It’s time for my first (and longest) post of the year. My LABR Mixed draft review.

As always, thanks to Steve Gardner at USA Today for the invite.

Last Year Recap (here’s my post-draft writeup)
Yet again, another competitive season (92 points) but outside the top two (6th place out of 15). The last 5 years I have scored between 87-102.5 points and finished between 3rd-7th.

This is not for lack of trying or being too conservative. Sometimes you barrel a ball only to end up with a double off the Green Monster vs a home run.

One year after basically throwing away a 4th round pick (Darvish 2018), I ended up getting absolutely nothing from my 2nd round pick (Stanton). Combine that with a 10th percentile bad outcome with my 5th round pick (Daniel Murphy) and it is a marvel I was in the top half of the standings. The rest of my early picks were solid to very good: deGrom (#1), Rendon (#3), Mondesi (#4), Robles (#6), Vazquez (#7). I hit big on two later picks with Austin Meadows (#14) and Christian Vazquez (#28). I do not recall any major in-season pickups but I imagine I did pretty well in that regard. I traded Mondesi for Hoskins once my SB lead was secure but Hoskins struggled. Traded Robles late for Bryce Harper which worked out okay.

Congrats to Steve Gardner on the win and Zach Steinhorn on the tough 2nd place finish (crazy last week).

This Year’s Draft – Pre(r)amble
As fantasy baseball touts/analysts go, I am on the ‘quant’ side.

I do not say that in a boastful way because I do not see this as a universal positive. Being good at math/Excel/etc is a helpful skill if applied correctly but I think all fantasy owners’ draft strategies, player evaluations, etc. have their flaws. A quant is just more partial to certain types of errors than someone who bases their decisions more on gut, scouting, etc.

I think 2020 might be the last year in a three step evolution of how I draft. I imagine most quants have similar Step 1s as me but not sure how unique the next two steps are. These are the three stages of my evolution. I made the last step an acronym to avoid the wrath of the Fantasy Analyst Trade Writers Association (FATWA):

Step 1: Value-Based Drafting

  • Thinking: By valuing players slightly better than others, I will take advantage of draft room inefficiencies to gain an edge. I will take what the room gives me.
  • Shortcoming: This is inherently reactive. It does nothing to ensure roster balance and requires significant on-the-fly decision making which increases the probability of making sub-optimal picks. Its effectiveness also wanes in smarter draft rooms.

Step 2: Value-Based Roster Construct Drafting

  • Thinking: By identifying projected draft room inefficiencies through comparison of player values and ADP, I can both ‘deep dive’ on the subset of players that I value more than the market and create draft plans/strategies that may reduce a little bit of my ‘best available player’ flexibility but lead to more effective and satisfying drafts (e.g., more roster balance, less panic picks, less frantic cramming between picks, guys I want)
  • Shortcoming: What is success? How are you maximizing value? This is not a pedantic point about the method one measures their team (e.g., projected standings, comparing total projected stats vs targets, using my projected category dollars). I am casting a larger dispersion on gauging draft success based on maximizing any metric.

Step 3: DARWINISM (Drafting A Roster Which Integrates Needs (of) In Season Management)

  • Thinking: When I draft, I am the General Manager. I will create draft plans/strategies to simplify my draft day decisions to develop a roster that complements my in-season Manager strengths to maximize chances of team success. Maximizing or ‘winning’ preseason standings is nice but not my main objective.

Some notes on DARWINISM:

  • You are overtly customizing your draft strategy to the in-season manager. It could be risky or risk  averse. Hitter/pitcher balanced vs imbalanced.
  • For some drafters, this might mean nothing because they have a much bigger ego/investment in their drafting vs in-season management. They are subservient in-season Managers to their drafting GM. My GM and Manager selves are quite similar (and quanty) – it is just the Manager is focused more on weekly optimization vs season-long. So it is a more meaningful difference for me.
  • An irony of this type of strategy is that it is natural for ‘gut’ players. I think the very nature of being a ‘quant’ leads to more draft ego and trying to ‘win the draft’.

Delineating this as three discrete steps is misleading in that obviously I considered my in-season roster needs even when I was mostly ‘value-based’ drafting. Back in the 2014 time frame when I created the Streamonator and Hittertron tools and did deep dives into RCL team performance, it greatly impacted my draft strategy for shallow mixed leagues.

While I applied those lessons to some degree to my 15-team mixed game-play, I think most of my application had been in optimizing in-season rosters and the weekly FAAB process vs how I draft. One step in the right direction was focusing on relative category balance which mirrored my in-season preference of avoiding major roster weaknesses so I can focus my FAAB on ‘best players’ vs ‘needs’.

