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The 20 owners participating in the Batter's Box Fantasy League are anxiously awaiting our draft Thursday evening. This thread will be of little interest to anyone else, but it's offered as a place to ask questions about the rules, get advice if you're new to Yahoo draft procedures, and talk a little trash.

Each team plays every other team once, going head-to-head in the 12 categories. Since our regular season is 22 weeks long, you'll play your first three opponents again in August. Here's the schedule for Week One:

Toronto Walrus
Nation Builders

Red Mosquitos
Geoffs Grumpy Group

Hannibals Cannibals

Billies Bashers

gashouse gorillas
K-Town Mashers

Reykjavik Fish Candy
Eastern Shore Birds

Chatsworth Halos
Jicks Rays

Springfield Isotopes
Mebion Glyndwr

Baird Brain

Sub-Urban Shockers
Moscow Rats

Thanks again to Mike Hansen (Springfield) for providing the Jays T-shirt, complete with Ricciardi and Tosca autographs, as our prize.

The draft order will be randomized by Yahoo; once that's done (between 9:00 and 9:15 pm EST on Thursday) the Draft Room will open. It should be all over by about 11:45, possibly sooner, if most of us are there and we make prompt selections. You have "only" 90 seconds to pick, which doesn't sound like much, but it's a long time for everyone else to wait. Suggestions about courtesy: have your next choice(s) queued up and be ready when it's your turn. If you are attending the draft, but get called away by a phone call or household emergency, please click the "I'm Away" box so the auto-pilot choice will be made promptly, instead of wasting the entire minute and a half.

The Constitution was passed, but the keeper rules still could be amended. For now, it's any four players, and you must keep four (fewer would make it very complicated to draft on Yahoo). Other wrinkles -- trading of future draft picks, a farm system -- could be implemented for next year, but that would require a permanent League Secretary to keep reliable records. Also we would need a pay stats service, and a 2 1/2 hour draft would be impossible. There's no rush to decide anything, but this is an appropriate place for suggestions.
1st Annual BBFL Draft | 26 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
_Spicol - Monday, March 17 2003 @ 02:49 PM EST (#93135) #
The idea of trading of future draft picks is intriguing. Is this sort of scenario what you had in mind?

Red Mosquitos (my team) finish 1st and Toronto Walrus (Kent's team) finish 4th. As per the consitution I'd be scheduled to draft 12th and Kent would draft 9th in 2004 BUT I could trade up by offering Lance Berkman and my 12th pick for Stubby Clapp and Kent's 9th pick. I would then draft 9th throughout the entire 2004 draft and Kent would draft 12th. Make sense?
Coach - Monday, March 17 2003 @ 03:22 PM EST (#93136) #
That's a good idea, and it could be done in Yahoo. Here's how it works in the Roto Junkies AL league:

Around midseason, owners decide whether they're a "buyer" (trading away the future) or a "seller" (wave the white flag but improve your position in the next draft). An example? In July 2002, I traded my #2 in the 2003 draft and a throw-in pitcher for Mark Mulder and a #14 pick. I also traded Carlos Pena and my #4 for John Olerud and a #8. These guys helped my stretch drive, but I'm paying dearly this year, with no #2 or #4. I do have extra picks in the 8th and 14th rounds -- if I don't get useful players, I'm in trouble, so I may be a seller this season, regrouping for 2004. This requires a capable administrator, and makes a live draft necessary, so it's not as easy to adopt as Spicol's suggestion.
_Spicol - Monday, March 17 2003 @ 04:05 PM EST (#93137) #
There isn't as much of an impact with my idea (the difference between drafting 9th or drafting 12th is marginal) as there is with the way the Roto Junkies do it. Sure, it's more complicated but we're way past that already...I'd support the trading of draft "picks" instead of draft placements, and I'd make myself available for a live draft.
_Jonny German - Monday, March 17 2003 @ 04:25 PM EST (#93138) #
Question 1: Suppose I have Player X in my queue but he's picked before my turn. Does he automatically disappear from my queue?

Question 2: If I have players in my queue, will the top one be picked automatically when it comes to my turn, or only if my status is set to 'I'm Away'?

