Last year, I wrote a “If You Can Think It, I Could Test It” where I invited commenters to ask me draft questions that I can test against the Razzball Commenter League data. With Grey traveling back from his stealthily awesome Tout NL draft, I figured I’d use today for a sequel.

Here’s what I have at my disposal:

  • 101 12-team RCLs from 2015: Draft Results + Final Standings/Stats (Daily roster changes/pickups)
  • 17 12-team NFBC leagues from 2015: Draft Results + Final Standings/Stats (Weekly)
  • 2015 Steamer/Razzball Hitter and Pitcher Projections
  • 84 12-team RCLs from 2014: Draft Results + Final Standings/Stats (Daily)

Types of questions you can ask include:

  • How did teams that drafted a SAGNOF like Billy Hamilton or Dee Gordon do?
  • How did teams that invested a lot vs a little in starting pitching do?
  • What stat categories correlated best with final standings points?

The more specific the question, the better.

This is a special day. If you ask me an everyday question about your team, I’m going to reply with “Boo, wrong post. Ask Grey tomorrow.”

Please, blog, may I have some more?

This is a post for the fantasy baseball drafters who use Excel, Google Docs, or some other war room software that automatically totals a drafted team’s stats while in the middle of a draft. Or perhaps for those of you who do mock drafts or simulated drafts.

The below grid represents my projected 75% mark in each stat category across 10/12/14/15/16 team ESPN and Yahoo default roster format leagues.

These numbers should only be used directionally. Please note that each projection source projects to a different league average so your team may look great if using a ‘bullish’ source and look poor if using a ‘bearish’ source.

While I stand behind these numbers as they are part of the foundation behind my Player Rater $ estimates, I do not use these as part of my draft. I prefer to add up the dollar values per category. Same difference I suppose but it is easier to see counting totals for ratios and it lets me fixate less on the numbers (e.g., I see $7, I know they are good…I don’t fixate on 20 SBs vs 25 SBs).

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I was thinking about ideas for a draft strategy post to complement Grey’s recent draft strategy post when I concluded that the vast majority of my strategic thinking goes into my draft preparation. The draft itself is more just execution. So I figured it might help some of you if I laid out my draft preparation and then some notes on how my strategy might change based on league format.

My larger goal with any draft is to be in control. With the right preparation, I can take advantage of whatever advantages the draft room is giving me. I drafted the 2nd and 3rd pitchers off the board in this year’s Tout Wars and was the last player to take a pitcher in LABR.  Yet my hit/pitch split for the two teams was within one percentage point (63.7/36.3 vs 64.6/35.4).

I also strive for zero ‘instant regret’ picks. Those are the picks where you are ‘under the gun’ and pick someone that you regret while the draft is still going on. I think most drafters get ‘lost’ during snake drafts more than they’d care to admit. I can say with full honesty that I only made one of those picks combined between LABR and Tout (LABR – Yasmany Tomas in 16th when none of my planned bats were still on board and Storen went the pick before).

You do not need to follow each and every step (you could just from my $/projections and edit from there) but I do think all this research makes for a smarter, more efficient draft.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

On Tuesday March 8th, I had the honor of taking part in the Tout Wars Mixed League Snake Draft for the second straight year. Last year, I finished in 2nd place after a brutal September (one spot above 3rd place Grey who will be taking part in Tout Wars NL-only this year!).

There’s no place to go except up, down, or finish in the same spot.

Before I break into the recap, here are two unique differences between this Tout Wars draft and the LABR mixed draft I recapped earlier this preseason:

  1. This is 5×5 OBP not standard 5×5 (w/ AVG). Otherwise it’s generally the same (NFBC roster format of C/C/1B/2B/SS/3B/OF/OF/OF/OF/OF/CI/MI/UTIL/9 P/6 bench)
  2. There was a requirement that we needed to draft a ‘starting 23’ before reserve rounds – e.g., you couldn’t wait until the last couple rounds to draft your 2nd catcher.

Here are the results of the 2016 Tout Wars Mixed League Draft. (If you hate reading, here’s a podcast with my pal Alan Harrison at The Fantasy Fix where I talk about Tout Wars and other things) I suggest opening it another tab while reading this post. Apologies it isn’t all pretty and color-coded but OnRoto.com doesn’t support that yet.

My team:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

For the fifth straight year, Razzball is competing in CBSSports.com’s AL-only league (we also compete in NL-only). It has been a struggle the past three years after Grey and I won it in 2012. Beginning last year, we divided up AL and NL-only duty with the other one as co-manager as a backup. One look at last year’s squad and you will see that it effectively served as my “Everything bad happen to this one so my other teams are spared” team.

I enjoy the CBSSports leagues for two reasons: 1) We are in the mixed league versions of LABR and Tout Wars so this league lets us compete in an expert AL-only league and 2) There are daily pick-ups in this league with a $0 FAAB option – this hugely favors maniacal daily players like me.

Below is the team I drafted on Wednesday, February 24th. Here is the complete CBSSports AL-only draft as well as the LABR auction prices for those players from March 5th. Notes below…

Please, blog, may I have some more?

For years, Grey and I have been thinking about what would be the perfect low-stakes paid league complement to our free Razzball Commenter Leagues (sign up now).