Here are a couple of in-season lessons/preferences in the voice of Manager Rudy that General Manager Rudy has incorporated into his draft strategy for 15-team mixed with weekly pickups over the years:

  • Don’t Be Safe, Don’t Draft Scared – I know I can back-fill replacement-level stats via FAAB. I feel pretty good about exceeding replacement-level stats via FAAB. The boring low ceiling players (aka the Markaki) are cheap in FAAB while the sexier higher ceiling players are more expensive. Avoid the temptation of boring ‘low ceiling’ guys to pretty up the team projections. Focus more on guys with high ceilings vs high floors. I prefer variance at the weekly level vs steadiness because I can always bench (or put on IL) during the bad weeks.
  • I Like a Wrinkle – You know how those reality cooking contests throw a surprise ingredient in the middle? Those are fun, right? If there is a player that can make things super interesting in the first half of the draft…the type that could turn out awesome but a bit scary…one that might drive you nuts because their hedgy projections make it tougher to reach your ‘draft goals’….yeah, I would like one or two.
  • If You Feel Good About the RP2, You Are Delusional Or Spent too Much – Remember that 12th round pick last year on Cody Allen. Nice job with that. I’m sorry. I know. You’re doing your best. Just go cheaper with it, will ya? Take a whole bunch in the late rounds. Safety in numbers. Worst case, I dump them and more spots to fill for FAAB!
  • Don’t Tie Up My F***in’ Bench With Rookie Nookie – I like upside. I like risk. But I need every bench spot for playing matchups and stashing potential closers. If you have to spend more draft capital to get rookies that will play by mid-April, do it. But just know I will cut their asses if they are the minors after I have filed taxes. Also, please do not chase after ‘well-rounded’ rookies. It works so much better if they are elite in power or speed (especially speed).
  • Multi-Position Guys – A little flexibility is great. Maybe one 1B/OF or a guy who can cover 2B/SS. But just know that I seem to always find these types on waivers for cheap.

2020 Draft
I am on year 4 of my War Room. Dah dah dah dah dah – I’m lovin’ it! (And you could love it too if you subscribe to our season-long tools).

I have designed it to anticipate the tough decisions so I can prepare ahead of time. I am leveraging ADP to predict the likelihood a player is available in each round. Through prep and the tool, I am doing my best to avoid being in a position in the draft where I am chasing a category or position and I am dependent/desperate for a specific player to make my team whole. Those are the cases where you have to overdraft the player, get lucky, or scramble.

I do a handful of mocks and I end up with a general script for the first half of the draft. I try to have contingencies on every pick. This isn’t set in stone. If a great value falls my way, I adapt. The goal is to minimize scrambling or realizing post-draft that my team has a major hole.

Here are the full results of the 2020 LABR Mixed League Draft.

Below are my picks compared with NFBC ADP:

POS PICK # PICK PLAYER TEAM NFBC ADP DIFF
C 172 12.7 Salvador Perez KC 153.6 18.4
C 412 28.7 Jacob Stallings PIT 567.4 (155.4)
1B 232 16.7 Daniel Murphy COL 247.2 (15.2)
2B 39 3.9 Ozzie Albies ATL 39.8 (0.8)
SS 129 9.9 Elvis Andrus TEX 139.7 (10.7)
3B 22 2.7 Rafael Devers BOS 22.5 (0.5)
OF 52 4.7 Giancarlo Stanton NYY 55.7 (3.7)
OF 69 5.9 Tommy Pham SD 77.0 (8.0)
OF 82 6.7 Eloy Jimenez CWS 55.8 26.2
OF 159 11.9 Lourdes Gurriel Jr. TOR 156.6 2.4
OF 399 27.9 Teoscar Hernandez TOR 422.8 (23.8)
CI 279 19.9 Renato Nunez BAL 295.4 (16.4)
MI 202 14.7 Kevin Newman (2B/SS) PIT 191.0 11.0
U 309 21.9 Michael Chavis (1B/2B) BOS 233.7 75.3
BENCH 262 18.7 Sam Hilliard (OF) COL 292.4 (30.4)
BENCH 429 29.9 Garrett Cooper (1B/OF) MIA 504.1 (75.1)
SP 9 1.9 Jacob deGrom NYM 8.1 0.9
SP 99 7.9 Carlos Carrasco CLE 112.7 (13.7)
SP/U 112 8.7 Shohei Ohtani LAA 108.8 3.2
SP 189 13.9 Andrew Heaney LAA 195.1 (6.1)
SP 219 15.9 Jose Urquidy HOU 227.8 (8.8)
SP 249 17.9 Anthony DeSclafani CIN 254.3 (5.3)
SP 292 20.7 Garrett Richards SD 286.1 5.9
RP 142 10.7 Craig Kimbrel CHC 145.5 (3.5)
RP 339 23.9 Matt Magill SEA 404.0 (65.0)
BENCH 322 22.7 J.A. Happ (SP) NYY 501.1 (179.1)
BENCH 352 24.7 Yoshihisa Hirano (RP) SEA 739.3 (387.3)
BENCH 369 25.9 Shaun Anderson (RP) SF 489.2 (120.2)
BENCH 382 26.7 Drew Smyly (SP) SF 671.9 (289.9)

