Happy Thanksgiving! Regularly Scheduled Articles Will Resume Monday, December 1
February 25, 2011
Scoresheet Draft Prep, BP Kings, and You
Making one pick every day and a half is, how shall I say, not exactly rollicking fun.
– King Kaufman
So it is with Scoresheet drafts. Unlike standard fantasy formats, where the draft zips by in a couple hours, casting the die for an entire season in 120 short minutes, Scoresheet drafts can last days or weeks, depending upon the configuration. In the “BP Kings” league, the format is 24 teams, both leagues (BL), and up to 10 keepers per team. Here's how things have unfolded so far, starting last Friday:
Round 4(teams which kept only 3 players could participate):
Team 10 (Sky Kalkman) drafted 1028 Mil P Shaun Marcum
Feb 20: Team 21 (Jordan Greenberg / Brady Gardiner) reported trading round 11 pick; round 25 pick to team 12 (Paul Swydan) for 487 Derek Jeter; round 28 pick.
Team 2 (Jeff Erickson) drafted 495 KC SS Alcides Escobar
Team 12 (Paul Swydan) drafted 80 Bal P Chris Tillman (with team 21's pick)
Team 3 (King Kaufman & Rob Granick) drafted 1604 ChN OF Marlon Byrd
Feb 22: Team 10 (Sky Kalkman) reported trading 1430 Aubrey Huff; round 20 pick to team 4 (Nate Stephens) for round 12 pick; round 16 pick.
Team 11 (Rob McQuown / Brian Joseph) drafted 36 Min P Scott Baker
The draft is in progress at the Scoresheet site and comments on the BP Kings draft or questions about your draft are always welcome here.
This week, the focus will be on outfielders and platooning in general, starting with a player Team 11 almost drafted as a specific example... Seth Smith. It would be easy to blame the Chooch-loving co-manager on Team 11, Brian Joseph, but despite the way PECOTA turned out for Smith, yours truly really thought he'd drop another full round and Carlos Ruiz seemed like a step ahead of the other available catchers. Instead of Seth Smith dropping, Nate Stephens instantly (as defined by the pace of a Scoresheet draft... so about 80 minutes later) dashed those hopes, snatching him up with the next pick.
As some may recall, Smith has been on the radar of Value Picks: Outfielders since the column began, with a clear “buy” advisory last June when he appeared to be getting a full-time gig: “Some moves are obvious, and when a good hitter gets a more-or-less full-time job in Colorado, well, that's the sort of acquisition which needs to be done at Blackberry speed.” If he is valuable in fantasy, he's even more valuable in Scoresheet, as the lack of speed doesn't hurt as much and the lopsided platoon splits make him a potentially devastating force against right-handed pitching. For comparison purposes, another PECOTA+range list, this time with stolen base and caught-stealing runs added for outfielders:
These are the outfielders rated in comparison to average corner outfielders (with lesser defensive impact per range rating in the corners than in center field). It can be seen that Seth Smith is not only the sixth-best outfielder, due to his above-average range rating (2.09) and Coors-aided PECOTA (.283/.358/.490), but only Hamilton, Gonzalez, and Holliday better him against right-handed pitching!
This is a good time to digress and discuss the added value platoons have in Scoresheet baseball. In MLB, teams have eight or nine starting position players, 12 pitchers, and four or five bench players. Generally speaking, that boils down to a backup catcher, utility infielder, fourth outfielder, and one or two “discretionary” players to round out the 25-man active roster, depending upon the whims of the manager. With 30 roster spots, Scoresheet managers get an extra five “discretionary” players, in addition to having the automatic backup plan of the game playing a “AAA” player at a position if the bench runs out, a luxury managers do not have in MLB. Without much strain, a manager can run three platoons in Scoresheet and not really notice. And some teams can thrive with up to five. Frankly, platoons work much better in Scoresheet than in actual baseball, as opposing managers won't be there to “Dick Howser” platoon arrangements into bad late-inning situations, such as Cliff Johnson facing Steve Farr. And the potential gain is very large.
Back to our hero, Seth Smith... Consider that Smith is projected at just 4.6 runs/game when facing lefties, so anyone at 5.1 or more represents a substantial increase in production (more than 10 percent). These outfielders–none on the top 72 list–all meet or exceed that level: Matt Diaz (6.0), Juan Rivera (5.6), Michael Cuddyer (5.6), Franklin Gutierrez (5.4–very defense-aided, even in a side field), Nick Evans (5.4), Mark DeRosa (5.3), Darnell McDonald (5.3), Delmon Young (5.2), Jonny Gomes (5.1), Carlos Lee (5.1). While most of these guys will obviously be gone, some of this ilk will be available very late in drafts.
Speaking of being available late in drafts, Seth Smith was listed 37th on the William Burke Scoresheet player ranker among National League outfielders (he averaged 26th on the ballots which listed him, but was unnamed on 14 of 27 ballots). In two NL drafts currently proceeding, he's gone as the last pick in the 14th round (13 keepers) and the first pick in the 12th round (10 keepers). He went 26th among NL outfielders in the Mock Draft. And Smith is just an example of an overlooked lefty platoon player. Garrett Jones, as lousy as he was in 2010, was just taken in the 'Kings league. Why? He has an enormous platoon split (and he can play two positions). That means that even with a PECOTA that seems bad enough to be career-threatening (.257/.315/.429), he can have value. His 4.8 R/G vs RHP comes in ahead of stars like Jason Bay (4.7), Magglio Ordonez (4.6), and Mike Cameron (4.6). Not that he's better than these guys–there's a cost to using another roster spot on a platoon-mate, of course–but in most leagues, he should be around long after Bay and Ordonez are gone.