Hola Razzball Nation. Much like that Pennsylvanian groundrodent (hogs=bacon. this ain’t getting be bacon), I’ve been underground prepping the first half of this winter. Though it’s not like I’ve been keeping you in the dark as I posted my 2016 fantasy baseball projections (in collaboration w/ Steamer) and auction dollar values around the actual Groundhog Day.

The middle of February ushers in the most romantic holiday of the year for me – LABR Draft day. This year it was Tuesday, February 16th – casting its big shadow over V-Day (I dressed up in sunglasses and a moustache – my wife thought I was Grey) and the “Let’s honor dead leaders by giving your kids the day off from school while non-bank/government employers just consider it Monday” holiday.

For those not familiar, this is a 15 team mixed league snake draft with standard 5×5 roto scoring. Same roster format as we use for RCL except 6 bench spots, 2 starting catchers, and unlimited DL. Rosters can be updated weekly. The free agent budget (i.e., FAAB) is $100 and you can only pick up players on the major league roster (the draft is the only time you can prospect stash).

My 2015 LABR Team came in 5th place – putting up a fight for 3rd place but well behind Mike Gianella and Bret Sayre of Baseball Prospectus who edged out Fred Zinkie of MLB.com on the backs of an INSANE 7th-9th round pitching run of Gerrit Cole, Jacob deGrom, and Jake Arrieta. Looking at my 2015 draft (and my relative success) is a good reminder how the second halves of these drafts are the equivalent of a Joc Pederson at bat. Take a few big hacks and hope for a home run (my big flies last year were Khris Davis in 13th, Danny Salazar in 15th, Santiago Casilla in 17th, and David Peralta in the 26th).

Here are the results of the 2016 LABR Draft. I suggest opening it another tab while reading this post.

My team:

Pos Name Pick
C Nick Hundley 15.223
C Dioner Navarro 28.408
1B Lucas Duda 9.133
2B Daniel Murphy 12.168
SS Didi Gregorius 27.403
3B Kris Bryant 1.13
OF Starling Marte 2.18
OF Justin Upton 3.43
OF Jacoby Ellsbury 7.103
OF Marcell Ozuna 13.193
OF Carlos Beltran 21.313
CI Yasmany Tomas 16.228
MI Logan Forsythe 20.288
UT Prince Fielder 6.78
SP Noah Syndergaard 4.48
SP Jon Lester 5.73
SP Michael Pineda 10.138
SP Taijuan Walker 11.163
SP Collin McHugh 14.198
SP Clay Buchholz 18.258
SP Nathan Eovaldi 23.343
RP Ken Giles 8.108
RP Jumbo Diaz 22.318
B Orlando Arcia (SS) 17.253
B A.J. Reed (1B) 19.283
B Kevin Quackenbush (RP) 24.348
B Jeremy Jeffress (RP) 25.373
B Derek Holland (SP) 26.378
B Tim Anderson (SS) 29.433

Draft Strategy Overview

  • Err towards power over speed or AVG (will be writing a separate post on why).
  • Try to keep team balanced from a category perspective throughout draft (explained more below).
  • Build upon 2015 research to map out possible draft scenarios leveraging NFBC ADP.

Early Round Notes

  • I had a set strategy for picks #13/#18. Based on my ADP modelling, I felt there was about a 40% chance that Giancarlo Stanton (8%), Anthony Rizzo (25%), or Kris Bryant (18%) would fall to 13th. If one fell, I was taking them otherwise Mookie Betts. If I took Betts, my second pick would have been the best available power 1B between Chris Davis, Jose Abreu, and Edwin Encarnacion. If I got a power bat, I wanted Betts, Marte, Altuve, or Pollock. Fred Zinkie zinkie’d Betts with the 17th pick so I ended up taking Marte.
    • I suspected that Bryant would be the likeliest power bat to fall to #13 since his contact issues seem to turn off most industry folks. I see a young, smart hitter (great eye, studies swing mechanics) with huge power upside.

  • My #3/#4 picks were earmarked for an ace and a power bat OF. There were a lot of ‘ace’ candidates I had at equivalent value. I felt Corey Kluber was the most likely candidate to make it back but he was snagged right before me at the end of a 10 SP in 13 pick run that also snagged one of my fallbacks in Carlos Carrasco. The upside of that is that one of my two preferred bats reached me in Justin Upton (J.D. Martinez was the other). I took Upton 3rd and I got Syndergaard with my 4th pick – surprisingly making me the last team to draft an SP at only pick 48!
  • There weren’t a ton of SP2/SP3 that I liked. I planned on two SPs between the 5th and 11th rounds. With my top 2 SP2s off the board (Cueto, Salazar) by my 5th pick and in need of a 1B, I was in a tough spot as I suspected that both ‘turn’ guys might also be thinking SP/1B with their next two picks (neither had a 1B). Since there were several 1Bs on the board but only one SP I wanted (Lester), I went SP and kept my fingers crossed that Freddie Freeman would make it back to me. Alas, Freeman was snagged and I decided on Fielder over Pujols to help balance out my AVG. Only problem was I failed to realize that Fielder isn’t 1B eligible to start the year (only 18 games at 1B). Durr.
  • I had 7th/8th round as a good time to draft a speedy OF with at least a fighter’s chance at 10 HRs. Polanco and Yelich tended to be the two I drafted in mocks. With Polanco off the board (as well as speed guys Revere and Hamilton), I decided to double-down on last year’s Ellsbury bet in hopes of a 2014 return over Yelich’s AVG-heavy value. I think concerns about Ellsbury’s age + injuries have been accounted for in his price (i.e., his skill set isn’t markedly different than Pollock). Was pleasantly surprised to see that my top two RP candidates survived the turn (Giles, Allen). Went Giles based on gut.