Draft Strategy Overview

  • Picking 9th, I had two draft scenarios in place: 1) DeGrom or Cole is available or 2) Take SS in this order Francisco Lindor, Trea Turner, Trevor Story. In either case, I planned on not taking a pitcher in rounds 2-5 and ideally not round 6 before getting 2-3 SPs in rounds 7-10 along with my first closer.
  • Aim for balance across categories – particularly on power/speed/AVG.
  • Aim for around the projected market’s Hit/Pitch split (projected at 63.5/36.5).
  • When in doubt, do not take a SS because the depth is insane.

Early Round Notes

  • I really did not expect deGrom to fall to #9. I felt two of Turner/Story/deGrom were going to make it to me but estimate 67/33 that it would be the two SS. My values on all three players were about equal but I preferred an SP foundation given the plethora of SS. (If taking an SP in first round feels shocking, please read here for my POV on early round SPs)
  • Picks 2-4 (Devers, Albies, Stanton) went according to script.
  • I really wanted Bo Bichette with the 5th pick. I wanted him even if I had taken Story or Turner with the first pick but it was even better since I didn’t have a SS. Alas, Jeff Erickson took him to pair with Story so I chose Pham over Robert as I liked them about equal and thought Robert might make it back for my 6th pick. He got picked two ahead of me (Zinkie!) but was pleasantly surprised that Eloy Jimenez fell almost two rounds below ADP (I had him as a backup with pick 4 if Stanton was taken).

General Notes/Strategy

I have used the same post-draft writeup structure for a while now as I find it more interesting than a pick-by-pick analysis and most readers seem to agree. This format does mean I talk more about my competitors’ teams than most post-draft write-ups. I do my best to be respectful yet honest.

Hopefully, you’ll find some piece of strategy you can apply to your upcoming drafts. I have updated this to reflect changes in my philosophy since last year. Some of it incorporates learning. Some of it is driven by changes in the player pool.

You’ll see me note a lot of percentages about pick values. I calculate pick values based on my auction dollar projections. The #1 pick gets the $ value of the 1st ranked player, etc. Generally, the last pick in the 22nd round is worth a dollar (13 hitters + 9 pitchers * 15 teams) as I budget $0 for the 2nd catcher. The 23rd to 29th rounds are valued at or around $0.

 Topic In General My Team Observations on Other Teams
Hit/Pitch Mix I’m typically looking to stay about league average which I estimated pre-draft at 63.5/36.5 Hit/Pitch.

 

Last year’s shift towards greater SP investment – going  from 67/25/8 (Hit/SP/RP) to 63/28/9 – held true for a second year. It came out 64/28/8.

Last year, I also took deGrom #1 but made some minor missteps in the 7th-13th rounds that didn’t course-correct enough and left me a little too pitcher-heavy (57.4/33.1/9.5).

And then my top hitter (Stanton) was almost a complete zero so my offense was like 20% below the average – yowza!

I was more disciplined this year and ended up 61.75/33.4/4.9 if you consider Ohtani 100% SP. Since I’ll be using him as UTIL in some weeks, that’s about right on hit/pitch with Manager Rudy’s advice on RP2s knocking down the RP investment.

This is the most condensed I have ever seen this draft on hit $ %.

Everyone is between 60.5% and 67.8% except for Joe Pisapia who outdid my 2019 with a 55.2/45.8 split.

Of note, Scott Pianowski was middle of the pack after being the most hitter-heavy the past two years.

 

Upside vs Reliability/ Volume Sprinkle upside picks throughout draft, veer towards reliability in early rounds. Focus on $/Game vs $. I think I did okay here. I got some not too boring stability with Devers, Albies, Pham, and Andrus.

Stanton, Eloy, Ohtani, and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. are what I’d consider my upside plays in the early rounds.

