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One of the many perks of being a fantasy baseball blog with a modicum of popularity is the chance to play in expert leagues.  For the 4th straight year, Razzball’s gunning for a LABR crown (3rd straight in the 15-team mixed league snake format) to put atop my afro’d head (Grey’s moustache is all the regality his noggin needs).

2013 Recap

We finished far out of contention thanks to scoring less standings points than a majority of the teams.  There is no way to explain a poor fantasy season without sounding whiny.  My fingers are resisting the urge to write “wah” in parentheticals as I type this paragraph.  Our draft was decent through six rounds – including Paul Goldschmidt in the 2nd and Pence in the 6th – but it is hard to compete when your pitching staff goes to he-double hockey sticks between draft day and May.  Our SP3 through SP7 (Niese, Garza, Beckett, Estrada, Luebke) were either hurt, ineffective or ineffective because they were hurt.   Our CL1 (Axford) lost his job before tax day and my man-crush on Berkman cost us (beyond the fact he did bupkus)  as it took our CL2 down from the Cishek tier to deciding between Marmol and Bruce Rondon.  Maybe this could be overcome in a shallower league or if our hitting was so amazing that we could trade some for pitching.  That wasn’t the case though.  Congratulations to Fred Zinkie of MLB.com who ended up lapping the field for the victory.

2014 Draft Strategy

Here were some learnings from 2013 that drove my 2014 drafting strategy:

  • Get two top 20 closers.  Spending precious FAAB on potential closers is costly and ineffective.
  • SPs will get injured so draft in bulk.
  • When in doubt, take the hitter with the better AVG (AVG struggles were a hallmark of almost all my teams last year)
  • Do not get caught on the wrong end of a position ‘run’.  If/when you do, select a different position.  Have faith that there is depth at every position.
  • Divide and conquer with Grey.  I take our LABR team and he takes our Tout Wars team.  We agree a lot more than we disagree on players and draft strategy…but we figured we might as well try something new to break the schneid.

One area of my ‘game’ that I changed in 2014 – inspired by Larry Schechter’s Winning Fantasy Baseball – was to better plot out my draft.  Typically, I invest 99.9% of my time getting my projections/rankings/$ in order and let the draft take care of itself.  Looking back, I think it was stupid/naïve to think I could just ‘draft on the fly’ in an expert league.

For this draft, I used the NFBC ADP data (which I think is the best ADP data out there when predicting snake drafts in competitive leagues) and mapped out round by round where I thought players would be drafted and my $ estimates for them (even though this is a snake draft, I prefer using $ vs a ranking to compare player values).  This let me see how my values compared vs the ‘field’ and identify where the best bargains were at the various positions.

Based on having the 8th spot (our highest draft position in like 3 years of expert snake drafts!), I concluded that I could get a 1B/OF or OF/1B in the first two rounds at fair value and then had a good shot at a solid bat in the 3rd round (hoping for Upton, liking Bruce).  After that, I would just look for the best value on the board while trying to maintain category balance throughout the draft so I could avoid being in a position where I had to reach to satisfy a need/weakness.

Below are the results of the draft.  Here is a link to the full results.

Pos Player Round.Pick
C
Josmil Pinto 18.262
C A.J. Ellis 29.428
1B Chris Davis 1.8
2B Jedd Gyorko 7.98
SS Jean Segura 3.38
3B Nolan Arenado 11.158
MI Neil Walker 15.218
CI Allen Craig 4.52
OF Yasiel Puig 2.22
OF Torii Hunter 12.172
OF Brett Gardner 13.188
OF Oswaldo Arcia 17.248
OF Corey Dickerson 22.322
U Lorenzo Cain 21.308
P Jordan Zimmermann 6.82
P Anibal Sanchez 8.112
P Michael Wacha 9.128
P Justin Masterson 14.202
P Chris Archer 16.232
P Jake Peavy 19.278
P Wade Miley 23.338
P Kenley Jansen 5.68
P Addison Reed 10.142
BE (3B)
Mike Moustakas 20.292
BE (OF) Carlos Quentin 25.368
BE (C) Ryan Doumit 27.398
BE (SP)
Erasmo Ramirez 24.352
BE (SP)
Jake Odorizzi 26.382
BE (SP)
Jameson Taillon 28.412

I am not going to bore you or me with a round-by-round analysis but here would be the highlights if I did it:

  1. Chris Davis vs Adam Jones vs Ryan Braun vs Robinson Cano – I considered all these players with the 8th pick.  I quickly ruled out Cano because I did not feel confident I would get good value in the 2nd/3rd rounds on a 1B and OF.  I concluded that there would definitely be a solid OF available in the 2nd round while there was a chance that all my top 2 round 1B targets (Davis, Fielder, Votto, EE, and Freeman) would be gone.  So I went with Davis and I got my 2nd round OF target in Yasiel Puig.  (Note:  Freeman made it back it pick #22 and this had an impact on my next draft with KFFL where I also picked 8th.)
  2. My hopes for one of J-Up/Stanton/Bruce/Choo to fall to me in Round 3 were dashed.  The only player left with a  ‘2nd round’ grade was Jean Segura.  Did I have a little agita with him because of his 2nd half swoon?  Sure.  But I also figured that the lack of SB options would lead to speed being overvalued in the next few rounds.  Plus, Segura will be solid in the other 4 categories (for a  SS) which cannot always be said for speed plays (cough – Billy Hamilton – cough).
  3. After an OF ‘run’ dashed my 3rd round selection, an SP ‘run’ in the 4th knocked off just about every desired SP target short of Jose Fernandez.  I think he would have been a solid pick here but decided that Craig provided better value given his 1B/OF eligibility (taking the heat off picking a CI) and plus AVG/RBI.
  4. With just about every team in front of me having 1-2 SP, I felt comfortable skipping an SP in the 5th round to take the best closer on the board (Jansen), confident that it was much more likely I could get my SP target (Zimmerman) with my 6th pick versus Jansen (or Greg Holland) finding their way back to me.  (This was true as Holland and Rosenthal went before my 6th pick and only one SP was taken).
  5. As I discussed in the Hit/Pitch split post, you can draft a Kershaw in the first round but still avoid drafting a team too heavily invested in pitching.  Steve Gardner of USAToday drafted Kershaw with the 5th pick.  I did not draft a pitcher until the 5th round (68th pick) in Kenley Jansen.  Yet, when I added up our hit/pitch splits (using the $ figures from my 15-team auction values) associated with each of our picks, I found that our teams had similar hit/pitch investments (him 174/94, me 171/96…counting the first few bench spots).  Granted, I drafted a few more pitchers than Steve but I found it funny that the perceptions of our two drafts were that Steve was the SP-crazy one while I waited all the way to the 6th round.  If you like a player, draft him when you have to – Kershaw wasn’t make it back to Steve so he had to take him there.  You just need to adjust your draft strategy in the picks following to get back on the hit/pitch pace you decided on before the draft.  (I ended up going 3 SPs between the 6th and 9th rounds to bolster the lack of an ‘ace’).
  6. My biggest post-draft regret was my 1st catcher position.  I like to punt catching in drafts but Yadier Molina in the 7th round provided solid value.  I think Gyorko is the more valuable player but I think there were more 2B bargains later in the draft than Catchers.  I did not get the memo that Josmil Pinto will likely not start the year in Minnesota – which will mean I will regret this pick through June or will be super lucky when he starts the year in Twinstripes.  No idea how much Doumit plays but I can always dump him for a replacement-level catcher.  I don’t mind AJ Ellis at all as a 2nd catcher.

 

 

From Around The Web

  1. Paul H. says:
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    Schecter’s comments about draft strategy stuck a chord with me as well. Like you, I am reallocating time this year to draft strategy as opposed to fine tuning projections. Now I just take a baseline projection system – like your custom Steamer stats, which tests well, fine tune the playing time for the 5% of the players I see differently and leave it as is. Then I can spend the rest of the time valuing players and planning draft strategy.

    Will be interesting to see how your team pans out – the C weakness could come back to bite you. To me the key picks are Puig / Segura in 2/3 – Steamer is high on both of them but they certainly do hold some risk picked that high – hopefully they return value for you.

    • KG says:
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      @Paul H.: Add me to the list of people who took away that same lesson from his book. I typically spend so much time putting together projections and values and making my spreadsheets pretty that I don’t take enough time to actually sit down and consider how the draft may go.

    • @Paul H.: Makes sense on your new draft strategy. Agreed that Puig/Segura could very well drive my team’s success (or lack thereof). I definitely feel uneasier with those 3 than my A-Jones/Votto/Bruce first three in the KFFL draft. Then again, if Bruce was available, would’ve taken him instead of Segura.

  2. LanceB says:
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    Not sure I like you 1st and 2nd round picks…

    Overall I like the ideas you guys have presented and reasoning, but those 1-2 rd picks scare the bleep outta me!

    I have no faith in davis putting up 30-35+ HR (I honestly think hes the bust of the year, when was the last time we saw a guy come out of nowhere, i mean nowhere, and hit 49 then do that again the next year?) and puig declined sharply in late 2013, I wouldn’t take him near the 2nd rd at all.

    I think I wouldve gone Adam Jones (speed power 300 avg), then Robbie (not worried about safeco), then Braun (will quietly produce given his past i think), then Davis if I was in that position.

    And then probably anybody but Puig, no offense. (Were longo, pedroia, reyes, or freeman on the board?)

    Let me know if im being to harsh haha

    LanceB

    • @LanceB: Feel free to be as harsh as you like. There was a guy very recently who was more out of nowhere than Chris Davis to him 50 HRs – Jose Bautista. He showed in subsequent years that the power is real. Chris Davis was the 3rd best player last year after Miggy/Trout. I don’t need nor expect him to hit 50 HRs but I think 30-35 is realistic given the past two years.

      Also he hit 42 doubles. There have only been 3 guys in the past 8 years to do that – Soriano 2006, Pujols 2009, Miggy 2012. That gives me more confidence too.

      As for Puig, Steamer loves him and I love Steamer so it was inevitable I take him in one league. Longoria was gone. Other guys were there. With Davis, Freeman makes no sense. Have no faith in Reyes. Pedroia’s solid. We shall see on Puig…

      • LanceB says:
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        @Rudy Gamble:

        Good point actually, I completely forgot about Joey bats. I’m still not sure if I would put davis on the same level, but that definitely makes your point stronger. I’ll consider that in a few of my drafts actually.

        And as for puig, why does steamer like him? maybe he’ll change my mind

        Freeman would be over kill but that’d give you one hell of a 1B and 1B/3B combo, going with a best available strategy. Heck outfield is even deeper than 1B/3B this yr so that kinda wouldve made me more inclined to take him. I may just be a little freeman high this year though, not sure!

