The quality of your fantasy league is only as good as its set of rules—and the character of its players.
The League of Alternative Baseball Reality, more commonly known as LABR, came into being in 1994. It is universally considered the first “expert” league (some bristle at the idea of “expert” leagues, so I’ll use the term “analyst” going forward). Other analyst leagues have been created since that time, most notably Tout Wars, but also include CBS and Yahoo’s Friends & Family.
“Home” leagues predate expert leagues by at least 14 years, with the founding of the original Rotisserie Baseball League in 1980. I am in one of these home leagues that predates LABR. The Billy Almon Brown Graduate league was founded in 1987 by a group of Brown University students who named the league after Bill Almon because he is the only player from Brown since 1941 to play in the majors. If WAR had existed in 1987, it might be the Bump Hadley Brown Graduate or Fred Tenney Brown Graduate league instead, which both sound cooler.
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Attention, rebuilding teams: Fear not what early and active bidding can do for the quality of your draft.
Last weekend I partook in my respective AL-only and NL-only keeper auctions. Before we get to the takeaways, some background information as to where this year’s takeaways are coming from:
After spending the second half of 2014 rebuilding in the AL and all of 2014 rebuilding in the NL, I came into 2015 fully stocked with keepers, picks, and minor leaguers with the full intention of competing for championships; ditto 2016. The takeaways from my “Keeper League Auction Takeaways” articles over the past two years have thus come from someone entering the auctions with very few players to select (I often kept the max or nearly the max number of keepers—15.)
This week, the Outcomes talk with the BP fantasy guru Bret Sayre about drafting prospects in Scoresheet.
Imagine MLB with a relaxed version of the reserve clause, and you’re well on your way to understanding the reason to go for prospects in Scoresheet. The vanilla Scoresheet format allows for unlimited minor league keeper protection, at the mere cost of a team’s lowest draft pick. When combined with the 13 perpetual hard keeper slots at the major-league level, it means that going prospecting is one of the few ways to reliably improve your team’s lot in life.
Focusing on minor leaguers doesn’t mean, necessarily, that you should build your team directly through the players on your farm. When we hear Scoresheet owners sometimes complain that prospects are being overvalued in their drafts, we wonder if they are using their farm wrong, focusing on the bust rate of a prospect as opposed to the relative commodity value of the asset. Developing your prospects in order to trade them is a perfectly acceptable strategy, much like a bad team hoarding talent at a position or drafting easy-to-flip middle relievers for future picks would be. With that in mind, even owners who doubt the return on investment in a prospect should still consider playing the market.
Aroldis Chapman, Jonathan Broxton, and J.J. Putz are examined by the Reaper this week.
Aroldis Chapman| Reds Shallow (30 Keepers): No Medium (60 Keepers): Fringe Deep (90 Keepers): Yes NL-only (60 Keepers): Yes Super Deep (200 Keepers): Yes
Sure, the Reds are saying Chapman will transition from the bullpen (where he was a dominant closer last season) to the starting rotation in 2013. For fantasy purposes, however, it’s hardly that simple. As my colleague Paul Sporerexplains, the jump from the ‘pen to the rotation can be a sticky wicket. In Chapman’s case, one has to wonder how his stuff will translate—diminished velocity is likely, as is a loss of some of the all-important control he discovered last season. Not to mention, we don’t know whether his golden left arm can handle the spike in workload; remember that he missed a couple weeks late in 2012 due to a tired pitching shoulder.