I typically try to keep these expert league draft write-ups short but this year’s Yahoo! Friends & Family draft serves as an interesting draft to both:  1) Share a little more about my in-draft thinking and 2) Go off on tangents based on a couple of interesting draft gambits.   So apologies in advance for the Tolstoyan/Grantlandian length of this post.

Fantasy baseball draft rooms remind me of poker tables.  I do not play a lot of poker but, for analogy’s sake, I’ll pontificate that there are two types of tables when you play with good players:  1) Strong but predictable play with occasional risks/bluffs and 2) Unpredictable but strong play that takes you out of your comfort zone.

Most leagues we play in fall under the former for 15-team mixed snake drafts (AL/NL-only auctions a whole different beast).  There really was not a moment in this year’s 15-team mixed LABR and KFFL drafts where I felt uncomfortable.  I had a general strategy, my values, and the NFBC ADPs. All peachy.  I am not saying I dominated those drafts – just that I felt pretty comfortable.  It did not hurt that I picked 8th in both those drafts so I did not have to worry as much about position runs.

As you can probably guess, I consider the Yahoo! Friends & Family draft room to be the unpredictable, discomforting type of draft room.  You can click on the link to see the full results. Before I get into this year’s, let me get the mandatory stuff out of the way:

  • 2013 finish (co-managed w/ Grey but I led/botched the draft) – 12th out of 14.  Won by Rotoworld’s DJ Short (106) over Yahoo’s Scott Pianowski (105).  What went wrong?  We could’ve survived my first 3 picks (Harper/Verlander/Holliday) but BJ Upton/Ike Davis in rounds 4/6 combined with a cratered bullpen (Axford/Hanrahan) and poor SP2/SP3 (Gallardo/Kennedy) doomed this team (bottom 3 in R/HR/RBI/SV/ERA/WHIP).  The Cuddyer and Pence value picks are like icing on a turd.  This is the 3rd straight poor finish after a 3rd place finish in our inaugural year.  Really frustrating (and part of the reason why improving my 14/15-team mixed draft strategy was a priority this year).
  • 2014 league parameters (changes):  15 teams (vs 14), 1400 IP cap (it was 1250 in 2012 and I drafted 2013 assuming it was 1250 again), no IP minimum, daily roster changes that go into effect next day, $100 FAAB only for waiver claims (unlimited FA pickups/drops), typical ESPN roster format except 2 UTIL and 4 OF (C/1B/2B/SS/3B/OF/OF/OF/OF/CI/MI/UTIL/UTIL/9 P/3 bench/2 DL).  You do not have to fill every slot on the roster at the draft.
    • Side note on daily pickups with no FAAB – This is a mixed blessing.  I do prefer being able to make daily changes to my roster and this gives me more opportunities to use the Stream-o-Nator and Hitter-tron.  But the reality is that it is nearly IMPOSSIBLE to snag any player based on breaking news.  I whine that I cannot beat Grey to the punch in RCL but this league is half-populated with people as quick (or quicker) as Grey.  My only advantage is most of the quick triggers are in California so I have a shot at being the first to act on early morning breaking news.  Most likely, any daily pickups I make will be of the boring ‘what’s left’ variety.

    Now to the draft.  Here were the key gambits:

    • Dalton Del Don of Yahoo! (and formerly Rotowire) starting the draft Kershaw/J-Fer/Scherzer/Billy Hamilton/G. Cole on his way to a nearly 50/50 hit/pitch split (converting draft slots to $).  He did draft power with later picks so this is not a pure pitching and speed play – just a SP-centric draft with a strength at SB.
      • My take:  I like Dalton but I don’t like this gambit.  I ran his pitching through my category $ calcs and the only category he is a near lock for top 2-3 is K’s.  He is above average in Wins/ERA/WHIP but not by an overwhelming amount and a 1400 IP cap makes it difficult to excel in all three categories.  His offense, however, is putrid for R/RBI/AVG at magnitudes much greater than his ERA/WHIP/K strength.  Thanks to Hamilton he is above average in SB and his HRs are enough that he can net a few points.  It is always possible to grind out some R/RBI by out-AB’ing the cellar dwellers but I think even that will be hard.  The only way I see this playing out well is a combination of good fortune with AVG + good fortune with closers + 1-2 huge SP for hitting swaps done throughout the year.
      • I think if forced to execute this gambit, I’d punt HR/RBI and focus on R/SB/AVG guys.  I also would go with just 2 aces vs 3 and divert some $ to RP.  I think a 2 SP1 / 1 SP2 / 1 RP1 / 2 RP2 strategy in 15-team provides a little more $ for offense while still providing potential for 5-category pitching dominance.
    • Scott Pianowski of Yahoo! drafting zero SPs and 3 closers (Chapman, Uehara, Henderson) in an echo of his 2012 draft (where he drafted only 2 SP).  This seems to be the “punt W/K strategy and aim to get 100 points in the other 8 category” play that takes advantage of the fact there is no IP minimum.
      • My take:  This strategy has caused a lot of angst on Twitter by leaguemates Christopher Liss (Rotowire) and Michael Salfino (WSJ/Yahoo).  There are three potential edges in this strategy:  1) You can spend more on hitters because you are not drafting SPs, 2) Maximizing ABs (a concept I’m quite familiar with) by rostering only hitters on your bench plus creating some extra spots by rostering less than 9 pitchers to swap in when starting rostered hitters are sitting and 3) Maximizing matchups via the extra roster spots so you are getting better quality per game played – e.g., starting Drew Stubbs only against lefties or when @COL.  After looking at the total Games played per team in 2013, it is clear most teams are at about 90-95% the maximum of Games.  I think the maximum AB ‘edge’ one can get is in the +5% range which I estimate at anywhere from 3-7 standings points spread out across R/HR/RBI/SB.  Really depends on the distribution of stats across the teams.  I think the potential to maximize matchups is limited because this is a 15-team league.   There are no same-day pickups so you cannot leverage extra bench spots to pick up guys hitting in prime lineup spots.  Just about any hitter with platoon value has overall value and will be owned.  So I think there is a slight edge on offense but – based on the team he drafted – I do not see him as a ‘lock’ for anything more than 50 hitting points.  Definitely potential for more but not a ‘lock’ – especially if an early hitter pick underperforms or gets injured.  As for pitching, his Saves/ERA/WHIP have potential for 45 points but, with 3 closers, there isn’t a lot of slack (underscored by the fact that his #1 closer – Chapman – recently broke his face).  And we all know that chasing Saves means using in-season replacements who cannot be counted on for dominant ERA/WHIP.  If he gets into an ERA/WHIP hole, it will be hard to come out of it.
      • Net-net, I like this strategy more than DDD’s but I’d put the chances of him getting 100+ points slightly lower than if he did a standard strategy as Pianowski can be a beast in daily-roster change leagues  (he has 95+ points in 3 of last 4 Yahoo! F&F).
    • Brad Evans of Yahoo! doing the Weekend at Bernie’s gambit where you play dead most of the draft and use auto-draft.  Aside from the inevitable late-round injury cases (Medlen, Corbin, Beachy) and SAGNOF relief duo of Qualls/Hawkins, his team doesn’t look too bad.

