Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Feeling a draft

Disclaimer: If you're not into fantasy baseball, please scroll down (or up, whatever) for other baseball stuff.

Tonite is my baseball draft. I'm basically down to just one league. I used to be in quite a few but as I've gotten busier at work, plus kids, I just don't have the time or desire to handle much more than this one great league. It's 12 teams, reasonably competitive. Most of the guys know what they are doing and the ones that don't, well, they fake it well.

Our keeper rules are very well thought out:

  1. Only players drafted may be kept (no undrafted players, even if waived)
  2. Max of 7 total
  3. Each player can be kept a max of 3 years
  4. Each year, the player's draft round is +3 rounds higher than the previous year. In other words, no player drafted/slotted in the first three rounds can be kept. This keeps the top 30 players available, in most cases. It also forces owners to make keeper decisions based upon players' "value" relative to their draft spot if they weren't protected.
For the most part, the best players are available, though the smart/lucky owner will have a few of the best players protected at significant below-market round "slottings". Having sold off my underperforming team last year mid-season, I am one of those lucky owners with a few major values that I am keeping. Going into the draft, my keepers are:
  • Justin Morneau, 8th rd (last year of contract)
  • Chein-Ming Wang, 13th rd (2 yrs left)
  • Jon Papelbon, 17th rd (last year, drafted by me 2 years ago!)
  • Hanley Ramirez, 18th rd (last year, the pride of my mid-year purge)
  • Phil Hughes, 19th rd (2 yrs left)
  • BJ Upton, 20th rd (last year, the other pride of my mid-year purge)
  • Matt Kemp, 21st rd (2 yrs left)
There are some other cheap keepers being protected by others, the best of which is a 22nd round Ryan Braun.

We also use OBP instead of BA, an idea I pushed for since it's a better barometer of a player's ability to get on base than simple batting average. Why should guys who rack up walks be penalized rather than rewarded? Made no sense so we use OBP now, boosting guys like Adam Dunn.

I draft in the 6th slot, a mid-draft position that I hate. I rather bat last or first. The middle sucks. No flow. No way to start a run by double-dipping on closers, for example. I hate it. That said, there are guys I'd be happy with anywhere from 4-10, so the 6th slot gets me one of those guys. Here's how I see the first 5 picks going:
  1. ARod
  2. Pujols (the owner is a diehard Cardinals fan)
  3. Johan (Mets fan; he told me he's taking Johan if available)
  4. Reyes (Mets fan; told me he's taking Reyes if Johan isn't there)
  5. Wright (the owner was set on taking Howard for the power but told me today that if Wright slips, he might have to take him over Howard. I am bummed if this plays out like this)
So, in the event the team with the #5 slot does indeed take Wright, I will likely be looking at Ryan Howard or Miguel Cabrera. I am starry eyed about Howard's power but I have a 1B already rostered, so maybe taking Cabrera to fill my 3B slot is a smarter idea. Will give me a fewer HR (-10 or so) but with the guys already on my team, that's probably OK. I think I can draft power in the 2nd and 3rd rounds reasonably well and get those missing HR back. Or, that's my hope. I am tempted by Utley and Rollins, but also having a top 2B and the top SS makes filling the MI slot with my first pick seem silly. Of course, if I drafted Howard, I'd fill my CI slot with my first pick, but 50 HR power doesn't come often.

So what should I do? Lend me your thoughts, quickly!!!!

I'll recap the draft, possibly, if anyone wants. If not, I still might do it anyways.

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