BABS Goes to Tout Wars

AL/NL-only leagues are incredibly challenging, moreso today than when they were first introduced in 1984. The burgeoning disabled list, platooning and incessant roster turnover have diminished the importance of Draft Day. In redraft leagues, it’s particularly difficult to achieve an optimal roster structure. And if just one owner employs a strategy that skews the auction economics, it can be a very trying draft.

But I’m not trying to make excuses.

My Tout Wars-AL draft was actually the least stressful I’ve ever participated in. Thanks to the Broad Assessment Balance Sheet (BABS), I didn’t have to worry about any stats; I just assembled a team with the player targets I had set down. I stopped worrying about overbidding. After all, the only way you can overbid is if you know what a player is actually worth… and we don’t (Chapter 1). So I just focused on Assets and Liabilities (Chapter 4), and drafting the most balanced roster I could (Chapter 5).

(Oh, for those who didn’t hear, I wrote a new book.)

Tout Wars has several rules quirks that required some tweaks to BABS:

– On base average replaces batting average.

– 15-game positional eligibility replaces the standard 20-game eligibility.

– One outfield slot is replaced by a “swingman,” who can be any batter or pitcher.

– You can draft any breathing player – majors, minors, foreign, etc. – so long as he’s not on a roster of the other league (in this case, NL).

Here was my plan:

Pos    Budget Tier   Possible targets
===    ===========   ============
ca      5            Iannetta, Chirinos
ca      5            Vogt, Joseph, Suzuki
1b      15 or 5      Teixeira, Cron, Napoli, Alonso, Olson
3b      5 or 15      Castellanos, Alvarez, Valencia, Valbuena
co      35           Donaldson, Encarnacion, C.Davis
2b      5            Holt
ss      15           E.Escobar, Simmons, Santana
mi      15           Miller, Kinsler, K.Marte
of      25           Gomez, Jones, Dickerson, JD.Martinez, Cruz
of      15           Choo, K.Davis
of      15           Burns, Calhoun, Ml.Cabrera, R.Castillo
of      5            Rosario, Bradley, S.Smith, Kim
ut      5            Ortiz, Gattis
sw      5            Coghlan, Kepler, Rasmus, R.Davis, Mazara
sp      25           Kluber, Archer, Carrasco
sp      15           Richards, McHugh, McCullers, Smyly, Tanaka
sp      5            Karns, Fiers, Duffey
sp      5            Kennedy, Bauer, Happ
sp      5            Eovaldi, E.Ramirez, Tomlin
sp      5            T.J.House, Tropiano, Manaea
p       5            Betances, Osuna, Benoit, Gregerson, Madson
rp      15           Britton, Allen, Robertson, Giles
rp      5            Cishek, Storen, Boxberger

Note that these budget prices are actually $10 tiers. Since there is only a 65% chance that a player projected for a certain dollar value will finish the season within plus-or-minus $5 of that projection, the best we can do is project in $10 spans. Each value above represents the mid-point of those ranges.

The planning process began with considering the Assets in which I wanted to invest my draft dollars. In looking at the $35 tier (players likely to earn over $30), I saw several positions that would give me targeting options. I decided to focus on rostering one 1b/3b in that tier, and falling back to OF if necessary. My targets were Josh Donaldson, Edwin Encarnacion and Chis Davis, or failing that, one of Justin Upton or Jose Bautista.

I targeted two players in the $25 tier ($20-$30), an outfielder and an anchor starting pitcher. I backed them up with six $15 players ($10-$20), filling some key offensive spots, a #2 starter and a closer. Everyone else would be in the $5 tier, which meant a mix of anything from $9 players to $1 end-gamers.

For Liabilities, I was committed to leaving my risks for the $5 tier. I like to draft conservatively, using in-season roster management to push my team up in the standings. But it brings up an interesting point. In redraft leagues, the eventual winner is quite often the one who has the most surprise performers on his team and perhaps takes the most risks at the draft table. Given the high performance variability in today’s game, this seems to be the case more and more.

