Last Tuesday KFFL published my Tumbling Dice column, The Times They Are a Changin' (Indeed). In that piece I commented on the Scoresheet Mock Draft that Brian DewBerry-Jones runs in December each year.
One of the things that always has puzzled me during my three years as a participant in the Mock was what seemed to be the strange draft habits and player valuations what appeared to be a vague format.
When the piece went up, I sent a note to the league with the link, thinking they would get a kick out of it.
Well, two "mockticipants," Bill Sanders and John Mayne took issue with a number of things I suggested, and being Scoresheet players that they are, they proceeded to explain in somewhat precise detail what the real facts were.
So, to set the record straight, I did goof when I stated the draft was 14 rounds (it is actually 16). Further, there is an actual standard number of picks that in the mock could ostensibly have been frozen perennially with 13. Until the other day, I had not heard that number before, although in fairness, there was always reference to "standard Scoresheet rules." And, per Scoresheet founder Jeff Barton, 13 is the number, with an unlimited number of Minor Leaguers (however for each such prospect frozen, the owner loses a pick off the end of the draft).
Finally, though I referred to the good Mr. DewBerry Jones as both a curator, and again administrator, both John and Bill said I suggested that the Mock affair is chaotic and nebulous. Now, I looked at my prose a couple of times, and I still don't see that, but, if Brian was offended, that was the last of my intentions, believe me. In fact I sort of thought those words I chose--curator and administrator--actually suggest some sophistication in logistics.
The real essence though, was wondering about the strategies that some participants employ in the draft. For example, I cannot see much purpose in drafting Bryce Harper as the fifth pick of the third round of a 22-team snake, simply because that is a bad strategy for pretty much any format. Not that Harper might not be a star, and even by 2013. But, I would not count on it before, and I would guess his arrival might be more like that of Jay Bruce statistically than Albert Pujols. Again, not that Harper might not be very good, but the odds simply point to more guys being like Bruce than Albert.
And, in the meantime, there were a lot of very good Major League players who ideally might be of help this year, and next, and in 2013 when Harper might arrive, and even on for a year or so longer as Harper establishes himself and becomes a solid everyday player, and maybe even a star. Maybe.
In his note, Bill acknowledged that I preferred to draft for this year, which was fine, but that "Some of us prefer to draft a core that we expect to return the maximum Scoresheet value over a 3-, 5-, or even 10-year window. Our strategies are perfectly valid, as well."
Well, true enough. Almost.
I can even see building a team focused on next year. For this year's mock that might have included Brandon Belt and Dustin Ackley and Carlos Santana and maybe Jason Heyward as core players, and two or three years out, such a team could indeed be competitive.
But, anyone trying to speculate beyond a couple of years is just plain silly, and doomed to failure.Save 10-15 Major League commodities, like Albert Pujols and Alex Rodriguez and Roy Halladay and their ilk, name another 10-15 players who were steady enough over the past three years to speculate further out? Matt Kemp? Carlos Gonzalez? Ryan Braun? Adam Lind? Jose Bautista? Matt Wieters?
I mean this year Kemp looks like a total freeze, but did he to end 2010? Did Braun, or were most fantasy owners irritated with him as I was with Lind following disappointing 2010 totals (in the Murphy League I dumped Lind)?
Not to mention there is now a new crop of June draft picks to salivate and speculate over, and there will be another group next year, and so on, and personally, that combination of building for the future results in just that, always. In other words, never contending this year as one's eye is never on it.
As another example, I can use the MWStrat League, of which I have written a number of times.
The MWStrat League is a 30-team format with American and National Leagues. Since Strat is based upon the previous season, this year we are playing out last year's numbers.
Last year, sensing that I did not have the depth to go all the way, I swapped for two first round picks in the February 2011 free agent draft. And, while we can freeze up to 29 players per team, forever, teams change and expand via that draft wherein the rookie crop from the year before are up for grabs.
By planning as I did, I plucked Ike Davis, Jhoulys Chacin, and Jose Tabata, and with my existing core of Shane Victorino, Ryan Zimmerman, Ubaldo Jiminez, and Hanley Ramirez, I do indeed have one of the best teams in the league this year, and seem to be playoff bound.
So, in addition to thinking about trading next year's picks to help cement a win this year, because my main players are struggling, or injured, or both this year, 2012 looks like it might be a lost cause right now anyway.
Which means I need to keep an eye on the 2012 draft, and what might help set me up for success then. But, just who might even be available then, or what I might need are things that would take more vision and clarity than the crystal the Wicked Witch of the West uses in The Wizard of Oz.