Between preparing for drafts and actually doing the drafts I’d be lying if I said I feel refreshed now that it’s over. In fact I’m quite exhausted and have found myself walking around in a zombie-like fashion the past two weeks. And it doesn’t help that I don’t drink coffee. Never have. Most people find it fascinating when I tell them that at 42 years of age I have never had a single drop. It’s just not my cup of tea. I mean coffee. Whatever. Truth be told, drafting season is my favorite part of the whole experience. Watching the season play out is often stressful, disappointing and underwhelming. This is generally true even during successful championship seasons. Anticipation is often greater than realization. I’m looking forward to watching Carlos Correa, Trevor Story and Javier Baez fall far short of their ADPs.

Do you know how I know that The Walking Dead has jumped the proverbial shark? The fact that I have three unwatched episodes in my DVR. Like Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead has been one of the few shows that I watch live. I can’t quite explain the exact reason for my lack of interest, but I’m thinking it has to do with the lack of Rick Grimes. Don’t get me wrong, Daryl is pretty awesome, but he can’t carry the show on his own. Maggie’s on another show drinking whiskey or something, Carol and her long hair look like something from Tales From The Crypt, Negan is a crybaby and they killed Jesus. Is it just me or do any of you feel the show slipping as well?

Time to do a little reflecting on my primary points league drafts.

League #1: 10-Team Head-to-Head Points League Snake Draft (CBS)

This is the league that probably means the most to me. This is our 19th season and we are still going strong with eight of the original owners still onboard. Some of you probably didn’t even know what fantasy baseball was when this league started in year Y2K. This league, like just about any other, has its flaws, but we’ve managed to evolve enough to keep things going. In our 19 years I have four championships, three second place and two third place finishes. My pimp hand is strong in this league.

My biggest complaint with this league is that the scoring system is heavily skewed towards starting pitchers, but given that it’s a keeper league, the scoring system is never going to change as that would blowup the hard work teams have done to curate their keepers. Just to give you an idea, Mike Trout and Mookie Betts are projected to score about 575 points while Max Scherzer is at 770. Based on my 2019 projected fantasy points, there are only five hitters in the top 40.

This puts a premium on starting pitchers. Or does it? Hitters are more reliable than starting pitchers making them much safer picks. The way I look at it is that the top ten players in this league are Trout, Betts and then about eight top starters. Once you get past the “sure thing” aces, there are a lot of pitchers that have the potential to score a lot of points. This includes pitchers such as Patrick Corbin, Jameson Taillon, Jack Flaherty, Mike Clevinger and Jose Berrios. That list could go on, but the point is that while all of these pitchers are projected to score more points than hitters like Ronald Acuña, Daniel Murphy, Whit Merrifield and Charlie Blackmon, that doesn’t mean they should be drafted first. I would be drafting any of those hitters over any those pitchers.

The other gotcha in this league is that it is a keep forever league. You have to keep six players and you can keep any six no matter how many years you’ve kept them and there is no draft pick penalty/charge. This is what I meant when I mentioned that changing the scoring system would wreak havoc on teams that have strategically collected specific keepers based on the scoring system. Changing the scoring system immediately changes the value of nearly every player.

My six keepers (in no particular order) were Corey Kluber, Gerrit Cole, Stephen Strasburg, Paul Goldschmidt, Freedie Freeman and Francisco Lindor. We can also keep two minor league players. My two are Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Jo Adell. Not a bad starting squad. I finished second last year so I had the second to last pick (9th) pick. However, I made a trade last year to acquire Kluber that included me giving away my first round pick. So technically my first pick wasn’t until the second pick of the second round (pick 12). Once you factor in the sixty keepers, my first pick was really an 8th round pick.

Here are my draft picks:

Name POS FPTS FVARz Rank ADP Score Pick ADP-V Rk-V
Corey Kluber SP 697 3.29 11 10 -1 K
Francisco Lindor SS 491 2.95 12 14 2 K
Freddie Freeman 1B 462 2.80 14 30 16 K
Gerrit Cole SP 651 2.77 15 18 3 K
Paul Goldschmidt 1B 439 2.38 26 17 -9 K
Stephen Strasburg SP 521 1.31 75 57 -18 K
Vladimir Guerrero 3B 389 0.87 114 81 -33 K
J.T. Realmuto C 339 2.90 13 43 30 72 29 59
Robinson Cano 2B 393 1.79 47 85 38 89 4 42
Andrew McCutchen OF 375 1.00 101 117 16 91 -26 -10
Chris Archer SP 503 1.12 92 102 10 109 7 17
Michael Conforto OF 362 0.79 116 133 9 111 -14 -5
Carlos Santana 1B 427 2.14 34 131 97 129 -2 95
Kirby Yates RP 456 1.17 86 164 78 131 -33 45
Ender Inciarte OF 370 0.93 110 180 70 149 -31 39
Jesse Winker OF 337 0.38 160 193 33 151 -42 -9
Julio Teheran SP 431 0.32 168 173 5 169 -4 1
Brad Peacock SP/RP 313 -1.01 340 181 -159 171 -10 -169
Nomar Mazara OF 341 0.44 153 168 15 189 21 36
Matt Strahm RP 290 -0.27 209 201 61 191 -9 -18
Arodys Vizcaino RP 366 0.39 157 186 29 209 23 52
Tyler White 1B 309 -0.06 211 245 34 211 -14 0
Jake Junis SP 434 0.35 163 239 76 229 -10 66
Jose Martinez OF 303 -0.20 227 199 -28 231 32 4
Garrett Hampson 2B/SS 286 -0.64 286 280 14 249 -53 -17
Carlos Rodon SP 380 -0.26 236 219 -17 251 32 15
Byron Buxton OF 246 -1.15 362 199 -163 256 57 -106

First a quick explanation of the table above. FPTS (fantasy points), FVARz (fantasy value above replacement), RANK (overall league specific rank), ADP (average draft position), Score (ADP minus Rank which represents the value you will get from drafting that player at his ADP based on his value in your league), Pick (which pick I used to select the player), ADP-V (Pick minus ADP which represents the value I got for drafting the player when I did versus his ADP), Rank-V (Rank minus ADP which represents the value I got for drafting the player when I did versus his overall league rank).

For a point of reference, here are the first 11 players drafted (in order) before my first pick.

Kris Bryant, Charlie Blackmon, Zach Greinke, Jack Flaherty, Rhys Hoskins, Khris Davis, Jesus Aguilar, Edwin Diaz, Masahiro Tanaka, Jameson Taillon and Blake Treinen. If you are wondering why a few of those names were not keepers that’s because some teams have more the six keeper worthy players. I had to decide between Strasburg and Greinke and even though I had Greinke projected with a few more points, I am foolishly hoping that this is the year Strasburg stays healthy. I know. I know. Fool me once. Also, given our “keep forever” platform I factored age into the equation. I’m actually hoping Strasburg comes out firing on all cylinders (as they say) so I can trade him as Vlad Jr. will become by 6th keeper next season. But I digress.

Let’s take a quick look at the picks in the first round, none of which were made by me.

Name POS FPTS FVARz Rank ADP Score Pick ADP-V Rk-V
Kris Bryant OF/3B 427 1.87 44 37 -7 61 24 17
Charlie Blackmon OF 450 2.25 30 32 2 62 30 32
Zack Greinke SP 558 1.73 49 51 2 63 12 14
Jack Flaherty SP 504 1.12 91 72 -19 64 -8 -27
Rhys Hoskins OF 439 2.07 37 32 -5 65 33 28
Khris Davis DH 395 1.34 73 54 -19 66 12 -7
Jesus Aguilar 1B 340 0.51 146 113 -33 67 -46 -79
Edwin Diaz RP 575 2.20 33 70 37 68 -2 35
Masahiro Tanaka SP 486 0.93 109 76 -33 69 -7 -40
Jameson Taillon SP 522 1.33 74 76 2 70 -6 -4
Blake Treinen RP 515 1.68 51 73 22 71 -2 20

The first two were no-brainers. Bryant and Blackmon would have been keepers on several of the teams. However, I would have taken Blackmon with the first pick instead of Bryant. I knew Greinke would be taken in the first round, I just wasn’t sure when. Had I looked at each teams’ keepers it would have been obvious as the team that drafted him only had one SP keeper. It was probably the right decision for him, but I would have wanted to take Hoskins whom I had ranked higher. The Flaherty pick was a little bit early (ADP: 72, Pick: 64, Rank: 91). But that’s the thing, no one else in the league had my spreadsheet so they had him ranked right about 72. That means he wouldn’t have gotten back to him had he waited another round. Throw in what I’ve already said about the weight of SPs and this pick make a lot of sense. I wouldn’t have made it, but I do understand it.