With late round hitters, I am happy with Sam Hilliard in the 18th (40+ HR/SB potential @ Coors) who has a non-zero chance of being Rockie’d and Michael Chavis in the 21st round. (Note: Hilliard was in lieu of a safer OF5 type per Manager Rudy input.)

Andrew Heaney (13th), Jose Urquidy (15th) and Garrett Richards (20th) are all guys with varying degress of durability concerns but I like them at these prices from a $/Game standpoint (hell, you can say similar thing about Carrasco and Kimbrel too).

No teams jump out to me as being too systemically safe or risky.

Even my prospector pal Tim McLeod went all normal his first 10 round before taking Adell in the 11th, MacKenzie Gore in the 15th, and Dylan Carlson in the 17th. Manager Rudy would be fuming at that much rookie nookie clogging up the bench. I bet Manager Tim is a little more Zen about it.

Bouncebacks I like them as long as health not a question mark, skills/age look positive, and properly discounted. I have had little success at bouncebacks in the past but that better change or else this team is gonna suuuuuck. Stanton (4th), Carrasco (7th), Ohtani as SP (8th), Kimbrel (10th), Sal Perez (12th), Daniel Murphy (16th).

2020 is the YOTBB (year of the bounceback)!

Zach Steinhorn was my bounceback partner in crime with Snell (3), Bauer (6), Lorenzo Cain (9), Folty (13), and Piscotty (19).

No other team jumps out.

Category Balance vs Best Player Available In a weekly league with FAAB, I prefer to come out of drafts without glaring weaknesses. So I do monitor this during draft so, everything equal, I am taking the player who provides better balance. I like my power/speed/avg balance and feel good on RBIs. My Runs are a little light.

Happy with pitcher balance aside from Saves which could balance itself if one of the Mariners closer candidates and/or Shaun Anderson get the gig.

I have Mike Podhorzer fielding a Bowden Fluffer team that’s strong in HR/SB but brutal in AVG and meh in Runs. As long as Yelich hits .380, he’ll be fine.

Joe Sheehan’s team looks weak in AVG and is in the worst position of Saves as of today.

Paul Sporer and Justin Mason’s team projects to be RBI challenged.

I think Jeff Erickson had a similar $/G vs $ sensibility with SPs because I have his W/K being low b/c of SP IP concerns (which can be backfilled)

ADP vs “Get Your Guys!” I prefer to wait as long as possible for guys I like but adjust based on draft room dynamics. Focusing just on the first 15 rounds where getting value vs ADP is most important, my average pick was almost exactly even with ADP (-0.4 picks after ADP).

Sal Perez and Eloy Jimenez were my two ‘value’ plays going 1-2 rounds below ADP.

I was roughly a round earlier than ADP on Carrasco and Andrus. I wanted Carrasco as SP2 and did not want to get too cute. Andrus was a bit of a unicorn at that point in regards to speed.

The room averaged 6 picks before ADP with Joe Sheehan (+28) and Stephani Bell/Kyle Soppe (+22) the most aggressive at ‘getting their guys’.

Jeff Erickson of Rotowire was the #1 value drafter for the 2nd straight year being on average 6 picks after ADP. Steve Gardner and Paul Sporer/Justin Mason were next up at around 3 picks after ADP.

The two biggest bargains were Alan Harrison’s Danny Santana (46 picks after ADP) and Ray Flowers’ Kyle Tucker pick (52 picks after ADP). Maybe that offer out to Pence plus Dusty’s love of vets helps explain the latter?

The two biggest reaches were Joe Sheehan’s Nick Anderson (114 picks above ADP) and Tim McLeod’s MacKenzie Gore (102 picks above ADP).

Anticipate Other Teams’ Picks When Prioritizing Get ahead of position runs to minimized getting sniped. There were no major position runs of note.

I got sniped of my 1st choice several times (somehow not by Sporer/Mason even though, based on their Irishman-long live stream, we were in on a lot of the same players) but that comes with the territory of trying to maximize my team by waiting until close to ADP before drafting.

I was a bit surprised by several late round targets getting picked well before ADP. Good reminder that anything goes after pick 250 or so.

Hard to judge other teams on this.
Closers While bullpen committees are becoming more popular, identifying lower-tier closers in February has always been rough. My strategy is generally get one secure closer and then be opportunistic on RP2. Safety in numbers if grabbing speculative closers. Oh the times are changing. Typically, a few top closers get taken in the 5th/6th and then a big run in the 7th/8th rounds.

