This is the third year I’ve drafted solo in the Yahoo Friends & Family MLB league. Here are links to the draft results and a Q&A with all the owners.

This league allows daily pickups where all adds/drops take effect the next day. The biggest challenge is that this is the news sharkiest expert league ever created so there is NO WAY I’m ever landing a player based on breaking news (there are three from Rotoworld, two from Rotowire, and Yahoo’s Scott Pianowski. If they get by those 6, then there’s Grey. I had some success in 2014 grinding to a 6th place finish with a mediocre draft leveraging the Streamonator and Hittertron (and even out-sharking people on two closers) but that advantage was nixed when a move cap of 125 was added in 2015.

In addition, several members have no problem drafting in an unorthodox way (the hit/pitch splits this year ranged from 48/52 to 80/20!). This has put me in some uncomfortable spots in past drafts.

All that said, I felt good going into the draft for three reasons:

  • There are only 12 teams for 2016 where historically it has been 14 teams. Grey and I are used to streaming in RCL and – while the 125 transaction + 1,400 IP cap makes it slightly different than RCL – I felt more comfortable waiting on SPs after acquiring two top pitchers.
  • I had a good feel how the draft would go based on my ADP research and previous drafts. Even if Jeff Erickson, Chris Liss, and Dalton Del Don followed through on their SP-heavy 2015 strategy and Scott Pianowski did some gambit, I felt comfortable enough that I wouldn’t be caught off-guard.
  • I got the 3rd pick.

Here is my team:

Pos Name Pick
C Brian McCann (C/1B) 14.166
1B Chris Davis (1B/OF) 3.27
2B DJ Lemahieu 16.190
SS Elvis Andrus 18.214
3B Maikel Franco 7.75
OF Bryce Harper 1.3
OF Starling Marte 2.22
OF Carlos Gomez 5.51
OF Gerardo Parra 11.123
CI Danny Valencia (3B/OF) 22.262
MI Jonathan Schoop 23.267
UT Kevin Pillar 12.142
UT Marcell Ozuna 17.195
SP Corey Kluber 4.46
SP Danny Salazar 6.70
SP Francisco Liriano 10.118
SP Jeff Samardzija 13.147
SP Wei-Yin Chen 15.171
RP Trevor Rosenthal 8.94
RP Ken Giles 9.99
RP Jumbo Diaz 20.238
RP Luke Gregerson 21.243
B Josh Reddick 19.219
B Juan Nicasio (SP) 24.286
B Yasmany Tomas (3B/OF) 25.291
B Brad Miller (2B/SS/OF) 26.310

General Draft Observations:

  • Check out the below hit/pitch splits – it’s rare that you ever see teams dip below 60% of their draft on hitting but Rotowire’s Liss & Erickson hit levels (48.6% and 53.0%) that I’ve never seen in a draft. Dalton and Rotoworld’s D.J. Short are also below 61%. Conversely, only one team went 70+% hit but that was Pianowski who went 80.3% hit and didn’t draft any starting pitchers.
Team Hit Inv Pitch Inv
 Razzball – Grey 66.4% 33.6%
 Razzball – Rudy 65.2% 34.8%
 RotoWire_Liss 48.6% 51.4%
 RotoWire-Erickson 53.0% 47.0%
 Rotoworld – Boyer 68.3% 31.7%
 Rotoworld – Short 60.7% 39.3%
 Rotoworld – Dougherty 65.7% 34.3%
 WSJ-Salfino 66.5% 33.5%
 Y! – Behrens 69.8% 30.2%
 Y! – Del Don 58.6% 41.4%
 Y! – Funston 69.0% 31.0%
 Y! – Pianowski 80.3% 19.7%
  • For hitting, my focus was solidifying power early (bundled with speed or AVG where possible) and using later rounds to flesh out speed and average. I planned on two bench spots for hitting and targeted Rockies (Parra, Lemahieu – just missed out on Paulsen) who I could potentially rotate out for road games. I ended up taking 3 bench hitters because Josh Reddick came at such a good price.
  • For pitching, I wanted to draft 4-5 SP and 5-6 RPs which is similar to my RCL draft strategy. The deep ‘ace’ pool gave me the courage to ignore the SP-heavy drafting of Liss/Erickson/DDD and take bats on my 2nd/3rd picks (Marte, Chris Davis). I was happy that Kluber fell to me in the 4th and nabbed his teammate Danny Salazar in the 6th round. I liked the prices on my other three SPs (Shark, Liriano, and Chen) who have been targets of mine all draft season. On the closer front, I wanted 2 definite closers and a shot at a 3rd. I nailed that with Rosenthal, Giles/Gregerson, and Jumbo Diaz. I decided to take a flier on Juan Nicasio versus a weaker RP.
  • In all, the draft went about as well as I could have hoped. Based on my dollars, I drafted a top 4 hitting and pitching team. But it is going to be tough to keep pace with these sharks once the season starts.
  • As for Grey (here’s his recap), our draft executions were quite similar on hit/pitch split (near identical) and on hitting (I think he has the 3rd best offense behind Pianowski and myself). But I feel like I got better starter pitching value as his staff is a lot more upside-y + WHIP-challenged than mine.