        Great post as always

        • I think Steamer likes youth hitting that has shown some level of excellence. Puig shown plus power, plus speed (though not a great base stealer), decent eye. Good lineup. I don’t feel comfortable in top 10 but like him starting at pick 20

          • LanceB says:
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            @Rudy Gamble:
            Ah I see, thats a good call, his season will be one that I think the difficulty to predict is high on.

            He could bat .300 or .245 like he did in that late skid last season, he could also hit 10-30 HR and steal either 20 or 5. It’ll be interesting for sure!

            • @LanceB: Yup. Though his late skid is overrated. He was still worth $11 in September thanks to 6 HRs. His .214 AVG was driven by a .214 BABIP which is fluky.

              I just hope he doesn’t hit leadoff all year as that will definitely hurt his RBIs.

  3. Shake N Bacon says:
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    It’s great that you and Grey practice what you preach. Gyorko, Puig, Segura, Arenado. A Razzballean Team if I’ve ever seen one!

    I’ve never really considered the hit/pitch split until this year after reading your articles Rudy. I’m gonna give it my best and try to wind up around 66/34.

    I’m gonna have to purchase Schechter’s book, sounds like the real deal.

    • Funny enough, Grey and I come to our conclusions separately so it’s more coincidence than not when we draft similarly. Though I knew he’d approve of Gyorko and Arenado :)

    • Nimrod says:
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      @Shake N Bacon: I bought and read the book this winter. Now I have to research where that information is. I’ve spent a lot of time on this site and haven’t perused it lately. . Great post Rudy, and if you have that draft strategy page number or chapter in Larry’s book that would save me some time. Thanks.

      • Nimrod says:
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        @Nimrod: Got it. table of contents tells all. I think they learned me that back in 4th grade. I was half done with school by then. Farm came 1st, had to eat Let’s see, that was six decades ago already.

  4. farcus says:
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    in a points league imagine you’re required to keep either zack greinke or Nelson Cruz. you keep zack right?

    ok, now imagine you have 4 other keeper slots to fill from the following options:
    remember this is a points league:

    carlos Gonzales (22nd round)
    Jose Bautista (21st round)
    justin upton (9th)
    chris Davis (6th)
    Teheran (12th)
    homer Bailey (7th)
    aroldis (13th)
    profar (8th)
    ryu (14th)
    Patrick Corbin (20th)

    I betrayed my preference by putting them in the order I did. who would you choose?

    • Yes, no way i’d keep Nelson Cruz in any format. CarGo is a definite yes. I guess Joey Bats though I’m not crazy about him. Let’s say him or J-Up. You have to keep Chris Davis. For #4, I might put Ryu slightly ahead of Teheran but could live w/ either.

      • farcus says:
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        @Rudy Gamble: thank you sir.

  5. Big Magoo

    Big Magoo says:
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    I agree with your draft strategies for the most part. The one thing that I would add to those (after going through preparations for my NFBC draft) is to make sure to grab at least one reliable catching option. It’s tough to make up the difference elsewhere if you’re stuck with two below average options at that position.

    The pitching looks solid. Nice looking top four starters and two reliable closers. I like Taillon as a high-upside stash too. The majority of the infield looks good too. The only iffy areas appear to be catcher and outfield, and this outfield could even be decent if Puig is who you think he is (which I’m not entirely convinced of), Hunter has another good year in him, and Arcia takes a step forward.

    Nicely done, Rudy. Looks like a competitive squad.

    • Thanks. Yeah, i feel like you have to ‘give’ somewhere and I gave on catching. i think AJ Ellis is a bit underrated. If that lineup’s healthy, he could put up decent RBIs.

  6. Daniel Bradley says:
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    Wasn’t sure that I was reading the razzball site when i saw your first drafting guideline
    Get two top 20 closers. Spending precious FAAB on potential closers is costly and ineffective.

    OK fair enough a change in stategy …..something that I too had been mulling given last years struggling for saves and scoring the minimum one point.
    However I am not so sure that Addison Reed has the closer’s slot tied down on the d’backs …I hope for your team that Putz renews his friendship with an MRI .

    • Yeah, Grey and I differ on closer values. His strategies are a little more rooted in shallow leagues vs. mine so he has the confidence that he can get closers through free agency. That’s virtually impossible in 15-team b/c most at-risk closers are handcuffed.

      I think you’re wrong on Reed. They didn’t trade Davidson to make Reed a set-up guy. Reed has all the makings of a dominant closer and the league change is only going to help. I think 80 Ks and 30 Saves are more than realistic. But, like all closers, you hope/pray for a clean April.

  7. Billy Boy says:
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    So far, the KFFL draft is looking much better for you… although there’s still plenty of that one left. I’m not big on taking 2 closers that high, but I understand your logic based on last year’s lessons-learned.

    Keep it up!

    • Thanks. Here’s a way to think about Reed. Drafted him in the 10th round. By the 13th round, Axford and Feliz are going off the board. With those guys, you have to handcuff them with Allen and Scheppers. The value of those two picks is equal to if not greater than the 10th round pick + I have an extra roster spot.

      The only difference may be that I’m more bullish on Reed than most.