In fact, there was an underlying mantra during Tout weekend that seemed to permeate the draft behavior in these winner-take-all leagues. It was, “You have to be willing to lose big.” As a result, there were more extreme strategies than I’ve ever seen in all four drafts. High-end players were routinely overbid by $3-$5 dollars, and sometimes more. The dearth of productive catchers pushed Mike Gianella to corner the market by rostering four of them. Chris Liss drafted the entire Yankees bullpen. Derek Carty rostered the entire Dodgers starting rotation.

As much as you can plan what you are going to do, you can’t predict what other owners will do. That often puts my conservative approach at a disadvantage. So it didn’t take long for my plan to nearly get derailed.

In my AL-only draft, Steve Moyer decided he was going to overpay for top-end offense and purchase a bare-bones pitching staff ($12 total, as it would turn out). That changed the entire economics of the auction, flooding the market with excess dollars. The bidding up and down the draft was affected, leaving 45 players to the $1 end game. That was high for a league that has shown a more balanced bidding history. We had 37 one-dollar players in 2015, 37 in 2014 and 32 in 2013.

So, things seemed strange right from the beginning. I had hoped Josh Donaldson would go for about $35 but I pushed his bidding into the upper $30s before dropping out. Moyer bought him for $40. I hoped Edwin Encarnacion would be more affordable. Thankfully, I was able to get him for $32.

So, after that buy, I picked up Carlos Gomez for $29 (again, a few dollars more than I had anticipated) and my anchor starter, Corey Kluber for $27. As the draft progressed, I stocked up with several power bats but found myself getting priced out of speed as well as the few good hitters who were rated high for OBP. Then it was just a matter of filling in the gaps as best as I could.

Here was the result:

Pos Tm Budg $$ PT Pw Sp Av Av Inj Ex
Joseph,Caleb ca BAL $5 $2 P p e
McKenry,Michael ca TEX $5 $3 P PW + AV inj-
Encarnacion,Edwin 1b TOR $35 $32 F P+ AV+
Castellanos,Nick 3b DET $15 $16 F PW a
Escobar,Yunel co LAA $5 $3 F a
Holt,Brock 2b BOS $5 $7 M s a
Escobar,Alcides ss KC $15 $14 F SB a
Miller,Bradley mi TAM $15 $17 F p s a
Gomez,Carlos of HOU $25 $29 F PW s a
Trumbo,Mark of BAL $15 $17 F PW a
Davis,Khristopher of OAK $15 $17 F P+ a inj-
Kepler,Max of MIN $5 $1 P p SB AV+ EX
Gattis,Evan ut HOU $5 $10 M PW a inj-
Escobar,Eduardo sw MIN $5 $7 F p a
12-team targets 8 9 4 9 0 2 2
Pos Tm PT Er K Sv Er Inj Ex
Kluber,Corey SP CLE $25 $27 F ER KK
McHugh,Collin SP HOU $15 $13 F e k
McCullers,Lance SP HOU $5 $8 M ER KK INJ EX
Berrios,Jose SP MIN $5 $5 e k EX
Greene,Shane SP DET $5 $2 -ER e
Volquez,Edinson SP KC $5 $1 F
Jepsen,Kevin rp MIN $5 $2 e k sv-
Rodriguez,Francisco rp DET $15 $17 ER KK SV
Cishek,Steve rp SEA $5 $10 e k SV
12-team targets 6/1 4 4 1 0 1 1
Norris,Daniel res DET M k -ER INJ EX
Nova,Ivan res NYY M INJ
Stubbs,Drew res TEX P p SB AV
Lambo,Andrew res OAK P PW a INJ EX

ASSETS: PT (Playing time), Pw (Power), Sp (Speed), Av (Average), ER (ERA Potential), K (Strikeouts), Sv (Saves). LIABILITIES: Av (Average), ER (ERA), Inj (Injury), Ex (Experience)

How did I do relative to the BABS targets?

I needed 8 full-time batters; I rostered 9.