General Notes/Strategy
I am going to re-use my format from last year as most readers preferred it to just a pick-by-pick analysis. (Is it illuminating or surprising in any way that I liked most of my picks?)  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.

In General My Team Observations on Other Teams
Upside vs Reliability Sprinkle upside picks throughout draft, veer towards reliability in early rounds. I am happy with my mix. I got the two prospects that I really wanted for 2016 in A.J. Reed and Orlando Arcia. I have their per game value at $7-8 which is equivalent to 13th round picks. Same goes for my last pick (Tim Anderson) though I feel less confident he gets called up by early June. I also re-thought how I draft the last third and dialed down reliably mediocre end game SPs (last year Porcello, Masterson, Nuno) in favor of Save upside (Diaz, Jeffress, Quackenbush). I was critical last year about a couple teams skewing too far on upside. Not the case this year. No team jumps out as being too risky or risk-averse. MAYBE the BP duo (Mike and Bret) with Springer, B. Hamilton, Hanley, and Buxton? Perhaps a lowish floor but I liked those prices. I considered all those hitters at some point in the draft.
Bouncebacks I like them as long as health not a question mark, skills/age look positive, and properly discounted. Last year’s bouncebacks worked out great (7th round Matt Harvey) and so-so (6th round Jay Bruce). Ellsbury (7th) is my only big bounceback play. Not sure whomelse could even qualify – maybe Ozuna in 13th as a posthype pick? Buchholz in 18th? Puig and Hanley were probably the two other bouncebacks I considered but the timing in the draft just didn’t work. USA Today’s Steve Gardner has three (Rendon, Reyes, V-Mart) but they all seem fairly priced. Same for Collette/Sporer’s Carlos Gomez and Yasiel Puig picks (though I’ll take my 10th/11th round Pineda and T. Walker over their 9th round Stroman).
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’m pretty happy with my balance. A little light in Runs and SBs though I think Orlando Arcia or Tim Anderson will correct the latter. Took on risk with Saves.

I think I value category balance more than others in the draft. Some see this as opposed to value drafting but, by keeping balanced, I CAN grab value throughout draft versus worry about filling needs.

In this format, no guarantee you can fix imbalance in free agency. Trading is tough to count on for some players because if certain types of players keep falling to you, it’s likely you value them more than your competitors and, thus, are unlikely to get equivalent value in a trade (i.e., Mike P. – you are CFCP if you think anyone else values Jarrod Dyson as much as you. I think most feel his O/U on PAs is around 300 and he is an OF who is below average in 4 categories whose skills can be found in free agency.)

This is hard to judge as I’ve found analyzing teams post-draft is generally a waste of time. MLB.com’s Fred Zinkie’s team feels over-invested in AVG vs power (an Altuve/Betts/Cain first 3 picks will do that) but he’ll just make trades. I see it to a similar extent (with less success in AVG) in the Stephania Bell’s team. The BP team and RotoExperts teams look like they’ll be hurting on AVG.
ADP vs “Get Your Guys!” I prefer to wait as long as possible for guys I like but adjust based on draft room dynamics. I reached for Orlando Arcia in the 17th as I got spooked once Trea Turner went off the board. Based on my pick vs ADP, Pineda (+31 picks) and Ozuna (+44 picks) were reaches that I’m comfortable with. No team was a huge offender here. The top reaches (minimum 10 picks above ADP) in the first 4 rounds that my projections weren’t overly bullish on were: 2.11 Todd Frazier, 3.6 Robinson Cano, 4.1 Adrian Gonzalez, 4.12 Kyle Seager, 4.13 Brian Dozier.
Anticipate Other Teams’ Picks When Prioritizing Get ahead of player runs to minimized getting sniped. Picking 13th, I wanted to trust my draft prep with NFBC ADP to anticipate position runs and keep an eye on the rosters of the two teams on the ‘turn’ to minimize getting sniped.

Somewhat surprisingly, I feel I aced the harder of the two jobs and meh on the easier job. I felt totally in control determining who’d come back after the 24 picks to the left of me. I got sniped once (Kluber) but that wasn’t a huge surprise.

But I was sniped several times by the ‘turn’ guys. Fred Zinkie is probably the WORST guy I could’ve asked for here because his penchant for trading gives him the confidence to build his team regardless of category/position balance. He bummed me out taking Betts at #2 when I mentally wrote that off after he took Altuve #1. Maybe I take Hosmer over Fielder at #6. The bigger surprise was sniping Storen as an RP3 when I thought his team screamed for Schoop at #16. Osuna was an expensive handcuff (taken in 20th) but I think Storen is the overwhelming favorite given his crankiness as a set-up guy. He got me on Josh Tomlin in the 26th as well. Like Tomlin and his Robbie Ray pick’s $/GS projections.