  8. birrrdy! says:
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    great looking draft. I’d think going Braun/Stanton 1/2 would have been a lot more attractive, though, than Davis/Puig. I think you and Grey soured too quick on those guys, and you are chasing the flame on Davis/Puig who will get you about the same stats in their upside scenarios, but both have much higher risk. And if Braun hits .300 (.012 less than his career avg), then all those counting stats go up from Grey’s projections and you blow Davis/Puig away in the avg. category.

    In a nutshell, the projections were very conservative on legitimate MVP candidates, while very optimistic on unproven risk plays who I think are very unlikely to be in the MVP conversation this year. IMHO. :)

    • I think Stanton is great for power but i think his R/RBI/AVG are just so-so. Chris Davis delivers similar power except in a lineup that is a lot more R/RBI friendly. Plus, Braun/Stanton is OF/OF so now you have to find a 1B and CI. If I was assured I could get Freeman with the 2nd pick, I might’ve gone Adam Jones with the first pick. Still like Jones over Braun b/c 1) no faith Braun steals more than 15-20 and 2) like Baltimore lineup better.

      • Malarkey says:
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        @Rudy Gamble: What do you think are the chances that the Fish trade Stanton this year? They’ve been talking about it for a while given his assumed reluctance to renew with the Marlins; So if he has a good start to the year, do you think they may try to maximize his value and trade him away?

        Stanton in a better lineup and park = Magic

        • I don’t think the Marlins trade Stanton but wouldn’t be surprised either. Maybe 20% chance?

      • birrrdy! says:
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        @Rudy Gamble: Fair enough. But never mind the reach with Freeman in Round 2. If you have guys like Pujols and Adrian Gonzalez floating into the consideration set in Round 3, I don’t think it is imperative to make sure you get a 1B in the first two rounds. Heck, you can make an argument that Craig in Round 4 or Rizzo in Round 6 is enough to fill that role for you while you gobble up the Segura’s, Ryan Zimmerman’s and Jason Heyward’s of the draft.

        I must say, though, that waiting on your 3B and getting Arenado in the 11th was a steal. Rooting for you all the way, Rudy. I’m sick of hearing all the talk about the LABR draft from the so-called ‘perts on my Sirius/XM fantasy sports channel, yet no mention of Razzball. Time to throw down the gauntlet this year on all those punks!

        • It isn’t imperative to get a 1B in first two rounds. Just that I think that’s going to be the best value for one.

        • Oh, and they’ve had me on several Sirius/XM shows! I’m on Dr Roto tomorrow at 10:30 EST. Ray Flowers + Colton and The Wolfman + the Rotowire guys have all had me on. So lotsa love for Sirius/XM :)

          • birrrdy! says:
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            @Rudy Gamble: Awesome. I’ll be sure to check out these appearances (altho I may have missed today’s already). Don’t get me wrong, I love that channel. But I listened for basically the whole week before Valentine’s Day, and heard about every other ‘perts site BUT Razzball. Now that I stand corrected, I am sad in a different way. Everyone’s going to hear about my secret weapon Razzball! AHHH, can’t win!

            • Hoping to get them talking about Razzball more but I imagine the hosts talk about their site most. Tell SiriusXM they need a Razzball show!

  9. The Fuzz says:
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    Totally agree with your stance on closer in a 15 tm league. Two top closers essentially assures you of finishing in the top 3-4 in saves (assuming no injuries). That’s 12-13 points in two picks….impossible to do that with any other stat/position, and you took reed in rd. 10!

    • yes, and there is also the value provided in ERA/WHIP/K’s!

  10. malamoney

    malamoney says:
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    In my preparation for my drafts in my H2H points leagues I have taken the following approach to help me identify players.

    I use the previous years stats, previous years projections and the current years projections. The number I think might be most important in H2H points leagues is fantasy points per plate appearance (FPTS/PA). That is the stat that should mean the most. Obviously you also want players with a meaningful amount of plate appearance. For pitchers it is fantasy points per game start (FPTS/GS).

    I look at how they did last year compared to how a specific source projected them to do. This allows me to determine how I should value different sources of projections. Once I have decided on my trusted sources for projections, I look for batters with high FPTS/PA and starters with high FPTS/GS and target them. If I am stuck between two players I let this stat be my deciding factor. Unless of course ADP says I can get one of them a few rounds later.

    Thoughts on this approach?

    • I like breaking it down to points per plate appearance – particularly for shallow leagues where there are decent FA options. otherwise, you need to take injuries into consideration. Also, if it’s a daily league, you could ‘fantasy platoon’ platoon players like Moss or Joyce but their benchings would hurt you in weekly leagues.

      As for comparing vs. other sources, it’s very Nate Silverian. In concept, this should work. Personally, I’m not convinced it will consistently lead to better results vs. using Steamer.

  11. Jake says:
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    Rudy — it strikes me as very atypical for you to draft a team whose prior-season performance was so vastly superior to their prior-season ADP. Davis, Puig, Segura, Gyorko, Wacha, and to some extent Jansen fit this bill (Jansen only due to role). Not sure if that impression would bear out as true if you looked at, for instance, the 2013 preseason cumulative auction value of your roster or some quantitative measure like that. If it held up, would that concern you, excite you, confuse you, nor just be irrelevant?

    • My goal was all about value. It’s possible that players with lesser track records provide better value because there is more risk. All projections (Steamer include) project at the midpoint case (not best case or worst case). So more risk might expose me to more downside but also upside. As long as the two even out, i’ll be fine.