I needed 9 power hitters; I rostered 11, including two P+ hitters. I believe I am strong in this area and could have excess to trade.

I needed 4 speedsters; I rostered 5, but one is Max Kepler. I’m not confident that I have enough stolen base potential.

I needed 9 batting average units (I am going to change that moniker soon); I drafted 12. However, nearly all are moderate contributors and only Encarnacion is going to provide much help in OBP. We’ll have to see how this plays out.

I needed 6 starting pitchers and 1 front-line closer. Only Kluber, McHugh and Volquez are guaranteed 180-inning arms. McCullers gives me some upside potential at a relatively inexpensive price, though the staff’s liability limits center on him. There is work to do here.

K-Rod and Cishek give me two potential front-line closers, with Jepsen a possible third.

I needed 4 pitchers providing ERA support and strikeouts; I rostered 8 of each but most are in the bullpen or not likely to start the season in the rotation.

The Liabilities side, well…

Michael McKenry was a throwaway player in a brutally weak catcher pool. I don’t expect him to get much playing time or to have any impact on my roster, and I’ll be jumping on any potential upgrade during the season. So I won’t say that his Liabilities shouldn’t be counted against me, but… well, okay yes… his Liabilities should not be counted against me. (My roster, my rules, my rationalizations.)

For the rest of my batters, I kept to the limit of two Health and two Experience dings. I didn’t do quite as well with pitching, thanks to McCullers and the Shane Greene wild card. Let’s just leave it at that.

I think this is indicative of the depth of the AL/NL-only player pool. For those used to playing in mixed leagues, it’s tough to look at my roster and not snicker. Three Escobars? Have you ever seen such an incredibly boring group? But when you have to dig this deep, you have tough choices to make. I wasn’t happy to nominate the skill-less Edinson Volquez for $1, but a full-time pitcher with no Liabilities has value in an AL-only context. I think they call that an “innings-eater.”

By the end-game, some of the biggest choices were between rostering flawed major leaguers or speculating on minor leaguers. For instance, when I bid $5 on Jose Berrios, I was looking at BABS and there was a veteran 180+ inning starting pitcher who had bubbled up to the top of the list. But I couldn’t bear to put Ubaldo Jimenez on my team.

And then it was all about remembering not to base my draft decisions on NOW (Chapter 2). What we are seeing here in late March is nothing like what we will be seeing in a week, or a month, so you have to look ahead to the fluidity of the season. I follow one overriding rule in the end-game: “Find a path to playing time, and then speculate smart.”

So, for Caleb Joseph, I am hoping that Matt Wieters is not fully healthy. For Brock Holt, I am looking at Dustin Pedroia’s injury history and Pablo Sandoval’s girth. Kevin Jepsen is blocked from saves by Glen Perkins’ gimpy side, neck and back.

For Max Kepler, I need Byron Buxton to continue to struggle, Miguel Sano to regress or push Trevor Plouffe to the bench, or even Joe Mauer’s bat to finally wither to nothing. The failure of over-hyped Byun Ho Park would help too. There are several paths to potential playing time there.

For Shane Greene, I am hoping he is healthy, for one. But ahead of him, I see Anibal Sanchez and Daniel Norris still battling injuries and Mike Pelfrey being, well, Mike Pelfrey.

For Jose Berrios, it’s tough for me to imagine such a talent can’t overtake at least one of the low-skilled Twins rotation incumbents (“low-skilled” is incredibly diplomatic of me, isn’t it?). Ricky Nolasco? Tommy Milone? Really?

For some of these, it may be more of a reach to anticipate a path to playing time, but it only takes one path to clear.

This process is necessary in a single-league end-game. All that’s left in the free agent pool now are a handful of bench players, a smattering of #2 catchers, and tons and tons of relief pitchers. The AL Touts have picked it pretty clean.

But odds are this year’s winning owner will be the one who FAABs the still-available Pelfrey before he starts his run to the 2016 Cy Young award.