USA Today’s Keith Hernandez got me on Freddie Freeman in the 6th (was hoping enough 1Bs on the board)  and surprised me taking Hoover at RP3 in the 20th and David Hernandez at RP4 in the 22nd. I liked the price of the Hoover/Diaz handcuff (Cingrani 3rd in line) and Hernandez was super cheap at that point. I think those ARE good values so can’t criticize the picks but hard to anticipate it. (In retrospect, probably near 100% chance AJ Reed would’ve survived the turn where Hoover was taken. Beltran would not have in the 21st.)

Hard to judge other teams on this.
Hit/Pitch Mix I price at about 65/35 and 26/9 for SP/RP based on NFBC ADP analysis. That’s my general goal. NFBC ADP came through. While last year’s LABR splits were 67.3%/23.4%/9.3%, this year’s were 64.6%/25.9%/ 9.4%. So I had my overall values ranked perfectly. My team splits were 65/29/6 – better than last year’s 60/26/15 which required a RP for Bat trade in May to balance things. Will cover RP in ‘Closers’ section. The highest Hit% were FanGraphs’ Mike Podhorzer’s 71/29 and FantasyFix’s Alan Harrison at 68/32. USA Today Fantasy’s Keith Hernandez had the highest Pitch% at 58/42 with Todd Zola second at 60/40 (note: he drafted Kershaw #4).  The most perilous is probably Hernandez’s but it could be rectified by trading a closer for a hitter (like I did last year)
Closers My position on Closers seems to change a bit every year. Given how many unresolved closer situations there are, I wanted to secure a good RP1 and go cheap on RP2 to minimize risk. Invest in end game on closer candidates. I went into the draft confident that I can get a solid closer at pick #8. Very happy with Giles (and could’ve had Allen or Rosenthal). I considered Tolleson at #11 and Casilla at #14 but wanted to invest less. As noted above, got surprise turn-sniped on Storen, Hoover, and Hernandez. Oh well. I think Diaz, Jeffress, and Quackenbush all have a chance at being named closers to begin the season. One plus is that I invested the third least pick value in RP (6%) so could spend elsewhere. Also, the amount of unsettled closer situations made it near impossible to handcuff. Different owners for Reds, Brewers, Padres, Blue Jays, Marlins, Braves and Mariners RPs!!! FG’s Collette/Sporer invested the most $ in RPs with a 7th/8th on Britton/Allen. Both were solid values. BHQ, RotoExperts, and Jeff Erickson of Rotowire were the only other teams to invest two top 10 picks in RP. Steve Gardner surprisingly left the draft with zero closers – just Betances, Herrera, and Gregerson. Imagine he’ll be aggressive on FAAB for closers. Hard to say whom else might be short a closer come opening day.

Crazy note: last year’s winners didn’t draft any closers.

Middle Infielders Pay no premiums for ‘scarce’ positions. Stay patient. Adjust player choices based on offensive category balance. I like Daniel Murphy in the 12th round. I think he’ll be a solid 4-category contributor this year with power upside based on his 2H change in approach. Considered Schoop in 16th but satisfied with Forsythe in 20th as Schoop seems destined for bottom 1/3rd of lineup. Took fliers on two speedy SS prospects (Arcia, Anderson) with no one blocking them on their rosters. Grabbed Gregorius at end of draft as a fill-in. Fill-in plus SAGNOF prospect for SS was the plan going in. 13.8% of pick value spent on 2B/SS where I valued it at 11.3%. This was almost all due to the market valuing SS 50% more than me (6.9% vs my 4.6%). The most overpriced in my eyes were Tulo and Corey Seager.
Catchers I like to punt Catchers. The demands of the position lead to greater injury risk and more volatile offensive numbers IMO. I liked a couple of Catchers that I thought I might be able to snag in 12th-14th round but couldn’t get the price I wanted. Was fine with Hundley in the 15th as C1 and took advantage of similar C2 punters with Navarro to start the 28th as 5 other catchers taken before my 29th. I only have Navarro down for 271 PAs but have his $/G ($ per game started) as 16th among catchers with PA projections above 250. If/when Avila gets hurt…. I valued Catchers at only 2.3% of pick value while the ‘room’ spent 5.7%. The only catchers drafted in the first half of the draft that went close to what I feel is their position-neutral value were Schwarber in the 4th (though I’d have preferred Gomez or A. Jones in that slot), Sal Perez in 9th and my Hundley pick.
Starting Pitchers Draft quality and quantity. Mix upside and consistency. I am happy with my top 6 SPs in Syndergaard, Lester, Pineda, Walker, McHugh, and Buchholz. Perhaps it’s a bit riskier from a ‘floor’ and injury perspective than ideal but I like the per start projections. I feel I paid the ‘injury’ discount for Pineda and Buchholz (who I both have at around 160 IP). Eovaldi and Holland are okay SP depth – if healthy, they’ll be usable in most weeks. Would not have minded grabbing a 9th SP if the value was there but I prefer the lottery ticket on Tim Anderson with pick 29 versus a marginal SP (would have taken Josh Tomlin if still on the table). Will work FAAB hard for SPs like just about everyone. On the quality side, I’ve got Zola’s team as the clear #1 (mine is #2 fwiw and that’s not much since it’s inherently biased). I have him spending the most too. I have the two FanGraphs squads and Zinkie’s as the least valuable but they also spent the least. Best bang for buck (besides me) was BHQ. Worst bang for buck was Sporer/Collette’s team (I said something similar last year and was proved right – still willing to give some benefit of doubt given Sporer’s SP research). On quantity, the average was 8.7 SPs so I was near the average. The two newbies (Alan @ Fantasy Fix and Howard Bender @ Fantasy Alarm) went with 6 SPs – no one else less than 8. Rookie move.

