to show bias and pick players off of their favorite team.

    This probably all seems elementary to most of you, but it is the first time I have played fantasy ball in several years and my first ever offline draft where I have had time to really analyze my picks before I make them.

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    Re: Draft Strategy

    Speaking of overvaluing players on your own team am I wrong in having Aaron Harang rated best starter available in my league?

    Pitchers taken:

    Santana
    Carpenter
    Sabathia
    Halladay
    Pedro Martinez
    Webb
    Peavy
    Willis
    Wang

    Counting pitching stats: Wins, Saves, ERA, WHIP, Ks

    Every time I see fantasy projections guys like Bonderman are rated above Harang, but they will likely accumulate fewer strikeouts because they pitch fewer innings and have a higher ERA from pitching in the AL. Ben Sheets is the other pitcher available that really sticks out to me but he is a health risk and I am not sure I want to take him at the risk of losing a guy like Harang who I am fairly certain will make over 30 starts and pitch more than 200 innings.

  15. #14
    Score Early, Score Often gonelong's Avatar
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    Re: Draft Strategy

    Quote Originally Posted by CUhoopster48 View Post
    GL - thanks a lot. That is a great idea and definitely appeals to my inner stat geekdom. This is a keeper league so I will definitely have to implement a system like that for next year. It may be too late to do so this year.
    Never too late. :-) I guess what I really showed you wasn't a drafting philosophy as much as a data/draft preperation template. If nothing else, put your team/roster spreadsheet together with just the player names & positions.


    EDIT: Just noticed you are already in the middle of your draft, so yeah, its probably a bit late for this season.


    Code:
    	Reds		                Dodgers		Rays	              Top ML Pitcher	Top ML Position
    SS	Gonzo (120/20/10)	        SS		SS	              Baily		Denorfia-OF/Votto-1B
    2B	Phillips	                2B		2B	              etc		etc
    3B	Encarnacion	                Jim/Joe		Arty	              etc		etc
    This will allow you to identify position scarcity as the draft rolls on. You can quickly determine who many SS's are left, etc. The first year I drafted that was all I had, I added all the numbers, etc. later. In particular I found that marking the players into Top/Middle/Tier and color coding them (Green/Yellow/Red) gave me a pretty good one glance at my spreadsheet idea of who to pick next.

    If I was doing it again, I'd probably take PECOTA projections and place the splits for BR/CR Breakout rate/Collapse Rate for the hitters. I'd not bother for the pitchers. If you come down to 2 guys that are similar, I'd check those numbers.

    For example. Gonzo (120/20/10) would be The Reds Shortstop, Gonzo, at 120 pts per my projection with a 20% PECOTA Breakout rate and a 10% PECOTA Collapse Rate.

    In this manner I'd have one page with all my information at a single glance. Given the guys left I should be able to pick up pretty quickly who has the highest score of anyone left, position scarcity, and if two guys are pretty similar, what PECOTA projects for this season for their chances to improve/relaspse.

    This may all seem like alot, but once I had done it once and had all the procedures in a speadsheet I was pretty quick to update them each year. Like I said, I started with just the teams, players, and position matrix the first year and added on each year. I was doing this circa 1994 or so (minus the PECOTA) and most of the other guys simply came with some sort of cheat sheet out of a magazine.

    GL
    Last edited by gonelong; 03-06-2007 at 05:18 PM.

  16. #15
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    Re: Draft Strategy

    Well here is an update halfway through Round 7 of the draft:


    #41 Breaking Balls - Hanley Ramirez, SS - FLA

    #42 LarkinMattingly=HOF - Jake Peavy, SP - SD

    #43 Mojos Crickets - Jimmy Rollins, SS - PHI

    #44 TheFrozenWonders - Dontrelle Willis, SP - FLA

    #45 The Horny Buzzards- Chien Ming Wang, SP - NYY

    #46 YankeesCircleJerk - Daisuke Matsuzaka, SP - BOS

    #47 Off In The Shower - Jason Bay, OF - PIT

    #48 The Drunken Crunzels - Justin Verlander, SP - DET

    #49 thats what she said - Jim Thome, DH - CWS

    #50 6-4-3 - Johnny Damon, OF - NYY



    Round 6



    #51 6-4-3 - Brian Roberts, 2B - BAL

    #52 thats what she said - Troy Glaus, 3B - TOR

    #53 The Drunken Crunzels - Joe Nathan, RP - MIN

    #54 Off In The Shower - Rafael Furcal, SS - LAD

    #55 YankeesCircleJerk - Paul Konerko, 1B - CWS

    #56 The Horny Buzzards - Barry Zito, SP - SF

    #57 TheFrozenWonders - Carlos Delgado, OF - NYM

    #58 Mojos Crickets - Francisco Rodriguez, RP - LAA

    #59 LarkinMattingly=HOF - Bobby Abreu, OF - NYY

    #60 Breaking Balls - Alex Gordon, 3B - KC



    Round 7

    #61 Breaking Balls - Aaron Harang, SP - CIN

    #62 LarkinMattingly=HOF - Jeremy Bonderman, SP - DET

    #63 Mojos Crickets - Hideki Matsui, OF - NYY

    #64 TheFrozenWonders - Magglio Ordonez, OF - DET


    With all of my top shortstops taken, I did not feel any middle infielders merited a pick this high. I decided to take Abreu with my 6th round pick because of his 5 category assets.

    Unfortunately Harang was taken at 61 so I settled for Bonderman at pick 62. Other pitchers I considered were Sheets, Lackey, and Kazmir. The injury history scared me off of Sheets, although if healthy I think he can put up Santana like numbers.

    My roster now stands like this:

    1B - Ryan Howard
    3B - Miguel Cabrera
    OF - Carl Crawford
    OF - Matt Holliday
    OF - Bobby Abreu
    SP - Jake Peavy
    SP - Jeremy Bonderman

    Alex Gordon went much earlier than I anticipated, as he was someone I planned on drafting in about the 10th round for coming seasons. The following are guys that I am considering right now by position depending on how the draft shapes up before it comes back to me:

    OF
    Chone Figgins (2B and 3B eligible)
    Adam Dunn
    Delmon Young
    Juan Pierre

    3B
    Chone Figgins
    Edwin Encarnacion

    2B
    Chone Figgins
    Dan Uggla
    Richie Weeks
    Brandon Phillips
    Julio Lugo
    Howie Kendrick (1B eligible?)

    SS
    Carlos Guillen
    Felipe Lopez
    Bill Hall
    Stephen Drew
    Julio Lugo

    C
    Victor Martinez (1B eligible?)

    P
    Ben Sheets
    Scott Kazmir
    Felix Hernandez
    John Lackey
    Homer Bailey


    RP
    B.J. Ryan
    Putz
    Broxton

    I might take Uggla with my next pick if he is available to give me a power hitting middle infielder and I have to start at least 3 - SS, 2B, and MI. If anyone has any suggestions let me know - I have starters at 8 natural positions, MI, CI, and two UTILS as well as 8 bench spots to stash backups and prospects since it is a dynasty league.


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