43 thoughts on “BABS Goes to Tout Wars

  1. Ariel Cohen

    Best of luck to you, Ron !

  2. Bradley Davidson

    I’ve got my NL only draft Saturday. What would be your targets there?

    1. shandler Post author

      They would be the same.

      1. Bradley Davidson

        I meant, who be your NL target players.

        1. shandler Post author

          The pool of high-end, low risk talent in the NL is incredibly deep so I might push more of a Stars&Scrubs strategy here. In fact, aside from Harper and Stanton, there are at least 10 players in the upper tier that I’d be willing to roster. I might even go with two $35 players here. Then just scan the spreadsheet and scale down from there. Not rocket science when you use the BABS spreadsheet.

  3. Neil Asinger

    Thanks for this new idea Ron. I believe you mentioned updating BABS with regards to OBP versus BAvg. When are you anticipating that, if thats still the case? I’m unsure about simply adding in a walk rate variable…what would be a “+”, an “OB”, or “ob” in your vernacular, and how would it reshuffle what you have in place.

    1. shandler Post author

      Already added the variable. Discussed in the Leagues with Alternative Rules post.

  4. Thomas Dersham

    Good stuff…I noticed you budgeted $255 if my math is correct…ideal to leave a bit of wiggle room heading into the auction? Good luck in tout!

    1. shandler Post author

      Always leave a little wiggle room!

  5. Jason Denny

    I am an NL only auction keeper league, 12 teams, standard 5 x 5. You also get to field 4 ALers and bid on them – Trouts go for 25 – 30, Encarnacions 5 – 10, top SP 5.

    I am keeping Schwarber $6m Arenado $17, Dee Gordon $16 and Yelich for $20. I am wondering if it even makes sense to keep Yelich but I feel the NL OF is weak and even if I “could” get him for less I am saving so much on the other 3 why not?


    1. shandler Post author

      I don’t rationalize overpaying for a player because of savings elsewhere. The only question you need to ask is whether you can get Yelich back in the draft for about $20. That $20 is about par, so I would think you could, but you need to know your league.

      1. Jason Denny

        Very true. Good point. Typical league where all the big hitters go over priced – especially players who either poses big power or have some power/speed/BA combo like Yelich. I think I made the right call to keep him.

  6. Bob Walker

    Like to pick your brain one more time, In my keeper League I have been offered Tulowitzki & McHugh for Pollock & Carlos Rodon, do not factor in Pollock’s injury as we agreed to void trade if Pollock starts season on DL. I have not accepted, but I am targeting Revere & Burns if I make this trade in my BABS plan, what do you think?

    1. shandler Post author

      Don’t do it. Tulo is a wild card, McHugh is uncertain as well. Pollock is a 1st rounder, Rodon has tons of upside.

      1. Bob Walker

        thanks, I was leaning on no, that pushed me over

  7. Jon Enriquez

    Thanks for this, Ron. This clarifies how we should plan a roster. The use of the budget tiers and positions gives some structure and specificity to allocating auction dollars (or draft rounds) for different types of players. I also appreciate you saying that players without skills but with playing time do have some value, because I thought BABS was pretty much saying the opposite. A healthy Volquez may not strike out 300 guys, but he’ll strike out more than K-Rod.

    But you also hint at something that I’ve found to be very problematic in mock drafts, and that is that it seems more difficult to read what’s happening in the room. As we all know, rooms are different; one room might put more of a premium on speed, while another might draft closers higher than most. A plan that calls for two hitters out of the p | a pool, which seems so big with 21 hitters, can quickly go awry in the room, and there’s no clear path for adapting to something like that. In mocks with BABS I haven’t see it until around round 16, or when bids get to about $4, when it’s too late to do anything other than react. Did you spot it sooner than that? If so, how?

    Finally, can you explain how you counted your assets? I remember that plus players count double, but I count a higher number for you than you do, so I think you must be discounting them when the players are mid-timers or part-timers. Is that right?

