Listener League Blog by Mitch
(The 411 League Draft is at http://www.the411.mlbradiofans.com/ )
I like my team. 2 years ago, when I ended up winning the league, I LOVED my team.
More specifically about the actual draft, I was surprised that Beltran went at 12. I took him much earlier in the 411 mock draft. I had him ranked in the top half of the first round. Same for Lance Berkman, who went in the middle of the second round. Looking at the bottom of the draft board, though, it is remarkable how many pitchers were taken late.
The GMs there really believe that pitching is a **** shoot and, so, many wait until the last few rounds to do it. The majority also use the wire for pitching. I am not quite the pitch-or-ditcher that many of the others are, but I do indulge once in a while.
Last year, I got major kudos for controlling the draft with my corner picks. I started a run on closers and then started another run on catchers (I took Joe Mauer and then Jason Varitek, which drew some hoots regarding Mauer over ‘Tek- my, how things change in a year). There were no real runs like that this year.
The real point of looking over drafts like the 411’s is to figure out how teams were constructed. Here’s how I came up with my approach this year. I took projections from 5 sources (including ESPN.com, which is hosting the 411 league this year) and averaged them. I then assigned "dollar values" according to position. So, it makes sense to draft in descending value. What I found was that outfielders were overvalued.
This is probably because there are so many outfielders- and therefore such variation- that the difference between the top and bottom is huge.
I knew this going in and therefore knew that I’d have to compensate at some point. It was remarkable how early I had to do it, though.
Because of the limited value of saves, I gave them increased weight.
You couldn’t tell from my closers, though- I have only Brad Lidge.
More on that later. I probably should upweight steals. Accordingly, I panicked towards the end and tried to dig up some steals.
The main criticism of my draft was that I took Adam Dunn in the second round. His batting average is the main downside. Someone mocked that ours is not a OBA league. My "defense" is the following haiku:
Is not an average of
The point is that a guy who gets more walks gets fewer at-bats. So, his contribution to my overall batting average is lowered. Plus, average is a flighty thing. You see people draft for homers or steals in particular, but not many say "I grabbed so-and-so (Freddy Sanchez?) because of his batting average."
It is hypocritical for some to hammer me over this, in my opinion. In particular, many people pick up a guy off the wire for the extra homer or two and they never mention the more likely 0 for 4 (David Ross, anyone?). It is a bigger fact with pitching- people pull a guy to get a quick win, while downplaying the possible effect on ERA and WHIP. I’m quite happy to go with 40 homers, more than 100 RBI and more than 100 runs.
The problem with being near an end, but not the end, is that you don’t have much leverage to start a run, but you have to wait a while- a long
while- to get your next pick. I felt like it was a stretch most of
the time to take a closer. Even when I took Lidge (122 overall), he wasn’t the clear choice, but there were few closers left and Lidge was the best of the lot. Plus, he gives me strikeouts.
By the end of the draft, though, I found myself with only Lidge for saves and no first baseman. Fortunately, I had strong starting pitching and good power. So, average-wise, Sean Casey wasn’t that bad for a next-to-last round draw.
The starting pitching allows me to waste a spot on a reliever. So, I backed up Lindstrom with Julio. That worked out okay. I’ll have to watch the wire for closer changes. That’s the norm for me.
It is going to be a fun year again and I am honored to still be in the league. I hope that half of the owners in the MLB Radio Fans leagues are as dedicated to the game as the owners in this crew.