Last season as an employee of Baseball Prospectus, I was invited to join a Scoresheet league called “Kings.” It was an AL/NL league comprised of 24 teams owned by some of the brightest baseball minds going today – your Jaffes, Passans, Swydans, and Laurilas of the world. As a relative newcomer to the ranks of elite baseball websites, I was permitted to join a team with John Erhardt, whom at the time had previously worked at BP.
Year one was a learning experience for me. We accidentally nabbed Danny Valencia in the second round of the dispersal draft — fortunately we’d pulled Jason Heyward in the first — and we ended up floundering to a 68-94 record, good for last in our division.
Come keeper time, I was faced with some tough decisions. For one, Erhardt would be departing our team, leaving me as the sole proprietor. To his credit, he was just blessed with his first child, so he certainly had more pressing issues at hand. Congratulations again, John. Nonetheless, we had decided last season was a bust pretty early on and sold off some good pieces — namely, J.J. Hardy — to make sure that we’d have some extra youth we could keep and maybe an extra pick or two.
The way keepers work in our Scoresheet league is this: anyone deemed a ‘prospect’ costs you a pick at the back of your draft. If you keep five prospects, you forfeit your last five picks. If you keep 10 big leaguers — the limit in this league — you will start drafting in round 11.
Coming off a bad season, I decided to only keep two big league players: Chris Sale and Heyward. This meant keeping prospects Drew Pomeranz, Deck McGuire, Joe Benson, Michael Choice, and Dellin Betances. It also meant cutting loose big leaguers Jhoulys Chacin, Derek Holland, Orlando Hudson, Andrew Bailey, Chris Perez, Coco Crisp, and a few others. Ideally I’d have kept Holland, but I was taking a chance that I’d be among the lowest in terms of keepers, and could lock in an early draft pick or two.
The strategy prevailed. As the draft kicked off last Friday evening, I was the only one picking in round three, and was able to nab Yu Darvish. Additionally, I had the first to pick in round four, and was able to pull Yoenis Cespedes. Quite a coup, at least in my view. Geoff Young of BP grabbed Nelson Cruz at pick three (second pick, round four), and I rounded out my third of the first four picks with Jose Altuve at the top of round five.
In round six, I grabbed Alexei Ramirez, and in subsequent rounds, I was able to pull Salvador Perez, Carlos Pena, Adam Dunn, Jordan Lyles, Crisp, and Valencia. (RE: Crisp and Valencia? Apparently I’m a glutton for punishment.)
So here’s how my roster currently sits:
C – Salvador Perez
1B – Carlos Pena
2B – Jose Altuve
3B – Danny Valencia
SS – Alexei Ramirez
LF – Coco Crisp
CF – Yoenis Cespedes
RF – Jason Heyward
DH – Adam Dunn
SP – Yu Darvish
SP – Chris Sale
SP – Drew Pomeranz
SP – Jordan Lyles
Prospects – Joe Benson, Michael Choice, Dellin Betances, Anthony Rendon, Josh Vitters, Deck McGuire
At the risk of giving away my strategy, I think I’m going to focus on a couple innings eaters — especially considering the relative youth and unpredictability of my rotation– a dynamic defender in the infield and outfield, and then start looking at bullpen and prospects.
It could just be the Kool-Aid talking, but I really like the lineup. I think I’ll probably go as follows:
1. Heyward RF
2. Crisp LF
3. Pena 1B
4. Dunn DH
5. Ramirez SS
6. Cespedes CF
7. Valencia 3B
8. Perez C
9. Altuve 2B
Obviously the lack of a true leadoff hitter hurts, so I’ll be counting on either Heyward, Crisp, or Altuve to fill that role for me. I like the power potential at 3-4, and I also tried to find at least passable defenders at most every position. As for the pitching staff, we’ll be very young, but there’s some good upside, and like I noted, if I add a couple innings-eaters, it could be pretty well rounded.
There are a veritable plethora of relievers in the pool right now, so I don’t think I’m going to wade into that group just yet.
Anyone else in a Scoresheet league? Have any tips or criticisms? Blast away!