    1. Kstan

      Quote: “Finally, can you explain how you counted your assets? I remember that plus players count double, but I count a higher number for you than you do, so I think you must be discounting them when the players are mid-timers or part-timers. Is that right?”

      I found that interesting also. Any feedback Ron?

      1. shandler Post author

        P+ = PW = p = 1 Asset requirement filled. Similarly, K+ = KK = k, and all the other assets. Everything is one (1) unit of Asset. The only exception is that you can offset a blank asset cell with a “plus” cell. Filling your grid with assets of ANY caliber fulfills the requirement of meeting your Asset targets. These targets are MINIMUMS. For every higher caliber Asset you roster — and now P+ > PW > p — you are building a stronger team. But BABS is about making sure you AT LEAST roster the minimum. That includes the playing time targets.

  8. Richard Temkin

    I participated in my first Cutline draft this week and I, too, couldn’t bring myself to draft Ubaldo! I did take Greene with my last (round 36) reserve pick. He’s looked pretty good this spring and at this point is slated to be the Tigers 5th SP.

  9. Nick Loret de Mola

    So here’s mine…

    12 Team NL Only, No Bench (Unlimited DL/Minor lists for those who are not active on an ML roster), Keeper (rule is you add $5 to the player’s auction value to keep him, only players kept from the year before or purchased at auction can be kept next year), 15% inflation, standard rosters.

    C Wellington Castillo, 13
    C JP Realmuto, 6
    1B Adrian Gonzalez, 30
    3B David Freese, 7
    CI Ryan Howard, 7
    2B DJ LaMahieu, 12
    SS Brandon Crawford, 11
    MI Adeiny Hechevarria, 7
    OF Matt Kemp 30
    OF Marcell Ozuna, 20
    OF Odubel Herrera, 14
    OF Jay Bruce, 14 (you just lose your guy if he’s traded to the AL, so I’m crossing my fingers)
    OF Socrates Brito, 6
    U Adam Duvall, 5

    P Tyson Ross, 20
    P Vincent Velasquez, 10
    P Jason Hammel, 9
    P Jimmy Nelson, 7
    P Homer Bailey, 5
    P Alex Reyes, 3
    P Jose De Leon, 1
    P Jordan Walden, 1
    P AJ Ramos, 19

    On playing time, I ended up with 5 starting pitchers, 3 are 180 IP guys, and a closer. Ended up with 9 full time position players and only 1 part timer.

    I ended up with 10 Power assets, 5 Speed, and 9 AVG. 8 ERA, 9 K, and 1 SV. Total of 42 asset points.

    On risk, overall ended up with 3 injury risks and seven experience risks. Only two of those risks comes with a full time player (Realmuto and Herrera each with a low experience risk).

    Thoughts? I like it.

    1. shandler Post author

      I like it too. Well done.

      1. Nick Loret de Mola

        Thanks Ron. Someone on an earlier response said not to look at team projections… wow! My pitching staff looks horrible to everyone outside of the folks on this thread. It’ll be fun to save a screenshot of those projections and show them when I win.

    2. Nick Loret de Mola

      I’ve made a couple moves.

      Flipped Walden, de Leon and Bruce for Ethier, DeSclafani, and James Shields. Pretty happy with those deals, especially with the rule that you lose a player’s stats if he’s traded to the AL. There are a few people who I can slot in for Ethier in the U role for the next couple months (Jankowski, Utley, Sean Rodriguez, Brett Wallace, Lagares…).

      In fact, who would you take of those five?

      Travis Jankowski
      Chase Utley
      Sean Rodriguez
      Brett Wallace
      Juan Lagares

      1. shandler Post author

        I’d go with Lagares.