Question 3: Suppose I draft 19th in the first round, do I then draft 2nd in the second round? In other words, does the draft go through the order from 1 to 20, then back from 20 to 1, and back and forth as such throughout the draft?
_snellville jone - Monday, March 17 2003 @ 04:45 PM EST (#93139) #
You can place several names in your queue; if the top one is taken by someone else, the next name on the list will be chosen. This will happen automatically only if your status is "I'm Away". Here's a tip I learned the hard way- use the queue only for the players you want to immediately draft. I used it to organize middle relievers in another draft, clicked "I'm Away" to go get a drink, got back and forgot to unclick the "I'm Away" status and got stuck with LaTroy Hawkins in the 6th round...
The answer is "yes" to your final question.
_dp - Monday, March 17 2003 @ 09:02 PM EST (#93140) #
"...clicked "I'm Away" to go get a drink..."

Snellville, I'm planning on being drunk for the draft too...we should at least be on equal footing.
_jason - Monday, March 17 2003 @ 09:52 PM EST (#93141) #
If by chance you "test your system" and it doesnt work or tells you to download the latest version of Java Virtual Machine don't freak out. I had this problem, Microsoft doesn't offer a version of Virtual Machine but if you go here:

there is a link to Sun's Java VM and it does indeed work as I tested it in another yahoo baseball league draft. Even after downloading it "test your system" may not work but as I said I tested it out and it worked fine.

Good Luck. (Its gonna be slim pickins out there!)
_Jordan - Monday, March 17 2003 @ 09:53 PM EST (#93142) #
I plan to feign drunkenness to cover up for the fact that I've managed to do just about zero preparation for this draft. Looks like a loooong season in Suburbia....
Gitz - Monday, March 17 2003 @ 10:16 PM EST (#93143) #
If anybody is signed up who CANNOT make the draft, please let me know, and I'll jump in; I'm a moron for not reserving a spot in this league, and now I'm having seller's remorse. Or something like that. Hey, I'm a U.S. citizen (for now). I only speak in financial metaphors.
_Spicol - Tuesday, March 18 2003 @ 09:43 AM EST (#93144) #
I've only prepped a little but I've discovered that with this league in particular, there's a very valid reason to change my strategy and go in a direction I normally don't.

Of course, I'm not going to tell you why...
_Best_Mate - Tuesday, March 18 2003 @ 09:54 AM EST (#93145) #

In the spirit of self congratulation/deprecation/flagellation (insert as appropriate), are you planning to publish the details of this draft, so that us mere mortals can take advantage of your collective wisdom?

P.S. While I'm here, my long overdue thanks to Mr Williams for his prolonged Phelps/Hudson promotional campaign last year, which propelled me to two fantasy titles in 2002
Coach - Tuesday, March 18 2003 @ 10:47 AM EST (#93146) #
Best_Mate, you're welcome for Phelps and O-Dawg, and if you won, I guess you didn't take my spring Felipe Lopez advice. Josh helped a lot of us last year, and boosted what little credibility I have as an analyst. To the jerk who wrote me complaining about Phelps' lack of power (despite an 8-game hit streak and .340 AVG) after he had been in the Show for two weeks -- you're probably not reading this, but I hope you waived him.

I'll post a draft recap article on Friday, including a downloadable Excel file of the results for anyone who's interested. This is not an "expert" league, but there are several experienced players, and it's deep: 500 players makes the late-round pool pretty shallow. For ongoing BBFL chatter, I am considering regular league update threads (probably Monday morning, when the previous week's results are in).

Last night, Operation Shutdown, a Yahoo league involving a group of Primates, using a modified sabrmetric points system, conducted its draft. I know one owner, who is also in the BBFL (Eastern Shore Birds) had some technical trouble, and finished on auto-pilot. His competitive roster despite the glitch is a testimony to the value of pre-ranking. I am not happy to report that it took three hours for 17 owners to select 25 rounds, but we can do better. Some people were chatting when it was their turn to pick, others neglected to click the "I'm Away" box. If there's 90 seconds of wasted time on even 10 percent of the picks, that's over an hour of thumb-twiddling, and if four or five owners dawdle an extra minute every round over earth-shaking decisions like Andy Fox vs. Chad Fox, that quickly adds up to a tedious evening. Please be considerate: use the draft queue, have a few players ready, in case the guys immediately before you scoop your top choices, and make your selections promptly. Warning -- consistently slow owners may be flamed, by me and others. I am still hoping it's all over by no later than 12:30 EST.

