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Your Draft Philosophy

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Your Draft Philosophy

Postby Russell James » Wed Mar 19, 2008 4:23 pm

I have been posting around here for about 2 weeks now and I have noticed that I have a different draft philosophy than many of you.

Many of the people on this forum and fantasy baseball in general draft based on value. Many of you won't draft pitchers early because there are plenty to be had later in the draft or you consider middle rounds to be a place where you win your fantasy league. Heck, there is a whole forum dedicated to rating your drafted team.

I have heard some of these cliches before, but I must admit, never have I fussed with them.

I do well in most baseball leagues I play in (I play primarily in H2H leagues, but have also done well in roto leagues). I tend to place around 1 - 3. Actually I have never placed lower then 3rd in any of my baseball leagues (I have played in 13 leagues over the past 3 seasons). Now Basketball and Football is another story, especially basketball. I currently reside in the basement of both of my basketball leagues, but baseball I have always done well in. Perhaps it is luck, but I have always thought that my philosophy was the reason. Maybe I'm wrong, you tell me.

I draft specifically for trading. Now there are guys that I absolutely want on my team and when I draft them won't trade them. Around 30% of my drafted players are never traded or sent to waivers.

I especially do this with pitching. After a draft my team has just enough offensive guys to fill their positions and many, many pitchers. I then proceed to trade a bunch of pitchers to different teams for stud players. I just recently traded Harang for Magglio Ordonez. I drafted Harang in the 8th round. Ordonez went in the late 2nd. I have done this with Harang every year for the past 3 years. 3 years ago I got him in the last round and traded him for a guy who was drafted in the 2nd.

I also don't mind drafting back to back positions. Last year in a league I drafted Reyes in the 1st round and then Han-Ram in the 3rd. I traded Reyes away for a couple players that had 3rd and 4th round value. Reyes actually outplayed the players I received on an individual level, but as a pair they were much more valuable and Han-Ram outplayed Reyes in every stat except for steals.

Here is my philosophy on other players:

1. Players overvalue the HR stat.

2. Players undervalue pitching during the draft then overvalue it during the season

3. Players don't pay attention to percentage stats too often

Those 3 things are the basic beliefs I have about other players and how they act during the season. Last year I was able to steal Markakis and Polanco from a guy for Adam Dunn. Dunn's 40 HRs can demand a high price, while Markakis and Polanco are just guys who hit around .300 and give me multiple stats. Markakis was one of my more consistent offensive players last year. Most people criticized me for making that trade, yet it fit perfectly into chemistry of my team.

I have had bad trades too. I obviously can't make a perfect trade each time I make a trade. I traded Brian Roberts for Jason Bay at the end of April last year. I was sure that Roberts was going to get injured and was sure that Bay was going to bounce back. I also traded Liriano for a dirt cheap player two years ago...and Liriano was awesome. The list goes on. However, I still ended up winning or finishing in the top 3 in both of those leagues, so it didn't kill me.

I have found that the more aggressive I am the more my mistakes don't matter, unless I make a series of bad trades...which is rare. Thankfully baseball is a fairly consistent game unlike Basketball and Football, which is probably the reason I don't do well in those leagues.

All of this is accomplished primarily through my draft. In order to make these trades I must have drafted players worthy of trading for. I have traded guys that I got off of waivers before, but that takes time because they have to prove themselves first.

So I'm interested in how you approach the draft. Is your approach similar to mine or very different. I am interested in knowing what you do.
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Re: Your Draft Philosophy

Postby StlSluggers » Wed Mar 19, 2008 4:25 pm

I avoid drafts and stick to auction keeper leagues.

This doesn't help your conversation at all... but it's as good of a place to say it as any. :-)
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Re: Your Draft Philosophy

Postby BronXBombers51 » Wed Mar 19, 2008 4:36 pm

If you're able to trade a guy you drafted in the 8th round for a guy someone drafted in the 2nd round, straight up, then I'd have to question the skill level of your opponents.

Drafting specifically to trade is a dangerous practice, IMO. What if you can't unload them for the value you want? Then you're either stuck with the player, or you have to sell him at a lower price than anticipated. If you're playing in a league with inexperienced owners, then drafting certain guys with intent to trade can work...I did this in a league several years ago and my final roster was absolutely insane.