If I’m not on record with this, let this serve as official notice that using projections to determine pre-season standings is almost a complete waste of time. The only thing I like about it is to see the category (im)balance of each team. That said, might as well share what my $ values are for all the participants. This is just positive dollar value ($0+) of all drafted players using my mixed league 15 team rankings. This ignores any type of ‘balance’ – figuring imbalanced teams can always trade strengths for weaknesses. I’m also showing the FantasyPros standings that are based on only projected starting rosters. Some additional caveats:

  1. Every capable drafter’s team should show up #1 if they do this exercise so don’t read any hubris into the below.
  2. I adjusted my hit/pitch mix from 67/33 (version on the site) down to about 64.5/35.5 based on ADP research
  3. I only ensure that 15 catchers have positive value so teams that invested more in catcher would probably argue that I underprice their catcher investments.
  4. This type of exercise will ding teams that I project have playing time or injury concerns – e.g., Michael Brantley + 1 month of a replacement is greater value than my $ value which basically assumes you start no replacement in April. It also values prospects like my Reed and Arcia at $0. That is why I report $/Game in my pre-season projections but that would be misleading to include for this exercise since it doesn’t distinguish between guys like Brantley/Darvish who are projected to miss a little time vs a platoon hitter vs a prospect with TBD call-up date, etc.
Team Sum of $ ($0+) FantasyPros Rank
Razzball – Rudy 307.7 9
FNTSY – Anderson 288.5 7
Mastersball – Zola 286.5 1
Baseball Prospectus 269.9 2
Fantasy Alarm – Bender 269.4 4
MLB.com – Zinkie 264.2 3
Rotowire – Erickson 261.6 13
RotoExperts – Ciely 259.9 5
Fangraphs – Podhorzer 254.8 12
USA TODAY – Gardner 251.7 8
TheFantasyFix – Harrison 251.3 6
ESPN.com – Bell 247.0 11
USA TODAY – Hernandez 244.1 10
BaseballHQ – Murphy 233.8 14
Fangraphs – Sporer/Collette 229.1 15

 

 

  1. The great knoche says:
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    Nice work. Only team I liked as much as yours when I first glanced was Doug Andersons and it looks like that’s how you pegged it also. (Or close anyways)

    • thx. doug’s got a really solid first couple rounds and made some solid, non-flashy picks throughout draft.

  2. Cram It says:
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    That was a lot of words. But I read it!

    • The great Knoche says:
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      @Cram It: how long did you spend trying to sound out LABR?

      • Cram It says:
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        @The great Knoche: Enough to come to the conclusion that it sounds the most fun when pronounced “lab-er”. “lah-bre” came in a close second.

        • jiveballer says:
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          @Cram It:

          nice try, but its correct pronunciation is “Steve”.

  3. Mike says:
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    I looked at Grey’s rankings for Arcia and Anderson. Anderson looks like the better prospect. Next year with both having starting jobs would you think Anderson would be the better player.

    • Tough to say. I think Arcia is the safer bet b/c he’s the better fielder and avg/obp guy. Better chance IMO of hitting at top of lineup given rest of team. They have similar long-term hope for some power (both 6’1″) and SBs (Anderson plus-plus speed to Arcia’s plus speed).

  4. Knew I was going to be mentioned for my plethora of speed! You’re right, certainly not getting value for Dyson and never expected to. He’d be a poor choice to dangle for more power.

    Still not sure why you don’t adjust values for position. Also why only ensure 15 catchers earn positive value?

    Oh and agreed that this was a far more interesting and thoughtful write up than the standard recap, including my own. I paid far less attention to other rosters and predicting who others would pick than you, simply because it would have been too difficult without setting up another worksheet to track rosters.

    • Ha. Yeah, I would’ve let Dyson slide if you didn’t mention it in your post yesterday! Who else (behind FG readers) is going to try and help set up an intervention for you on your inflated speed values?! We just want to help.

      I’m writing up a sequel to https://razzball.com/position-adjustments/ to help explain my ‘meritocratic’ valuation method. Doubt it will convince any ‘perts but hopefully some of our readers. But it’ll make you think at least (even when we disagree, i imagine our articles can entertain one another b/c whomelse spends as much time thinking about this stuff).