    Here is my draft with some notes below:

    Razzball Rudy Gamble
    1. (13) Adam Jones (Bal – OF)
    2. (18) Jason Kipnis (Cle – 2B)
    3. (43) Albert Pujols (LAA – 1B)
    4. (48) Eric Hosmer (KC – 1B)
    5. (73) Jordan Zimmermann (Was – SP)
    6. (78) Michael Wacha (StL – SP,RP)
    7. (103) Wilin Rosario (Col – C)
    8. (108) David Robertson (NYY – RP)
    9. (133) Tony Cingrani (Cin – SP,RP)
    10. (138) Norichika Aoki (KC – OF)
    11. (163) Brad Miller (Sea – 2B,SS)
    12. (168) Victor Martinez (Det – 1B)
    13. (193) Jon Lester (Bos – SP)
    14. (198) Rex Brothers (Col – RP)
    15. (223) Avisail García (CWS – OF)
    16. (228) Oswaldo Arcia (Min – OF)
    17. (253) Jesse Crain (Hou – RP)
    18. (258) Corey Dickerson (Col – OF)
    19. (283) Wade Miley (Ari – SP)
    20. (288) Matt Dominguez (Hou – 3B)
    21. (313) Erasmo Ramirez (Sea – SP)
    22. (318) Jake Peavy(Bos – SP)
    23. (343) Hector Santiago (LAA – SP,RP)
    24. (348) Dayan Viciedo (CWS – OF)
    25. (373) Vic Black (NYM – RP)
    • Pick #13.  F**k me.  Had that same pick last year.  (Grey got #10).  At least this year I feel better about the late 1st/early 2nd round options.
    • The 1 minute timer for selections was borderline cruel at times for me after slow drafting KFFL and an NFBC team.
    • Mental note:  With two UTIL, assume everyone drafts 5 OF but that drafting 4-5 1B/3B will happen a bit more.  Even with Ortiz/Butler/V-Mart at 1B eligibility, corners may go high.  That said, I am probably punting 3B again unless I get Encarnacion.  I also do not want a SAGNOF OF.  All my OFs should be able to contribute in at least 3 categories.  I would rather have an SP with the 3rd or 4th but only on my terms (have drafted no SPs in the first 4 rounds of 2 of my 3 15-team mixed drafts so far).
    • Mental note:  While this is a daily roster change league, filling 1400 IP is not easy (only 5 of 14 got there in 2013).  If you assume 6 IP/GS, that is 200 GS + 3 full seasons of relief pitching or 180 GS with 5 full reliever seasons.  The average RCL team had 1330 IP last year (with 180 GS cap) and, in 15-team, it is not like you necessarily want much more than 180 GS.  If high K-rate middle relievers go cheap, pick up some.  If not, draft a lot of starters and plan to use Stream-o-nator to play matchups and count on the waiver wire for emerging MRs and SPs.  But I would like to be in a position to get 1,400 IP to maximize Wins/K’s without punting ERA/WHIP along the way.
    • I went through several permutations of 1st/2nd round drafting and concluded that there was about a 60/40 chance one of four OFs (Jones, Braun, CarGo, Harper) falls to me at 13.  If that happened, I felt positive that I could draft one of the following 1Bs (Davis, Fielder, Encarnacion, Votto) with the 18th pick.  I just needed one of the SS (Hanley, Tulo) to go in the top 12 and two of Darvish/Ellsbury/Beltre/Longoria going in the top 18.  I had 1st round fallback plans to take either Davis, Encarnacion, or Cano (Grey and I agreed that Kershaw was a near lock for top 10).  The good news is that Hanley went in the top 12 and Adam Jones fell to me.  The bad news was that Paul Singman and Andy Behrens gobbled up Votto and Encarnacion at #16 and #17 (only Darvish went out of that ‘top 18’ group), leaving me with none of my desired 1B.  I ended up choosing Kipnis as I felt he was the best value left on the board.  Would have been THRILLED to get Encarnacion as he has 3B eligibility in Yahoo which bumps him to 10th overall in my rankings.  I have seen some compelling arguments on Freeman this year but 18th felt early for him.
    • For my 3rd/4th picks, I had not planned on taking a 1B (assumed 1st/2nd round) and hoped one of Wainwright/Sale/Bumgarner would make it back to me.  Nope on that one.  This is where Dalton’s Kershaw/J-Fer/Scherzer troika helped facilitate a slight creep in the SP run, leaving me with Felix Hernandez and Price as my two SP options.  I don’t like Price this year because of velocity concerns and did not love F-Her with this pick.  One of my strategies this year is to ignore ‘position run’ pressure – if I don’t like the guy, have the faith there will be value later in the draft at that position.  With both the 14/15 picks behind me having no 1B, I grabbed Pujols and F-Her/Price went with the next two picks.  Not loving the OF values, my decision is between starting the RP run with Kimbrel or take Hosmer at #4.  I decide to play it safe and go with Hosmer though I know my shot at an elite closer (Kimbrel/Chapman/Jansen/Holland) is likely toast.
    • After the first 4 rounds, I do not feel comfortable at all.  The draft has not ‘slowed down’ for me.  (In hindsight, I think I made the right call on these picks.)
    • Things ‘slow down’ for me as the next 24 picks between my 4th/5th start ‘going to plan’.  As expected, the premium closers go quickly (the last, Holland, is gone by the 6th pick in the 5th round).  Only 3 SPs are taken (Greinke, Cole, Gio).  The next tier of OFs go off the board.  Rosenthal is still on the board for my 5th pick (pick #73) but I like Jordan Zimmermann  and have to grab at least one SP in the next two picks before people start grabbing SP2.  Take Zimmermann.
    • Rosenthal taken on the turn and now I have a few OF choices (Gordon, Werth) and RP choices (Uehara, Nathan).  I decide on taking another SP (Wacha) to protect myself against another SP run.  I know at least Jeff Erickson of Rotowire is a big fan of Wacha so no assurances he makes it back to me with pick #7.  Plan on taking closer with next pick.
    • A number of SP/RP go off the board but I still have several options on each by my 7th pick.  Shields and Teheran are still on the board if I had gone with the OF/RP instead of Wacha.  Oh well.  But Perkins and Robertson are still on the board so nothing really lost.  I look at my draft board and am surprised to see Wilin Rosario still there at pick #103.  I have him as my top catcher and at #26 (?!) driven by his power advantage and decent AVG.  I really prefer punting the position in 1 catcher leagues but this is a huge discount.  Four catchers are off the board (Posey/Mauer/Santana/Molina) so it is not like everyone is punting catcher.  I take Rosario to help solidify the offense figuring Perkins or Robertson makes it back.  Robertson does and I take him with the 8th pick.
    • Now that I have a core (5 hitters/SP/SP/RP), I am paying attention to the balance on my team.  I have been adding up my category $ while I draft to make sure I avoid last season’s pitfalls of going too K-heavy (at the expense of WHIP) for pitching and not focusing enough on AVG (Based on Grey’s drafts so far, I don’t think he shares my low AVG/OBP concern.).  I am not a slave to this balance – just using this as a tiebreaker for my picks.  I finally land Aoki (10th round) this year whom I really like as a strong 3 category contributor (R/SB/AVG) and nab Brad Miller for the 3rd time (his 2B/SS eligibility a slight plus).  Really like Miller this year for 30 HR+SB and solid runs/AVG.
    • I like my Cingrani pick at the end of the 9th round to improve my staff’s K/9 but I regret going with a 1B-eligible Victor Martinez with my 12th pick instead of Justin Masterson or maybe Tommy Hunter at RP2 (no way I am taking Axford here after he crushed several of my teams last year and his handcuff would be super-expensive…at least with Hunter, you can get his handcuff in the late rounds).  I end up with Lester as my SP4.  My hope on V-Mart – besides providing dependable R/RBI/AVG when healthy – is that he gets 5 catcher starts in the first month or two.  Really like the flexibility of rotating him into the C slot when Rosario is out.  Getting 145+ games out of catcher is one of the few ‘low-hanging fruit’ opportunities to max AB.
    • I play ‘chicken’ on RP during the ‘tween’ rounds and it comes back to bite me as teams are aggressively drafting relievers.  I reach a bit on Rex Brothers with my 14th pick (#198) hoping to get Hawkins in a few rounds and Brad Evans grabs him 5 picks later.  More surprisingly, Funston picks Cody Allen 5 picks after Brothers (likely frustrating Derek Carty who owns Axford but confirming the reason I avoided him).  Benoit and Santos are also off the board by my 15th pick.
    • Grey drafts his third 3B in Mike Moustakas (after Longoria and Arenado), thwarting my chance of owning him in my first four drafts.  I do not love the value on the remaining 3Bs and use my 15th/16th picks on two rhyming upside OFs – Avisail Garcia and Oswaldo Arcia.  Arcia helps shore up my power while Avisail has 20/15 potential.  Hoping to circle back to MI and 3B while everyone else worries about OFs.
    • By the time my 17th pick is up, there is nothing I really love out there.  Ervin Santana is my top available SP but I do not feel a ton of pressure to pick up a 5th SP.  I scour the relievers and the only guy with even moderate Save potential I see is Jesse Crain.  Eh, what the hell.  I can stash him on DL until he comes back.  Given his price tag, I think the Astros make him closer once he is healthy and potentially dangle him as trade bait come trading deadline.
    • Still blah on the SPs at pick #18 (Santana picked at the turn).  Going to roll the dice on Corey Dickerson.  He is by far the biggest outlier in my values vs. the market consensus.  Have him on 2 of my 3 previous teams (LABR/NFBC) and feel like Grey might take him in his next two picks if I do not grab him there.  That fills up my 2nd UTIL slot and my 5 OF minimum goal.  This pick might come back to bite me if he does not make the team as I either have to waste a bench spot on him or set him free.
    • Nothing too exciting the rest of the way.  I stock up on SPs (Miley, Peavy, Erasmo, Santiago).  I instantly regret taking Miley when I did, thinking I should have gambled on Archie Bradley.  Take Matt Dominguez at pick #288 as my 3B which earns him a couple weeks to perform.  I had considered him one of my 3B ‘punt’ targets this preseason along with Frazier, Middlebrooks, and Moustakas so it was not surprising he ended up on one of my teams.  With the MI options uninspiring, I take Vic Black as my last pick and leave MI open.
    • Note:  As of today, MI still open.  I will fill that when a roster spots opens up from Jesse Crain becoming DL-eligible.  I also dumped Black for Josh Fields as a bench MR/save spec and swapped out Dayan Viciedo with Junior Lake off of waivers.

