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The way I see it, the husband must have come home about 30 minutes into the
LABR-NL draft on Saturday.


The only logical explanation for what happened is this: My strategy was
apparently sleeping with another man’s wife. While they were together, she
heard the door open and realized her husband was home. At that point, my
strategy did the natural thing.


It went out the window.


That just about sums up what happened to me on Saturday night at the
LABR-NL draft in Tampa. About 15 players into the draft, I realized I was
sitting there with a list of values that bore little resemblance to what
was happening around me – which, in turn, bore little resemblance to what
had happened the previous night in the AL auction. Closers were going for
roughly 10% less than I had forecasted. No player went for over $38. And
many trendy young players – like Scott Elarton ($13) and Darren
Dreifort
($12) – were going at nearly double the risk-adjusted values I
had pegged for them.


As a result, most of the values I had placed on remaining players were
going to be way off, and my usual strategy – punt wins, focus on young
talent, load up on setup men and emerging starters – wasn’t going to hold.
So for the first time in my roto history, I had to forget 90% of my usual
shopping habits, and ended having to pursue these strategies:

  1. Increased spending on starting pitching. With money going toward
    younger, emerging starting pitchers, some reliable veterans went below
    forecasted values. I wound up with Ismael Valdes and Rick
    Reed
    at $16 apiece, both $2-4 below where I had priced them. Mike
    Hampton
    went to Greg Ambrosius for $11; Andy Ashby went to Chris
    Colston for $15; and John Hunt landed Pete Harnisch and Brett
    Tomko
    for $12 apiece.

  2. Shift focus toward more playing time and less-risky players. Increasing
    my budget on starting pitching meant reducing my budget for hitting, and
    thus trying to reduce my risk. Of my 14 hitters, 9 have starting positions
    lined up already, and two are in races to be decided either by spring
    performances (Warren Morris) or the health of others (Angel
    Pena
    ). One trick I used to try to impose some discipline on myself was
    to use separate hitting and pitching budgets after I had spent half of my
    $260, ensuring that I’d have the cash I needed at the end, when I’d have to
    fill out the pitching slots.

  3. Avoid setup men. My LABR victory last year came because of some good
    fortune around my setup men – Bob Wickman, Ricardo Rincon,
    Juan Acevedo, and Danny Graves all wound up getting a few
    saves, and only Wickman ($9) had cost more than $4. This year, the pendulum
    swung the other way: Three setup men went for double digits, and several
    went for more than I had forecasted. I did manage to sneak Wayne
    Gomes
    through at $5 and Jay Powell at $3, but I definitely envy
    Roger Anderson’s pickup of Antonio Osuna at $7.

All that these adjustments bought me was a second chance. The league seems
extremely balanced, and the draft as a whole was very tough, with many
owners clearly realizing what was going on and making the necessary shift
in pricing. This incident just underlines a point made here earlier: that
you have to be flexible and constantly aware of sea changes in the market
just to stay in the game.