I have never participated in an NFBC mid-season league though I plan to one day. Never having done one, I am a bit naïve to the strategies involved. Are owners more cautious or do they take more chances? How much does present level of performance impact ranking, good or bad? Now that we have a feel for the pitching, does this make it go off the board sooner or later? How far down do injured players fall?
I decided to do an exercise that many do in the spring and that is a solo mock where I select all the teams. Personally, I have never done this as I participate in a plethora of real mocks (is that an oxymoron?) so I have never mocksterbated, not that there is anything wrong with that.
To mix it up a bit and hopefully reduce some of the “numerish bias”, I forced myself to pick as some stereotypical drafters: scarcity guy, best player available guy, pitching guy, take a risk guy and risk averse guy. I interspersed “what I would do” amongst the others. Of course, it is impossible to remove all bias, because all picks are rooted in how I feel players will perform, at least with respect to healthy players.
As a backdrop, I generally still put more credence in a player’s track record than I do in current performance, unless I can identify a change in skill I consider to be real and sustainable. If I was actually drafting in a mid-season league, I would avoid injured players like the plague and not invest even with the injury discount. Both of these factors ended up impacting the selections.
Before I present the first six rounds of the Zola mocksterbation, please do not consider this a map of how a mid-season league will unfold as I have no clue. I would be more than happy to address picks in terms of how I feel about the player and why I picked him in a strategic sense, but this is not a prediction of how I feel a mid season league will look.
What I Would Do: Albert Pujols, Jacoby Ellsbury, Dustin Pedroia, Josh Johnson, Corey Hart, Jeremy Hellickson
Scarcity Guy: Troy Tulowitzki, Ben Zobrist, Andre Ethier, Cole Hamels, Brian McCann, David Wright
Best Player Available Guy: Adrian Gonzalez, Jay Bruce, Tim Lincecum, Adam Jones, Michael Young, Jonathan Papelbon
What I Would Do: Ryan Braun, Brandon Phillips, Hunter Pence, Cliff Lee, Zack Greinke, Andres Torres
Take a Chance Guy: Jose Bautista, Hanley Ramirez, Josh Hamilton, Joe Mauer, Eric Hosmer, Daniel Hudson
Pitching Guy: Miguel Cabrera, Felix Hernandez, Justin Verlander, Jayson Werth, Alexei Ramirez, Brian Wilson
What I Would Do: Matt Kemp, Shin-Soo Choo, Ian Kinsler, Dan Haren, CC Sabathia, Gaby Sanchez
Risk Adverse Guy: Joey Votto, Curtis Granderson, Andrew McCutchen, Jon Lester, Elvis Andrus, Martin Prado
Scarcity Guy: Robinson Cano, Victor Martinez, B.J. Upton, Jimmy Rollins, David Price, Colby Rasmus
What I Would Do: Mark Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez, Rickie Weeks, Justin Upton, Shaun Marcum, James Shields
Best Player Available Guy: Carl Crawford, Evan Longoria, Jered Weaver, Shane Victorino, Adam Lind, Mariano Rivera
Take a Chance Guy: Carlos Gonzalez, Nelson Cruz, Mike Stanton, Chase Utley, Pablo Sandoval, Josh Beckett
What I Would Do: Prince Fielder, Kevin Youkilis, Ichiro Suzuki, Tommy Hanson, Jhonny Peralta, David Ortiz
Pitching Guy: Ryan Howard, Roy Halladay, Clayton Kershaw, Drew Stubbs, Asdrubal Cabrera, Ryan Zimmerman
Risk Adverse Guy: Jose Reyes, Matt Holliday, Paul Konerko, Adrian Beltre, Matt Cain, Heath Bell
Well, that was interesting. While undergoing the process, how to deal with injury prone players was the most difficult part – not for me, but the “other guys”. In real drafts, this will no doubt be one of the defining factors. I also found it more difficult than I thought to pick objectively for the “other guys” so ultimately, this is even more of a reflection of how I currently rank the players than I expected.
Here are a couple of observations. When I was picking as me, it was difficult to get over the stigma of where I valued the player in the spring. Well, not difficult, but it was an uncomfortable feeling picking someone in say round three or four that I was able to get in later rounds in March. But with injuries and the like, a player moving up a round or two is understandable. I also noticed how non-scarcity friendly the early rounds played out. That is, there are so many injuries to second baseman, shortstop and third baseman that taking the best player, regardless of position could be the way to go, and then worry about filling in the rest later.
If I were to actually participate in a mid season NFBC league, my strategy would indeed be to focus on these safer outfielders and first baseman and eschew anyone injured or playing hurt. However, my catch would be to use the middle rounds to select players others have soured on that I feel will be better than they have demonstrated thus far, like Alexis Rios, Derek Jeter and Daric Barton.
Good luck to everyone playing in a mid season NFBC league. Perhaps next year I will be able to join you.