Grey and I were invited back for Yahoo’s most prestigious expert league – the Yahoo! Friends & Family League (the other Yahoo!-sponsored leagues we’re in include acquaintances and hoi polloi). The league has 14 teams consisting of 7 Yahooligans, 3 guys from Rotowire.com, 2 from Hardball Times, and one from Wall Street Journal and Razzball (two sites with a ton of audience overlap).
The format is 14 team, MLB, 5×5, 1250 IP cap, Roto, Snake Draft with the following roster format: C/1B/2B/SS/3B/4 OF/CI/MI/2 UTIL/9 P/3 Bench.
The four differences vs. our other expert leagues are: 1) Only one catcher, 2) 4 OF and 2 UTIL vs. 5 OF/1 UTIL, 3) Snake draft vs. auction draft, and 4) 1250 IP cap.
The roster differences are minor as we generally don’t spend a lot on catcher anyway and we planned to draft a 5th OF as one of our UTIL spots. The snake draft was a somewhat welcome departure vs. auctions as they tend to take less time and keep us sharp for snake draft commenter questions.
The IP cap was a factor in our decision making. It requires that teams use the equivalent of roughly 5.5 full-time starters (180 IP each = 990 IP) and 3.5 relievers (60 IP each = 210 IP). So our plan was to draft only 4 quality starters and we’ll play matchups for the rest.
Overall, I think we succeeded on drafting a team that has a shot to win. We got what we think are 4 solid SPs (F-Her, D. Hudson, Lilly, Garza) and two Hodgepadres (Stauffer, Richard) which we can start at home. The offense has a solid mix of upside plays (Cruz, Castro, Alvarez, Nishioka) and reliable vets (Posada, Miggy, Morneau, Torii). I ran the rosters against our projections and our team came out on top with our biggest strengths in HR/RBI/AVG/Saves and our biggest weaknesses in SB/Wins/Ks. But everything’s so close (e.g., 6 teams within 6 SBs of each other) that you have to take it with a grain of salt. As I mentioned in the NL LABR post, I don’t think you can win a league at the draft (assuming you draft against peers) but you can certainly lose it. And we didn’t lose it.
A couple of other notes:
1) I’ve found that our post-draft projected AVG is looking better across a number of our teams. I think the improvement I made in calculating the impact of AVG in Point Shares has helped.
2) I found that our rankings – based on Point Shares – had a number of outfielders at the top of our draft boards for a lot of the draft. This is either because I’m smarter than everyone else and value OFs correctly or I’m dumber than everyone else and value OFs incorrectly. Either way, we stuck to a strategy where we wouldn’t draft more than 2 OFs in the first 9-10 rounds and felt comfortable with our two top OF choices (Cruz, Pence) who were also near the top of the Yahoo! default rankings by the time we picked them.
3) Several teams stocked up on Middle Relievers in response to the 1250 IP cap – conceivably because the best middle relievers will deliver better ERA/WHIP/K per inning than lower-level starters (I think starters still provide a better W/IP ratio). The only flaw I see in the logic is that determining quality Middle Relievers in the preseason is a fool’s errand. There just aren’t a lot of ‘dependable’ middle relievers. So we were more than happy to fill out the rest of our hitting slots and grab Stauffer/Richard vs. speculate on Middle Relievers. They’ll be plenty of opportunities to go MR fishing during the year if we want to go that route.
Let us know what you think of the team….