    Overall, I drafted a solid team based on my rankings (~$280 and above average in everything except SB where I’m average).  I ended up with a 64/36 hit/pitch split for my starting squad (with MI open) which is not far off from my 67/33 target.  I have the desired mix of youth and veterans (while Wacha/Cingrani as SP2/SP3 look mighty green, my pitching staff is ancient compared to Grey’s ‘Pitching Staff of the Corn’ with only one starter having more than 36 career GS (Tillman)).  Aside from perhaps being too cute on RP2, I did about as good a job as I could expect in avoiding damage from others’ unorthodox strategies (e.g., i secured my offense – aside from MI/3B by pick #18 – avoiding any impact from Pianowski drafting 19 hitters (leaving 3 SP spots blank).

    But, whether it is the 3 straight disappointing finishes or the gambits that threw me early in the draft, I do not feel great about this team.  Here is hoping my team does not self-destruct like last year’s team so I have a fighter’s chance come May.

  1. B.J. says:

    Hey fellas,

    A guy in my league has 3 SS on his roster. Originally he had approached me about trading for Tulo but he backed out. He’s now offering me Andrelton Simmons for Sonny Gray. Should I do this deal? I’m a little worried about Reyes and his hammy issue but I’m not looking to overpay.

    His team:
    C- Gattis 1B- Encarnacion 2B- Rendon 3B- Donaldson SS- Tulo
    OF- Myers, B. Hamilton, Beltran UT- VMart

    SP- Strasburg, Fernandez RP- Romo, Robertson
    P- Cingrani, Buchholz, Lynn

    Bench- Owings, A. Simmons, Springer, Tillman, Leake

    My team:
    C- W. Ramos 1B- Fielder 2B- Utley 3B- Zimmerman SS- Reyes
    OF- Harper, A. Jones, D. Brown UTIL- Rizzo

    SP- Gio, Latos RP- J. Johnson, Henderson
    P- A. Cobb, S. Gray, Fister

    Bench- BJ Upton, Lincecum, Kluber, E. Santana, A. Wood, Y. Ventura

    • @B.J.: Not clear how many teams in your league but guessing 12. Not clear if this is H2H or Roto but guessing Roto. No way I trade Gray for Simmons. I consider Simmons barely ownable in shallow leagues. Simmons and Owings are useless to him. He’ll be dropping one of them in the next 2 weeks.

      • B.J. says:

        @Rudy Gamble: @Rudy Gamble: I’m a dunderhead. I totally spaced on putting that info in my post. It is a 12 teamer H2H. Sorry Rudy!

        • @B.J.: Then definitely hold on to Gray. You need a lot of good arms for H2H.

  2. Hans says:

    Points league, 10 teams, no bench
    C Castro
    1B Goldschmidt
    2B Altuve
    SS Andrus
    3B Arenado
    OF Bruce
    OF Braun
    OF Puig
    DH Pujols
    UTIL Hosmer
    UTIL Rizzo

    SPs Bailey, Sanchez, Masterson, Teheran, Wilson
    RPs Kimbrel, Chapman (to be moved to DL once season starts)

    Thoughts? Suggestions on where to improve?

    • @Hans: That’s a sweet offense and RP (tough break on Chapman). I’d have a short leash on CJ Wilson since your SP FA pool is probably deep. You can look at my 10-team Yahoo rankings to identify valuable FAs…

      • Charlie says:

        @Rudy Gamble:

        Rudy, where can I find your rankings?

