The perils of auto-drafting

I did another “random” mock draft last night but showed up late for it and had my first five picks done by auto-draft. Out of the 4th spot I got:

1. A-Rod, 3B (nice!)

2. Ichiro, OF (not to my tastes but reasonable here)

3. Fielder, 1B (good power balance to Ichiro but not a pick I would’ve made)

Already you can see a problem developing… tremendous power and decent speed, but three straight picks from deeper positions. The next two picks though really show how auto-drafting can hurt:

ChipperJones.jpg4. Chipper, 3B (a third CI in four picks, guh!)

5. Papelbon, CL (I NEVER take the #1 closer)

Well folks from here it became an exercise in self-preservation to see what I could make out of this, and the projected standings suggest I didn’t do too badly. But I was playing defense early on as a result of the first five picks, which illustrates very clearly one of the major 411 tenets: the purpose of your early-round picks is to build the core of your team around which you will structure the rest of your draft strategy. These five picks did not allow me to fully execute my own strategy as I typically would.

Anyway, check out the complete draft pick-by-pick and let me know your thoughts!





Yeh, you had a tough start. But I am amazed to see how deep the pitching seems to be this year. Were you not amazed to see Dice-K lasting into the 9th round while you took Lester in the 8th. Vazquez looked great value in the 10th as well.
Then guys who had minor injuries last year like J.Maine and Chris Young seem to have plummeted in value from where they were going last year. Do you think they offer good value where they were taken?

Am I the only one who thinks Nelson Cruz is just a quad-A guy? 115 at-bats last year didn’t really win me over. Dude has had his chances.
-Dan in LA

I’m glad that there is someone showing the love for Lester in 2009. I think he could become one of the most dominant lefties in the AL. He reminds me of Bedard and his career path.

I’m in a 10 team H2H keeper league, 8 keepers due to an expansion draft, and oddly Lester is sitting there for the taking. Since this is a deep H2H pitching league (no innings limit), I’m considering taking him with my first pick (R9 PK8) and making him my #2 SP behind Johan.

Here are the 5 top SP’s still on the board. How would you rank them?
E. Santana,

I was actually thinking of doing something I rarely do; that’s taking Lester at pick #88 and trying to come right back and take Billingsley at # 93. With Johan, Lester and Billingsley I could really forget about SP’s for the next 7-8 rounds, looking for guys like Wandy and Arroyo to fill out my staff. Ideally, it seems that in the H2H, you need 7 SP’s to compete, although, the last two can come late.
I already have Rivera as my #1 closer. Would you take a #2 closer with the 10th round pick, or take your chances by grabbing Lester and Billingsley, then try to grab the #2 closer at the end of the 11th or beginning of the 12th?

Thanks in advance of your reply.

Yeah, SP’s did seem to slip somewhat in this draft, but then again, they should since they are so volatile as a group and so many good options emerge over the course of the season.

Dan, I’m not sold on Cruz either but at that point in the draft I needed to take a big shot on a young player with upside… he is tearing up the winter leagues too so I’m hoping he can put up Carlos Lee lite numbers.

Stargell, those pitchers are all very close in value. If it were me I would take Ervin Santana first but all of them will go in very short order in any draft. SP’s are a little more valuable in H2H and closers slightly less so, so take advantage of that SP depth to take one quickly, then play it by ear.


Curious as to why you NEVER take the #1 closer. Is it that that draft position (roughly start of round 5) is always more valuable for a hitter? Barring the extreme, are there no circumstances under which you would? I like to take the #1 or, depending on who’s available, take back-to-back if I have a swing pick after round 5 to really lock down the closer spot. Typically I’ve filled some of the scarcer hitting positions if I do that though.
Allan in San Antonio

Allan, the reason is pretty simple: I don’t want to start the run, because I don’t know when it would come otherwise. There’s no reason to take the #1 closer in the 4th round if I can take another bat instead and get the #3 closer in the 5th round, especially when I think the top 3-4 guys are so comparable.


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