      Thanks. I just cut/paste everyone’s picks into my war room and vlooked up in my $ values. Insert pivot table. Voila. Took about 15 minutes. Only did it because I thought it might have editorial value.

      • @Rudy Gamble: I wish I could argue more about my valuation being right and most others being wrong. But I didn’t create the system, I just follow the guide Todd Zola published over a decade ago! I know I’m not following it wrong, so perhaps his system is just flawed. I know why the speed values are inflated and it makes intuitive sense to me. But perhaps I’m missing something as to why it’s still inaccurate.

        As I did with that whole valuation system test last year, wish there was an easy way to test these so we learn the truth. Because we still can’t prove which system is most accurate and I feel like there should be a way to do so.

        • Mrrr says:
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          @Mike Podhorzer:

          Is there more variance in the projected vs. actual speed based results? I worked up both Rudy’s and Pod’s projections for NFBC last year using SGP and Z scores and I couldn’t figure out the speed value inflation either.

          I’ve moved towards Rudy’s ideas of valuing off one catcher due to injury and variance at the position and not position adjusting. He’s convinced me and the numbers work out.

          • I did some comparisons with Mike last year and recall that our SB values aren’t far off. I think the issue is that these speedsters’ shit HR/RBI isn’t penalized enough.

  5. TheTinDoor says:
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    I really like Bender’s team, except for (oddly) his #1 pick McCutcheon…

    Can you clarify on how you value Catchers? Only 15 have positive value…you punt them… and you mention which players came close to “position neutral”.

    Every year I struggle with it when building my valuations. Position-neutral, they’re pretty much ALL overpriced… adjusting them to $1 puts them too high. I usually just eyeball it somewhere in the middle so that nobody seems too high…

    • For my player raters/$ valuation code, I put in something that ensures that the 15th catcher in a 15 team league (12th in a 12 team league, etc.) gets $1 value and I give all other catchers that ‘bonus’. It’s really small. Like $2.

      I’m working up another post on this subject. Last year’s (https://razzball.com/position-adjustments/) was pretty good I think in providing some perspective.

      The best advice I can give for catchers in a snake draft league is – no matter how you value catchers – target catchers where the discount is greatest based on ADP (or, if you’re lower than all, the premium is smallest). If this leads to targeting, say, 2 catchers in the first half of the draft, you need to ask yourself is Catcher where I want to invest all that pick value? Grey and I are both on the same page as saying hell no.

      If you look at LABR, note that because so many teams punt 2nd catcher, there is a collusion-like benefit where earlier picks can be invested on other positions at no opportunity cost. That’s not the case w/ any other roster slot.

      • TheTinDoor says:
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        @Rudy Gamble: Thanks for the link, I remember loving that piece last year.

        The big challenge is that differing valuation methodologies produce different acquisition costs (values) , but the stats purchased ultimately decide the standings. So this kind of stuff really matters. Mis-pricing preseason will lead to a high marginal value during the draft (look at all these bargains on Catchers!) but ultimately result in buying fewer stats.

        I understand the math of setting all replacement players to $1. But in practice, I think it ultimately results in buying too little production.

        Not to mention, living & dying by the pre-season $ value places too much faith in projections that we KNOW will hit or miss on individual players… I spent two years drafting the Schechter way and have abandoned it as too reliant on projections/values, which are inherently unpredictable.

        • I think we are on same page here regarding catchers and marginal value. Regarding infallibility of projections, yeah it is true but it is the best player valuing foundation there is.

          • TheTinDoor says:
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            @Rudy Gamble: Right, we have to use projections for valuations. My point is that if we know the projections are hit or miss for individual players… drafting purely on projected $ value isn’t optimal. With the Schecter method, acquiring the most value is the optimal goal. But that value is based on our ability to predict the future, which is limited!

            If we were drafting 2015 stats, agnostically drafting purely on marginal value would win the league. For 2016…

            I’m not trying to argue an arcane point here. I’m trying to articulate my theory of why all the stuff that’s NOT projecting players ultimately plays a huge role in winning leagues, and why deviating from what the math (based on guesses about the future) says is more rational than I once thought.

            • yup, i can see that. i’ve been trying this year to identify some guys whose values might be undervalued. higher upside in later rounds. etc.

              if i wanted to max my $, i would’ve drafted Melky Cabrera, Matt Adams, and Rick Porcello :)

  6. Zeus says:
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    You worried about Giles not being the closer? I’ve read that the Astros might use Giles where needed and not as a traditional closer. Also you prefer Jumbo to Hoover? I do like Jefress though as I think he may end up w the job.

    Other than that good job w the draft.

    • I’m not really worried about Giles being the closer. I’d say right now he has a 90-95% chance. Gregerson is a solid reliever but I think he profiles as having worse RH/LH splits than Giles. I like Gregerson in the 7th/8th where I can potentially avoid tough lefty hitters. His career splits and 2015 #s don’t scream out that he has weakness vs LH (and he’s been quite good at avoiding HRs) but I’d project it as worse than Giles.

