Friday, February 15, 2013

Fantasy Focus: Mock Drafting

Yahoo opened up their fantasy baseball site last week.  I was itching for some fantasy baseball action and had a little time last weekend to participate in a mock draft.  Mock drafts do not play out exactly like real drafts.  You tend to get a lot of people who spend all or most of their money on 3 or 4 players early then bail leaving the rest of the draft on autodraft.  Then you get a guy like we had in our draft who spent almost no money early, THEN switched to autodraft creating a long stretch where if you wanted a player, you had to bid $1 above Yahoo's value or the autodrafter would take him.

Still, participating in a mock draft or two prior to your own is a good way of learning approximately what players are available early, middle and late and how long you can afford to wait to get a good player at any particular position.  I did a mock draft before my real draft last year and feel it helped me immensely. I ended up winning my league, although I only had about 1/3 of my original team on the roster by the end of the season.

My own league has 10 teams with 26 roster spots each.  I participated in a 12 team mock auction draft with 23 man rosters each, so the total number of roster spots was only 16 different.  Having 12 teams does create a bigger pool of total money spent on the draft by $540 which creates some price inflation compared to my real draft.

I ran into a glitch right off the bat when my screen failed to come up after loading the draft.  I had refresh the screen to open the draft page only to find the computer had already autodrafted Ryan Braun for $55!  Oh well, at least it was Ryan Braun!  Here's the roster I ended up with and how much I paid for each player($260 total to spend):

C   Wilin Rosario $11.  With $55 out of my pool after the first pick and with all the autodrafting going on, it was really hard to find value in this draft.  I consider Rosario at $11 my biggest steal.  BTW, Buster Posey went for almost $40!

1B  Adam LaRoche $5.  First basemen were flying off the board at inflated prices. I kept waiting for a reasonable price on one.  Finally got one with LaRoche.  I'm not thrilled with him but he did hit 33 HR last year and he has that wind tunnel to RF in Nationals Park and is surrounded by a great lineup.

2B  Rickie Weeks $9.  Rickie Weeks was a 20/20 guy last year in what most people consider a down year for him, so I figure a pretty valuable guy has a good chance to be even better this year.  The price was fair.

3B  Brett Lawrie  $21.  I think this is an overpay.  Lawrie should be going for around $15-$17, but I love his upside potential and wanted him badly.  At worse, he'll give you double digits in both HR and SB.

SS  Derek Jeter  $5.  I wasn't planning to draft Jeter, but when it became obvious his price was not going to be bid up, I felt like he was a huge value for $5.

OF  Ryan Braun  $55.  I came into the mock draft planning to not spend more than $50 on any one player, but was willing to go as high as that for at least one of Braun, Trout or Miggy Cabrera, so $55 is not terrible for one of the 3 top tier players.  Just for comparison, Trout went for $60 and Cabrera for $57, so Braun was the best value out of the 3.

OF  Yoenis Cespedes  $24.  Cespedes, Bryce Harper, Jason Heyward and Adam Jones are a grouping of 4 OF's that I really like and am targeting in the $20-30 range.  The other 3 all went for more than $5 more, so I feel like I got great value in Cespedes.  If he stays healthy, he's almost a lock for 20/20 with an outside shot at 30/30.

OF  Shane Victorino  $1.  I did not want Shane Victorino!  I nominated him for $1 thinking someone would bid at least $2, but it never happened so I ended up with him.  He did steal 39 bases last year though, so considering guys like Michael Bourn and even Ben Revere are going for a lot more, makes $1 a steal for Victorino.

UT  Jose Altuve  $13.  This was an overpay.  I temporarily forgot I already had Weeks and somehow thought I was running out of time to draft a 2B.  He does give you BA, SB's and Runs though.  Could have some trade value.  Still, I was hoping for more bigger numbers from my UT position.

UT  Josh Willingham $9.  Since I was stuck with Altuve at one UT spot, I figured I just needed to look for the guy who would give me the most HR's for my second one.  I think this is a fair price for Willingham.