        • Under player Rater / pre-season player Rater

  3. 2 Giant rings says:

    Hey there Rudy, I’m in a 16 team h2h 5×6 (add OPS). You said I should punt steals, but I gather you meant I should not prioritize it rather than abandon it. You said no SAGNOF which makes perfect sense because you said all-speed players hurt you in 3 other categories. Here’s my question. Do I prioritize speed guys with good ops numbers early on such as Carlos Gomez and Jean Segura, or pretty much ignore the steals category? Thanks as always.

    • @2 Giant rings: I say ignore the speed category. Towards the end of the draft, consider a SAGNOF like Rajai Davis if available.

  4. Chris says:

    Hello Rudy,

    I manage to draft the following team.
    12 team mix, with 3 keepers. I was picking 11th.

    SS–E. Andrus

    I have very solid SP and RP.

    I feel the offense is balanced, but nothing jumps out. Hopefully Cespedes pays dividends with a lot of games.

    What do you think i’m missing? More Speed/Runs??
    Would you consider droping Hunter for Aoki or Leonys Martin?

    For 3B, do you like more Arenado, Rendon or Headley?

    Many thanks

    • @Chris: I think Aoki would definitely be worth swapping Hunter out for to add a little more speed and Runs in your OF. I like Torii this year – he’s undervalued – but I like Aoki more. Depending on how your team is doing, I can see benching Victorino or Napoli in favor of Aoki.

      I like Arenado better than those two. But, if possible, I’d look to stream a 3B when Arenado isn’t at Colorado. Could get best of both worlds then.

  5. Greyismyhero says:

    I love that team and really enjoyed your write up/reasoning during the draft..Good luck!

      • Lord Baldrick says:

        @Rudy Gamble: I’ve been lurking about since your BRAN article, and always zoom in on anything that you publish. To have you go in-depth like this regarding your thinking is a real treat.

        Many thanks, Rudy!

        • goodfold2 says:

          @Lord Baldrick: play by play of a draft with other “perts” is very valuable. nice to see.

  6. RandomItalicizedVoice says:

    Brad Evans – is there a more annoying/worthless “expert” out there? I don’t know that there is.

    • @RandomItalicizedVoice: Brad’s transitioned to college basketball. I think his heart was always in football and basketball – just like Grey’s and my hearts are in baseball…

      • RandomItalicizedVoice says:

        @Rudy Gamble: This makes sense.

  7. Josh says:

    Rudy, this is good stuff. I feel like we always see your work with numbers, stats, and the point shares, but seeing your draft strategy in a very competitive league is nice. I built my money league auction around Encarnacion’s yahoo 3B eligibility based on your point share evaluation, its too bad you couldn’t pair him with Jones. You owning Kipnis, a Grey schmohawk, should be interesting.

    • @Josh: Thanks. It’ll be an interesting year in our expert leagues since Grey and I aren’t co-managing anymore except our CBS AL and NL leagues. Cool on Encarnacion – his 3B eligibility definitely adds to his value and those ESPN vs. Yahoo nuances in position eligibility are something I’ve worked to make sure I’m accounting for in my $/Point Shares.

      Yeah, was bummed I missed out on EE and Kipnis is typically not a player I’d draft since I don’t put much premium on 2B/SS. But one key aspect of 15-team this year is that there isn’t a ton of speed out there – particularly at MI. So getting one of the few 25+ SB guys at MI (Kipnis, Segura, Altuve) provides more flexibility in OF selections (e.g., not having Marte as your OF1/OF2 or drafting a SAGNOF).

  8. Macio says:

    Afternoon Rudy, appreciate all the articles/advice this preseason. Had my 14-team H2H snake draft on Sunday, which is a weekly league. Here’s my lineup:

    Pierzynski, A.J. (C)
    Pujols, Albert (1B)
    Kipnis, Jason (2B)
    Arenado, Nolan (3B)
    Desmond, Ian (SS)
    Gonzalez, Carlos (OF)
    Aoki, Norichika (OF)
    Beltran, Carlos (OF)
    Garcia, Avisail (OF)
    Rizzo, Anthony (DH)

    Teheran, Julio (SP)
    Bailey, Homer (SP)
    Minor, Mike (SP) *DL
    Cole, Gerrit (SP)
    Porcello, Rick (SP)
    Ventura, Yordano (SP)
    Perez, Martin (SP)
    Grilli, Jason (RP)
    Jones, Nate (RP)
    Hawkins, LaTroy (RP)
    Veras, Jose (RP)

    Wish I had more power/speed… Have two open roster positions due to one drop and Minor on the DL. For a weekly league, should I have an extra bat or two to plug in for the off days for my offense, or should I scoop up more pitching (Lohse available, as are young guns like Hutchison/Paxton, and vets Melancon/Mujica)?

    Thanks much!

    • @Macio: This looks like a solid team. Looks like you de-emphasized speed and saves a bit which I like for H2H. I’d go with one bat and one SP for your two open slots. I like Paxton more. I’d consider an NL West starter like Hudson if available to balance out all that youth. No need for more RPs. I would just grab the best hitter on the board and ignore speed.

    • Greyismyhero says:

      @Macio: I think you are set for speed in a H2H…H2H is all I play and all my teams have a lot less speed than you…Kipnis, Desmond, Cargo, Aoki is plenty enough imo, maybe a little too much…I echo what Rudy says.

      • Macio says:


        Really appreciate the feedback, Rudy and Greyismyhero. I’ll hit the waver wire this weekend based on your suggestions.

  9. Jeff in Southern Indiana says:

    I like your team Rudy. You got some great OF values, even though I always underrate Adam Jones.

    I love Rosario this year.

    I hope Domingez works out. How about Matt Davidson as a back-up option at 3B? I like the fact that he plays in that little ballpark. Or Grey’s in love with Asche. Looks like 3B might be a decent place to punt and get a waiver wire hero.

    Here’s my RCL team, please give me your thoughts. I missed a couple different runs on 1B and got sniped 3 times and eventually punted it:

    C Rosario
    1B Napoli
    2B Cano
    3B Zimmerman
    SS Segura
    MI: Dozier
    CI: Headley
    OF Harper
    OF Rios
    OF Billy Hamilton
    OF D. Brown
    OF A. Ethier (streamer)
    UTIL V Martinez

    P F Hernandez
    P Latos
    P Liriano
    P Dickey
    P Archer
    P Grilli
    P N. Jones
    P R. Brothers
    BN Fields
    BN Hoover
    BN Broxton

    Am I hurting too bad on power and RBIs? Maybe Harper will go crazy?

    Thanks and good luck.

    • Jeff in Southern Indiana says:

      @Jeff in Southern Indiana: Forgot that I’ve got Ziegler for another streamer at the end of the bench for these opening games.

    • @Jeff in Southern Indiana: Thanks! The benches are small so can’t afford to use one on a back-up 3B. I figure the FA wire is my bench if/when Matt Dominguez disappoints. Gillaspie is the starting 3B for the White Sox now with Semien backing up so Davidson is off the radar.

