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?

It is better to be lucky than good. It is best to be lucky and good.

That is how I would describe the charmed 4-year run I have had in the 15-team ToutWars Mixed league where I have finished 2nd/2nd/1st/1st. I take a lot of pride in those finishes but it is not faux modesty that stresses the ‘charmed’ and ‘lucky’ aspect. All it takes is one or two big injuries to torpedo an otherwise strong draft – ESPECIALLY in a competitive league with weekly vs daily lineup format where there are less ‘grind’ points to gain by using Streamonator or Hittertron. I would feel even more special/lucky about it if the Nadal to my Federer (Adam Ronis) hadn’t gone 1st/1st/5th/2nd in those same years. At least I know I will have good company when the fantasy devil takes my soul and forces me to play in a 4 catcher 13 category H2H NL-only league for the rest of eternity.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

On March 6th, I took part in the 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. This is the 5th year for the mixed draft (the AL/NL-only ones have been around longer) and my 4th year participating in it.

Last Year Recap (here was my post-draft recap and final standings)
FINALLY. After two straight close 2nd place finishes to Adam Ronis, I won this league (Even better, it was a Razzball Tout sweep as Grey won Tout Wars NL).

As the standings below suggest, I had a charmed season. Everything broke right for me. I think I drafted/managed a little bit better than the previous 2 years but no doubt I was probably the luckiest team in the league as well. Shout out to pal Scott White from CBSSports.com (1st year in league) and the always tough Ray Murphy of BaseballHQ who did great jobs but, unlike me, did not sell their soul to the fantasy gods.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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

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

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

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

The 2018 Razzball Commenter Leagues are now open! Free to join with prizes! All the exclamation points!

Please, blog, may I have some more?

On March 1st, Grey and I took part in the Yahoo Friends & Family Draft – a now 15-team snake draft that is unique amongst expert leagues in that it is a daily transaction league instead of weekly transactions. While it is not quite as wild west as RCLs (125 player add limit + today’s pickups go on your roster starting tomorrow), it requires a different draft mentality.

Rather than belabor my picks, I’m going to just display my roster and just riff on a couple of draft strategies/philosophies and how they applied to this draft. (I only have one of these behemoth draft reviews in me this year – see 15-team LABR Mixed draft).

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Time to sign up for those of you interested in competing against some Razzball writers (including Grey who won his league last year and myself – I won my league in 2016 and 3rd in 2017) in the NFBC $150 Draft Champions format. It is a 15 team mixed, 5×5 format with 50 rounds (done via a slow draft that takes about 2 weeks). NFBC’s moved to a new site that looks great and they have cut the clock between picks from 8 hours to 4 hours (except overnight).

For those unfamiliar, the major quirk vs most league formats is that there are no trades OR free agent pickups. You can update your starting hitters twice a week (Friday and Monday) and pitchers once a week (Monday). I love this format as a complement to standard formats as it rewards drafters who can find breakout candidates/bargains on draft day. Here is a link to the full rules.

Once we have enough people to fill a league, NFBC will create the league. We’ll try to start the leagues around the first week of March. I recommend creating an account at NFBC if you do not have one as that will expedite everything.

NOTE:  THIS IS SEPARATE FROM THE RAZZBALL COMMENTER LEAGUE.  THAT IS A 12-TEAM MIXED FORMAT WITH DAILY ROSTER CHANGES AND YOU CAN PLAY IN FREE, $10, OR $20 LEAGUES. SIGN UP HERE IF YOU ARE INTERESTED.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

There is a special day in mid-February where I can freely and shamelessly express my love. Appreciate my partner in life. Get lost in romance.

That is Valentine’s Day. But the day before it was the 15-team LABR Mixed draft which is more fun and less expensive.

As always, thanks to Steve Gardner at USA Today for the invite. Can’t believe this is the 5th year I’ve been in this league.

I was holed up in an NYC hotel for the draft where luckily the wifi did not shit the bed (nor did I). No kids disrupting the draft. A background soundtrack of sporadic car horns and loud-talking pedestrians. I was able to grab the HDMI cord from the cable box so I could rock the two screens. If only I remembered to pick up a pastrami sandwich and a six pack, I could’ve been in Costanza heaven.

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 2018 Razzball Commenter Leagues are now open! Free to join with prizes! All the exclamation points!

Please, blog, may I have some more?