Hoskins was a great pick. Not that it took much skill, but getting him here yielded tremendous value. Khris Davis was right on par given ADP expectations. That brings us to Jesus Aguilar. Terrible pick. Awful. Seriously. I literally laughed when it happened. His ADP was 113 and his rank was even worse at 146. This guy would have been available until the 4th, 5th and maybe even 6th round. This team lost a ton of value in the first round by making this pick. One team’s loss is another team’s find.

Edwin Diaz is the consensus top closer. Personally I’m never going to draft a closer this early, but from a purely value pick perspective this was a good pick.

This next pick, Masahiro Tanaka, was another that I was very surprised (and happy) to see. I love it when people make shitty picks and leave better players for me to potentially draft. This was another, I need a starting pitcher and ADP says Tanaka is the guy. Personally I would have taken Taillon. And if I hadn’t traded away my first round pick this would have been my pick and I would have taken Taillon. Based on ADP and Rank, Taillon would have been a good selection. Had I taken Taillon, however, I would have been leaving a better pick on the board based on draft value. I’m bummed I missed out on Taillon as the next team drafted him rounding out the first ten picks, but as a result I believe I was forced to make that better pick.

I was really hoping to snag Taillon with my first pick. This league rewards starting pitchers and I’m feeling good about him this year and beyond. My spreadsheet said he was a good pick in this spot and I was going to go for it. There’s nothing more heart breaking than when the guy you are targeting is sniped right before your turn. This is the nature of the snake draft.

With my first pick I ended up selecting  J.T. Realmuto. I was not very happy taking a catcher, but given his overall rank of 13, getting him with the 72nd pick was a big win. He’s in a good lineup in a hitters park and I can easily see him hitting 25+ home runs. Just keeping it real(muto).

Then I had to wait and watch another 16 players come off the board before I got another turn. When I did, I went this Robinson Cano. He was the best second basement left and my rankings had him pegged as a 5th rounder. Getting him in at the end of the 9th was a win. Watching him hit a home run off of Scherzer in his first at bat was a win win.

A few moments later I snagged Andrew McCutchen. I was targeting David Dahl and Victor Robles, but Robles went before I took Cano and Dahl went right before I took McCutchen. Based on his ADP (117) and his Rank (101), taking him at 91 was a little bit of a reach, but I needed an outfielder and there was a reasonable chance he’d be gone by my next pick at 109. Plus I’m kinda high on McCutch this year batting leadoff in Philly. Another player that rewarded me with an Opening Day dinger.

At 109 I decided I need a starting pitcher. Another reason I wanted to get Taillon with my first pick was, given my SP keepers, I could then just focus on hitters for the next many rounds. As we know, that plan went to shit. Between my last pick and this pick I watched Kyle Hendricks, Rick Porcello, Madison Bumgarner, Yu Darvish, Luis Castillo, Mike Foltynewicz and Nick Pivetta be drafted. Given the numbers, I selected Chris Archer. He’s not necessarily someone I was targeting pre-draft, but I’m happy with where I got him.

This brings up a very important thing to point out. It’s fine to head into a draft with a list of players you’d like to end up with, but unless you are constantly reaching, the likelihood of ending up with most (or even a lot) of those players, is low. You need to be able to adjust and accept the fact ahead of time that you are going to end up with a bunch of players you initially had no intention of drafting. The key thing is to make the most of your picks. Select players that are valuable simply due to the fact of when they were drafted.

My next pick was a slight reach, taking Michael Conforto at 111. The reason was simple. Outfielders were dropping like flies and everyone was reaching. I only had McCutchen so I needed another. I considered Inciarte who I had ranked higher, but he also had a much higher ADP, so I knew I could wait a few rounds on him. There are also three very big Mets fans in this league and I knew it was now or never on Conforto.

This brings me to another relevant piece of information. Be aware of your surroundings. What the hell does that mean? Try to know the other owners in your league. Which teams do they root for? Who have they been drafting in their other drafts. Every little bit of knowledge can go a long way.

With pick 129 I could not ignore Carlos Santana. He very well might be the most undervalued player in points leagues this year based on ADP. His ADP was 131. I took him at 129, but I have him ranked at 34. I considering taking him before this pick, but circumstances dictated otherwise. Getting him here was my best pick of the draft.