      Each of these players were taken about as late as they could possibly be taken. I think Davis and Puig were at about ADP. Segura went 1/2 to a full round after ADP (next guy would’ve taken him). I think Wacha and Gyorko came at 1-2 round discounts.

  12. Shawn of the livid says:
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    Rudy I really liked your post, and your in depth responses to comments. Great break down of your thought process and strategy. I would like to follow your expert leagues and see how you guys do.

    With my drafts coming up soon its nice to read about how things can change once the raft kicks off and what did/didn’t work for you guys last year. Thanks

    Your posts have some serious meat and potatoes to them. Who has two thumbs and wants to see a weekly Rudy post? That’s right.

    • ha, thanks. i have a bunch of strategy and draft posts in the queue through the rest of the preseason. So prepare to rejoice.

  13. The Thumb says:
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    Hey Rudy, what do you think of Liriano this year? 10 team league and his yahoo ADP is in the 150s. Could be a steal at SP3, no?

    • The Thumb says:
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      @The Thumb: just checked streamer and he/she doesn’t seem too optimistic. I figured that if I go Sanchez, Salazar/Gray, I could go Liriano/Fister for my 3rd or 4th and then Masterson at 5. What do you think of those guys/that rotation?

      • i’m not a big fan of liriano’s durability but okay as an SP4. i prefer Fister as an SP3. Sanchez is really an SP2 and I haven’t bought in on Salazar/Gray as anything more than SP4 (i don’t like betting a lot on rookie SPs). Masterson I obviously like.

  14. Simply Fred

    simply fred says:
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    Thanks for sharing Rudy. I counted 9 of my targeted players (slightly under Grey’s rankings) that went quite a bit earlier. Re-think!

    • grey isn’t a good barometer for ADP. he’s willing to zig/zag for guys he’s likes/dislikes. i like the nfbc adp i linked to in the post if you’re in a competitive league.

      • Simply Fred

        simply fred says:
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        @Rudy Gamble: yeah, i am now using the nfbc adp to target rounds. looks more like what to expect from a knowledgeable RCL gang.

  15. centerfield_ballhawk says:
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    I ended up taking Anibal Sanchez with the fourth pick in Round 5 in my 15 team NFBC draft. Either I slightly overpaid for my first starter or you got your solid number two at a nice discount. Either way, I did have a question about in – season strategy. With nine pitching spots to utilize in this fifteen team points league, would you recommend using six starters, two closers and a strong middle reliever like Tyler Clippard… or do most team roll with seven starters and two relievers? I know Clippard would help with my ratios, but I wonder if will fall back in strikeouts and possibly wins.

    • Not sure on a points league vs. Roto but I would plan on 7 SP, 2 Closers. If you have a week with bad matchups on your SPs, throw in an MR.

      • centerfield_ballhawk says:
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        @Rudy Gamble: I meant roto instead of points. My top six starters are rock solid, the rest of my staff has some upside but plenty of question marks. Eovaldi, Perez, Garcia, Anderson, Nicascio, Capuano, Stroman as of right now. Basically I want to play matchup and look for solid two start plays?

        • exactly. i used streamonator last year in nfbc to figure out my best SPs. of course, my NFBC staff got decimated (beckett, vogelsong, billingsley, baker, richard, hefner) and ended up getting the stuffing kicked out of me. but it works in concept!

          • centerfield_ballhawk says:
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            @Rudy Gamble: Great. Thanks, Rudy. Before my draft started I went back and read your NFBC post from last year. Grabbing Sony Gray in the last round was nice, but I’m sure it was too little too late for you by the time he was recalled.

            • Yup. I had two great super-late SP picks in Hefner and Gray. Hefner couldn’t stay healthy while Gray’s teammates couldn’t get hurt :)

  16. Shawn of the livid says:
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    Hey Rudy did first mock draft, represents my league pretty well. Had 3rd pick. Would like your opinion on any weak spots or red flags. I thought it went well myself.

    1. Miguel Cabrera (Det – 3B)
    2. Prince Fielder (Tex – 1B)
    3. Carlos Gómez (Mil – OF)
    4. Shin-Soo Choo (Tex – OF)
    5. Álex Ríos (Tex – OF)
    6. Hunter Pence (SF – OF)
    7. Matt Kemp (LAD – OF)
    8. Carlos Santana (Cle – C,1B)
    9. Alex Cobb (TB – SP)
    10. Joe Nathan (Det – RP)
    11. Hyun-jin Ryu (LAD – SP)
    12. David Robertson (NYY – RP)
    13. Masahiro Tanaka (NYY – SP)
    14. Jedd Gyorko (SD – 2B,3B)
    15. Huston Street (SD – RP)
    16. Brad Miller (Sea – 2B,SS)
    17. Sonny Gray (Oak – SP)
    18. Patrick Corbin (Ari – SP)
    19. Zack Wheeler (NYM – SP)
    20. Corey Kluber (Cle – SP)
    21. Alex Wood (Atl – SP,RP)
    22. Iván Nova (NYY – SP)
    23. George Springer (Hou – OF)

    • RandomItalicizedVoice says:
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      @Shawn of the livid: I know you asked Rudy, but I’ll give my impression here.

      You were psyched to get Miggy at #3, no doubt. Gyorko also a great pick where you got him.