      I don’t have a good feel for your team on first read. It does feel like Segura/Hamilton is not a good pairing and that you’d want to trade one of them at some point in the season. I think the power/rbis may be sneaky good on your team b/c of Rosario/Cano. You should total up the category $ on the ESPN 12 team mixed pre-season player rater. $35 is average for hitting categories, $17 for pitching (with saves being a bit wonky) – your team is probably about average on Saves.

      I think your pitching success will be dependent on how well you stream. Wouldn’t be my preferred staff – I just never warmed up to Liriano (nor do I trust his health) and Latos has pre-season injury woes as well. But I like F-Her + Archer + Dickey in the right matchups (maybe based on whether the roof is up or down?).

  10. Shake N Bacon says:

    I was wondering about your Victor Martinez pick. With two Util spots, you can definitely play him. Hopefully he gets 5 starts at Catcher early on and you can maximize your Catcher AB’s. I’m a believer in rostering two catchers in a one catcher league to maximize those at bats. Sometimes those additional counting stats really can help.

    I’m in the same mind as you on Aoki and Arcia. Both of those guys are on 2 or 3 of my teams this year. I think Aoki is underrated, especially now that he’ll have the green light all day long with Yost. I see him getting back to that 30 SB number from 2012. I’m thinking around 100 runs for him is a lock, as long as he stays at the top of the lineup.

    Your team looks a little light on power. Hopefully Pujols will go back to his old self and hit at least 30 HRs for you.

    How did Adam Jones slip that far to you? I’d be very happy with that first pick.

    • @Shake N Bacon: Yeah, agreed on V-Mart. Some nice flexibility if I have a UTIL with C/1B eligibility. Cool on Aoki and Arcia – really thought based on ADP that Aoki would be on several of my teams but he always went sooner than I expected. I think HR/SB are my weakest offensive stats with HR slightly above average and SB slightly below average. I’m hoping the Lake pickup will help a bit on SBs (vs Viciedo).

      I was glad to see Adam Jones fall but it seems one of those OFs falls down in every draft. I remember USAToday’s Steve Gardner got Braun with the #15 pick in the KFFL draft when I got Jones with the 8th pick. Crazy.

  11. agarthered says:


    then rajai on bench. Would you drop Rajai for Brandon Moss (im worried about lack of sbs, only really segura/miller/eaton/myers steal)


  12. 2 Giant rings says:

    That is the most suspenseful draft breakdown I have ever read. Excellent write up if not the draft itself. There is great value in RP/handcuffs but it seems expert leagues go overboard, drafting them way too soon. This one did. That was fun. It felt like I was there.

    • 2 Giant rings says:

      @2 Giant rings: back to my ops/ignore speed question for a second. If I ignore speed, does that mean I should abandon Grey’s strategy of quantity SP over quality? He says to go late on SP and draft lots of them for your bench. But in this league, I’d be punting a lot if I’m abandoning steals and era/whip.

      • 2 Giant rings says:

        @2 Giant rings: reminder: h2h

        • Greyismyhero says:

          @2 Giant rings: Im no Rudy but I do play in a ton of OPS H2H leagues, My strategy is same as you, abandon speed (well not 100%) but I also follow Greys advice about pitching..I do however, try to get at least 1 speed guy, Altuve, Ecab, Marte etc….It has worked out for me great.

          • 2 Giant rings says:

            @Greyismyhero: where I’m drafting I can probably get Gomez and Segura. I wonder if I should draft both, then ignore speed. Or dive in naked on the scary No-Speed plan.

        • @2 Giant rings: You still want quantify on SPs. You can spend the extra money to max the other 4 categories and/or in SP quality. I say both.

  13. Shawn of the livid says:

    Great post Rudy, I enjoyed the read. I like the break down of the thought process. My first week matchup is going with the Pianowski strategy. Personally I think that is annoying way to play.

    Thanks man, looking forward to the next post

    • @Shawn of the livid: Thanks. I think Scott’s strategy is more common in H2H. I can see it being frustrating – feel like if everyone in the league wants to avoid a gambit like this, it’s pretty easy to build rules to prevent it (IP minimums typically do the trick).

  14. Therm says:

    Hi– NL-only 5×5 roto, looking at post-draft waiver wire options. What’s the top three most value adds from this list (acknolwedging that it’s a position mix):
    Brandon Kintzler
    Nick Vincent
    Burch Smith
    Carter Capps
    Robbie Erlin
    Matt Wisler
    Jake Arrieta
    Cameron Maybin
    Travis Snider
    Travis Ishikawa
    Lyle Overbay

    Thanks so much!

    • @Therm:
      Cameron Maybin
      Matt Wisler
      Lyle Overbay (ugh)
      Robbie Erlin

  15. mrrr says:

    Enjoyed the writeup Rudy. I think going Pujols/Hosmer there was the right call. After missing out on all the decent 1b in our NFBC draft, it’s a tough way to go. We had Rosario ranked #15 in NFBC so it’s nice to see you had him similarly ranked.

    • @mrrr: Thanks. Yeah, that 2nd UTIL really plays to the ‘best available bat’ drafting philosophy. I remain shocked on Rosario falling that low. After last year’s RCL experience with Posey (rough 2nd half), there was no way I was drafting a catcher w/ one of my first 15-20 picks unless it came at an overwhelming discount. I know Grey was also debating it and he’s even more of a catcher punter than me.

      • mrrr says:

        @Rudy Gamble: We couldn’t pull the trigger on Hosmer or Pujols at 31 overall. In retrospect I think I might have now in NFBC (now stuck with Teix and hoping Kendrys signs soon). The rankings for Rosario and Castro were so high in NFBC when we took them that we let them go any longer.

        • Nick says:

          @mrrr: Rudy, probably the best writeup of a draft I’ve seen. I think most writeups are missing the suspense element of the draft unfolding, and you captured that well. Plus, you went way beyond the usual “picks I liked, picks I didn’t” formula. Your team actually looks a little like mine from the NFBC league we’re in together! mrrr – I took Hosmer early in that draft, probably my worst pick!

          • mrrr says:

            @Nick: Sitting at 31 we knew the other top 1Bs wouldn’t be there when it got back to us but it just felt too early for Hosmer or Pujols. None of the OF options excited us and we didn’t want to go SP/SP. Posey I’m not thriled about there. So it ended up being Desmond. I like the pick – we knew we would miss out on our top 1bs then.

            Drafting 1st was great for Trout but hard to wait that long between picks. Had to target guys you really wanted a little early instead of letting the draft come to you.

            Looking forward to Rudy’s writeup and seeing how the season goes. Your team is looking good – no major injuries so far and Santana signing with ATL was a good fit.

            • Nick says:

              @mrrr: Yeah, I’ve actually had good luck with that team. Schoop and Semien might play earlier than normal, and Santana’s signing was helpful as you pointed out. Definitely knock on wood though! It’s a long season. I have about 15 saves speculations for depth and only one backup at most other positions.

  16. BadProfessor says:

    Speaking of gambits, what do you think of this one: I have a 7 upper middle to middle tier SPs in a 5×5 12 team (worst SP is Lynn) as well as 3 closers. My league has a 180 games started max, but no innings limit. I was thinking about maxing out 120 starts with my guys as fast as I could (say by August), picking up all RP to replace them and hopefully jack my Ks and ratios while letting my top 3 SPs finish out their full season of 30 starts.

