The first article in Jeff's process-review series, reviewing lessons from his experience with David Peralta.
With auctions, drafts, and trade deadlines now behind us, there is not much for us to do besides set lineups (which we covered here last season) and acquire free agents. Therefore, we will occasionally be doing what I am calling a process review on decisions or strategies I utilized throughout the year to (i) see how they turned out (the easy part) and (ii) see what we can learn from them (the hard part).
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Having just wrapped up my AL- and NL-only keeper-league trade deadlines last weekend, I have some takeaways to help us navigate future trade deadlines. The first is regarding the importance of growing and knowing trade routes when we are faced with limited time. The next is using strategic trends to predict the behavior of our leaguemates. The last is actually regarding FAAB bidding in keeper leagues following the MLB trade deadlines (when players switch leagues and thus become available).
Strategy, process, and decision-making help for your deadline dealing.
The real baseball trade deadline approaches. The trade deadline in many fantasy baseball leagues also approaches. It is a wonderful time of the year. To celebrate, we will take a look at some of the strategic and behavioral decision-making factors that we should be considering this time of year. Some of these factors will be old friends, while others will be new acquaintances. We will be going more for breadth than depth here.
League Norms and the Default Effect
We are looking at the intersection of two behaviors here, so buckle up. A norm in many a league is for teams to wait to trade until the trade deadline. A less extreme norm is for teams in the middle of the pack to wait until the traded deadline to decide whether to be buyers or sellers. This is often a powerful norm because it provides owners with (i) an easy route for risk aversion and (ii) a nice default option. These decisions are hard, and the default effect tells us that when we are faced with complex or weighty decisions, we rely more on defaults. In this case, many teams will avoid making moves until the trade deadline.
What to do when there aren't any obvious (or not-so-obvious) trades to make as the deadline approaches.
The trade deadline is fast approaching in many a fantasy baseball league. Multiple articles about trade markets, trade talk, and negotiation have been written by yours truly. Other articles about the topics have been written by others.
However, no matter how many articles we write or read, sometimes there are not any good, obvious trades out there. Sometimes, there are not any good, not-obvious trades out there. In this situation, what should we do? Try to figure out an even more creative solution or hold tight? Maybe we should go back and re-check because we might have missed something?
There's nothing wrong with being in first place—as long as you transcend the biases that accompany topping the standings.
Some of us are leading in our leagues and some of us are not. The chances of this being false are incredibly low. While leading is certainly preferred to being in any other position, it does come with its own set of decision-making and strategy obstacles. We will discuss those obstacles and what we can do to overcome them.
Are we just chasing our own tails until we inevitably die?
Two and a half years of “The Quinton” later and it is starting to get a bit redundant is it not? What at one point seemed like (hopefully) interesting new ways to look at the strategy of the games we play has seemingly become a weekly chastisement, a forced (and humiliating) introspection of our own, most basic shortcomings, a punishment only earned for (i) being a person and (ii) having the flaws that come with that. Sure we trudge on, but moving the needle forward now seems to take three times the effort as before.
It is not quite as bleak as I describe above and it is never is (as decision making-deity Danny Kahneman has told us so through our old friend the focusing effect). The fact of the matter, though, is that it seems that we have come to the journey’s end. We set off on this journey of improving process and all that comes with it (decision making, strategy, information procurement, etc.), knowing that this is where the largest gains were ripe for the picking. Whereas the low hanging fruit had already been picked in analysis and information asymmetry (thanks smart people and internet (which I guess is to say, “Thanks smart people and the smart people that gave us the internet”)), the fruits of applying human behavior and strategy to fantasy baseball, once hanging low all around us, now seemed to be picked as bare as international slot bonuses of a past era. Just as analytics was something in all front offices several years ago, searching for competitive advantages on the process side is no longer cutting edge or known to be used by a few clubs (or fantasy baseball participants). Whereas Kahneman’s Thinking, Fast and Slow was being passed around the Astros front office in the 2014 (!) offseason, prospect theory, anchoring, framing, and loss aversion are now, just four years later, a part of all of our dialogue when analyzing not only decisions teams and we make, but also when analyzing the analysis.
Why getting to know how your leaguemates' operate is critical come trade season.
Following last week’s in-season trade primer “Trade Season: What Matters,” commenter DanDaMan asked:
“the problem I always have is other owners who either don't respond at all to requests or flat out reject a trade without any comment. [It is tough] to get any dialogue going in either case. How do you counteract that?”