      Your pitching is weak, with the potential to be a disaster, honestly. Cobb, Ryu, Tanaka is not a top 3 I personally would be excited about. Instead of taking 5 straight OF, I think you would have been better of getting a better #1. In particular since guys like K Davis, Calhoun, and even Torii Hunter can be had later but should return nice profits. You shouldn’t have too much to worry about saves wise, especially if Street manages to stay healthy.

      Your offense is rock solid though, although you could find yourself short on speed if Rios regresses in that category.

    • Replace Kemp with an SP and I could get behind it.

  17. Buge Hoobs says:
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    So I get your strategy on RP’s in larger leagues, but I am unclear on your thoughts in shallower leagues. In my 12 team weekly league, where we start any 7 P’s, would you still value the top RP’s more than Gray?

    Also, we only have 3 BN slots, so my initial gut says to grab 10 P’s and no BN bats, unless something really stands out. Of the 10 P’s, 7 would be SP’s. For the RP’s, my mock strategy so far has been a lower $12 Salad, a top Donkeycorn and a low Donkey or High Brain Freeze. Sound good to you?

    • Buge Hoobs says:
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      @Buge Hoobs: Look at that … I am invisible!

      • @Buge Hoobs: Whoops, sorry I missed that one. Can u rotate players in off your bench during the week?

        • Buge Hoobs says:
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          @Rudy Gamble: @Rudy Gamble: No sweat, it happens. Long time follower.

          Unfortunately, no switching players, just set it and forget it for the week. (With a Sautrday night roster deadline no less). Makes it difficult to stream.

  18. Mike says:
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    Segura the real deal or is his second half fade last season a red flag?

    • I think the real deal in between the first and second half. See the steamer projections on his razzball player page

  19. bossmanjunior says:
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    Im really struggling with the Davis/Jones battle in first round. I like Jones more overall but it looks like late first and early second round is the time to snag a top 1B and 3B. Would you rather start your draft with Davis and a 3B or stick with Jones in the first and snag a guy like Agon or Pujols later in the draft? I was all over the Pujols train until I heard he will be limited to DH early in the season. Has me a bit nervous. Any suggested strategy in this respect? Thanks!

    • I prefer 1B in first 2 rounds. After that, I feel u have to draft higher than the player’s value. So I have gone Davis/Puig and Jones/Votto (lucky on that 2nd one)

  20. Brian says:
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    I’ve got a question re: my 7 X 7, 10 team keeper league (with net steals and OPS). I have three of my 4 keepers already set: Trout in the 1st, Goldschmidt in the 4th, and Jose Fernandez in the 10th. My 4th keeper is my dilema: Puig in the 9th or Segura in the 30th… Do I get the value out of Segura in the 30th and hope for Puig to be there in the 2nd round, or do I take Puig 9th and expect Segura to be around in the 3rd or 5th round?

    • Hmm, I’d probably keep Segura – bigger discount

  21. ... says:
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    that draft was nauseating. literally, 9 out of your first ten picks had career years last year. allen craig is your only ‘proven’ player. well, at least he’s durable (don’t even worry that he didn’t start running until the end of january). aren’t you supposed to be the ‘stats’ guy? jansen and maybe gyorko (pronounced guy-or-koh) are the only ones i would even consider drafting at those spots.

    without crunching the numbers, it looks like podhorzer and gardner will be finishing around the top this year. i could say more, but if i communicated all the words in my head, i would likely get banned from razzball.com and likely the entire internet.

    p.s. i take it all back. you’re a genius. i just realized that you intentionally drafted a ‘last year’s stats’ team to teach the young fantasy grasshoppers what not to do. okay, lesson learned, so when is the real ‘experts’ draft?

    • Okie dokie. Point made. Puig/Segura certainly have more uncertainty around them than most players picked in those 2 rounds. Would a Rios/Kinsler duo have been more palatable?

      Glad you can see 15 years into the future and know when every player’s career year is. That should definitely come in handy for your drafts this year.

    • HWY68 says:
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      @:

      That was quite possibly the worst post in the history of the Internet.

      — Bill Walton

    • robdouth says:
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      @:
      Are you joking or being deliberately dishonest?
      “literally, 9 out of your first ten picks had career years last year”

      Picks:
      1. Chris Davis – True about his career year, and many (including Rudy) don’t think he’ll repeat, but given what his baseline should be he is still arguably a first/second round talent

      2. Yasiel Puig – He only has one year in the league, so of course it’s his career year… so far. He may be a rare guy where his rookie season is his best season of his career, but I doubt it.

      3. Jean Segura – Last year was his first full year and it was at age 23-24, so you think his rookie season is his career year/ceiling?

      4. Allen Craig – N/A because you liked that one. I did too at that spot because of dual eligibility

      5. Kenley Jansen – First year as a closer last year, so again, duh on career year. Do you understand that early success from young players is usually duplicable?

      6. Jordan Zimmerman – 28 year old pitcher who only had a career year in terms of wins and K’s (if you can call 8 more a career breakout in K’s). All of his peripherals were the same the year before with a quarter less on the ERA, but he was unlucky to win only 12 games. He is a solid low 3 ERA guy given his peripherals. He may not get wins like he did last year, but he could easily beat any of his other stats since he has already in other years…

      7. Jedd Gyorko – Last year was rookie year. Seeing a trend here? He hit 23 homers in 125 games in a brutal home stadium, and 13 were at home. That to me says potential 30 homers out of the 2nd base slot without hitting the avg like Dan Uggla. That’s pretty solid value at 2nd.