      That said, those quotes in the last day from Gregerson and Giles would’ve been enough to scare me into taking Cody Allen at that spot if the draft was today.

  7. Grey

    Grey says:
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    Dare I say, your team looks downright Grey-ish… You’re learning, grasshopper. *lifts creme de menthe cocktail that I was speaking to*

    • Thank you sensei *speaks to an image of a sake, Shochu, and cucumber concoction that came up when I google sensei cocktail for this joke*

      • Grey

        Grey says:
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        Nice! *watches as Cougs walks past with a poster of Nice, France*

        • Ha! *leafing through the cable channel listings in a 1990 TV Guide*

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      @Grey: Creme de Menthe gives me childhood flashbacks to sneaking into my parents’ liquor cabinet *shudders*

      • Grey

        Grey says:
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        Cupboards in my house had Benson and Hedges stashed

      • Zeus says:
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        @Big Magoo: my house had a lot of Raki/ouzo. I cant even smell anise without dry heaving now

      • J-FOH says:
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        @Big Magoo: J&B scotch was my dad’s and Jim beam was my moms. Not the best choices around

    • Zeus says:
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      @Grey: a little early in the day for that isn’t it Norma Desmond?

      • Grey

        Grey says:
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        I often quote her

        • Zeus says:
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          @Grey: speaking of Gloria Swanson did you see Deadpool?

          • Grey

            Grey says:
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            I haven’t seen it yet, though that might be overemphasizing my enthusiasm for it… I doubt I ever see it

            • Zeus says:
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              @Grey: I enjoyed it but I enjoy pecker jokes. The reason I ask is we were getting into weird references. I saw a matinee in a theatre with all punk teens and they didn’t get a few of the jokes. One I particualry gafawed at was right before a scene of bloodletting there was a Are You There God It’s me Margaret. Reference

  8. dr y says:
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    great write up

  9. Big Magoo

    Big Magoo says:
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    I think rtsports might’ve pulled the ol’ okie-doke with Fielder. He’s color-coded as a 1B on their draft board, but apparently not eligible there. Should’ve been listed as a DH like Ortiz, Morales, and V-Mart. Give em hell!

    Mentioned to you earlier that I really like your McHugh pick. Gives you another 200 inning SP to pair with Lester. Should be very solid.

    Lots of late offensive upside with Tomas, Arcia, Reed, and Anderson. If two of those players pan out, you’re in good shape.

    I like what Alan Harrison did in the first half of the draft before he fell in love with middle infielders, prospects, and RP cuffs in the second half. Definitely a rookie move to only draft 6 SPs too like you mentioned.

    Great job. Looks like you’ll be in the mix.

    • thx magoo. i just use the RTSports software to search for players to add to queue/draft board so the color-coding only comes into play after the pick. so the error really is on me and my prep work. that said, was very fortunate i looked at my in-progress roster to see Fielder anchored in that U spot. got good ol’ Duda for some cheap power (i keep hearing people on podcast talk about Trumbo who has huge playing time concerns since Kim and prolly Fowler added to the roster).

      lester/mchugh are in place to reduce the risk inherent w/ Thor/Pineda/Walker. i’ll be opportunistic throughout season w/ SPs on FAAB.

      I’ll take 2 of those 4 working out! My offense wasn’t too bad last year and that’s with Ellsbury #2 and Danny “I should’ve known better” Santana. (that said, got a $1 SS-eligible Matt Duffy in May!). Agreed on Alan’s draft. Goldy/Crash/deGrom is great.

  10. dr y says:
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    Was there some confusion during the draft as to whether Grey or Rudy was drafting? I listedn to Sporer & Collette recap and swore they talking about razzball’s draft being hitter heavy early and it wasn’t a surprise because thats what Grey does?

    I could easily have just misunderstood or misheard

    • I listened to it and I heard Rudy.

  11. Scooter G says:
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    I know you usually like to punt catcher but I see you have K Swarber in the top 30 players. Could you have seen yourself drafting him around pick 30 or a bit later if he was still there?

    • The value is there but no. Really set on 3/4 picks. Just want less risky bets there. Definitely possible that playing time gets affected because of talent logjam (or they can’t stand his defense)

      • J-FOH says:
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        @Rudy Gamble: or that he can’t hit lefties.

        • The Great Knoche says:
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          @J-FOH: Yup.

        • Zeus says:
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          @J-FOH: it amazes me that people don’t realize his manager loves platoons.

  12. J-FOH says:
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    I enjoyed peeping on the draft. I was getting tattooed while I watched and when you took Ellsburys I grimaced and let out a screech. Tattoo artist looked at me and asked if I was ok. Told him my buddy just drafted ellsbury and this it wasn’t him. He responded with what’s a draft and who the hell is ellsbury. Good times.

    I love the middle infield directive. Like a middle class revolutionary that plots his plan to give grain to the people and occupy the mansion of power, because you know they are middle class and could never live a peasants life, you executed your plan perfectly and now we can air drop flyers for the revolt. Viva los rudy!

