On March 5th, I took part in my 5th Tout Wars Mixed Draft – a 15-team snake draft that is unique amongst ‘analyst’ leagues in that it is a 5×5 OBP league. Otherwise, pretty standard. Weekly transactions. 2 catchers. $1000 FAAB.

Quick Perspective On The Difference Between OBP vs AVG
While the same draft tenets I discussed in my 2020 LABR writeup still apply, the biggest shift in OBP leagues is published hitter ADPs are less reliable. This makes drafts a little more unpredictable but it generally advantages the more prepared drafters in the room. I look at ADP but also put my projected $OBP – $AVG right next to it to indicate guys whose value is much higher/lower in OBP.

There are other minor shifts (1Bs look better b/c they typically have highest BB rates, hitters with high AVGs but mediocre BB rates become less valuable, etc.) but this ends up baked into the projections. I have to run 15-team 5×5 OBP custom but you can access my 12-team 5×5 OBP projections and those are updated daily for Season to Date and Rest of Season as well. All free.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Fantasy baseball players typically settle into three different camps on how they ‘run’ their snake drafts:

Traditionalists – Use a piece of paper typically with tiered rankings
Spreadsheeters – Use a spreadsheet that can range from a simple one tab cut ‘n paste job to one with tons of formulas, tabs, and conditional formatting. Player projections and/or rankings may be cut/pasted from a site, aggregated from various sources or the product of meticulous research.
Toolers – Use a piece of software (usually subscription-based) to manage the draft. Projections can range from one bundled with the software to importing one’s own.

I have always been a Spreadsheeter. A couple years back I had a couple of epiphanies related to draft strategy (detailed in my 2020 LABR Mixed Draft Recap – search for DARWINISM) and completely overhauled my ‘draft room’. After some early success, I started sharing it with the Razzball writers for their industry leagues. Last year, I added it to our season-long subscription package. The response has been better than I expected given how different it is from the standard draft room.

While I have not trialed all draft software or had the opportunity to test drive others’ spreadsheets, I have seen enough that I have a good idea on some of the more common approaches/standards. I think there are several flaws in these standards and will show how and why my Draft Room is better. If you are a Traditionalist, my guess is this post will not sway you but at least it will give you ammunition when mocking the guy with the laptop next you on draft day.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Our fantasy baseball trade analyzer just got a little better as you now have an option of valuing players by their full/rest of season value ($) OR their per game value ($/Game).

I think the $/Game metric is one of our more underrated/underused metrics so I am going to use this post as a primer on its value.

What is the difference between $ and $/Game?

The standard way of valuing fantasy players is based on each player’s projected stats for the full season (or rest of season once the season has started). These stats are converted into a total value. We find auction $ value (based on $260 for all starting players with a 67/33 hit/pitch split) to be the most intuitive scale for displaying player values but other methods like summing z-scores provide similar benefits.

The downside of full/rest of season projections for comparing players is they reflect both projected performance AND playing time. This is fine when comparing players with similar playing time projections but creates issues if playing time is uneven because one of the players is projected for less playing time because of injury, minor league time, unsettled role, etc. A full season value for a player with discounted playing time essentially treats all that missing time as a zero. We know for DL stints or minor league time that we can plug in a replacement and, thus, the full season stats will undervalue the player with discounted playing time.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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).

Please, blog, may I have some more?

My draft season is over and two long-ass draft posts (LABR, Tout Wars) feels sufficient. So to cover my other 6 drafts (not including my RCL where I ended up with an auto-draft because I blanked) and summarize my draft season as a whole, I put together the below chart. I imagine I will be linking to this post either to gloat or mourn after the season ends (or mourn certain picks yet gloat because I out-managed my leaguemates in season because of our awesome yet affordable season-long tools).

***Tools update – Projections have been run for the first couple of games. You can see all the pitchers in Streamonator and all 3/28 hitters under Hittertron Tomorrow (points league variant available too!). Will shift all days forward so 3/28 is ‘Today’ sometime tonight. Tentative plan is to run the first ‘Next Week’ projections on Saturday night/Sunday morning.***

Here are the leagues I am participating in:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Thanks to everyone who have subscribed to the season-long Razzball tools so far! Returning subscribers and early birds have gotten free access to my Excel-based snake draft war room for 10, 12, 14, and 15 team mixed leagues. This is the one that Grey, myself, and most of our writers use for our drafts. You […]

Please, blog, may I have some more?