With A-Rod questionable for the first series, and Guerrero suspended, it will be interesting to see how far they drop. I don't have Jonny's spreadsheets or Spicol's master plan, but I'm anticipating a mad rush to overvalue Blue Jays players, so I don't expect to own many. Myers, maybe, since I seem to be the only person other than Tosca and Ricciardi who believes in the guy.

Gitz, you're on the waiting list. If an owner doesn't check in for 30 days, his team will be "abandoned", and we'll recruit a more active participant to take over that franchise next year. That's another thing we could do in the future, if we move from Yahoo to a pay service -- expand to 24 teams, perhaps in two divisions. First things first; only two more days.
Pepper Moffatt - Tuesday, March 18 2003 @ 11:06 AM EST (#93147) #
Last night's draft was fun, though it did get a bit tedious at times.

Any strategy I had flew out the window after the 3rd round. I ended up selecting a lot of older players and a lot of NL players. I swear the average age of my team is 3 yrs more than any other. I kind of expected that would happen as I figured the other owners would overrate young phenoms and guys in the AL.

I can't believe we went almost 20 rounds before somebody selected David Bell (namely me). You can tell the draft was full of SABR types.
_Spicol - Tuesday, March 18 2003 @ 11:28 AM EST (#93148) #
I ended up selecting a lot of older players and a lot of NL players.

I find the similarities between a Fantasy Baseball draft and the stock market to be many. Some choose to load up on small-cap equities (prospects...Brandon Phillips is Mr. Pharmaceutical Startup) because they're cheap and there is a chance, albeit small, of huge returns. Some drafters stick entirely to blue chips and when it gets to players showing signs of decline, they put too much faith in the returns they used to get and draft away anyway. Those who choose a diversified draft end up pretty safe but safe often means 5th place. So, there's nothing wrong with a lot of older players, as long as you chose the good older players.

I often find that I can assemble an entire team and it will be 90% from the NL. There's no better way to understand that the AL truly has an inferior pool of players than to conduct a fantasy draft.
_Ken Crowell - Tuesday, March 18 2003 @ 11:34 AM EST (#93149) #
Maybe my expectations were too low, but I was pleasantly surprised to be done the Shutdown draft in 3 hours. I didn't perceive much downtime, and I had the longest waits, making double picks as the snake wrapped around.

Pre-ranking is of course valuable in making things go quicker, but it's really a serious investment in time before the draft that I couldn't make. If people had used the Away button when they should have, I think a perfect balance would have been struck for allowing witty banter, and time to consider one's picks.

As it was, I thought it was a hugely entertaining draft, and I'm sure that's untainted by the fact that I love my team, even with an aliens-taking-over-my-brain pick of Wakefield in round 3.

Go Lobsters!
_Jonny German - Tuesday, March 18 2003 @ 12:05 PM EST (#93150) #
Best_Mate, you've made my day by asking about draft strategy. I've been thinking about writing a long and possibly boring dissertation on my draft preparation in the hopes of (a) getting feedback on what I've done right, (b) getting flack on where I overlooked the obvious, and (c) adding any minute justification I can to the hours spent copying PECOTA predictions out of BP 2003.

The drawback of course is that it's not a great idea to publish your secret formulae for your arch rivals, but what can ya do... I'll keep it vague enough to not be exactly reproducible, and you'll all forget it anyway when I finish in the middle of the pack.

Spicol, I'm speaking from complete inexperience here, but how can the AL have a truly inferior pool of players where a fantasy draft is concerned? If the NL has dominant pitching, I would expect the hitters to be worse than the AL, stat-wise. And vice versa. Or, if they have a lot of dominant pitchers and a lot of dominant hitters, doesn't that just mean that the league has a bigger gap between the upper class and lower class talent, i.e. your late round picks should come from the AL? My suspicion is that you find better players in the NL because you're playing against people whose knowledge base is AL heavy.
_snellville jone - Tuesday, March 18 2003 @ 12:34 PM EST (#93151) #
Two days, nine hours, and twenty-three minutes. You will now spend each moment between now and the draft worrying. Every minute will be a universe of terror, and a marathon of fear. Tick, tick, tick... Eradicator!
um, I mean- gashouse gorillas!
_Geoff North - Tuesday, March 18 2003 @ 12:39 PM EST (#93152) #
Any advice on how to prepare for a draft, other than preranking players? I'm taking part in this league, and have had NO time to prepare, other than a few minutes reading my copy of BP2003 on the el to school this last week (just got the book a few days ago!). It's exam week at Northwestern and my responsibilities should be finished in time for the draft, but I'd like to do what prep I can!
_R Billie - Tuesday, March 18 2003 @ 01:27 PM EST (#93153) #
Geoff, I can only tell you what I prefer to do. For a live draft I don't bother with pre-ranking on Yahoo. I make cheat sheets which divide players by position eligibilites (i.e. all eligible catchers, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, etc) as well as pitchers. I rank each group according to my preference. Then I print out the sheets so I have something to physically refer to during the draft and then I cross players off as they are taken.