  1. Noam says:

    Nice draft! Shark looked great in his last tune up.

    Any idea when the streamonator will be up?

    • Zeus says:

      @Noam: he sometimes does. Then he throws a stinker

      • @Zeus: Hoping the shift to SF reduces those stinkers :)

  2. Zeus says:

    Nice team. I’ve played in those yahoo innings cap leagues. They’re basically k per 9 leagues and you need to maximize your staff with those high k middle relievers. Chen is a bit of an anchor there. Otherwise I like the team.

    • knucks says:

      @Zeus: So true about the K per 9 thing Zeus. I did draft Chen in my ‘Capped Yahoo’ at a really cheap price, mostly due to the switch from W’s to QS in that league this year. But also offsetting him with Betances/O’Day already in my pen and Zych/Givens on the radar for an upcoming Add.

      Giles/Jumbo should help Rudy there as well. But I’m interested to see what kind of moves he makes throughout April/May and will prob be making very similar wants as he does. But no one in my league has to know this!

      • Zeus says:

        @knucks: they’re also W per 9 leagues too so streaming becomes vital for middling guys on good teams going up against bad pitchers.

    • @Zeus: yup, we’re all on same page here. but I think Chen won’t be a K anchor and will be a ratio boon. he’s a lot more likely, though, to hit my bench on road starts.

  3. Frank White says:

    Rudy how you been!! You aND Grey are geniouses, especially your SON.. Anyway i’ve been asking all you guys about my lineup. Can you give your opinion on my team please..? 10 team mixed H2H and 20 per pitcher win plus a point per k but -10 per loss but anyway

    Brandon Crawford
    Carlos Gonzalez
    Jay Bruce
    Stephen Piscotty

    Jose Fernandez
    Carlos Martinez
    Tiajuana Walker
    Alex Wood
    Colby Lewis
    Francisco Rodriguez RP

  4. knucks says:

    So looks like Liss came in 2nd last year? If he doesn’t strike gold on all four of his prospect bats, he is gonna have a tough time bringing home the silver this year. Some real injury risk going on there too, but nothing he hasn’t stated himself on Sirius if I recall correctly.

    Lots of moves that can be made obviously. Just basing the above comment off draft results.

    • @knucks: he’s a strong in-season player. him, pianowski, and short are tough in this format.

  5. Pouss-Pouss says:

    Hey, Rudy. I found your comment interesting about feeling comfortable with two “anchor” pitchers and then waiting around for late-round-upside guys. I generally take the same approach (have Strasburg and Carrasco this year–then drops off to Smyly-Verlander-Corbin-Pineda types). I’m curious, do you have any evidence to support this approach? Why is not one stud pitcher enough? Or why is three not the magic number? Just curious because I have no real justification for my approach other than gut feeling (“eff these moneyball geeks imma goin with mah gut!”).

    • @Pouss-Pouss: i think 3 aces required too much pitching investment for this league. but i actually went 3 aces in RCL this past week because everyone was going crazy on offense. There’s no hard evidence on this – you can win RCL and leagues like this with just about any strategy if your execution is strong.

  6. Jason Gehrke says:

    Nice team, just curious as to why so early for the catcher?

    • Zeus says:

      @Jason Gehrke: my guess is that in “experts” leagues like this everyone has the same avoid taking a C in a one C league so there comes a point where taking one actually becomes a value that’s a market inefficiency.

      • Jason Gehrke says:

        @Zeus: Well I suppose according to the top 500 rankings he actually got 10 picks value on McCann, and he’s crushed 20 bombs for the last billion years str8 so I can see it. Checking out the draft I guess CI was pretty bare by then but I see Valencia and go eww.

        • @Jason Gehrke: yup, ding ding ding. mccann was one of the top power bats at that point and had some AVG to spare.

  7. Cram It says:

    You’re loving some Carlos Gomez this year. Seems like you’ve been drafting him everywhere. A good rebound candidate for where you’re getting him, but that’s a lot of huevos in the CarGo cesta.

    • @Cram It: yeah, liking the value he’s coming at. he had an injury-marred year last year. guy was 1st round pick last year and delivered great value the two years prior. love him as a bounceback.

  8. AL KOHOLIC says:

    real nice team,evenly balanced,

    • @AL KOHOLIC: thanks. i feel like you savored my team like an aged scotch.

      • AL KOHOLIC says:

        @Rudy Gamble: ha,more like some woodford reserve,never could get into the scotch

  9. WillisReid says:

    I use a similar strategy drafting SP in my 12 team H2H snake. Like to get at least 2 SP early then draft upside late for the last 3 spots.

    Aside from missing on Syndergaard as someone reached 3 rounds on him. Ended up with

    Carrasco 4
    Salazar 8
    Smyly 9
    Matz 12
    Rodon 22

    Someone also decided to drop Odorizzi for Clay Buchholz, so I scooped him up on waivers.