    • @BadProfessor: I like the gambit as long as you didn’t sacrifice too much in offense at the draft.

      • BadProfessor says:

        @Rudy Gamble: I think my O is pretty solid:

        C: S. Perez
        1B: Pujols
        2B: Hill
        3B: Zimmerman
        SS: Segura
        MI: Utley
        CI: Donaldson
        OF: Adam Jones, Bruce, Billy Hamilton, Hart, Domonic Brown
        U: Dickerson

  17. Jason says:

    Hey Rudy-

    curious to get your thoughts on the below:

    I got a 20 tm league.
    Batters Stat Categories: R, HR, RBI, OBP, SLG, Net Stolen Bases
    Pitchers Stat Categories: W, SV, K, HLD, ERA, WHIP

    This is my first year in this league so i didn’t know what to expect. It looked like pitching was at a premium, so against my will I went at it a little earlier and harder than usual. except for closers, I totally missed out on closers, which is why I have so many non closer RPs

    worried about my bench on offense because the really isn’t anyone worth picking up on the WW. ok don’t laugh…
    C Devin Mesoraco
    1B Eric Hosmer
    2B Jedd Gyorko
    3B Will Middlebrooks
    SS Ian Desmond
    IF Brandon Moss
    OF Adam Jones
    OF Avisail García
    OF Will Venable
    Util Peter Bourjos
    BN Scooter Gennett

    SP Max Scherzer
    SP Alex Cobb
    RP Álex Torres
    RP Ryan Webb
    P Francisco Liriano
    P Justin Masterson
    P Rick Porcello
    BN Josh Johnson
    BN Iván Nova
    BN Archie Bradley
    BN Erasmo Ramírez
    BN Randall Delgado

    • @Jason: It doesn’t seem like a bad team at all aside from the Save punting which really is saved by finding something on waiver wire or via trade. Is this H2H or Roto? IP/GS Cap?

      • Jason says:

        @Rudy Gamble: it’s H2H, 15 IP min. no games limit.

        yeah I tried to combat the saves by trying for HLDs although I don;t find it as predictable as saves.

        took a chance there.

        I’m hoping taht someone will need a cSP and I can grab a closer that way. I listed on the trading block that I have Sp available. we’ll see what that gets me.

  18. Bryan says:

    Would you trade Nelson Cruz for Brad Miller had you lost Profar at SS?

    Remaining OFs
    Wil Myers
    Kole Calhoun

    • Jason says:

      @Bryan: WITHOUT A DOUBT

      • Bryan says:

        @Rudy Gamble: Done! Gut feeling on who I should play at my utility spot between Eaton, Calhoun and Yelich H2H scoring? Thanks

  19. Ryan says:

    Hey I’m drafting tomorrow and have the 4th pick in a 12 team HTH. I was originally planning on grabbing Goldy or McCuth depending on who was there and was happy just to get them. Lately I have been eyeing Chris Davis for the extra homers and the fact that in all my mocks I haven’t really ended up with much in the way of stolen bases anyways. Do you think I should keep one of the first two guys or go with the extra power. Thanks for all the help you guys give.

    • @Ryan: McCutchen, yes. He’d be my 3rd if you take SB out of the equation. My $ would say Davis by a little over McCutchen and a few others if you discount SB $ enough. Really just personal preference.

  20. Flynn White says:

    Need some advice!
    12 team, H2H, 4 keeper league, 6×6 (Quality Starts, OBP and SLG instead of AVG)

    C – Lucroy
    1B – Goldschmidt
    2B – Gyorko
    3B – Donaldson
    SS – Tulowitski
    OF – Braun
    OF – Carlos Gomez
    OF – Rios
    UTIL – Mat Adams

    SP – Gio Gonzalez, Teheran, Sonny Gray, Wheeler
    RP – Jensen, Perkins, Hunter, Soria

    Bench – Kole Calhoun, Brad Miller
    DL – Mat Latos, Mike Minor
    NA – Oscar Tavares

    Who would you put in at UTIL: Adams or Calhoun?
    Also, since I placed some players on the DL I get to pick up some FAs. Avisail is available so I’ll grab him. I have 2 more spots, which SP would you take: Estrada, Smyly, Travis Wood, or Nova? Crain and Hawkins are also available but considering I have 4 closers, I probably won’t take them.

    • Depends on the matchups for the week w/ Adams and Calhoun.

      Where are you going to put Avisail? You already have two bench hitters. Grab SPs. Estrada, Wood, Smyly, Nova.

  21. Goose says:

    Great write-up, Rudy. Appreciate the insight, as others have said. Looks like a fairly solid team, with those caveats you mentioned. But the name that immediately jumped out at me was Wacha.

    Clearly, you’re big on him for this year. But #78? Think this could end up as your reachiest pick there… That’s a top 20 SP value. Even if there’s no regression coming at all, will he get to 200 IP? Is it the Cardinal offense (W potential) that boosts his value for you?

    Also, everyone’s down on Miller for reasons I don’t understand – he was taken 3 rounds later, and I think he and Wacha are kinda tomato/tomahto. Really good tomatoes, mind you – but from the same vine, if you see what I mean.

  22. frankiejay says:

    20 team H2H keeper league, 10×10 (won’t bore you with all the cats but it includes fielding %, so there’s that…). Keep ten for any period of time (2 IF, 2 OF, 2 SP, 2 RP, 2 any), but nobody from the first three rounds.

    c: Mesoraco
    1B: Hosmer (not keepable)
    2B: Wong
    SS: Bogaerts
    3B: Cabrera (not keepable)
    IF: Rizzo
    OF: Marte (not keepable)
    OF: Yelich
    OF: A Garcia
    UT: C Dickerson
    BN: Semien
    BN: Springer

    SP: T Walker
    SP: Cingrani
    SP: Wheeler
    RP: Frieri
    RP: Hoover
    RP: Santos
    RP: O’Day
    RP: Kelley
    BN: Hutchison
    BN: A Wood
    BN: Paxton
    BN: M Perez
    BN: E Johnson
    BN: Erlin

    My team is ungodly young–like crazy young…. like Martin Perez is my veteran starting pitcher. If I want to try to win this year (in addition to being set for the future, which I think I am), should I try to move some of my younger pitchers for vets who are assured innings? Or what would you do?

    • frankiejay says:

      @frankiejay: oh yeah, holds is one of the cats (fairly important for why I have so many relievers)

    • @frankiejay: yes, i think your team is super young – like a rebuilding team. if you can get solid offers for some of your 2nd-tier prospects (like Wong or Paxton), I’d consider it.

