By Dave Adler
"May(berry) the Force be with you" - ObiRon Kenobi to Jedi trainee Dave "Opie" Skywalker.
This Bud's still for you
When I asked publisher Ron Shandler if there was anything he wanted me to try with the AL LABR draft, he challenged me to take a leap of faith. OK, his advice wasn't quite the above quote (and I apologize for the massively mixed metaphor). What he asked me to do was ignore the projected stats and focus solely on the Mayberry Method. Further, don't check the projected standings or team progress in Rotolab during the auction, he advised.
In the summary of his FSTA team, Ron noted that he used nothing but Mayberry scores to rank his players; the result was a strong team. While he participated in a draft, I'd need a little more information for the LABR auction - namely, projected player values. So, the question was, could I trust my nascent Jedi instincts and use only Mayberry scores and projected dollar values?
Mayberry and auctions
As a refresher, Mayberry breaks down projected player valuations into a seven-digit code. The first four numbers describe a player's skills on a scale of 1-5 (Power, Speed, BA, and PAs for batters; ERA, K/9, saves, and IP for pitchers). Each four-digit code can be combined into a single Mayberry score (MM) which runs from 0-100. The final three digits refer to the players' reliability score (health, playing time/experience, consistency).
Drafting with MM scores and projected auction values is pretty straightforward using Rotolab. On the draft page, it's easy to toggle between Mayberry scores and dollar values. Avoiding the "progress" chart that shows if you're attaining your category goal, as well as checking the "totals" page showing the projected league standings, though, required the discipline of a Jedi knight.
Mayberry, of course, is a player evaluation system, not an auction/draft strategy. I had several thoughts in mind going in:
- The top goal - compile as high a MM score as possible.
- While I wasn't going to draft a Portfolio 3 team (combining it with MM scores could be limiting), I planned to keep an eye on the reliability scores and avoid the riskiest players.
- As usual, I wanted to spend $200 for hitting and $60 for pitching.
- For hitting, I'd take a stars-scrubs approach, loading up on four or five $20-30 hitters who hit for BA and contribute power or speed (preferably both).
- For pitching, I'd spread the wealth. Instead of drafting one ace and filling in the rest of my staff with lower-priced starters, I decided to focus on starters projected to earn around $10. While I'd miss out on having a Justin Verlander or David Price at the top of my staff, I'd also avoid taking a chance on $1-3 starters who could potentially kill my ERA before I could dump them (Luke Hochevar, I'm looking at you).
- LABR reserve rules are a bit different - the only players who can be reserved are those that were originally taken in the reserve round. I prefer to take pitchers in the reserves round, since that allows me to play matchups or "hide" guys who are struggling.
Here's how it looks:
Pos Name Team Sal Mayberry
=== =============== ==== === ============
C Jaso, John OAK 12 2235 60 BDF
C Iannetta, Chris ANA 7 3015 45 CDB
1B Encarnacion, Edw TOR 29 4145 70 CBC
3B Beltre, Adrian TEX 30 4155 75 CAB
CO Lind, Adam TOR 10 3225 60 BBB
2B Izturis, Macier TOR 12 1325 55 CDB
SS Reyes, Jose TOR 29 2545 80 CAF
MI Nunez, Eduardo NYY 2 1523 33 ADB
OF Cabrera, Melky TOR 20 3455 85 AAD
OF Crisp, Coco OAK 14 2535 75 FCC
OF Murphy, David TEX 14 3335 70 ABD
OF Bourjos, Peter LAA 9 2505 60 ACC
OF Joyce, Matt TAM 8 4215 60 CCC
UT Thome, Jim FA 1 4001 5 FDF
SP Davis, Wade KC 7 3405 75 AAB
SP Myers, Brett CLE 6 3205 65 BAA
SP Dempster, Ryan BOS 8 3405 75 BAA
SP Milone, Tom OAK 10 3305 70 ABB
SP Norris, Bud HOU 4 3405 75 BAA
SP Lohse, Kyle FA 2 2105 50 CAC
RP Reed, Addison CHW 17 4530 48 ADF
RP Madson, Ryan LAA 7 4430 48 FCA
RP Phelps, David NYY 2 2301 8 ADF
RES Carrasco, Carlos CLE 0 3201 9 FCA
RES Haap, J.A. TOR 0 2401 9 CCB
RES Richards, Garrett LAA 0 1103 18 ADB
RES Walker, Taijuan SEA 0 1301 6 AFF
RES Singleton, Johnthn HOU 0 4101 6 AFF
RES Harden, Rich MIN 0 3505 12 FCF
Mayberry score breakdown:
Batting PX RSpd xBA PA MM
======= == ==== === == ===
Actual 38 38 35 64 833
Target 37 23 32 54 600
Pitching xERA K Sv IP MM
======== ==== == == == ===
Actual 27 30 6 31 514
Target 17 27 5 25 320
A closer look
New opp for Nunez
Did I meet my Mayberry goals? Yes; all benchmarks were met. In particular, this team should have excellent speed and ERA. But the main contributor to success here is playing time - 12 of my 14 hitters are projected to have over 450 plate appearances; all six of my starters are projected for more than 180 IP. Plus, five of my six reserves are starters. Playing time is a critical component of the MM scores, since it is not only a component but a multiplier as well.
How's that reliability? Pitching, it's very good - my first five starters all qualify for Tier 1 with no reliability score lower than B. Relievers are not as reliable.
On offense, I've taken on more risk than would be acceptable under Portfolio 3. While my core players (Encarnacion, Beltre, Reyes, Melky Cabrera) all have playing time/experience grades of A or B, there are some health questions (A-C grades) and a lack of consistency (B-F). In fact, this offense seems to "embrace volatility" like my Xtreme Regression Drafting team from last year.
How about the reserves? Very happy with this lot. Five starters with high skills, but a lot of injury or inexperience risk. I can park them on the bench and wait to see if they have any value.
Have I peeked at the projected standings yet? The point of Mayberry is to downplay imprecise projections and focus on the skills - which worked well.
But, of course I still looked at the standings after the draft. Human nature sometimes overrules common sense.
There's such a small range in some categories (for instance, the WHIP category ranges from 1.25 for 1st to 1.33 for 12th) that it's a silly exercise. But if these imprecise projections have some accuracy, the team should do well in BA and SBs, and put up decent power numbers as well. Wins are middle-of-the-pack, behind the teams that spent money on the stud pitchers.
What's next? I'm pleased with the team I put together, but I know that it means nothing until they start playing the games. Now, it's time to play out the season to see if I can take home a title.
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