In 2014 and 2015, we co-sponsored 15-team $150 NFBC leagues (50 round slow drafts) and got a positive response from many of you. I cannot say enough good things about NFBC – great service, great people, great site. Unfortunately, we did not get anywhere near the turnout we get for RCL leagues (100 leagues vs 3?!) which puts us in a Field of Dreams-esque position when it comes to lobbying/negotiating a format more attractive to Razzball readers. No offense to people who love that movie but ‘build it and they will come’ does not work very well in the business world.

I mentioned this dilemma to my buddy Dr. Roto when he told me that Scout.com – which has hosted the Fantasy Football World Championships for years – was contemplating Fantasy Baseball paid leagues for 2016. A partnership was born….

Here are the rules for the $88 Scout MLB Razzball Pennant Leagues that are available NOW and will feature Razzball writers + Scout.com Fantasy experts.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I wrote a detailed post last year on position adjustments where I looked at the subject from a few different angles. While I still have the same position that the concept of ‘position scarcity’ (aka boosting up the values of certain positions like C/2B/SS) in mixed leagues is false but largely benign, the illogicality of it is driving me a little nuttier this year. Hence, another post.

I will be focusing on standard mixed league formats. AL/NL-only is a different beast where ‘scarcity’ could occur at any position given the percentage of major league starting players who are drafted.

To start, here is a hypothetical question. Let’s say a player is projected at 80/20/80/5/.280. Should he more expensive in a draft as a 2B or a 3B? Catcher or SS? 1B or OF?

Please, blog, may I have some more?

For those of you in leagues where SP and RP are rostered positions, the below list includes all SP/RP eligible pitchers (defined as 5+ Games Started and 5+ Relief Appearances in 2015). You can arrange the list via seven categories; 2015 games started, 2015 games pitched in relief, projections for both 2016 games started and games pitched in relief, and by ERA, WHIP, and K9. Any questions, feel free to post them below!

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Have you ever been in the middle of a draft and said to yourself, “How could this player still be on the board? I would TOTALLY draft him if I hadn’t already drafted a guy with a similar skill set!”?

If so, that is crazy I was able to nail every word of your thought. But even if the above is just a paraphrasing of your in-draft frustrations, this post may be helpful.

It is common practice to compare one’s fantasy baseball rankings with the best ADP proxy for your draft to ensure that you aren’t reaching for your draft picks. Through this type of analysis, you quickly get a feel for positions that you are valuing more or less than the market so you can determine whom your values rate as the best bargains at each position.

While prepping for my first draft 0f 2016 (see my LABR draft recap), I leveraged ADP in a more powerful way for hitters. I did an analysis to identify how NFBC ADP values correlate with each of the category dollar values in my Preseason Player Raters. This allowed me to see how the market is weighting each category and adjust my rankings accordingly so I wasn’t overpaying for one category (say AVG) vs another (like HRs).

To do this, I ran a regression test using 136 hitters where my playing time estimates seemed about in line with consensus. The reason category dollars work so well for this analysis is because it puts each of the five categories on the same scale and, thus, you can quickly identify that any category with a weight above 1 is valued higher and under 1 valued lower. The same principle is in place if you have category SGP, Z-scores, the FanGraphs calculator, etc. You might be able to do the same with just projected stats but the weights will look crazier since the scales are so different.

When I tested with all five hitting categories, my $RBI came in with a weight of -0.004 which means that it is not a relevant variable for predicting the market’s valuation of a player. Recalculating with the remaining four categories resulted in the following:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Hola Razzball Nation. Much like that Pennsylvanian groundrodent (it ain’t a hog), I’ve been underground prepping the first half of this winter. Though it’s not like I’ve been keeping you in the dark as I posted my 2016 fantasy baseball projections (in collaboration w/ Steamer) and auction dollar values around the actual Groundhog Day.

The middle of February ushers in the most romantic holiday of the year for me – LABR Draft. This year it was Tuesday, February 16th – casting its big shadow over V-Day (I dressed up in sunglasses and a moustache – my wife thought I was Grey) and the “Let’s honor dead leaders by giving your kids the day off from school while non-bank/government employers just consider it Monday” holiday.

For those not familiar, this is a 15 team mixed league snake draft with standard 5×5 roto scoring. Same roster format as we use for RCL except 6 bench spots, 2 starting catchers, and unlimited DL. Rosters can be updated weekly. The free agent budget (i.e., FAAB) is $100 and you can only pick up players on the major league roster (the draft is the only time you can prospect stash).

My 2015 LABR Team came in 5th place – putting up a fight for 3rd place but well behind Mike Gianella and Bret Sayre of Baseball Prospectus who edged out Fred Zinkie of MLB.com. Looking at my 2015 draft is a good reminder how the second half of these drafts is the equivalent of a Joc Pederson at bat. Take a few big hacks and hope for a home run (my big flies last year were Khris Davis in 13th, Danny Salazar in 15th, Santiago Casilla in 17th, and David Peralta in the 26th).

Here are the results of the 2016 LABR Draft. I suggest opening it another tab while reading this post.

Please, blog, may I have some more?
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