Fantasy Baseball: Tumbling Dice

by Lawr Michaels, MastersBall.com on March 15, 2011 @ 03:40:12 PDT

 


Drafting Deep

A few weeks back, my site mate Perry Van Hook asked rhetorically if anyone knew just how long it was between picks in a 20-team league.

Having drafted 25 players in my Scoresheet League that has 24 teams in it, I think I get what Perry meant.

The Murphy League is where the damage was done last Saturday, as part of what is really a marathon in a league that allows eight perennial keepers in a H2H format based upon the Scoresheet algorithms.

Scoresheet, the brainchild of Jeff Barton, a Northern California mathematician and baseball addict, put together a game that allows for teams to match up over 162 games each season. Teams play a daily roster that rotates starting pitchers, getting results of each week on the actual performances of players during that week.

New York Yankees OF Brett Gardner
Gardner: too good to pass up

In other words, I have Roy Halladay on my team, and if the Doc twirls a good game, I get credit for that. However, if Halladay faces Cody Ross on a day when Ross belts a ninth-inning homer, well, the results depend upon how well my offense supported Halladay on that given day.

We set weekly nine-man lineups, using the DH, platooned versus lefty and right-handers, set our rotation, closer, setup, and those role players. Maybe pinch runners, or late game defensive players, or a situational left hander coming out of the pen.

I have had pretty good success over my two years in the league, finishing with the best record two years ago, and missing the playoffs by a game last year, largely due to freezing Joe Nathan.

One thing that is certain is that a strong pitching staff is essential to be good at Scoresheet, and I went into the offseason with Halladay, Clayton Kershaw, Max Scherzer, Carl Pavano, and Shaun Marcum as my rotation.

Now, freezing five pitchers is a commitment, and I thought about dropping Pavano, when I dealt Scherzer for Gordon Beckham, thus solving my second base issues, but creating a need for that fifth starter.

One other thing about the draft is we can freeze a soft eight; that is, we can keep up to eight, and any teams who freeze less than that draft in a snake format until all 24 teams indeed have eight players, and then the draft starts for the rest of us.

In addition to my second baseman and pitchers - for with the trade I determined to keep Pavano - I kept Albert Pujols, Kurt Suzuki, and third base prospect Mike Moustakas.

This meant I needed a fifth starter, a bullpen, a shortstop, a starting third sacker, and three outfielders to fill out a basic roster. Then flesh out with a DH, potential starter, bench players, and some prospects.

For though we are only allowed eight keepers, last year I managed to turn Jose Tabata into Shaun Marcum.

Well, the draft started and 35 picks later I got my first selection. All the players I had targeted were gone save Michael Young, so I took him figuring I needed someone if Moustakas does not make the roster (and if he does, it gives me an extra stick).

Next I took Erick Aybar to play short, and as I was about to grab a fifth starter, Brett Gardner popped out at me, and I took him.

By the time my next pick came all the starting pitchers I fancied were gone, so I took another flychaser in Michael Cuddyer, then Alex Gordon, and finally Juan Rivera.

Making my fifth starter Kevin Correia, a player I like, and one I thought would still be there. I then took Zach Britton. I took Brett Jackson next, and then the real drought began.

For that is where I traded picks last year, meaning I had no 19th or 20th pick. Meaning it was 62 picks before I selected Dillon Gee.

I did grab Drew Storen before my hiatus, and spent the rest of the afternoon with the likes of Dan Runzler, Landon Powell, Chris Heisey, Ben Revere and Josh Outman.

I still think I can field a good enough team to compete again.

As for how long it took? Well, Rotowire's Jeff Erickson is in the league, but he had already committed to the Baseball HQ First Pitch event on Saturday. That affair began at 10 a.m., Pacific time.

A little after 2, Jeff joined the draft. Around 7:45 p.m., Ron Shandler called me to see if we were still meeting for dinner. Meaning, Ron had enough time to present the three-hour First Pitch program, and then drive from Los Angeles to San Francisco as we drafted.

That means 8 hours and 45 minutes, at least. But, in fairness, to answer Perry's question succinctly, the answer to how long it is between picks in a 24-team league?

Forever.

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About Lawr Michaels, MastersBall.com

Lawr Michaels has been a player in the fantasy baseball industry since he began writing for John Benson in 1993. He has written for STATS, Inc, was the first fantasy columnist for CBS Sportsline, and has appeared in numerous journals and on websites. In 1996, he founded CREATiVESPORTS, a staple for serious fantasy players, which he merged into Mastersball in 2010.

Over the years, Lawr has participated in a wide variety of playing formats and won numerous titles, including AL Tout Wars crowns in 2001 and 2009. Along with his Mastersball duties, Lawr works for MLB.com as a statistician.

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