Saturday, April 03, 2010

FDH Fantasy Newsletter: Volume III, Issue XIII

Welcome to our 78th edition of the FDH Fantasy Newsletter, as we continue to bring you weekly fantasy sports updates in addition to our usual content on Our archive of past editions is available right here on The Blog and specific links to past editions are available on the front page of

In this week's edition, we bring you draft/auction notes from the 2010 selection season.

Draft/Auction Notes from the 2010 Selection Season

First and foremost, we have online the most useful guide you could possibly want, FANTASY BASEBALL DRAFTOLOGY 2010. Here is the Table of Contents:

Page 1: Draft Philosophy Overview, Top 72 Overall
Page 2: Starting Pitcher Rankings, Draft Board Decoder, Lessons of “The Stat”
Page 3: Starting Pitcher Rankings Cont’, 2010 Don’t Be That Guy
Page 4: Starting Pitcher Rankings Cont’, Relief Pitcher Rankings, 2010 Sleepers
Page 5: Catcher Rankings, 2010 Overvalued, 2010 Undervalued, Offseason Movement Winners and Losers
Page 6: First Base Rankings, Injury Risk Management
Page 7: Second Base Rankings, Designated Hitter Rankings, 2010 Position Battle Overview
Page 8: Shortstop Rankings, 2009 Prospect Rankings, Long-Term Keeper League Prospect Rankings
Page 9: 2010 AL & NL Scarcity, 2010 Players With a Wide Range of Opinion
Page 10: Respect Mah Eligibilitah!
Page 11: Third Base Rankings, Suggested League Guidelines
Pages 12-13: Outfield Rankings
Pages 14-17: 2010 Mock Draft and Analysis
Page 18: Dollar Bin Players
Pages 19-20: Shea Stadium and Yankee Stadium Memories, Hall of Famer Andre Dawson
Pages 21-22: 2010 Topps Cards Review
Page 23: FDH Standings/Awards Predictions for 2010 MLB, FDH Minor League System Rankings
Page 24: 2010 Fantasy Overview, 2009 Legitimate Breakthroughs/Reclamation Cases

FDH Managing Partner Rick Morris leveraged his experience in a competitive 12-team mixed-league draft and a 20-team auction (long-term) keeper league to pass on some tangible applications of FDH strategy. These manifestations are useful in future season, while some of the lessons may have to be applied in different manners due to different circumstances. Because the dollar values in Rick’s silent auction league run closer to an average of $16 per player, normalized player values are used here for purposes of clarity.

^ Don’t chase players at any price. In Rick’s keeper-league auction, a horrible confluence of circumstances was present: disproportionately big money available for bidding with one of the smallest talent pools in the 15-year history of the league. Rick, needing to fill in 2B and SS, desperately wanted Ben Zobrist, but Brian Roberts was thrown out first for bidding. Not wanting to put all eggs in one basket, Rick wrote down a price of $24 and that turned out to be the high bid. Good thing, since Zobrist later turned out to be out of Rick’s price range at $48. Rick hedged with Casey McGehee at $16 (the same FDH list price for a 12-team league, to say nothing of the additional distortion in this league between talent and money available!) and pieced together Marco Scutaro for $26 and Rafael Furcal for $15 (two of the only options available) in a hopelessly shallow SS pool. Chasing Zobrist, the hope going in, would have allowed for none of the depth acquisitions that Rick was able to make under tough circumstances.

^ When the optimal possibility is out of reach, choose the next best thing. This principle is closely related to the first one. Rick really wanted to pair Jonathan Broxton with a second closer (during Rick’s championship run last year, he still had Andrew Bailey and Joe Nathan on his roster – and by the way, Nathan’s expiring contract proved fortuitous indeed!). With even the low-end closers going for about $20, Rick’s aforementioned middle-infield depth could not have been achieved with any money being earmarked for ninth-inning arms. Instead, Rick purchased some “closer possibilities” for $1, including Pat Neshek (adding to Matt Guerrier, who he already owned), Brad Ziegler and Peter Moylan and piled up or retained $1 depth who could be vital to making a trade later in the season if any of them live up to their potential (Travis Hafner, Eric Chavez, Jermaine Dye and Jonny Gomes).

^ When you have serpentine draft picks close together, pass on the player you really want until the second pick if he is likely to fall through to you there. Rick and his co-owner had the tenth pick in their draft, meaning that they would have the third pick in the second round. They really wanted Troy Tulowitzki (in keeping with FDH’s extreme optimism for him this season), but they were not going to take him with the first pick under any circumstances because (knowing the tendencies of the owners in-between), they knew he would fall to them with the second pick – which he did.

^ Positional flexibility is your friend. When Kevin Youkilis surprisingly dropped to Rick and his partner in the late third round, they were able to keep their options open about where to play him. Inasmuch as 3B began to be very picked-over and 1B stayed open enough for Derek Lee (Round 8) and Carlos Pena (Round 9) to drop to them, 3B it will be for KY.

^ Zig when everybody else zags. This is the most important principle in a serpentine draft for achieving the FDH ideal of “Value.” Rick and his co-owner have made the playoffs in a competitive league ¾ of the time in a dozen years in a league where only 1/3 of the teams make the playoffs by applying the same strategy (albeit in different ways) every year. Last year, they went in knowing that FDH had classified the top level of starting pitchers as very shallow, but the next few levels as quite abundant. As such, they loaded up on hitting early, forgoing the few players labeled as “certain aces,” while still being able to pick up arms such as Justin Verlander, Chad Billingsley and Josh Johnson in the upper-middle rounds. This year, they heeded the FDH edict of not chasing #2 and #3 OF for 2010. As such, they waited to give first-round pick Matt Kemp some company in the outfield until much later when they picked up Torii Hunter (Round 12), Carlos Gonzalez (Round 13) and Jay Bruce (Round 16). The key when applying this strategy is to wait a good long time before starting to make a move at the position you have identified to be deferred – obviously, without waiting too long. Certainly, in order to make this work on the most efficient basis, practice makes perfect in terms of developing the sense of “feel” about when it is time to pounce for maximum value.

^ The UQB, as always, is your best fantasy friend. The FDH Ultimate Quantitative Baseline, the ultimate measure of what a player did the previous year on a per-AB or per-IP basis, almost always comes into play in a big way for those who utilize it. For Rick and his co-owner, that moment came in the 12th round when Torii Hunter dropped to them. Now, Hunter was listed as one of FDH’s most undervalued players, 11th on the FDH board at OF – while he was 26th on the “experts’ draft board” (a consensus draft board of other leading industry sources). The primary reason for this was the fact that he was superlative on the UQB in 2009, placing 9th at OF (remember, the statistic is measured on a per-AB basis). In 451 AB, he hit .299 with 22 HR, 90 RBI, 74 R and 18 SB. In 2008, he had exactly 100 more AB, with a very similar numerical tally: .278, 21 HR, 78 RBI, 85 R and 19 SB. The quantum leap in improvement last season is completely under the radar unless the AB factor comes into play – which it rarely does with fantasy owners. Now, as we always note, any baseline – even the ultimate one – is no promise of production for the following year, but you cannot accurately slot somebody’s value until you have a full appreciation for what they did or did not accomplish the previous season.


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