On March 5th, I took part in my 5th Tout Wars Mixed Draft – a 15-team snake draft that is unique amongst expert leagues in that it is a 5×5 OBP league. Otherwise, pretty standard. Weekly transactions. 2 catchers. $1000 FAAB.

Quick Perspective On The Difference Between OBP vs AVG
I went over the key things to think about with 15 team vs 12 team mixed league standard 5×5 in my 2019 LABR writeup.

The biggest shift in OBP leagues (besides the obvious one) is that ADP for hitters is much less predictive. This makes drafts a little more unpredictable but it generally advantages the more prepared drafters in the room. I look at ADP but also put my projected $OBP – $AVG right next to it to indicate guys whose value is much higher/lower in OBP.

There are other minor shifts (1Bs look better b/c they typically have highest BB rates, hitters with high AVGs but mediocre BB rates become less valuable, etc.) but this ends up baked into the projections. I have to run 15-team 5×5 OBP custom but you can access my 12-team 5×5 OBP projections and those are updated daily for Season to Date and Rest of Season as well. All free.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

It’s time for my favorite and longest post of the year – my LABR Mixed draft review!

Why is it my favorite?

  • Reason #1 is that I get to talk about my draft and have you ever met anyone who plays fantasy baseball that does not like discussing their own draft?
  • Reason #2 is it is the first draft post of the year so it has the novelty thing going for it
  • Reason #3 is that discussing draft strategy using actual draft results is way easier and more compelling than discussing them in concept.

As always, thanks to Steve Gardner at USA Today for the invite. This is year #6 for me and I am still in search of my first ring.

Quick Perspective On The Difference Between 15-Team Mixed w/ Weekly Roster Changes vs. 10/12-team Mixed Daily Roster Changes
I am going to share with you the only relevant difference between these two formats. If you are someone who plays shallow leagues with daily roster changes (and typically a high transaction cap), repeat this as a mantra in your head when drafting in this format (like in NFBC).

The 2019 Razzball Commenter Leagues are now open! Free to join!

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Every year, MLB trends – e.g., K’s are up, starter innings are down, the opener! – cause a lot of fantasy writers and players alike to rethink how they approach starting pitching in drafts. Reflection is generally a good thing but it is a waste of time if you keep making the same mistake.

There is no one successful way to draft Starting Pitchers. There are factors specific to you (the drafter). Are you better or worse than the average person in your league at finding hitter or pitcher bargains later in the draft? Are you better or worse at streaming during the season? Is your league format conducive to streaming (better in shallow leagues and daily rosters, harder in deeper leagues and weekly rosters)? How do your projected player values line up with the market?

Here is my only evergreen advice on the subject: Do not wing it when it comes to how much you spend of your draft capital (either auction $ or draft picks in snake) on starting pitching.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Happy 2019 everyone. It seems like like just last year it was 2018. How time flies.

As most of you know, my 2019 fantasy baseball projections (collaboration with Steamer) and rankings went up about a week ago. You can use the top menu (Player Rater and Projections) to access that or use the link earlier in this paragraph to access all the Razzball rankings pages. These will be updated all the way up to opening day. I stop then because it gets progressively easier after that date and I like a challenge. I prefer to focus on Rest of Season projections at that point.

Two industry colleagues of mine – Jeff Zimmerman and Tanner Bell – wrote a fantasy baseball e-book in the offseason called The Process and were nice/smart/foolish enough to ask me to read it before they saved it to PDF. I liked it enough to write a blurb. You would think Grey would have asked me to write a blurb for one of his e-books but he deemed it redundant since we both outsource most of our content to the same farm of 13-year old boys working out of a Dubai business park. Now show me your ankles!

Jeff and Tanner’s book focuses on something near and dear to me – formulating a process to improve one’s season-long fantasy baseball performance.

I am a firm believer in process. It is what I do. All the Razzball projections, player pages, etc. are just a series of processes. While there are parts to my process that are germane to being a blog co-owner (e.g., running projected values for way more formats than I play), their book did get me to think about the common denominator between the processes I use for the tools, for my teams, and my guidance for how our readers should run their teams.

Here are some vaguely organized thoughts on the book and my own process:

Please, blog, may I have some more?