I find having a physical print out of my own rankings helps immeasurably over scanning players on-screen where it can be easy to miss someone. Where it gets hard is knowing when to take the best available talent (i.e. the guy with the best raw stats) and when to take position scarcity (a guy who is lesser in stats but plays a tougher position). That's something I usually manage to screw up one way or the other. As painful as it might be to have Angel Berroa as your shortstop, the difference between Travis Lee and Jason Giambi at 1B is pretty big in itself.

Offence is generally considered more predictable than unless you're dealing with ace pitchers, be wary of rating pitchers ahead of quality bats. That might change in a league this big with quality starting pitching drying up in the late rounds but I still think the rule generally holds true. And remember, he's not a sleeper if you have to take him too early. That's another thing I always screw up.
_Spicol - Tuesday, March 18 2003 @ 01:32 PM EST (#93154) #
how can the AL have a truly inferior pool of players where a fantasy draft is concerned

A few reasons really:

1) The simplest reason is that there are 2 extra teams, lending more superstars to the mix, especially when it comes to pitching.
2) The NL has more players who contribute to multiple categories, much more useful in a fantasy environment. The AL has more one and two-dimensional players.
3) Versatility is key...if a player qualifies at more than one position, he's that much more useful on a fantasy team. This is more prevalent in the NL.
4) The NL just plain has more superstars (RJohnson, Schilling, Guerrero, Barry, Berkman, Brian Giles etc). The AL does seem to have more depth but you can see how I can go 10 or 12 rounds without picking any AL players.
_Spicol - Tuesday, March 18 2003 @ 02:36 PM EST (#93155) #
Just a word of warning...Yahoo has been a little volatile this year due to the popularity of the game. I highly suggest that you have at least 6 or 8 players in your queue at all times. That should give you enough time to quit your browser and log in again if it freezes up.
_jason - Tuesday, March 18 2003 @ 04:54 PM EST (#93156) #
Yes, it froze up on me in a previous yahoo draft I did a couple of days ago. I wanted to pick Randy Johnson but I had actually queded Pedro ahead of him, so it picked Pedro for me.(Now, I'm screwed!)
The rest of the draft ran smoothly for me.
_Jonny German - Tuesday, March 18 2003 @ 05:18 PM EST (#93157) #
Good points all, Spicol. Point 3) has me scared, I think I'll be accounting for positional versatility on the fly.
_Spicol - Tuesday, March 18 2003 @ 06:32 PM EST (#93158) #
Positional versatility isn't a make or break kind of thing. It's only really valuable in case of injury and the slight added benefit of roster shuffling should some guys have the day off. Don't sweat it.
Coach - Tuesday, March 18 2003 @ 08:08 PM EST (#93159) #
In Yahoo, versatility applies to pitchers, too. Some are rated SP and RP, giving you more roster flexibility. Spicol's right -- it's no big deal, but if you're undecided between two players, it's a slight edge.

However, there's a position-related draft room quirk that should be mentioned. You can switch back and forth between viewing your own rankings and the Yahoo default, and in either mode, you can then select by position. But if a player is rated DH by Yahoo, he shows up only on the Utility list. There isn't a separate DH tab, and Utility is a huge list that includes every position player. It's possible to miss Josh Phelps and a lot of other good hitters if you keep looking at the other positions' rankings and forget to check Utility; I thought Edgar Martinez fell pretty far last night.
_R Billie - Thursday, March 20 2003 @ 10:39 AM EST (#93160) #
Those DH's can be sneaky. Phelps and Martinez may look slow but they move silently so as to avoid detection.

Good luck tonight everyone. It'll be nice to take a long break from CBC news after I overdosed last night.
1st Annual BBFL Draft | 26 comments | Create New Account
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