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Thursday 21st Sep 2017

Rules: Snake, 12 teams, NL-only, standard 5x5 Roto, 23 players

After several dozen mixed league mock drafts, Fantasy Alarm’s Mock Draft Army held National League and American League only mocks this week. See the nearby article by Lawr on the same topic. Single league drafts are tough, especially NL ones. NL does not have a sufficient number of hitters with a full-time job to fill a team roster. At least AL has the DH. Not so in NL.

In my opinion, the issue of playing time is an important one. No at-bats, no points. It’s as a simple as that. You must avoid being stuck with the reserves in the last rounds. But that’s easier said than done. Sure, you could pounce on those free agents who pop up along the season. There is plenty of pitching turn-over to draft with that in mind, but getting home runs is much harder.

What’s one to do? One solution is to have your real draft as close as possible to the beginning of the season when position battles are mostly resolved. That still does not solve the main problem. With 12 teams, each with 23 players, a lineup requiring two catchers and, if you choose so, three closers, problems abound.

It turns out that the key preparation for an NL-only league is the end game. I know, it is much less fun than dreaming about the top tier players. Experts keep reminding us that we lose with an injury to the first pick and that we win with the bottom portion of the draft. NL-only leagues help you prepare for the later rounds. You ought to know, say, who is going to have more at-bats, Chris Coghlan or Chris Denorfia? Is there a fourth outfielder lurking in the dugout ready to take over a full-time job? Where will injuries strike? How to do that?

I suggest starting with MLB team’s active rosters. Follow by consulting Mastersball’s Color Coded Tiers spreadsheet. This spreadsheet, ideally intended for auctions, distinguishes players with a positive dollar value from the players who are marked as reserves. End by prioritizing the players based on the AB at-bats ( column F) and NL 5x5 (column AA) of the Hitters and Pitchers Projections spreadsheets even if your draft uses the snake method.

Here are a few additional items to consider:

  • Catchers: Will you pick two primary catchers, one primary and one backup, or refuse to pay for the catchers and select two back-ups at the end of the draft? I go with a primary/back-up strategy meaning that I must be prepared to know who the potentially valid secondary catchers are.
  • Closers: Same considerations. I like to anchor my team with one top tier closer and draft the remaining two at the very end, that is, in Rounds 22 and 23. I figured that by doing so I have solved the dilemma of the last rounds when others pick from the bottom of the pile.

It did not work in this particular mock draft. By Round 17, it was already slim pickings. See the draft result HERE. I had the first pick. Is Travis Ishikawa going to help my team? I doubt it.

I must say that this mock draft was an excellent preparation tool for the CBS Analyst NL-only auction league. My goal was; a) do not exceed Color Coded Tiers by more than $1, b) get one top tier closer and c) have enough money to avoid being stuck with $1 part-time players at the end of the draft. My highest paid player is Craig Kimbrel at $25. It worked as far as we can tell this early in the season. What do you think? Check out the league HERE.

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