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Monday 22nd May 2017

Are you being bombarded with advice? Who to pick up, who to avoid, which position is scarce, how long to wait, how much to pay, who are the sleepers, who is a part-timer and on and on to infinity. Is your head spinning by now? You know well that it is only going to get worse in the weeks to come.

Conversely, is your personal life keeping you busy so much that you are getting concerned about your knowledge of the 2014 baseball season, anxious about other guys in your league being better prepared than you and, heavens forbid, you are even considering dropping out of fantasy baseball?

There is nothing to worry about.

In a mock draft organized last week by my buddy Howard Bender (www.rotobuzzguy.com), I ran an experiment with the Mastersball projections. I selected the best available player according to the projections’ dollar values discarding any strategy or other temptations one may have during a draft. That is, I ignored everything I read and learned this year and went into the draft with my mind and heart cast aside. I figured, it is a valid experiment and it is a mock draft, hence there is nothing to lose.

To prepare myself, I combined the hitters and the pitchers spreadsheets, first by removing all the columns other than the qualifying position and the dollar value that matched the league size. The draft followed the standard 5x5 Roto rules, NL/AL mixed league. I also changed the font color of the pitcher spreadsheet for ease of distinction. Lastly, I sorted the unified spreadsheet by the dollar value, largest on top.

When the snake draft started, I began removing players from the spreadsheet as they were being picked up and when my turn came, I selected the top guy, whoever that was, no questions asked. Towards the end of the draft, the player selected was based on the position still unfilled on my team. Admittedly, it was not easy to keep up with the draft. Not everyone took his full 90 seconds. I was in a frenzy, deleting players as other participants selected them. Those were three frantic hours, especially when a wise guy would nominate a player way down the spreadsheet.

Twice I missed my turn and the computer chose the next best player according to its default ranking. The worst was when I moved in haste to beat the 90- second time limit and clicked on Fernando Rod(riguez) instead of Fernando Rod(ney). That destroyed my Saves category.

After getting outfielders in the first two rounds and Cliff Lee in the third, way too early for a pitcher according to my liking, to remain faithful to the experiment, I had to pick up Chris Sale in the fourth round.

I was not ready for what came next. In the fifth and sixth rounds, I was forced to draft two catchers: Yadier Molina and Joe Mauer. It turns out that Mauer will play first base the year, which will give him more at-bats than most other catchers and may help him avoid injury. That explains his high dollar value. Maybe my team is not too bad after all.

How did my team do? The mock draft was held on www.mockdraftcentral.com, which has its own projections. According to them, my team shared the second/third spot. MDC offers three other projections. According to BaseballHQ numbers, my team was third, while according to Rotowire, second and, my favorite, according to Accuscore stats, my team was alone in first with a 10-point lead, notwithstanding the low points in Saves.

One conclusion that I reached out of this experiment: Accuscore must like Mastersball’s projections. Other conclusions about “no strategy, no problem” are up to you.

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