But if you're playing against knowledgeable opponents, I think this is a mistake, because they aren't going to fall for the sell high/buy low as much as an inexperienced owner would, and you're going to be stuck with a roster of people that you only drafted with intent to trade, and don't necessarily want.
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Re: Your Draft Philosophy

Postby knapplc » Wed Mar 19, 2008 4:40 pm

I prep with a spreadsheet, usually taken straight off of Thunder Matt's Saloon with no alternate work done, except to make it pretty with some formatting. I then read Baseball Leftovers a LOT, post in as many ZOMG Barry Bonds!!!! threads as possible, and generally rail on the futility of being a Cubs fan. About a week before the draft I buy Baseball Prospectus. I try to eat about ten pages per day, usually shredded on a salad (ranch dressing, of course). That's typically all the prep work I need.

My in-draft strategy involves, first and foremost, many many beers. I prefer MGD bottles, but whatever you have is good. I've found that if I can down one to two beers per round that I'm in a really open state of mind around the sixth or seventh round, when I typically remember that I have to fill other positions besides OF. I tend to start looking for the website about five minutes before the draft starts, then curse the league manager for making us use ESPN again. Once online I make fun of everyone else's picks with scathing sarcasm, even though I usually have never heard of most of the first-round guys, anyway. Knowledge of a player is hardly relevant when poking fun. It's the names that count, mostly.

About the 11th or 12th round I begin to realize that I've made some mistake or other. After looking at everyone else's roster it tends to dawn on me that we are, in fact, drafting baseball players and not football (see my Home Cafe). I usually spend the last few rounds of the draft curled up in a corner clutching my Mickey Morandini bobblehead, wrapped in the fetal position, weeping softly.

Luckily for me most websites have autodraft, and it usually kicks in for me after round two or so, and I typically end up with a middle-of-the-road team. I PM people at the Cafe a LOT asking for help with trades and FA pickups, and by the end of the regular season I'm usually clinging to one of the last playoff spots, hoping for the best.

That's what works for me, anyway.
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Re: Your Draft Philosophy

Postby StlSluggers » Wed Mar 19, 2008 4:42 pm

knapplc wrote:I prep with a spreadsheet, usually taken straight off of Thunder Matt's Saloon with no alternate work done, except to make it pretty with some formatting. I then read Baseball Leftovers a LOT, post in as many ZOMG Barry Bonds!!!! threads as possible, and generally rail on the futility of being a Cubs fan. About a week before the draft I buy Baseball Prospectus. I try to eat about ten pages per day, usually shredded on a salad (ranch dressing, of course). That's typically all the prep work I need.

My in-draft strategy involves, first and foremost, many many beers. I prefer MGD bottles, but whatever you have is good. I've found that if I can down one to two beers per round that I'm in a really open state of mind around the sixth or seventh round, when I typically remember that I have to fill other positions besides OF. I tend to start looking for the website about five minutes before the draft starts, then curse the league manager for making us use ESPN again. Once online I make fun of everyone else's picks with scathing sarcasm, even though I usually have never heard of most of the first-round guys, anyway. Knowledge of a player is hardly relevant when poking fun. It's the names that count, mostly.

About the 11th or 12th round I begin to realize that I've made some mistake or other. After looking at everyone else's roster it tends to dawn on me that we are, in fact, drafting baseball players and not football (see my Home Cafe). I usually spend the last few rounds of the draft curled up in a corner clutching my Mickey Morandini bobblehead, wrapped in the fetal position, weeping softly.

Luckily for me most websites have autodraft, and it usually kicks in for me after round two or so, and I typically end up with a middle-of-the-road team. I PM people at the Cafe a LOT asking for help with trades and FA pickups, and by the end of the regular season I'm usually clinging to one of the last playoff spots, hoping for the best.

That's what works for me, anyway.