Finally I decided it was time for a closer so I grabbed Kirby Yates. This was a few rounds early based on his ADP, but a bunch of closers had already come off the board and I wanted to grab at least one that I felt good about. Besides, based on his rank, this was a good pick.

Next I decided to grab Inciarte. As I said, I had considered him four rounds earlier, but decided to wait. I now decided to wait no more. Again, a little early based on ADP, but ahead of the game based on rank. I think Inciarte is another underrated player. Batting leadoff in the Braves lineup is going to result in a fair share of stolen bases and runs scored. This league gives two points for each stolen base. This pick rounded out my outfield and I was pretty happy with it.

At this point the draft was half over. Right around this time is when it’s almost time to throw out the rankings and start picking the players you want/need. As the draft moves on I find that ADP starts to go out the window, and by the 15th round (21st if you count our six keepers), that process has most certainly begun.

You can see the rest of my picks in the table above. I touch of a few of them briefly. I’m not a fan of Teheran, but I got him right where he was ranked so I am ok with it. I think I got a good bargain on Nomar Mazara to pad my outfield. I drafted both Brad Peacock and Matt Strahm because I like them and they have RP/SP eligibility. That’s a big plus in this league. With my last pick of the draft I took a flyer on Byron Buxton. I have been down on him for the last two plus years, but I figured I’d throw him a bone. The talent is there somewhere.

I know I said I was going to review all of my relevant points league drafts but this post has already gone on longer than I expected. I’ll see if I can do a follow-up post as I’d like to touch on my auction results in the league with Scott White and  some of the other analysts over at CBS. That’s a pretty strong league that would likely be worth discussing.

Follow malamoney on Twitter at @malamoney

  1. Skip Mcgillicuddy says:
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    It’s the exact opposite in my league (12 Team/12 Keeper league) where hitters are far more important than pitchers. For reference, Trout is projected for 1374, Scherzer for 716 (2BB, 0K). H2H points is not always an exact science when it comes to point accrual tho, as total team points don’t do much for a team in the grand scheme of things if they don’t score more than whoever they’re playing that week. There’s a bit of luck involved with who you draw in a matchup each week, you could run into a hot team that hands you an L despite having a great week. I think that’s the fun of H2H, much more than just stat accumulation.

    • malamoney

      malamoney says:
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      You’ve hit the nail right on the head my friend. I have actually written at least one post in the past about how I despite head-to-head points leagues due to the concept of the luck of the draw of the schedule. You could have an awesome week and score 500 points, but happen to play the one team that scores more with 505. Every other team might score in the 300’s and there is one team that scored 185, but they played a team that only scored 175. At the end of the week you and your 500 points are 0-1 and the the team that scored 185 is 1-0 and ahead of you in the standings. It’s complete bullshit. I actually created a modified league with pretty cool rules (if I do say so myself) to try to reduce some of the luck.

      You can read more about this here:

      https://razzball.com/points-leagues-malamoneyball-the-auction/

      • Skip Mcgillicuddy says:
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        Love Rule #1. I can remember a few years in my league that i mentioned above where we had a team in the top 3 total points scored just miss the playoffs. Rule #1 is a great balance, and it would definitely increase the odds of getting the best teams in your league in the playoffs. Thanks for linking that post, good read for a life long points guy.

        • malamoney

          malamoney says:
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          I ran one of those leagues with a bunch of commenters from here. We went three seasons, but the upkeep became too much so we called it quits this year. I’m working on some scripts/code that would automate a lot of the manual stuff I had to do since no website supports that format. If I revive it next year I will shoot you a message about joining.

          I run one of these league with my buddies and it is by far the best points league I am in. The best teams always make the playoffs…

          • Skip Mcgillicuddy says:
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            Yeah man i’m 100% in if it makes a comeback

  2. Cable says:
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    malamoney…..12 team H/H Points no minus for hitter K…Start 5 SPer per week,2 RPers & all hitters listed are starters …weekly lineup set..
    thoughts on team and where do I need to improve…thanks

    C..Barnhart
    1B..Smoak (Olsen IR)
    2B..Merrifield
    3B..Suarez
    SS..T Turner
    OF..V Robles
    OF..Hoskins
    OF..Puig
    DH..T Shaw ( Ohtani IR)

    SP..Scherzer
    SP..Bauer
    SP..Taillon
    SP..Wheeler
    SP..Tanaka
    S Gray
    SP..Pivetta
    SP..D Rodriquez
    SP..Lucchesi

    RP..Yates
    RP..Giles

    • malamoney

      malamoney says:
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      Pretty good team. I’m not a fan of Sonny Gray, but considering he’s like your 7th SP, that’s fine.

