FAQ

You guys are always talking about drafting players with the most upside but you never list them separately. How can I identify these players?

Well, mostly you are looking for cheap or reasonably priced players who have the potential to earn significantly more than we have them listed. These could be rookies or young unproven players, injury rehabs, players coming off disappointing seasons or players who have been lingering on the verge of breaking out for several years. It could also mean those players that are on the verge of winning a job that might not come due until midseason or so, but these are these players are more of a gamble because you are at the mercy of management decisions.

Is there a way to transfer your cheat sheets and projections to a spreadsheet on my computer?

Yes. Simply highlight whatever you want to use and copy it (right click and copy, or go up to edit and copy). Open up excel and right click in the first box (cell) and choose ‘paste special’ then click on text and then ok.

I haven't been in a mixed league auction before. Do you guys have any advice on the difference between a mixed league auction as opposed to a one league auction? It seems like maybe a player who would ordinarily be a $30-40 player might go for less because the talent pool is so much greater? Or, on the contrary, maybe they'd still go for a high price because everyone knows they'll be able to get some pretty darn good players for a $1 at the end?

Mixed leagues are completely star driven so its kind of a crap shoot with mega stars going quickly for good prices and gambling on the other cheaper players at the end. Just remember that any average starter is now worth $1 but there is still the same amount of money to be spent. Plus the ability to replace players will be greatly enhanced with so many left over. And you have to be in the position to pounce on people that come out of the woodwork during the season as well. But the biggest winners are the guys who know the players with the most significant upsides at the end of the draft to cherry pick.

I am in an A.L. 10-player keeper league with a $260 salary cap that for the first time will have 11 teams (instead of the standard 12 teams we have had).  We are releasing the players from the missing team back into the free agent pool.  We have the usual draft inflation. What can I expect at auction draft day in terms of dollar amounts etc.?

Average value per player stays the same but the talent pool is a bit deeper with the stars taking on a bit more value. Basically, the tighter the league, the stars and scrubs are more separated, albeit just slightly in this case. There is now 9% less money in the draft leading to some deflation, especially towards the end of the draft. Suggested strategy - 1) Do not keep too many overpriced players if you can. 2) Try to free up as much money as you can prior to the draft. 3) You can take a few more risks on the end game because the free agent pool will be deeper during the season. Remember, yours is not an extreme case so use the strategy above at your discretion.

What is the best way to use your cheat sheets according to combined NL and AL no bidding draft style?

Simply use the values to represent the best value for each position. The cheat sheet values give the relative order of selection (blocks of talent). The players will be selected close to the values in the first two rounds.  Download the two sheets to an excel spreadsheet and you can put the AL and NL together.  Later rounds the order seems to change based on what the team needs. Same type of strategies can be used as far as positions with a few strong players, bracket the splits in the dollar values and draft those positions first.  Keep the 5x5 stats for each player and use the stats on the detail sheets to target saves or steals to round out the team. Depending on where you are in the snake draft order the selection changes as to what positions to focus on.  For example at the end of the order you get two picks, do you select one pitcher and one hitter or a closer and starter.  Know the draft order before the draft is always a plus, then you can work out the strategy.  If you do not know the order work out the first three rounds for high 1-3 middle 5-8 and end 9-13.  The script can be made based on the cheat sheet values. 

What would be the best way to build an overall cheat sheet for a 10-team 5x5 league?

Take the current 5x5 values and bump the hitters down a few bucks and bump up the starters a few bucks. You might want to knock a few bucks off the relievers as well. Also, in a 10-team league, there is a little more talent available so the sharp bidders will not have to go the extra buck or two for players they really want. Speed is also devalued.

We play a 13-team NL-only keeper league with a standard $260 salary cap.  Usually, we hold the auction draft after the season starts so everyone knows who has a roster spot in MLB.  We also hold a separate minor league draft once MLB players are selected.  Players who are eligible as minor leaguers (in the minors) are eligible to be selected at the minor league draft.  This year we held the auction draft before the season started.  Could you shed some light on what should be done with players who were selected at the auction draft who fail to make the major league team and are released and or sent to the minors?  We want to be fair but most owners don't think that a player should hold a roster spot if he didn't make a MLB team.  What does the LABR league do?

LABR holds a snake draft after the auction to select six reserves.  These reserves can be any player on a major league roster.  In other words, in the LABR NL reserve draft, any person on the planet that is not under contract to an American League team is fair game. If a player is released, you have two options. Option one:  Move a reserve player into the spot and keep the released player on the reserve list (hoping some team picks him up) or dropping him into the Free Agent pool.  Either way you fill the spot with a reserve player. The second option is to drop him into the Free Agent pool and bid using FAAB money (LABR starts with $100) to pick up a player in the Free Agent pool.  If you are the high bidder for the week then you get the Free Agent player.  Otherwise you live with the first guy in the line up another week or use option one.

Just found out my 12 team mixed league will be head-to-head and not roto. How will this change my draft?

First expert: It's more acceptable to punt categories in head-to-head leagues. Good offense is more predictable than good pitching, so most H2H pick strong in hitting early. Good closers are perhaps more valuable however, in comparison between Roto and H2H average position taken. A.J. Burnett in an average Roto draft, this year has been the 78th player overall in the average H2H draft, he’s taken 35th.  Strong hitting with three good closers should win or tie most weeks in a 5x5 H2H. But the fundamental principle of looking for the best, most productive players you can find still applies. For teams that are able to make daily lineup changes, for example, good depth can make a noticeable difference over the course of a season. Another strategy with H2H is to pick categories, 5 or 6, and draft heavy in those categories.  With Roto you have to be some what balanced to be competitive, but not in H2H. There was a good article by Matt Berry written for the NBA, but the concepts still apply.  There are three parts with the H2H mostly in the last section.   

Second expert: You should de-emphasize starting pitching a little – 12-teams mixed is a very shallow league. Grab the best catcher, third baseman shortstop, pitcher the first two rounds you can. Plus, you want a dominant pitcher or two, and a killer closer, but, for the most part, outfield and pitcher and to a degree even first base are so rich that you can fill out your roster with those spots later while focusing on a the best scarcity spots first (mix it up rounds 3-7 taking a pitcher and an of or first sacker, but otherwise scarcity during those rounds).

Third expert: I was thinking if you have a 12 mixed 4x4, or 15 mixed 5x5, or AL-only 6x6, or whatever... and then you simply say we'll score it head-to-head, rather than score it roto style, it wouldn't affect whatever strategy you use to draft your team. But, if by changing from roto to head-to-head scoring, they are also changing from 15 teams to 12 teams, or whatever, then, yes, that would alter the strategy somewhat.