SP  Felix Hernandez $34.  I didn't know about the UCL concern at the time of this draft.  I consider Felix to be an elite SP and felt like $34 was a fair price.

SP  Zack Greinke  $24.  I drafted Greinke as my ace last year.  He wasn't an ace, but was a steady anchor to my rotation.  I like him as a #2.

RP  Addison Reed  $2.  I was just looking for any Closers I could get for $1-2.  The difference in value between Reed and Craig Kimbrell is a lot smaller than the difference in price.  Kimbrell went in the high $30's in this mock draft, which is insane.

RP  Glen Perkins  $1.  Perkins labors in anonymity for Minnesota but is firmly entrenched as the closer and should be good for the standard 30+ Saves you get from a full season closer.

P  Jason Grilli  $1.  Grilli is first in line to replace Joel Hanrahan as the closer in Pittsburgh.  There are 2 RP spots on this roster, but I figure you need at least 3 and possibly 4 to be competitive in Saves.

P  Kenley Jansen $1.  I was surprised Jansen was available for just $1.  He will probably end up with the closer gig in LA and gives nice value as a setup man even if he doesn't.

P  Tim Lincecum  $6.  I don't know if Timmy is going to have a bounceback year or not, but $6 is a small enough price to pay to find out.

P  Jeff Samardzija  $9.  Assuming he stays healthy, Samardz should end up with numbers close to a Zack Greinke and other #2's.

BN(SP)  Doug Fister  $7.  I was just picking off SP's who I like at this point.  I was having to pay Yahoo rates because of that one autodrafter, but this is still a good price for Fister.

BN(SP)  Brett Anderson  $3.  I'm looking for a huge year from Anderson and $3 is a steal here.

BN(SP)  Matt Harvey  $4  I think Harvey is poised for a breakout with the Mets.

BN(SP)  Homer Bailey  $1.  Homer Bailey was a beast at the end of last season and could be finally ready to fulfill his enormous expectations.  A classic post-hype sleeper.

BN(SP)  Gerrit Cole  $1.  I wanted to stash either Dylan Bundy or Gerrit Cole.  I couldn't find Bundy in the list. Not sure if someone else had already taken him.  I like Cole almost as much.

There you have it.  Inevitably, someone always criticizes my drafts for having not position players on the bench.  I consider position players a waste of roster space on the bench in a H2H league where you can re-set lineups daily.  The most efficient use of the bench in that situation is to extend your starting rotation.


  1. Thought I would share some fantasy draft URLs:

    I wholeheartedly recommend Ron Shandler and any of his works for fantasy baseball. When I was playing, I relied on his books extensively.

    I credit his book for helping me turn around my first fantasy team where I stupidly ended up with most of the Giants starting lineup on my team, and with only one potential closer on my team, except that for that season, he moved to a new team and was no longer the closer. I recall having Ray Durham as my starting 2B.

    It was Chase Utley's, David Wright's, and Justin Morneau's breakout seasons, but nobody had drafted any of them nor picked them up yet. I found their names in the Baseball Forecaster book from that year and was delighted that they were still available.

    Every year wasn't like that, but I used his guides on player value to help me rank the players (Yahoo requires ranking to auto draft) and always did well. Though I must admit that I think part of my success was related to my being obsessive about churning through players every week. Still, I consider his book to be required before I draft.

    1. Thanks for the tips, ogc. I pretty much live and breath baseball stats leading up to my fantasy draft. With auction drafts, I try have as many names in mind as possible with approximate $$$ values that 1. I am willing to pay for and 2. What other should be paying. You want to get bargains yourself, but you also want to keep others from getting too big a bargain too.

  2. Have been enjoying the fantasy preview pieces Doc. Fun to see the mock draft info and assessment. I'm always surprised at how some of the values emerge. (Jansen and Victorino ino your draft.)

    1. Thanks, I'm glad somebody appreciates it.