  10. Herrick Goldman

    OK well here’s mine. 12 team auction redraft 5×5 but we draft 28 playing 6 OF and 2 UT with one of all the other positions. (nomination is odd, we randomly draw a MLB team from a hat and read the entire team roster for each team, this means the last few teams are bargains, and if you leave a few slots open you can skipped players after the draft , its odd but fun)

    1 Wieters,Matt 2 F PW a INJ
    11 Pujols,Albert 1b F p AV INJ Ag
    5 Murphy,Daniel 45 F AV Nw
    31 Donaldson,Josh5 F P+ AV
    8 Panik,Joe 4 F AV inj- e
    4 Marte,Ketel MI F SB a EX
    4 Segura,Jean 6 F SB a
    1 Herrera,Odubel F SB a e
    4 Piscotty,Stephen F p a EX
    9 Grichuk,Randal F P+ inj- e
    12 Springer,George F PW SB a INJ e
    21 Upton,Justin F P+ s a
    23 Blackmon,Charlie F p SB AV
    14 Ortiz,David F P+ AV Ag
    1 Peraza,Jose M+ S+ a EX
    1 Soler,Jorge F PW a inj- e
    3 Carter,Chris F P+ -AV Nw
    1 *profar BN

    *(yes i had tourettes and grabbed Profar..)

    32 Scherzer,Max SP WAS F ER K+
    1 Nelson,Jimmy SP MIL F e k
    1 DeSclafani,Anthony F e k e
    3 McCullers,Lance M ER KK EX
    2 Colome,Alexander – e k S e
    12 Ross,Tyson SP SD F ER KK
    24 deGrom,Jacob SP NYM F ER KK
    4 Kennedy,Ian SP KC M k
    13 Chapman,Aroldis – E+ K+ SV Nw Rg
    12 Street,Huston rp LAA – e KK SV

    I’m not sure how to count liabilities for bench players. I feel like i have enough + assets and Bolded KK PW SB type assets to offset the liabilities. Thoughts?

    1. Herrick Goldman

      Apologies for the formatting. It looked better before I posted.

    2. shandler Post author

      Lenny Melnick talks about this type of league all the time, and I actually got to participate in one with him probably about 15 years ago. It was odd. The Mets were one of the last teams out and nobody had any room for a catcher so Mike Piazza went undrafted.

      That said, I won’t comment on some of these prices (Springer for $12!!). I worry about Wieters and Pujols, but other than that, it looks like a great team.

      1. Herrick Goldman

        Thanks. Yup springer was last man out and most teams didn’t even have a slot for them. It’s a wacky fun auction.

  11. Richard J. Murphy

    Ron: First off, mega-kudos on the faux tome. Going through it for the first time harkened me back to the first time I picked-up a FORECASTER back in ’98 and marveled at all of the stats and glossary terms that would take me at least 2-3 seasons before I could say with confidence that I “got” most of what you and the rest of the HQ staffers were trying to enlighten us, your loyal followers, with.
    That said, Rich Jr. and I signed-up for one of the $ 99.95 Real Time Fantasy Sports mixed drafts on Thursday night. And tho’ we are now both married with children, we will be borrowing “BABS” for the occasion, and setting her loose on the 5 X 5 snake minefield that awaits us – we were assigned pick # 9 in Round One. I’ll try as best I can to make certain that we stick to the plan and gather-up as many “clean” lines (sans Liabilities) as possible, while at the same time, targeting a goodly number of Asset names that will produce a maximum accumulation of points from our 20-man roster – 11 hitters and 9 pitchers – that will ne’er be touched after the draft for the entirety of the season.
    I will endeavor to report back in six months with how successful our night out on the town with BABS was or wasn’t. Will it be the beginning of a beautiful relationship? (apologies to Mr. Bogart) or just another one-night stand? Time will tell.

    1. shandler Post author

      Rich – Good to hear from you. Yes, keep me posted on how it goes!