      8. Sanchez – Some regression may be due for his 10 K/9, however his 2.7 BB/9 were higher than his career average. The wins and ERA should be duplicable because he’s playing in Detroit for half his games when he had been wasting away on the Marlins before last year. A Sub 3 ERA with 15ish wins and 200ish K’s isn’t out of the question since he has done it more than just last year. Again with the “career year” only if you look at wins or WHIP and they weren’t so far off his career averages that they couldn’t be duplicated at age 29-30.

      9. Michael Wacha – Again with the rookie’s career year? Wacha’s best year will be his rookie year when he hangs it up?

      10. Addison Reed – Solid closer who is 25 and his first full year as a closer was last year… So obviously career year.

      I don’t like some things about Rudy’s draft, but I don’t have to resort to lying about it to be critical. Let me guess, you think most razzballers would “wait until round 9 to pick up Clayton Kershaw also” or other such idiotic comments you’ve made before?

      • Thanks for the defense. While I think …’s ‘career year’ point is loaded/flawed, I think an underlying point that my early hitting picks are very young and do not have a proven track record has some merit. I think his review was hitter-focused because he noted my pal Mike Podhorzer’s team a favorite and – again, w/ all due respect to Mike – I think his pitching sucks balls. I usually tell him this every year so it will be of no surprise to him if he stumbles upon this. His staff is: Bumgarner, Iwakuma, Frieri, Sabathia, Lincecum, Alex Wood, Gausmann, Paxton, Mejia, Beckett, Skaggs. That’s one closer + a group of SPs (aside from Bumgarner) that have some significant question marks with performance, health, playing time, or some combo of the three. If Mike hits on one of those young pitchers + pulls out a Mujica in free agency like last year, he might have a chance to win assuming his offense dominates. But there’s a lot more risk in his team than I see in mine once you get out of the 2nd round (Wright obviousy safer than Puig, Hosmer about as risky as Segura in 3rd).

  22. Sky

    Sky says:
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    To counter the idiocy that shouldn’t even be glanced at, let alone responded to, I like this team. I wouldn’t have wanted Zimmermann as my first pitcher but he’s been a decent workhorse. The value you got behind him makes up for it in my eyes w/Sanchez, Wacha & Masterson. The OF I would’ve liked one more ‘proven’ bat but like Arcia/Dickerson. One of them goes off, you’re looking good. Hopefully you get Quentin for a good healthy stretch and he doesn’t tackle any of your pitchers along the way. Overall a solid squad in my eyes.

    • Usually I want a real SP1 and a stronger OF2. The values just weren’t too my liking this draft. Hopefully most of my later round OF and SP picks come through

      • Sky

        Sky says:
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        It’s all you can do when you get into deep league settings; show me the perfect 15 team 2 catcher draft and I’ll show you a room full of autodrafters surrounding you. I see my boy Ackley went in the 22nd. I do think for 2B he’s gonna be a value late if the Mariners do what they say they’re going to do and bat him leadoff against righties.

  23. Mr. October says:
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    Rudy…

    Can I get some advice on keepers for this year? 12 Team Mixed H2H (5×5)

    Right now I’m planning on keeping these 3 for sure

    P. Goldschmidt (7th round & can be kept for 2 more years)
    S. Marte (15th & 3 years)
    P. Alvarez (22nd & 3 years)

    Then I could pick up to two of the following if I wish.

    M. Minor (13th & 3 years)
    D. Jennings (15th & 1 year)
    K. Uehara (23rd & 3 years)
    Z. Wheeler (23rd & 3 years)

    Jennings seems like a distant 4th in this conversation. Personally leaning towards Minor and Uehara. Even though it pains me to keep a RP. ***Few players are in duplicate rounds but that’s not an issue***

    YOUR THOUGHTS?

    Thanks In Advance….

    • Minor and Wheeler. I devalue saves and SB in H2H and bump up SP. minor is good and wheeler has a chance to be great.

  24. Mike says:
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    14 team Hold, OPS H to H yahoo league. I am thinking about not going after saves and going after power guys in the first 6 rounds.

    • Agree de-emphasize saves and SBs. If you are going with 6 straight hitters, I would consider R/RBI/AVG as well besides HR/OPS

  25. gungy 2 says:
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    Yikes – I can’t get my head around Puig going ahead of Bruce, Stanton or Rios…..going to be lots of hurt feelings with Puig this year.
    LOL…Kemp, Either, Puig, Crawford might have an aggregate games played = 162…..

    • Maybe. Bruce is more steady for sure but won’t contribute in SB/AVG. Stanton is inky a sure thing for power – not great for anything else inc health. Who knows with Rios? Puig a solid shot for 5 category production except no RBI if he hits leadoff despite being the Dodgers top power bat.

  26. Yaomiiiing says:
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    Awesome post as usual and all the comments are even more helpful. I really wish you guys stopped getting popular because I’m trying to keep this as much on the DL as possible. Anyway, I need your advice. I need to select 7 keepers for my team to keep at the round I selected them the year before (12 team 5X5). I am not sure who I want to keep between:
    Rd 1) Stanton
    Rd 2) CarGo
    Rd 3) Goldschmidt
    Rd 4) Adam Jones
    Rd 5) Jason Kipnis
    Rd 10) HanRam
    Rd 17) Machado
    Rd 20) Billy Hamilton
    Rd 25) Jose Fernandez

    • J-Fer, Machado, Han-Ram, Kipnis, Jones, Goldy. I would go CarGo over Hamilton and Stanton.