  23. Sul says:

    Had my draft this past weekend. 10 team/H2H/Keeper league
    C Wilson Ramos
    1B Paul Goldschmidt
    2B Jason Kipnis
    3B Evan Longoria
    SS Brad Miller
    2B/SS Howie Kendrick
    1B/3B Will Middlebrooks
    OF Jay Bruce
    OF Shin-Soo Choo
    OF Jayson Werth
    OF Alex Gordon
    OF Alejandro De Aza
    UTIL Brett Gardner
    P Madison Bumgarner
    P Chris Sale
    P Alex Cobb
    P Zack Greinke
    P Danny Salazar
    P Kenley Jansen
    P Koji Uehara
    P Francisco Liriano
    P Steve Cishek
    BE Kevin Gausman
    BE Kole Calhoun
    BE Mike Moustakas
    BE C.J. Wilson
    BE Alex Wood
    Thoughts or suggestions on my team? I know my SS is extremely weak, you like any of Jhonny, Jeter, Cozart, or Alcides at my SS over Miller?

    • @Sul: i like Miller this year. Way better than those other guys you mentioned. I like Calhoun more than De Aza and would consider dropping De Aza for another streaming spot.

      • Sul says:

        @Rudy Gamble: Guys like Tillman, Lincecum, Lackey, and Colon are out there for pitching and Adam Lind, Swisher, and Peralta for hitter, you like any of them over de Aza?

  24. Erich Traum says:

    Rudy, I like the team you drafted. Would have been awesome if Votto/E-5 fell to you there. If so, that would have put you up on the top for sure. I think you recovered nicely after that. I am not as big on Kipnis as most, but you did great getting Pujols & Hosmer in Rounds to follow.

    If you did get one of the big 1b (Votto/E-5) when would you have taken a 2b? I am asking, b/c I am considering waiting to the mid-to-late rounds and get a guy like Daniel Murphey.

    Thanks for sharing your thought process, it was very helpful to me.

    • @Erich Traum: Thanks. If I didn’t take Kipnis, I would’ve looked at Altuve for speed. I’ve gotten Gyorko in two other leagues and Prado in the other. I like Murphy – he was a great low round buy for me last year – but he’s been too expensive for my tastes this year.

  25. jdw says:

    The yahoo friends and family draft has always been my favorite draft to follow – for five years now. It even compelled me one year to try and Facebook friend Scott Pianowski. He didn’t accept my request. Haha. I was just trying to get in on the whole”friends” part and have an excuse to get into that league someday. Best of luck, Rudy!

    • @jdw: Ha. Thanks. Easier these days just to tweet someone vs. Facebook – less commitment :)

  26. Shultz says:

    12 team roto 6X6 cats

    C- Perez
    1B – Goldy
    2B – Gyorko
    3B – Wright
    SS – Castro
    LF – Holliday
    CF – Heyward
    RF – Rios
    Util – C. Davis

    Bench – Gordon, Eaton, Arenado, Av. Garcia, Lind, Miller, K.Davis

    SP – Minor (DL), Cole, Cingrani, Gray, Ross
    RP – Chapman (DL), Jones, Rosenthal, Brothers, Hoover

    Auction league where I think I should have spent more on a front-line SP and less on offense depth possibly, although many offensive studs were kept as keepers.

    QUESTION: should I trade Holliday, rios, or Gordon for an SP upgrade to balance my young upstarts or sit tight and play the waivers until some other team is more desperate for OF help? Any other thoughts about the team appreciated.

    • EB says:

      @Shultz: You should trade an outfielder for starting help. Thats a heck of a lineup you just need another starter or two to stay competitive. Gordon and Eaton are good players and capable starters in 12 team leagues and they aren’t helping you on the bench.

      • Shultz says:

        @EB: I have some offers out, so we will see. Thanks for the input

        • EB says:

          @Shultz: Btw, when I said stay competitive I meant in the pitching categories esp ks and ws. With your offense you are goingto contend IMO

  27. ritzer says:

    I ended up punting SS and ended up with Zach Cozart. Jimmy Rollins has been dropped. He seems to have a point to prove the last few spring games. Do I pick him up?

  28. RotisserieJedi says:

    15-teamers are just plain brutal. Just one criticism Rudy: I realize we all have different tastes and ranks, but passing up the consistency of Beltre in favor of Kipnis is a bit much for me to take. (Although you could counter with the scarcity/2B is poop in 2014 argument.) But I certainly wish you luck, and I look forward to seeing how you and Grey do with separate teams.

    • @RotisserieJedi: i’m sure 20-team drafters laugh at your 15-team commentary. It’s a fair point on Beltre – I somewhat irrationally fear that every year he’s going to fall off a cliff like 3B are wont to do in their mid-30s. He’s been great for 3 straight years. One point on Kipnis – it’s not so much the scarcity of 2B overall as in specifically speed. There just isn’t a lot of speed to go around and securing it in MI leaves more flex in OF. So Kipnis feels like a strong 4-category play there (not sure on AVG).

  29. L-Boogie says:

    Interesting. Grey ranks Adam Jones 5 and Prince 7. Yet when push came to shove, he picked Prince. I guess he was afraid that a top tier 1B wouldn’t fall to him in he 2nd???

    • @L-Boogie: I think he preferred 1B but good question for him. His review of the draft comes out tomorrow I think.

  30. Wendell says:

    Ruuuuudy. Ruuuudy. The walk on senior does it again. I like team a lot this year. Keep up with the great advice Good luck

  31. Cole says:

    I really like this team. And I really did not like your team in this league last year so kudos on the self evaluation and game plan development. Are you doing a write up on your nfbc team or did I miss it?

    • @Cole: Thanks. Hopefully my strategy rethink pays dividends this year. Haven’t written up my NFBC but compiling the three Razzball-sponsored drafts to share w/ everyone. You’ll never guess who drafted the most valuable team based on my estimates!

  32. Charles says:

    That was a great write-up. As the cheerleaders say in cheesy porn scenes, the longer the better.

    What’s your favorite league and draft setup?

    • @Charles: Thanks. I don’t know if I have a favorite format. I like AL/NL only auctions and like mixed league snake drafts or auctions. I prefer weekly roster changes only to let me manage more teams. I like the challenge of the RCL format but the day-to-day management wears on me a bit.

  33. EB says:

    Rudy, my two critiques of your daft: (1) Wacha was a reach (2) You may regret not taking Teheran over Rosario. Perez was around in the 11th.

    I like Hosmer and Zimmerman a lot

    That said, can you give me a critique of my squad? Head to head 12 team league with H and OPS and K/BB and Total bases in addition to the normal 5×5 cats.

    C Navarro (This is an embarrassing start. For some reason people took two catchers. Mesoraco is available I will pick him up as soon as he is healthy. )
    1B Goldschmidt
    OF–Alex Rios
    OF–Yoenis Cespedes
    Bench–Gardner, Rasmus, Aybar

    Starters–Sale, Zimmerman, Teheran, Cole, Iwakuma, Lackey (for now)
    Relievers–Jansen, Robertson, Papelbon

    I’m pretty pleased with my squad, wish I had another starter but I have five real solid guys. My main concern is power and whether Dozier and Lawrie are going to be decent. What do you think?