Only 8 RPs were taken by the 8th round.

I had Kimbrel as my RP1 target and had him earmarked for the 9th round based on ADP, rolled the dice, and got him in the 10th.

I liked Joe Jimenez as RP2 in the 15th or 16th round but he was sniped. After that, I just focused on the rest of my roster and used picks 23-25 on two Seattle Mariners (Magill and Hirano) and Shaun Anderson of the Giants.

Net-net, I invested only 4.8% in RPs which was the least in the draft.

The room invested 8.2% in RPs. Pretty normal.

Alan Harrison saw the lack of a historical RP run as an opportunity sinking 12.6% in RPs (6th/7th) with Yates and Chapman.

Three other teams invested 10+%. ESPN invested 9.8% (unwisely I’d say using 11.15 on Will Smith of ATL who is backing up Melancon according to recent news).

I think Joe Pisapia’s Archie Bradley (13) and Joe Jimenez (15) picks were the best value.

Middle Infielders The glut of SS has made ‘scarcity’ arguments scarce. I just wanted to avoid filling up on MIs too quickly. Ozzie Albies was my 3rd round target.

SS is so deep!

I was planning on SS speed. After passing on Trea for deGrom, I was sniped on Bichette, Anderson, and Rosario. I ended up settling for Andrus about 10 picks ahead of ADP and 2 rounds ahead of my value.

Kevin Newman wasn’t a pre-draft target but I like his speed/AVG + run potential as well as 2B/SS eligibility. He came at solid value and was a backup choice when Jean Segura went earlier than I expected.

There was some nice SS value amongst the non-speedsters. Bogaerts and Correa went 1-2 rounds below ADP. I like both those values as with Hiura in mid-4th round.
Catchers I typically like to punt Catchers. The demands of the position lead to greater injury risk and more volatile offensive numbers IMO. I prefer catchers who aren’t AVG sieves. I do not like the Catcher values this year. Even more than usual. The plan was two catchers after the 20th round.

Except Sal Perez. I don’t hate his value. Maybe I am too bullish he has no rust?

His ADP called for him to be taken around the 11th. I played chicken once and when he came back in the 12th, I guess it was meant to be.

Then I waited until the 28th round for Jacob Stallings.

4.6% of draft capital was spent on Catchers which is identical to last year (my investment was 3.5%).

Fred Zinkie was the top investor at 10.3% with J.T. Realmuto in the 3rd round and Tom Murphy in the 18th round.

Mike Podhorzer basically spent 0.0% as he waited for the ‘free’ rounds to nab Chance Sisco and Mike Zunino.

Starting Pitchers Draft quality and quantity. Mix upside and consistency but put a little more weight on quality vs quantity of IP. Aim for about 9 SPs. I hope Manager Rudy is happy because this staff is all about matchups and upside vs IP.

I got 9 SPs but, other than deGrom, I only have one projected over 154 IP and he’s coming back from, you know, cancer.

But I like this staff a lot. I think in past years I would’ve eschewed Ohtani for a ‘safer’ SP like Kluber or Lynn. I am really intrigued by being able to play him at either Utility or SP in a week. I have him as a $20/game (aka 5th round) player at EITHER SP or UTIL. I will likely start him as pitcher unless the matchup is awful. Should be fun!

Every team drafted at least 7 SPs. Two hit 10 and Jeff Erickson led the room for the second straight year taking 11 SPs.

The draft capital ranged from 23% (Flowers) to 38% (Pisapia).

Ray stretched his money by going Stars and Scrubs. Three SPs in rounds 5-7 (Berrios, Woodruff, Bumgarner) and then 2 SPs between rounds 16-24 (16th, and 19th) before taking SPs 25th-27th. Given the miss rate on SPs in middle rounds, I see the thinking behind this strategy.

I think Joe Pisapia was shocked Frankie Montas was still on the board in the 11th (he was at the top of my queue) but not a very balanced move when you have 4 SPs in the first 10. I imagine if he saw that coming, he would have passed on E-Rod in the 8th or Kluber in the 9th for a bat.

Fred Zinkie took Verlander in the 1st and then only two other SPs in the first 15 rounds (Lynn 9th, Mikolas 13th). I like it. You can say his team’s success is completely reliant on a 37-year old SP but taking an SP2 in the 4th-6th rounds is doing less to mitigate the perceived risk than it is to limit the team ceiling.

Speed SBs are in such short supply that it is more important than ever to have a plan for where you can draft speed at value. It was nice last year not having to worry about speed thanks to Mondesi and Robles.