    • I wish u were JFOL for Ellsbury

      • J-FOH says:
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        @Rudy Gamble: maybe if I got into a DeLorean and went back to 2011, that was half a decade ago

          • J-FOH says:
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            @Rudy Gamble: well Id also like to see my daughter when she was 3 again

      • Zeus says:
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        @Rudy Gamble: I’m pretty sure he’s jacked full of love to Jacoby

  13. Kiss a Bum says:
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    I love listening to fantasy podcasts while i go for a jog. The problem is I use up expensive data with 4G. Is there an app to use that doesnt require internet access? Thanks

    • Zeus says:
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      @Kiss a Bum: are you a time traveller from the year 2008?

    • Anti-E says:
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      @Kiss a Bum:

      You want to download something without using the internet? Let me know if you find something

    • Charles says:
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      @Kiss a Bum: download the podcast when you’re in a WiFi network. Then play when you’re out without using data. I use the basic Podcasts app and that works fine for me.

  14. Anti-E says:
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    Hey Rudy, do you have any NFBC strategy, or know of an article, that explains roughly how many to draft at each position?

    • Anti-E says:
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      @Anti-E: in your 2013 article you post how many the average person drafted in your league, but I was wondering if you have any other advice on how many you SHOULD draft at each position

      • What format – 15 team, 50 picks?

        • Anti-E says:
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          @Rudy Gamble: yes. no trades/adds

          • I won mine last year with this breakdown: 5 C / 4 1B / 3 2B / 3 SS / 2 3B / 11 OF / 17 SP / 5 RP. A few multi-pos guys in there.

  15. Sport says:
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    Absolutely loved reading this. I think over think draft strategy sometimes going into it, get caught up seeing players slide and get off my strategy. I really appreciate the inside look at your strategy and thoughts.

    Thank you for taking the time to share. It probably took forever to organize all your thoughts!

    Good luck. I hope your team does well.

    • Glad you enjoyed it!

  16. RICO says:
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    I killed Sporer last year for his draft over at fangraphs, he got all nasty with me but when all was said and done I was proven correct. Hope your friends with the guy.

    • All you said was that his team sucked and he didn’t appreciate your feedback. Bastard!

      I like Paul and Jason. Only bad thing I can say is that I disagree with their Austin BBQ choices. They go to Iron Works. That was good in like 2000! Gotta do J. Mueller if you can’t stand the Franklin’s line!

  17. Nice wrap, Rudy. My “rookie move” was due to an unfortunate bouncing from the draft room….twice. Starters were lined up to be frafted while Cingrani & Hudson resided in my queue. Easy drops for free agent starters. Looking forward to a great season!

    • Thanks and welcome aboard! I do remember that during the draft – sorry about that. I told Steve hazing isn’t cool during the last LABR keg party but he’s the BMOC. At least he didn’t pull the old “sorry you drafted the other Matt Duffy” trick on you.

  18. The discarded head of Ted Williams says:
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    Been seeing this draft all over the internets. I like your draft a lot!

    By far, vary far, the most interesting write up on it I have read so far. Like… None others were even close.

    • Thanks – means a lot from Teddy Ballgame’s head! Doing my best to inspire recaps that go beyond ‘I like my team’. :)

  19. Owen Simring says:
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    Love love love the analysis, Rudy. I’ve been a Fangraphs monger for so long now that I’ve forgotten what other opinions taste like. Still love ‘graphs of course, it’s just great to read analysis from a fresh new perspective.

    Are there any expert auction drafts taking place over the next couple months that you and/or Grey will be a part of? I exclusively participate in auction drafts and have been doing a lot of mocks recently to prepare. From those mocks, I’ve been left with some existential strategic queries that are begging to be addressed with a similarly-styled post.

    Biggest issue for me right now is figuring out how league format (shallow, deep, and everything in between) affects the optimal spread in dollars among position players (basically when to go stars and scrubs v depth). Just something to maybe address in a future article. Thanks.

    • Thanks! I am a fan of fangraphs/rotographs as well. We have AL and NL only auctions coming up next week. Don’t think either of us are in a mixed league auction this year. Feel strong about my $ though with the enhancements made beginning of last year.

      Optimal spread is relative to room. If folks go overboard on stars/scrubs, I spread the $ around for depth. If folks play it right (like In LABR/Tout), I think u look for values throughout draft with a spread not unlike a snake draft (one 1st round value, etc). More flex to do 3 3rd round vs 3/4/5.

      Will consider a post if I get into a mixed auction…

  20. Amolnar says:
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    Rudy, I have a question about my league and auction values based on how many bench spots we have and how the league is structured. Hope you can help.

    The league is standard scoring ROTO 5×5. The big difference I see from a lot of other leagues is our bench and positions. We can carry as many pitchers as we want and there is no innings limit. There are 18 starting position spots and 10 bench spots. Offensive positions are: C, 1b, 2b, 3b, SS, OF, OF, OF, Util, Util. Everyone in the league usually just has 2 to 3 offensive bench players leaving the rest to SP’s. Sometimes people roll with just 1 bench player on offense. Then they load up on as many SP as possible to get as many strikeouts and wins as possible.

    Really, I just need advice on how I would adjust the auction values for something like this. Or something general, like add $5 to all the SP because there are none available on the waiver wire.