    Pretty happy with this group to go with
    C TdA
    1B Gold
    2B Odor
    SS Story
    3B Seager
    OF Betts
    OF Springer
    OF Polanco
    UT Franco
    UT Trumbo/Parra

    RP Street
    RP Smith
    RP Watson

    BENCH Odorizzi Kang

    Traded Myers and Rodney to get Street and Trumbo

  10. Gus says:

    As always i appreciate your twitter help. I too had 3rd pick and got a similar team with my fam and friends.
    1. (3) Bryce Harper (Was – CF,RF)
    2. (22) Starling Marte (Pit – LF,CF)
    3. (27) Joey Votto (Cin – 1B)
    4. (46) Chris Archer (TB – SP)
    5. (51) Maikel Franco (Phi – 3B)
    6. (70) Kenley Jansen (LAD – RP)
    7. (75) Tyson Ross (SD – SP)
    8. (94) Hunter Pence (SF – RF)
    9. (99) Addison Russell (ChC – 2B,SS)
    10. (118) Jonathan Papelbon (Was – RP)
    11. (123) Steven Matz (NYM – SP)
    12. (142) Dellin Betances (NYY – RP)
    13. (147) Tony Watson (Pit – RP)
    14. (166) Devin Mesoraco (Cin – C)
    15. (171) Kevin Pillar (Tor – LF,CF)
    16. (190) Delino DeShields (Tex – LF,CF)
    17. (195) Kenta Maeda (LAD – SP)
    18. (214) Jonathan Schoop (Bal – 2B)
    19. (219) Kyle Hendricks (ChC – SP)
    20. (238) Jason Hammel (ChC – SP)
    21. (243) Joe Smith (LAA – RP)
    22. (262) Ketel Marte (Sea – SS)
    23. (267) Wil Myers (SD – 1B,CF)
    24. (286) J.T. Realmuto (Mia – C)
    25. (291) Brett Lawrie (CWS – 2B,3B)

  11. Murray says:

    Re: Pianowski’s strategy, it’s viable. Last year in a 12-team Yahoo league, I rolled that way, going heavy-up on offense, drafting only one true SP (Gerrit Cole) and having all the rest be closers or middle relievers with really strong ratios. I stayed away from guys like Rosenthal, whose WHIP is always worrisome to me. Was a standard 5×5 with limited moves, and I finished 1st despite finishing last in wins and K’s. I won saves, ERA and WHIP by a landslide, and my offense was good enough to make it work. I got quite lucky (picked up Correa, Sano, Schwarber and AJ Ramos from waivers…even added Syndergaard at one point and stupidly dropped him after his shaky first few starts, d’oh), but still.

    Just sayin’, keep an eyeball on that sneaky bastard. I listen to his podcast, and he talks about it like it’s just kind of a random experiment he’s trying. Curious to see if he can pull it off.

    Side note, I didn’t repeat the strategy this year. I didn’t trust that I could repeat my waiver fortunes for a second straight year. My league is usually a lot smarter than they were in ’15.

  12. Big league choo says:

    In a 12 6×6 OBP/OPS team auction keeper(10) starting this yr

    Two catcher, 6 OF, 2 Util spots and both CI and MI

    Better to grab an OBP stud monster like harper or trout for 45$ or 2 24$ i.e. heyward. I have 280$ budget, 9 pitcher spots. We do a snake for seven rounds after auction, 5 rookie na spots too. I played nfbc two years ago and got third, but u tend to punt catcher, MI. I can’t see spending 35$ total for grandal and hundley. Any advice or old links you can send would be appreciated.

    Thanks you guys do an awesome job, I’ve been on razzball for 5 years and it has made fantasy so much more fun

  13. Shibboleth says:

    Damn Rudy, do you have any idea how your draft makes me feel? Like a freak’n genius! Mine was an 11-team league but still…

    C: Perez
    1B: Davis
    2B: Odor
    3B: Frazier
    SS: Seager
    MI: Schoop
    CI: Alvarex
    4OF: Harper, Marte, Ozuna, Souza Jr., Soler, Buxton

    SP: Strasburg, Salazar, Matz, Samardzija, Rodon, Fiers, Corbin, Gausman
    RP: K-rod, Tolleson, Rodney, Diaz

    Now let’s kick some ass!

    • Nice. Hope we both kick ass. Dump Soler.

  14. job3rd says:

    Nice team Rudy, as usual. On an unrelated note, is there a way to convert Greys projections for my 10-team, 5×5, OBP and QS instead of BA and W? Forgive if that has been asked before. I’m good at copy/pasting and formulas but I’m not good at hard stuff like VLOOKUP (not sure if that is even necessary.). Any direction you could give would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance!

    • job3rd says:

      @job3rd: I guess I have to subtract $BA and add $OBP, then adjust all player $ for 10-team?!? Ditto for $QS/$W?

      • Click the other hit/other pitch links and they will walk you through it.

    • Thanks for team compliment!

  15. Andre says:

    Was offered a trade of Grichuk and Shelby Miller for Cespedes. Offensive stats are H, R, HR, RBI, Bb, Avg, and Steals…..have pretty decent P depth but I’d replace miller with one of Nola, Ervin Santana, Leake, Cody Anderson or Kyle Gibson. Thoughts? If the trade was made what P should be picked up?

    • jal179 says:


      I’d do it in a secomd

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