Mock Draft: An Interesting Failure

In the next part in my series on punting, I am trying to ditch ERA. This has proven to be more of a challenge than the two previous ones in the series. After a few unsuccessful tries that my friend and colleague Paul Greco would term “drafting naked” (no outside sources) I decided to consult the Razzball Point Shares System.

Specifically, I was looking for pitchers who were worse in ERA than they were in WHIP. I was hoping to finish last in ERA yet still gain a couple of points in WHIP. So, I wrote down the names of about two dozen pitchers who fit this criterion and went off to draft. This was a 12-team mixed Yahoo Style Draft over at Mock Draft Central. I had the first pick and drafted this team:

Albert Pujols
Ryan Zimmerman
Ichiro Suzuki
Curtis Granderson
Adam Dunn
Nelson Cruz
Josh Beckett
Matt Wieters
Jason Bartlett
James Shields
John Lackey
Huston Street
Scott Baker
Gavin Floyd
Jorge de la Rosa
Chad Qualls
Brian Anderson
Leo Nunez
Julio Borbon
Nick Johnson
Mark DeRosa
Luis Castillo
Nick Swisher

This team finished first with a total of 87 points. The breakdowns were as follows:

AVG 12
HR 10
RBI 5.5
SB 9
R 11
W 10.5
S 6
K 8
WHIP 4
ERA 11

I’ve never tried to punt a category and almost ended up winning it before! Let’s see how that happened.

The best ERA among my starters last year belonged to John Lackey, who had a 3.83, which was 33rd best among SP. Of my seven SP, two had ERAs in the 3s and the remaining five had ERAs in the 4s. Two of my relievers had ERAs in the 3s and one was in the 4s. Nothing in this shouts out a team that should finish second in ERA. Andy Behrens estimated that you need a 3.27 ERA to win the category.

Obviously, we don’t know what these pitchers will do in 2010 yet and ERA has a lot of volatility. But we can check the Fans projections and get a glimpse of why this team was projected to finish 2nd in ERA. Eight of these pitchers the fans projected to have lower ERAs in 2010 than 2009. The only exceptions were Street, projected to go from 3.06 to 3.21 and Qualls, who did not have a fan projection. Using the Fans projections, I have five SP with ERAs in the 3s (lowest belonging to Anderson at 3.69) and two in the 4s. Furthermore, the highest ERA belonged to de la Rosa, who had a 4.26 projection.

So, you don’t need a star in ERA to be successful in the category.

Now I am back to the drawing board to field a money-finishing team that successfully punts ERA. I’ll be looking to trade in my pitcher picks in rounds 7 and 10 for better RBI and SB production.




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5 Responses to “Mock Draft: An Interesting Failure”

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  1. Brian Joura says:

    Originally I had an ERA estimate from Tim Dierkes in the piece. However, that estimated was to finish fourth in the league. It has now been updated to include the number to shoot for to finish first.

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  2. Jimbo says:

    Wow. Granderson, Cruz, Dunn AND Swisher on the roster but a 1st place finish in Avg?! Shows the value of Ichiro I guess. ;-)

    Not sure if it is possible to punt ERA. If you’re trying to score in Whip and K’s, there aren’t too many pitchers who will help you there and stink in ERA–other than luck factors. Baker is the perfect candidate for this approach, but a team full of guys like him probably won’t finish last in ERA either.

    Surprised you finished in that order for Whip/ERA. I’d agree on the pitching vs offense balance. Passing on Beckett for a potential 100+ rbi pick might net better results?

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  3. Brian Joura says:

    Well, it was Yahoo! so they had separate standings for starters and bench and Swisher was on the bench. But Ichiro and Pujols is a nice start in the category.

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    • Jimbo says:

      Ichiro is a tough one for me. He’ll almost certainly outperform his draft position, and among my peers he’s perhaps a 5th round pick. But at that point I’m still trying to find power and 100/100 candidates if at all possible.

      At a certain point though, taking Ichiro instead of Choo or Markakis can potentially make some low-average sluggers more palatable later on.

      The way I think about it is that a trio of Ichiro, Dunn, Stewart averages out to three .285/25/90/90/12 players. Not bad if you land them at 5th, 7th and 11th. And especially when you consider how overdrafted 1b/3b can be.

      Not plan A for me, but a decent plan B.

      How do you weigh a pick like Ichiro that early when there’s still power left to draft…and it’s a scarce resource?

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  4. JayCee says:

    I’ve dropped ERA as a category in all leagues I commish. I think it is now a garbage stat, certainly when WHIP is also around. I’ve watched too much home scoring to have faith in it anymore. WHIP is a nice stat, and, besides, pitching should nto have 2 average stats in order to prevent tanking in SP.

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