    Thanks

    • Okay – standard yahoo league so start with my preseason $ depending on league size (under player rater in top menu).

      You could adjust the hit/pitch split from 67/33 to something more pitcher-friendly. Not hard to do in excel. That really won’t do much though. I think SP $ set at about 24% (9% to RP). Let’s say you boost SP to 30%. You increase sp $ by 25%. So a $2 pitcher now worth $2.50. Whoopdie doo! I don’t like adding a flat amount to each pitcher either. $5 for a $1 pitcher isn’t smart.

      You look for solid SP1-SP5 values like normal and then you focus your prep on knowing the deep values. There isn’t a lot of consensus there. Your great end game guy isn’t on the radar of other teams.

      The two types u want are:
      1) guys who I project at higher $ than adp/default price says and don’t have terribly lower $/G (which is a tell that you are paying for durability/security vs performance)
      2) low $ guys with nice $/G. These guys are the best breakout bets but hard to chalk them down as 175 IP guys. I noted two in this post (Robbie ray and josh Tomlin).

      Hope that helps!

      • Amolnar says:
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        @Rudy Gamble:

        Well it also is a keeper league. We can sign contracts up to 5 years for 10 players on your team each year. So, I was debating signing Kershaw, who is valued at $40 past a 1 year contract. Arrieta, is only like $17 and with $4 increases in contracts from year to year I want to know what he is worth today and if I should possibly sign him to a 3-4 year contract.

        • Go to my yahoo preseason player rater or his player page for his 2016 value. Not sure established aces are the best contract investment of everyone is throwing 1400+ IP but arrieta certainly better. Prolly stick with 3 year if u could

  21. Brian England says:
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    Rudy
    Nice team. I have a keeper league question

    who would you keep (4) in 5X5 12 H & 7 P Yahoo from this list

    Name
    Albert Pujols LAA – 1B
    Craig Kimbrel Bos – RP
    Francisco Lindor Cle – SS
    Jason Heyward ChC – OF
    Jay Bruce Cin – OF
    José Altuve Hou – 2B Yes
    Kyle Schwarber ChC – C,OF
    Todd Frazier CWS – 3B Yes

    • Altuve, Heyward, Lindor, Schwarber. Frazier is the toughest cut.

      • Brian England says:
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        Thanks Rudy You & Grey matched on 3 LOL

        • Did he take Frazier over lindor? That was the tough call for me and can see going that route.

          • Brian England says:
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            Yes & I more than likely will also as I think you gain a tad more than you give up taking Frazier

      • Brian England says:
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        Kept these 4 & added Xander Bogaerts with my 1st pick thus swapping Lindor for him so I think I came out ahead

        José Altuve Hou – 2B Yes
        Kyle Schwarber ChC – C,OF
        Todd Frazier CWS – 3B Yes
        Jason Heyward

  22. SwaggerJackers says:
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    1) Nice draft Rudy. Haters gonna hate on the Ellsbury pick but you got him outside the top 100. Synder/Lester is a combo I’ve been landing a couple times in mocks so far. I feel okay with that.
    2) Can’t wait for your Pitchers to Avoid Post. I didn’t take it seriously enough last year and ended up drafting Latos because he kept falling. What a terrible, terrible pitcher to own.
    3) Care to help me pick 5 keepers?

    10 Team Roto, $260 auction
    OBP instead of AVG, QS instead of W
    Keepers increase in price by $3 each year.

    Rizzo ($26)
    Chris Davis ($24)
    Dee Gordon ($20)
    Abreu ($17)
    Bautista ($16)
    Arrieta ($16)
    Bogaerts ($11)
    Pollock ($9)
    Salazar ($4)

    • Thanks. Rizzo. Arrieta. Pollock. Salazar. Abreu.

      • SwaggerJackers says:
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        @Rudy Gamble: Thanks man. You and Grey are both down on Bautista this season but I think I’ll roll the dice one more time in this OBP format.

        That being said, would you choose Arrieta or Salazar as your lone pitcher to walk into the draft with? Salazar would be the long term play since he’d be $7 to keep next season.

        • whomever came at the bigger discount based on my player rater $.

          i wouldn’t say i’m down on bautista – espec. in OBP league.

  23. Dirk Sportspitz says:
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    A whole lot of NYC bias went to that draft table.

    • Which picks are you referring to? I was surprised how many Yankees I ended up with but the only guy I reached for a bit was Pineda (~12th round ADP).

  24. SwaggerJackers says:
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    I finally pulled the trigger and signed up for the full season roto pass. Thanks for setting up all these tools Rudy.

    FYI, the tutorial video has some audio issues. It gets hard to hear at various points.

    • thanks. yeah, had some audio issues w/ Streamonator one that i ironed out with Hittertron. can’t believe how much time those take!

  25. Matt says:
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    Hi Rudy – you grabbed O. Arcia and T. Anderson. Where does JP Crawford figure into that equation? If all three are available is he behind the others? Asking because I plan to use your SS approach and I think Grey had Crawford above the other two in the positional rankings. Thanks.

    • He is definitely behind them. Not projected for power or speed. Might as well draft Didi gregorius

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