Some drafters are more preoccupied with power than others.

No one at the LABR Mixed Draft was as preoccupied by power as I was (well, except fellow Austinite Paul Sporer and similarly weather fucked Oregonian Ryan Bloomfield) thanks to the wintry, energy grid challenged hellscape that was Texas on Tuesday, February 16, 2021.

Luckily, the House of Gamble did not fall so I have only myself to blame if this team does not take down a crown.

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

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Thank you to everyone for subscribing to one of our MLB packages. We know a 60 game season wasn’t what you had in mind when you signed up. We are offering several alternatives (see below) if you are not planning on playing ‘6o game sprint’ fantasy baseball in 2020. Please let us know by opening day MLB if you plan to go with one of these alternatives.

If you have any questions, please reach out to me at [email protected]

Best regards,

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Back before I started getting into girls (if they ever got into me is a different discussion), I fondly remember playing Earl Weaver Baseball on the family PC. The gameplay was awful but it was cool to cobble teams together from players of all eras. I looked through my Dad’s Baseball Encyclopedia and printed out a list of player seasons for a hypothetical player draft on our dot matrix printer. Shockingly, this draft never happened. Where did I think I was going to find enough circle jerks to draft a simulated league of all-star players?

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There was a time in the not so distant path (2014) when I had only two children – my oldest daughter and the Razzball MLB tools. Soon after, the child count went to six (three daughters, MLB/NFL/NBA tools) and the concept of having free time to take on big projects went up in smoke.

When you enter this stage in life, you find that you have exchanged dollars of time that you could have invested in productive pursuits for tokens of time that could only be used to: 1) hoard and efficiently crank out little projects/pursuits, 2) hate on others who waste their dollars of time, and 3) bemoan how you spent those dollars when you had the time.

Most of the time I have invested on Razzball – setting up the projections/tools, the player pages, etc. – has proven to be an okay investment in time. It certainly hasn’t made me rich but there are worse things in life than making some money on your favorite hobby.

But, by far, the STUPIDEST investment in time I made on Razzball was the Historical Baseball Player Rater which created fantasy dollar values for every year starting with 1903. What the hell was I thinking?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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).

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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:

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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 […]

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