I could’ve set myself up real nice taking Trea Turner in the 1st. Instead, I made dents with Albies and Pham in the 3rd/5th, reaching a bit to take a hopefully still spry Andrus in the 9th and Kevin Newman in the 14th.

I am around middle of the pack with Newman the closest thing to a SAGNOF on the roster. I’m okay with that.

The room was disciplined and there was no general premium for Speed.

There also were no bargains as no one with an ADP in the top half of the draft fell more than 6 picks past ADP.

I can see some general speed concerns for Alan Harrison and Joe Pisapia’s teams but, for the most part, it looks like SBs will be close to a league-wide dogfight.

Last note:
This was definitely my worst draft in recent memory from a pure projected $ standpoint. To be honest, I am not 100% sure how to even value SP/U Ohtani. I just used his SP value. I ended up having one team projected a little ahead of me in $. I look better in my $/Game metric which is not surprising since it more accurately reflects my draft strategy.

 
  1. Duda Want to Build a Snowman? says:
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    Great recap and analysis as always, Rudy! Loved your thoughts about going for ceiling (knowing that floor is available in FAAB).

    That Eloy pick seems like the best of both worlds – even if he just repeats, still a great line to get with that pick…and if he breaks out, you could find yourself with a high average 35-40 HR bat in the vain of a Just Dong lite!

    Question for you on the OF5 upside play… I’m in a 12 team keep forever league (weekly lineups) + trying to plan when I want to grab Julio Rodriguez … either a $1 end of auction play (park at of5) or hope he makes it to me at the end of the first round of the reserve snake draft. In that sort of format, would you be stashing a high upside 2021 guy at OF5…or stick with a high upside 2020 guy like Hillaird that you can drop it the paying time isnt there?

    • Duda Want to Build a Snowman? says:
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      I should add that guys above Julio like Wander and Adell are being kept.

    • Thanks! I would think it’s always worth burning a draft spot on a $1 prospect in a keep forever league. Hilliard is more of a redraft pickup since he should make team out of spring training and the job is open.

  2. Big Magoo

    Big Magoo says:
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    Hope the offseason has been treating you well, Rudy. Love the team, especially your early round grabs. deGrom, Albies, and Stanton are players that I’m targeting as well. Love the fact that you’re not afraid to go back in on Stanton after getting burned last year (he has to be back to full health by now, right? right?), and I share your opinion of going early on pitching, especially with the wealth of hitting available in the 50-90 pick range (Stanton, Machado, Eloy, Rizzo, Abreu, Bichette, Robert, Cruz, etc.).

    A couple of questions for you. First, if Albies, S. Marte, and Mondesi had all been on the board in the 3rd, would you have still gone with Albies? Or opted for the speed edge with Mondesi, or the all-around production and track record of Marte?

    Second, would you have been tempted to push pitching back another round if Cruz had slipped to your 7th pick? I see him aging like Big Papi and am not as worried about age-related decline as I maybe should be. But you don’t want to wait too long on pitching either.

    • hey magoo!

      Yes, I have them Marte/Albies/Mondesi in my player values. I prefer Albies well-roundedness over Marte from a roster construction. Granted, I was hoping for Bichette/Robert with my 5/6 picks :)

      Cruz was very tempting at 6 if Eloy didn’t fall. I didn’t feel comfortable risking Carrasco until the 8th there, had Ohtani in mind for the 8th, and already had Stanton/Eloy so would’ve let Cruz go again.

      • Big Magoo

        Big Magoo says:
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        Love Albies this year. Bichette/Robert would have been nice, but I think you did well with Pham/Eloy in those spots too. Good luck buddy.

          • Big Magoo

            Big Magoo says:
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            Looked at ADP the other day and pointed out a few position players (Escobar, Segura, Andujar, Shaw) that I thought were pretty good values. Looking at this board though, I’m thinking that maybe Escobar is being properly valued. There’s only a handful of players who went earlier that I’d bump him above. Segura went at a fair spot too.

            Andujar and Shaw outside of the top 300 look like really nice gets though. Had a little debate with Grey over Shaw yesterday (long story short – Grey hates him, I like him to bounce back returning to his old swing). Nice grab by Zinkie.

            I’ve always had a soft spot for Richards too. Like that you took a chance on him. Could pay off big if he manages to stay reasonably healthy.

            • Segura looks great vs ADP! It was clear others in the room felt the same. Imagine that corrects itself by March. I’m worried on Andujar’s playing time but could see him eventually qualifying at 1B/3B. Agreed on Shaw – I had him as a late round target.