That's a whole lot of awesome there. :-D ;-D

Get that man a Jester and a Pen icon! :-b
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Re: Your Draft Philosophy

Postby Dan Charette » Wed Mar 19, 2008 4:45 pm

I'm much different than you. I almost never make trades. I try to draft a balanced team , and it's real hard for me to find a trade that I like. I get offered many trades and rarely to I accept the offer.
I've been playing multiple teams for 5 years and only once did I not make the playoffs. I guess it shows that there's more than one way to do well. To each their own .
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Re: Your Draft Philosophy

Postby hot4tx » Wed Mar 19, 2008 4:50 pm

2. Players undervalue pitching during the draft then overvalue it during the season


I don't think this is true. First of all I think closers are the other way around - overvalued at the draft, then undervalued during the season. However, I assume you're talking about starting pitchers so we'll stick to them.

I think players overvalue the 1b starting pitchers at the draft. Way overvalue them. I think you can make an exception for Peavy and Santana, because you're almost assured of having an edge over the other players' #1 SPs with either of these guys. With a Brandon Webb, Eric Bedard, Josh Beckett (pre-injury), etc I don't think you get that clear edge. There's a tier there with the rest of the top say 15 starting pitchers who are almost equally likely to be in the top five as the next guy. We rank them because we have to - we rank everything in a draft format, but that doesn't mean that Verlander has much more value than Hamels, or Lackey has that much more value than Chris Young or Harang. There's not that much difference in performance, but since we have to rank everything there's a gap from round 3 to round 8 where these guys are drafted.

I think the trick is not to get the "top" 1b starting pitcher, but to get depth in the lower 1b and #2 starting pitchers. In a recent draft in a tough league I ended up with Young, Maine, Myers, Burnett, Sheets and Wang. This staff should match up with any of the ones lead by a Santana or Peavy or even one with 2 "aces" because of it's depth. And I did all of this by letting the top 1b pitchers pass, drafting hitters early, and waiting on starting pitching until the 8th round.
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Re: Your Draft Philosophy

Postby markj11 » Wed Mar 19, 2008 4:51 pm

Russell James wrote:
2. Players undervalue pitching during the draft then overvalue it during the season


This is true but pitchers are inconsistant year to year so once I see that one is doing good then I will go after him with a trade instead using a draft pick and keeping my fingers crossed.
I ain't askin' nobody for nothin, If I can't get it on my own. - Charlie Daniels
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Re: Your Draft Philosophy

Postby Yoda » Wed Mar 19, 2008 4:59 pm

1.Tier rank and make sure you don't fall too far on a position or you will pay for it. You want your starting lineup to be balanced without glaring holes in it.
2. Draft value: I always take the best player available regardless of position.
3. When they zig, I zag. When they zag, I zig: If everyone is grabbing bats, I grab pitchers. If everyone is going pitchers, I grab bats. I can trade whatever I have in excess for something I need afterwards because if people are reaching, then they will come up short where I have excess.
"Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of them are stupider than that." ~George Carlin
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Re: Your Draft Philosophy

Postby Matthias » Wed Mar 19, 2008 5:00 pm

I've done snake draft leagues, but I care about my auction league much more, so here's some generalized observations/strategies I have.

First, and foremost, people undervalue stud pitching. There are two inputs into pitcher variability: injury risk & performance risk. You obviously can never get around injury risk but I find people paint too broad of a brush when it comes to performance risk. There's the elite tier of starters that get undervalued. Also I realized a couple of years ago that about half to two-thids of my pitching staff at the end of the year came off of the waiver wire. So I may as well spend an extra $5 on getting a true stud than wasting it on a guy who I'd end up dropping a month later.

Second, you have to use the, "buy high/sell low" strategy to your advantage. Specifically, people will overpay for a name. "Sure, Vernon Wells is having a tough summer, but he'll come around. He's a S-T-U-D." Whereas I had Alex Rios two years ago and couldn't find a single taker because everyone was paranoid about being the sucker. So you have to draft accordingly and concentrate some of your money into trade chits for the future.

Third, people way overvalue the last season. The best players to get are good guys coming off of bad years (like Vernon Wells' 2007, Carlos Beltran's 2005, or Sorian's 2004). The same applies to guys who were overhyped in recent seasons and may turn decent but were just hyped a season too early (say, Francoeur).

Lastly, people undervalue the old guys. Everyone wants, "upside" leaving out that the guys who they talk about their, "upside" also has significant, "downside" and that you're sometimes better off just getting the Raul Ibanez's and Pat Burrell's of the world who are who they are and really aren't that bad.

So those are my general methods.
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