    • @EB: Thanks. Agree on Wacha. Hoping my ‘gut’ call on him pans out. Interesting call on Teheran vs. Rosario. I just didn’t want to invest that early in an SP3. If I had gone w/ Rosenthal in the 6th round instead of Wacha, I likely choose Shields in the 8th round (over Teheran assuming Wacha was off the board). So we can look back as the season goes on and determine which would’ve been best:

      – Wacha/K-Rob
      – Rosenthal/Teheran
      – Rosenthal/Shields

      As for your team, be patient and a Catcher will be dropped. The 2B is weak but waivers will help there. I’m not understanding why you have so many bench hitters. I would think SPs would be more helpful. I just drafted this format (with 14 teams) tonight and ended up with 9 SPs and 1 RP. You can always stream during the season but a SP on the bench is more useful than Colby Rasmus and Erick Aybar are going to be.

      • goodfold2 says:

        @Rudy Gamble: i’ll guess rosie and teheran.

        • @goodfold2: After reading that Rosenthal has been filthy this preseason, I’m inclined to agree with you.

      • EB says:

        @Rudy Gamble: Hi Rudy, Thanks for the input re: my bench hitters. I was just looking them over struggling over who to drop and I was even thinking about keeping all of them.

        Rasmus will be my first drop along with Aybar if Segura’s shoulder turns out to be all right. I didn’t plan on taking so many hitters its just that pitching was well picked over by the end. I will add a couple starters as soon as possible.

        Good luck this year and thanks tons for the input. I think you’ve got a contender in this Friends and Family league.

  34. Alky Sobrera says:

    Forget apologies, I say we need more grantlandian length articles from you Rudy. I appreciate the thought process behind the picks, and your read on the room. Think it’s at least as valuable as looking at your roster itself, if not more so.

    Now, about that 2nd round Kipnis pick. I actually like Kipnis more than yours and Grey’s ranks. However, I’m curious as to why Beltre was not on your radar at 2.17 when E5 went at 2.16. From what you wrote, it seems he wasn’t even someone you’d considered, but your custom steamer ranks have him quite high iirc. I agree E5 is more valuable than Beltre, but the latter’s floor is hardly without its value, and one could argue that the ceiling is plenty high given the changes to the Rangers’ roster. I would also consider him a safer play than Kipnis there. Would like to get an idea of what lead you to your decision at the time, and if you think it was better for the rest of your draft.

    Good luck to your team!

    • Glad you liked the post! You’re right on Beltre. The value was there. For whatever reason, though, I just never pull the trigger on him for fear that this is the year that he falls off a cliff like all 3B inevitably do. Plus, I like punting 3B this year and was making an exception with EE. Lastly, it was good to secure some speed earlier in the draft so I didn’t have to reach later.

      • Alky Sobrera says:

        @Rudy Gamble:
        I can see the risk argument for Beltre, but again, the lineup changes have me swayed. The speed issue you mentioned is something I’m totally buying. Though those same steals can be had later in the draft, it’s near impossible to match the R/RBI production you get from the early pick in Kipnis. That’s the reason I have him higher than the various rankings here. Starting off with somewhere around 50 steals in the first 2-3 rounds is a huge boost imo, because it helps you maintain balance from the get go. Not having to reach for the speed picks later just seems to open up the draft a lot more. Anyway, good luck with the team this year.

        • @Alky Sobrera: Sobrera: My goal this year is to be about league average in SBs and focus on being great on the other stats. I don’t think I had 50 SBs by the third round except in LABR when I had Puig/Segura at 2/3. Although I guess A-Jones/Kipnis should get around 40 (with Hosmer chipping in a sneaky 10).

  35. Eddy says:

    Pitchers of the Corn, ha! Came to ask who were Grey’s SP, but I figure we’ll see them in the write up.

    Thanks for the insight, Rudy, really helps.

  36. Kyman says:

    Drafting in a 12 team yahoo H2H league tomorrow. League limits t0 6 pick-ups per week. What’s your strategy here?

    I’d normally go hitter heavy and stream SPs, but with the pickup limit I’m thinking go hitters early. And a deep bench of SPs to rotate through.


    • goodfold2 says:

      @Kyman: deep bench of SP is good idea anyway. Just start streaming when your first starter either gets hurt or worst starter starts to suck. You can still stream with 6 weekly pickups, just not as much.

      • @goodfold2: Agree. We just did a 14-team H2H last night w/ Razzball writers and beer leaguers. I focused mainly on hitting (R/HR/RBI/AVG) and SPs. Ended up with 9 SPs I project b/w $7-$15. No ace. Just a deep bunch that I can leverage for matchups and 2-start weeks. You also have to grab SPs off waiver wire but I find the deep SP bench provides security in case leaguemates gobble up all the good pitchers.

  37. Circle Gyorko says:


    I recently told a friend I would help him out and do an auction draft for him since he was going to be gone. This is an 12 team, AL only league. This league used to be 11 teams but this guy is the newest member which puts them at 12. They have keepers in the league but he obviously will not have any. Budget I have is $260. I am having trouble figuring out a drafting strategy for him because of their strange league settings.

    It is a 4×4 (HR, RBI, AVG, SB, W, Saves, ERA, WHIP) with a roster setup of (C,C,1B,2B,SS,3B,CR,MI,5 OF, Util, and 9 P). Yes you read that right….they have TWO CATCHERS for AL ONLY and 12 teams. They also do not have any K’s for pitchers….cause that makes sense….

    The strategy I’m considering, punt ALL SP’s. The only thing they would give you is wins and that is so hard to project for. Instead I would pick up all middle relievers and closers which would save A LOT of my budget. I could then use this extra money to bolster the bats. What are your thoughts on this strategy? Do you have any better ideas? Thank You and keep up the amazing work!

  38. costaricanchata says:

    yep .
    you should have had the balls to draft
    encarnacion over jones .

    • @costaricanchata: I have Jones ahead of Encarnacion. Plus, did not like the OF choices that would likely be available for my 2nd round pick.

  39. Drew says:

    Hey Rudy, what’s the ETA on stream-o-nator and hitter-tron? Heard you on the podcast say something about improvements this year for adjusting more to a player facing righties or lefties? Can you reiterate that for me?


    • @Drew: Planning on opening day but running out of time. Finally have all the data feeds connected (including probable pitcher). Just a matter of having some hours to devote to it.

      The biggest improvement is that Steamer is now giving me hitter projections against RHP and LHP. For pre-season/ROS projections, I have a model that estimates each player’s ratio of RHP PA:LHP PA, apply it to Steamer’s rates, and add them up. For Hitter-tron, I just use those directly.

      Last year, I tried to back this RHP/LHP out but that doesn’t work for players who have significantly different RHP/LHP PA splits vs league average (think platooned players). Their rates are inflated because they get to play more often against opposite-handed pitchers. So my adjusted rates for guys like Moss, Gomes, etc. was too high – it was like they got a double-adjustment instead of a single-adjustment. All taken care of now.

      There are also some park factor improvements/updates – notably using factors based on the hitter’s handedness. A field like Yankee Stadium is great for lefties, okay for righties. If you use an averaged park factor, that gets lost and lefties are undervalued, righties are overvalued.

      • Drew says:

        @Rudy Gamble: Awesome, thanks for the response and clarity. This is why you guys are the best in the biz. I plan on using both tools religiously!

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