  12. Pingback: Thinking Through the $38 Yankees Bullpen | FanGraphs Fantasy Baseball

  13. Mark Zimmer

    My Draft with BABS (CBS H2H Points league, 10 team mixed, 21 players, 5-man bench)–or Alternative League Modifications in Action:

    C W Castillo (Round 13): PW
    1 J Votto (4): P+ AV+ | Rg
    2 I Kinsler (11): AV
    3 J Donaldson (1): P+ AV+
    SS E Escobar (14): p a
    OF A McCutchen (3): P+ AV+
    OF M Kemp (12): P+ AV
    OF C Gomez (8): PW s a Rg
    DH D Ortiz (7): P+ AV+ | Ag

    Rsv: L Duda (17): P+ a+
    Rsv: G Parra (18): s AV Pk | Nw

    SP C Sale (2): ER K+
    SP N Syndergaard (5): ER KK | e
    SP G Richards (6): e k | inj-
    SP F Liriano (10): ER KK | inj-
    SP J Nelson (15): e k
    RP H Rendon (9): ER KK SV | Rg
    RP D Robertson (16): ER K+ SV

    Rsv: W Miley (19): e | Nw
    Rsv: J Garcia (20): ER | INJ
    Rsv: A Ramos (21): ER K+ SV

    I had the 9th pick of 10 in a snake draft (third year in a row in the 9 slot grrr), so most of the big guns were off the board by the time I picked and Donaldson was pretty much the leftover of the top end–I admit, I did let position scarcity influence me a little there but the only P+ AV+ players left without liabilities at that point were McCutchen (who I got anyway) and Encarnacion. First round: 1) Kershaw 2) Arrieta 3) Goldschmidt 4) Trout 5) Harper 6) Correa 7) Greinke 8) Scherzer 9) Donaldson 10) Bautista. Some surprises: Miguel Cabrera went in pick #30; I already had Votto in my quest for P+ players, or I would have taken him myself at 29 but I went for McCutchen instead. No one took A-Rod. How the mighty have fallen. Closers went quite late; usually there are a few in the first five rounds but people were pretty restrained. 9 of 10 were live drafting; only one was on autopilot (the #10 slot, so I had to be ready with 2 picks right away and the pressure was on, but on the plus side I knew precisely who he was going to pick in between my picks, so that helped allow me to judge how I’d arrange mine).

    Based on the comments by Ron in the Alternative Formats thread, since it’s a Points format I counted P+ as 3 assets and K+ for starters as 2 assets. I disregarded Speed completely since it doesn’t account for any significant number of points in this format. Based on that, my goal was 50 assets and no more than 8 liabilities. If I’m counting right I ended up with 54 assets and 9 liabilities, so there’s a shade more risk than I wanted (though 2 of those are Nw, which I doubt is going to be that big a risk in practice–certainly not like Age or Injury). I’m not wild about 3 injury risks in my pitching staff, but in such a shallow league decent starters are easy to pick up and slot in if necessary.

    It was harder getting to 50 assets than I would have liked with only 21 players and with no speed assets being counted. I really had to push to snap up as many P+ guys as I could to hit the target. But of the 29 or so P+ players, I got 6 of them. Clearly no one else was using the Other Book. I think I’m in great shape for offense, and my pitching is at least OK. Almost all of the non-closers are full-time players, as it should be in this kind of league. Strikeouts should be very good and ER at least mediocre. As Ron predicted, I have batting average assets for everyone but the catching slot.

    We’ll see how it shakes out. I’ll get utterly destroyed in the first week, obviously, since I don’t have enough two-start pitchers (2 vs my opponent’s 5, including Kershaw, yikes), but it should even out in weeks 2 and 3. Thankfully the points don’t carry over to the next week. As discussed elsewhere, I’m projected to finish deep in the tank, but I am paying that no mind.

    It definitely was liberating to see these guys as well-defined groups and to not get concerned as one or two people got selected from the group. I did reach a little for Garrett Richards since I really like him; ditto for Jimmy Nelson, since I wanted a Brewer player, being in Wisconsin and he’s pretty much the best thing still standing after the demolition of the team. But otherwise I think the plan went about as well as I could expect given my slot in the draft. I was still able to meet my goals even reaching for those guys. Now comes the pudding.

    1. shandler Post author

      I like your team. And I LIKE Richards and Nelson. Nice job.