      No backup (3rd) closer? How many points for a save?

      What players are on your waiver wire?

      • Cable says:
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        8 per save -3 blown save…….had a open spot because of Ohtani injury picked up D Santana (Sea) ……..not really crazy about Smoak or Barnhart …….was offered W Ramos for Pivetta but worried about Ramos AB’s

      • Cable says:
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        FA Christin Stewart LF | DET

        FA Jorge Polanco SS | MIN

        FA Ryan McMahon 1B | COL

        FA Randal Grichuk RF | TOR

        FA Hanley Ramirez 1B | CLE

        FA Josh Bell 1B | PIT

        FA Leonys Martin CF
        FA Mallex Smith CF | SEA

        FA Kole Calhoun RF

        FA Corey Dickerson LF

        FA Jackie Bradley CF

        FA Elvis Andrus SS
        FA Ryan Zimmerman 1B

        FA Niko Goodrum 2B

        FA Kendrys Morales DH

        FA Austin Meadows RF

        FA Gregory Polanco RF
        FA Jake Lamb 3B

        FA Jake Bauers 1B

        W (3/31) Jonathan Schoop 2B

        FA Rowdy Tellez 1B | TOR
        FA Alex Gordon LF | KC
        FA Marcus Semien SS |

        FA Yuli Gurriel 1B | HOU
        FA Daniel Descalso 2B | CHC

        FA C.J. Cron DH | MIN

        FA Rio Ruiz 3B | BAL

        FA Lourdes Gurriel SS |

        FA Amed Rosario SS | NYM

        FA Willy Adames SS | TB

        FA Greg Allen CF | CLE
        FA Daniel Palka RF | CHW

        FA Joc Pederson LF | LAD

        FA Mitch Moreland 1B | BOS

        FA Keon Broxton CF | NYM

        FA Adam Jones CF | ARI

        to name a few

  3. The Scrant Dog

    The Scrant Dog says:
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    I haven’t gone a single day without coffee in about 10 years

    • malamoney

      malamoney says:
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      Now if you told me you were only ten years old I’d be mightily impressed…

  4. holyscheisse says:
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    Holy effin’ Walking Dead spoilers…fuuuudge. I’m a few seasons behind.
    *cries in Steven Yeun*

    • malamoney

      malamoney says:
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      Where have you been for the last how many years?

      • holyscheisse says:
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        Chasing my toddler, like a zombie it feels like…

  5. Philomath says:
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    Walking Dead jumped the shark a few years ago my points league friend. How are you still watching? Ugh.

    • malamoney

      malamoney says:
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      The show clearly isn’t as good as it once was, but I’m not about to completely abandon it. It’s not that bad…

  6. Alex says:
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    Mala,
    I have an early season trade question (shocker).
    12 team points league, no minuses for any scoring:
    Single, BB, HBP, SB, RBI, R are all 1 point
    Double 2
    Triple 3
    Homerun 5
    Grand Slam 10
    W 10
    L -5
    K 1
    IP 0.25
    S 7
    CG 5
    Shutout 10

    My starting lineup this week was Sanchez, Rizzo, Shaw, Baez, Semien, Dahl, Kepler, Mancini, C. Santana at utility. Scherzer, G. Cole, Treinen, Marquez. I have Upton, Hicks, and Severino hurt on my bench. Was offered Acuna for Scherzer. Thoughts? I drafted Scherzer at 4th in the first round, but after seeing my plethora of pitching, I’m considering the deal. Thanks in advance

    • malamoney

      malamoney says:
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      Is that really 0.25 points per inning pitched or is it per out?

      • Alex says:
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        Yep per inning haha

        • Alex says:
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          Paging Mala :)

          • malamoney

            malamoney says:
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            What are the keeper rules?

            • Alex says:
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              No keepers – redraft every season

              • malamoney

                malamoney says:
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                In a redraft league I’d rather have Scherzer. He’s the #1 player at his position. Acuña is very good, but he’s no Scherzer.

                Had this been a keeper league I’d likely be singing a different tune…

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