  27. TheNewLeaf says:
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    I hate to sound like a jerk here, but one contention that I always have with the site is it’s philosophy on pitching. I do agree with waiting, but not to the degree that’s recommended in many of the articles and rankings. AND in addition, many commenters take that philosophy and run with it, often posting teams on here that they drafted that have nothing but a few sleepers as a pitching staff, clearly waiting until the offense was essentially complete…bragging about how they waited on pitching and everyone else was “dumb” and now their team is loaded.

    With all due respect, you drafted one pitcher in the first 8 rounds last year…and it killed you. All your complaints about closers losing their jobs or starters being hurt/ineffective really stem from the risk that you decided to take on by waiting on pitching. And I think it’s a lesson that readers who adopt the same strategy this year need to learn: while pitching is deep, winning baselines are harder to reach and uncertainty around mid range pitchers with no track record makes them far from a lock to achieve their projections. It seems that every staff I see on here is Cobb, Cole, gray, etc, etc….

    It looks as if this did have an effect on you this year, as you took 3 pitchers in the first 8 and then several more right after that, giving you two very reliable staters and an elite closer that won’t lose his job. I think many readers would do well to take note of what you did. It’s nice to have some sleepers circled on your cheat sheets, but I don’t agree with compiling a whole staff based on it. It’s not THAT easy. Nice draft.

    • I don’t think you sound like a jerk….but I’m also partial to you since we’re both on the same side of the “pitching is so deep – I can wait forever to pick pitching!” and/or “Hitting is much more predictable so I’ll draft a ton of that and take fliers on pitchers” arguments.

      But I disagree with the assumption that last year’s draft strategy for pitchers was fundamentally flawed. I do not think there is a ‘must’ to draft 2 or more SP in the first 8 rounds. My #1 concern is hit/pitch balance. Picking 7 hitters/1 SP in the first 8 is certainly too skewed to hitting if your target is in the 66/34 range. But drafting 5 SPs and an RP between 9 and 16 brings it back into balance.

      Is this a ‘mix’ I plan to employ this year? No. It’s more indicative of a Grey/Rudy team. But I am committed this year to maximizing my draft value while maintaining hit/pitch balance. So I am open to just about any permutation. In the LABR draft, I felt I either had to reach a bit for a 3rd round SP based on my values and ADP (Wainwright) or take Segura (who based on my values and ADP, should’ve been off the board at the end of the 2nd round). After choosing Segura, a SP run commenced with my last desired SP (Bumgarner) going off the board right before I picked. I chose Craig over Jose Fernandez because I liked the value better. My success in rounds 6/8/9 (Zimmerman/Sanchez/Wacha – all at discounts vs. my values/ADP) was because I zagged when others zigged and was able to take advantage of other teams already having picked their SPs or those committed to a hitter-heavy start of the draft.

      My current slooooow draft w/ KFFL (http://t.co/RXS1hGrEDO) has a completely different SP rhythm. Verlander made it to me in the 4th round (Bumgarner taken right before me again) and I got what I feel is a great bargain in Hamels in the 8th round. I only drafted two more SPs in the next 8 rounds (Ryu – 11th, Masterson – 15th) whom I feel I got at nice discounts as well. Ideally, I wish I had one more SP by now but I felt there were some good hitter values in the middle rounds to take advantage of. I’ll have to draft a litter of SPs in the back half of the draft to meet my draft goals but I’m also squared away on most hitting targets (including AVG where I think AJP/Infante in the 16th/17th round gives me some AVG cushion for late-round picks)

      So back to last year’s draft…Peavy/Niese/Garza/Estrada/Beckett as SP2-SP6 still feels pretty solid to me. In retrospect, it feels a little on the brittle side to me. It’s BS for me to claim the injuries were all bad luck when all those guys had at least some durability question marks. But that staff definitely had the makings of a top 5 SP staff if we had a little more health luck.

      But, like you said. You have to learn from past drafts. I would just suggest avoiding rigid rules like “only one SP in the first 8 rounds”.

  28. ashtray says:
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    Do you have the link to your analysis of which “experts” were most accurate in 2013? At Fantasypros you can choose average rankings filtered by ranker. If I recall correctly the best ranks came from Grey and Nando.

  29. Montezuma's Revenge... right now says:
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    this is similar to what Jaywrong did in his draft posted a few days ago, by that i mean waiting a long time to fill OF spots (even in 5 OF league). your 2nd not till pick 12? you did get the 2 (with 1 elite) closer thing though. Had to use first pitcher round (5th) to do this though. Mostsuckass does appear to be end game flyer in shallower leagues now (12 teamers for sure, based on last few espn and yahoo mocks)

    • Yup, unique draft for me that I drafted a 2B and SS before my OF2. I had 3 OFs in my next draft before picking an MI. I also have an elite CI in Craig.

  30. RoyG says:
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    @ Rudy or Grey. I was just offered a trade giving me Shin-Soo Choo @ $15 for Mike Minor @ $1? what are your thoughts?

    My other potential keepers are:

    Molina, Yadier 3
    Pujols, Albert 33
    Kipnis, Jason 12
    Ramirez, Alexei 2
    Crawford, Carl 11
    Jennings, Desmond 5
    Pence, Hunter 11
    Fister, Doug 1

    Thank you

    • Nah, keep minor for $1

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