      1. Mark Zimmer

        Can’t wait for the in-season use of BABS article. So far I am hanging tough. Someone in an early panic dumped Xander Bogaerts (a|Rg) and I’m trying to resist grabbing him off waivers despite having Eduardo Escobar (p a).

        1. Mark Zimmer

          Well, after five weeks I’m 1-4, and the one win was thanks to my opponent suffering from a bunch of rainouts. Not looking good, and Richards going down has pretty much nailed the lid on my coffin for this year.

          1. shandler Post author

            You’re throwing in the towel after 5 weeks? Two of my BABS teams opened poorly but have already started to turn around. Can’t believe one player can end your season, and that player being RICHARDS? C’mon, it’s still early.

            1. Mark Zimmer

              My season was pretty much ended by the group of Votto, Escobar, McCutchen, Kemp, Gomez, Miley, and Liriano. Richards was just icing on the cake. I’ll keep going just to see what happens, but playoffs don’t look like a possibility with 1/4 of the season over and being in 10th of 10, with the worst record. Winning teams are scoring 360 to 400 points; I’ve had trouble getting past 250.

              1. shandler Post author

                What’s wrong with Kemp? He’s on pace for 30 HRs. McCutchen always starts slow. Some of the others could still turn it around. Really, ya gotta play this game for 6 months.

  14. Derek Walker

    So Im in an 8 team AL Only league, coming in with no keepers..Would there have to be major changes to targets because of how much less penetration to player pool than normal? I was going to try following your outline of your Tout AL draft as a template. Any basic tweaks advice for these parameters? Thanks again for all the info!

    1. shandler Post author

      Your league profiles out almost exactly as a 15-team mixed league.
      8 tms x 23 players = 184 / 375 pool = 49%
      15 tms x 23 players = 345 / 750 pool = 46%
      Use those targets.

  15. michael evans

    Me too Ron, I am in an 10 team AL only league, we have keepers with serious inflation but my question is what kind of roster should I target? I also think SB are going to be at a premium all year long!

    1. shandler Post author

      Need more information. What do you mean, “what kind of roster should I target?” If it’s targets you are looking for, a 10-team AL is about half way between a 12-team AL and 15-team mixed. Split the difference on the targets.

  16. Nick Loret de Mola

    So I posted earlier on this thread, but I’ve done a lot of trading since then. Yes, the season is three days old. But opportunity kept knocking, and I kept answering. People really wanted Alex Reyes and Jose de Leon, and I was happy to oblige in a couple 1 for 2 deals for guys like A-Gone, Bruce, and Kemp… I like getting the “2” side when in a 5×5 12 team NL only with no bench slots. The auction was $260 per team, standard rosters, 15% inflation, by the way.

    Here’s where I ended up after all the dust settled and trades were done.

    C Castillo,Welington
    C Realmuto,Jacob
    1B Belt,Brandon
    2B LeMahieu,DJ
    3B Freese,David
    SS Crawford,Brandon
    CI Drury,Brandon
    MI Cabrera,Asdrubal
    OF Fowler,Dexter
    OF Ozuna,Marcell
    OF Herrera,Odubel
    OF Duvall,Adam
    OF Brito,Socrates
    OF Jankowski,Travis

    That gives me 8 full timers, 10 power, 6 speed, and 9 average. All at or above the targets. I only have one injury risk, but 6 experience risks. Though four of them are with my four least valuable players.

    In pitching…

    Tyson Ross
    Francisco Liriano
    James Shields
    Jason Hammel
    Jimmy Nelson
    Vincent Velasquez
    Pedro Baez
    Jake McGee
    AJ Ramos

    That’s 4 full time starters and two mid starters (though the two mids are Liriano and Velasquez, and I’m bullish on them being starters all year). Oh, and two closers.

    In terms of skills, all 9 have both ER and K skills. I do have three injury risks and two experience risks.

    I think I’m done trading now. I’m happy with what I have. Truly no superstars, lots of spread the risk here… but that’s how I like to play 12 team NL only.


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