              Yup on Richards. Unlimited DL helps here. In an NFBC league, you prolly have to draft him and be willing to drop him first IL stint based on his history.

              • Big Magoo

                Big Magoo says:
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                Those players in the 29-31 age range can sometimes get lost in the shuffle, I think (especially if they’re coming off of down years like Segura and Shaw). You’ve likely seen their best, but they’re not quite in decline yet. Still have a chance to bounce back.

                Andujar is a bit different. Don’t think we’ve seen his best yet, but he’s coming off of a serious injury and doesn’t have a clear path to ABs at the moment. But Urshela could turn into a pumpkin, and Voit, Stanton, and Judge don’t have the greatest durability history. What if the Rockies unload Arenado and trade for him? I can see several paths to success. Like him as a late flier.

                Nice on Richards. The unlimited DL format definitely makes him more appealing.

                • with you on andujar. he was on my board. whatever chance was squashed when i got chavis in the 21st (no idea why he fell so far)

  3. dontbichetteme says:
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    Hey Rudy et al,
    Im trying to narrow down my 10th keeper in a 12 team H2H keeper league.
    OZUNA, GALLO, KLUBER are the 3 options. Have Paxton as well but the surgery basically cuts him out of the running.
    Already keeping TROUT, ACUNA, SOTO, BREGMAN, ARENADO, ALBIES, SNELL, CORBIN, BIEBER
    What do you guys think?

    • it’s a tough one. i have ozuna highest for 2020. i’d take him.

      • dontbichetteme says:
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        Yeah if Paxton/Gallo didnt have injury issues I wouldve had both rated higher.
        Thanks Rudy

  4. TC says:
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    Better keeper combo for standard 5×5 10 team ESPN league.
    JRam and Conforto or Bryant and Tim Anderson

  5. baby seal says:
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    Would love your more quanty take on my first DC from the 7th slot.

    Didn’t follow suit on the SS advice… just went for overall value

    1.7, Story
    2.24, Bogaerts
    3.37, Ketel
    4.54, Darvish
    5.67, Eloy
    6.84, Mercado
    7.97, Sonny (Grey guy, I know…)

    https://draft.shgn.com/nfc/plain/dp/352/grid

    Thinking SP/RP next two picks. Donaldson was still there at 97, and extremely tough to pass up. I think corner actually has the best depth this year, while SS has the most overall value.

    Any advice?

    Thanks Rudy!

    PS. Also sent you an email about your war room that Grey keeps mentioning. Just search “baby seal” in your email and you should find it. haha

    • Like the Story/Ketel/Darvish/Eloy. Bogaerts is a mild reach but very puzzling given you had a SS and there are so many. Mercado is a reach at ADP and value. Sonny is such a Grey guy he made it his last name…but I like it fine at that pick.

      Love Donaldson with next pick.

      You need to re-up for 2020 to get access to the War Room.

      • baby seal says:
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        Ok, thanks, if I buy again, will that be additive to my current sub or replace it?

        Here were the next picks:

        8.114, Hand
        9.127, Lynn
        10.144, Kepler

        RE Xander: I really like the AVG stability, age, lineup, and think he can hit another gear — or at the least is a safe pick there.

        I really like the start w/ DeGrom for you. Think I may try a draft like that myself. Then just pick at Pitchers a long the way. Didn’t love how it felt like I needed to force pitching around 100 and not pounce on those values.

        Mercado was a bit of a reach, I know. I went for the steal upside, since I think there’s a path for 30 there, and was a good team fit.

        Same thing RE Sonny! Didn’t think I’d own him, but thought value good. It was either Donaldson or Sonny. Wondering if I should’ve taken the Donaldson value… there are some 3B I like later and injury history is a bit scary. But at 100… so much upside there.

        Do you think I’m doing OK w/ balance in the cats? That’s the one thing where I’m uncertain on, since it’s my first 15 team draft.

        Thanks man!!

        • it would be to replace it since you had purchased for 2019.

          I like Hand/Lynn/Kepler a lot at those spots in the draft.

          At a glance, looks like your team has solid balance after 10 rounds. War room would quantify it.

          • baby seal says:
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            Just saw your email. Will purchase it now. Thanks!

            Huge on the war room! Would this also quantify vs rest of the league? Guess I’ll find out.

          • baby seal says:
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            Pretty happy w/ the draft so far. Tools have been very helpful.

            Lourdes
            Maeda
            Dozier
            Stroman
            Swanson
            Cron
            Nuñez
            Yarbrough

            Need a 5th OF, some more pitchers, and 2 C. League hasn’t been pounding pitching too much, so believe I am right in line there. And load up some bench bats.

