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The Process

I have been incredibly bad at this exercise the past three seasons. In an attempt to improve this year, I took a look at my past strategies and processes to figure out what might be causing my teams’ poor performances. The biggest mistake that I think I have been making is anchoring on my experience in AL- and NL-only auction leagues (I do not participate in any mixed auction leagues) and not making the proper adjustments for mixed leagues. The result of this is that I would think every player below $25 was a great value, leading to teams without any elite talent. Elite talent is only valuable to a point, but if they are fairly priced, then they can often make up for a lot of things that will go wrong throughout the year. Consequently, I wanted take at least two elite hitters and one elite starter, making sure they were ones that I thought Mike was a little bit light on.

That said, there were some things that I did well during these exercises that I did want to run back. First, I had success always taking David Ortiz and other utility-only players because positional flexibility is not as big a constraint in this game. Second, I wanted to continue to take talented players coming off down years, older hitters, and players with slightly less certain roles because we (people) tend to overreact to negative fluctuations, risk, and uncertainty.

Lastly, I wanted to spend more than I usually do on pitching. In most of my leagues, I usually spend very little on pitching as I find my opponents tend to overvalue pitchers. This exercise, though, is different because my competition is fully aware to not overrate pitching. I am therefore going to try and pick up some points by zagging when the rest of the market is zigging (mostly in wins and strikeouts, but also possibly in pitching ratios).

The Hitters

Position

Player

Team

Bid

C

Wellington Castillo

Orioles

$8

1B

Miguel Cabrera

Tigers

$34

2B

D.J. Lemahieu

Rockies

$15

3B

Nick Castellanos

Tigers

$8

SS

Chris Owings

Diamondbacks

$1

CI

Mike Napoli

Rangers

$6

MI

Joe Panik

Giants

$1

OF

Mookie Betts

Red Sox

$41

OF

Justin Upton

Tigers

$22

OF

A.J. Pollock

Diamondbacks

$18

OF

Rajai Davis

Cleveland

$7

OF

Carlos Beltran

Astros

$4

Util

Victor Martinez

Tigers

$3

Util

Kendrys Morales

Blue Jays

$2

Total

$170 (65.3%)

Elite Bats: With Miggy and Betts, I went out and got the two elite bats I was making myself get as discussed above. How did I decide on those two specifically? Nothing complicated, I just liked them the most relative to Mike’s prices on the other top bats.

Older hitters with limited positional flexibility: Napoli, Beltran, Martinez, and Morales all fit this bill, and all they have of late is hit and produce—and the cost is very low.

Players with role uncertainty: Owings and Davis are the two I tapped here, particularly because they should provide steals regardless of whether they are starting six times a week or being used in a more limited role (which is exactly what they did last season).

Players coming off of down seasons: Upton, Pollock, and Panik. If Pollock stays healthy, which is certainly a substantial “if”, then there’s a chance he provides Charlie Blackmon-level value or, put differently, first round value. Of all the riskier players out there, I liked Blackmon’s upside the most.

My guys: there are always going to players that I just like more than Mike; Castillo, Castellanos, and LeMahieu were those hitters for me this year.

Lastly, while I did not pay up for any of the elite base stealers, I believe I can still compete in this category with LeMahieu, Owings, Betts, Upton, Pollock, and Davis all chipping in (also, Davis might very well be one of the game’s elite base stealers).

The Pitchers

Position

Player

Team

Bid

P

Yu Darvish

Rangers

$24

P

Masahiro Tanaka

Yankees

$17

P

Jacob deGrom

Mets

$17

P

Garrett Richards

Angels

$6

P

Matt Moore

Giants

$5

P

Jeremy Hellickson

Phillies

$2

P

Nate Jones

White Sox

$3

P

Shawn Kelley

Nationals

$2

P

Kelvin Herrera

Royals

$14

Total

$90 (34.6%)

Elite starters: with my slightly higher pitching budget I was able to grab Darvish as well as Tanaka (who was an ace last year) and deGrom (who was an ace two years ago), both of whom I think could be top ten or fifteen starters this year.

Dominant relievers: Herrera was the only closer I liked given his price and opportunity cost (the starting pitcher I could be getting if I was not spending that money on a closer). Regardless of saves, all three of these pitchers produce elite ratios. And while neither Jones nor Kelley are currently closing, I like both of their chances to collect saves at some point during the season.

My guys: Richards, Moore, and Hellickson, are how I chose to spend my remaining $13 for three pitching spots. I wasn’t aiming for upside with Richards and Moore, I just happened to like their risk-reward propositions. Lastly, I think Hellickson gets a little underrated for being a pitcher on a bad team (and one that will almost certainly improve over last season).

All in all, I think I fixed some flaws in my strategy and process for this exercise and think I have picked a team that can compete in nine out of ten categories while putting up a soli

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kvamlnk
3/31
Unless they change how these portfolio teams are evaluated in 2018, category balance does not matter. You simply need to select players who will have created value when evaluated after the season. Still I appreciate the desire to select a team that would meet normal rotisserie needs rather than maximizing your chance of winning the portfolio evaluation.

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