  6. AL KOHOLIC says:
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    Great post and great draft. Love Stanton also this year and Lourdes thanks for all the post and advice

  7. Duda Want to Build a Snowman? says:
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    Hey Rudy – how do you apply your quant perspective to keeper leagues where you’re competing for the title every year but also trying to build for future years. Specifically, what’s the best quanty way to account for keeper value?

    For example, I’ve been agonizing over a 2:2 trade offer I received where I’m cool with the first half (swapping my 34 Scherzer for 16 Bieber – great, esp from a quant standpoint) but really getting hung up on the second piece (swap my 7 eloy keeper for a 22 rendon). Rendon will out produce Eloy this year, but due to salary differences and age/upside, I can’t figure out how to assess the Rendon v Eloy, particularly since it’s not like Eloy is a low floor guy. Any insights much appreciated!

    Have a great weekend – as a yankee fan, will laugh pretty hard if that Betts trade falls apart!

  8. Nightpandas says:
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    Hey Rudy

    Love your analysis

    You think I would be weakening my pitching too much by dealing Paddock for Mondesi? Locks me up for sb…my keepers would be

    Olson Albies Vlad CSeagar Soto ERosario Mondesi
    Ohtani (p) Wheeler Ed Rod nad one of Gallen/Ryu

    15 team keep 11 obp and qs k/9

    I do have 3 first round (12th round) picks

    • I have Mondesi > Paddack so i’m in favor of the deal.

  9. Ambradbu says:
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    Wow great write up, thanks for giving such in depth thoughts.

  10. Tom says:
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    And February drafts being what they are suddenly the Nick Anderson pick looks a lot better.

    • Yes but still hate that draft spot for him.

  11. Tom says:
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    Agreed, round 12 was crazy high for Anderson at that point he still could have had him many rounds later.

    • yes, in a daily roster change format, a strong reliever has nice value even w/o saves. in 15 team weekly, i’m starting a non-closer (say a guy stashed on my bench) only when desparate (massive injuries, several bad SP matchups).

      no coffee for set-up men!

  12. Great write-up as usual, Rudy. SO which team did you have come out ahead of yours in $ value?

    It probably wasn’t mine because the post-draft analyzers had me in the middle of the pack. Just need to know which team to put the hex on.

    • Thanks! I can’t say publicly. I don’t want to jinx him/her. Plus, I said in the post not to focus on post-draft standings/projections :)

      • Steve Gardner says:
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        Then I’ll hex them all! And your little dog, too!

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          My little dog is dyslexic and thinks it’s a god and this is very hurtful

  13. uncle ernie says:
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    Hey Rudy. Keeper question. Just inherited this Team. espn 8 team league. and looking to make some noise this year with it. I’m thinking of trading my Buehler $5 for His Trout $50. There always seems to be good pitching around so this looks enticing. Your thoughts And thanks

    • 8 team mixed. Well I would be stars and scrubs with that so I don’t mind the trade

      • uncle ernie says:
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        Thanks for your opinion Rudy

  14. Sideshow says:
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    I see Gallegos in the 16rh rd. CMart seems set on the rotation which would leave him & Miller. If he gets the gif big time steal no? Any opinion on StL closer picture?

    • I like Gallegos. Just matters the price/round. Miller if very cheap too

  15. Ozone Ranger says:
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    Stephania Bell?!?!?!

    The four-letter word network would have done better with auto draft.

  16. ryanl says:
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    Hey Rudy,
    Just bought the war room and am new to the site,. I know this is a stupid question, but when looking over THE BOARD tab in the war room I was wondering what the values for the hitters/pitchers under their 5×5 categories were z-scores converted into dollar values?

    Thanks for all the time and effort.

    • Welcome to the site. Not a stupid question at all. I don’t use z-scores for the calculations but those $ represent something close. The basis is Point Shares – a Standard Gains Point variant I developed that estimates the impact that player would have vs the average starting player on an average team. The Point Shares are divided up and valued at $260 * # of teams.

      The main value of this is that now all categories are on the same scale ($). You can sum them up during the draft and understand your team balance without thinking about the stats.

      Hope that helps!
      Rudy

  17. bill says:
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    Great read Rudy, thanks. Do you have any thoughts on your preferred KDS in this years draft?

    • I’m still thinking about it for standard 5×5. In Tout Wars which is 5×5 OBP, I had 4th choice. 1st/2nd/3rd went first three and i took 5th.

      I think 3rd/4th might be my preferred spot.

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