Sample Draft Prep (Part 1)

Over the last couple of weeks a few of my fellow writers here are FanGraphs have been going over some draft strategies. This week, I am going to step through my exact process for a draft. On Thursday night, I will be joining a few fantasy writers for a 15 team mock draft. Over the next few days, I will go through the exact process I normally use to set up for a draft. If one of the other drafters steals borrows my info, fine. This is actually more a way to show you my process for drafts.

First off, I will be following the procedure I set out last season in this three part series. There is quite a few good links in those articles for the procedures I use.

The first key is to find the league rules. Here are the basic rules for my draft:

Teams: 15
Rounds: 23
Min games: 10
Rules: Roto 5×5
Player Pool: Mixed

Catchers: 2
1st Basemen: 1
2nd Basemen: 1
Shortstops: 1
3rd Basemen: 1
Middle Infielders: 1
Corner Infielders: 1
Utility Players: 1
Outfielders: 5
Pitchers: 9

The next key is to find last year’s results on a similar league. While this is a fairly standard league, I haven’t played in a similar one. I use the standing gain points (SGP) method for determining player value so any baseline is helpful. NFBC runs similar leagues (with a bench tough), so I will use their 2014 leagues for a bench mark. Here are the average final 2014 rankings for 28 of the leagues.

Rank AVG Runs HR RBI SB   ERA Wins WHIP Strikeouts Saves
1 0.274 1038 259 1023 184   3.10 110 1.14 1508 108
2 0.271 1014 247 986 168   3.23 105 1.17 1457 97
3 0.269 994 239 967 158   3.29 100 1.18 1423 90
4 0.267 981 233 948 152   3.35 98 1.20 1400 87
5 0.265 965 227 936 146   3.40 96 1.21 1373 82
6 0.264 952 223 921 141   3.46 94 1.21 1357 77
7 0.262 945 217 906 135   3.51 92 1.22 1339 73
8 0.261 930 211 897 131   3.54 91 1.23 1320 70
9 0.260 918 207 879 128   3.58 89 1.23 1300 65
10 0.259 908 201 867 123   3.63 87 1.24 1284 60
11 0.258 896 196 854 119   3.67 85 1.25 1264 55
12 0.256 884 189 840 114   3.73 83 1.26 1241 50
13 0.255 861 183 825 110   3.80 80 1.27 1213 42
14 0.253 837 174 797 103   3.90 76 1.29 1179 33
15 0.249 795 162 759 90   4.05 70 1.32 1112 20
Actual Slope 0.00155 14.8 6.2 16.1 5.6   0.057 2.39 0.0102 23.7 5.40
Adjusted Slope 0.00135 12.5 5.5 13.8 4.7   0.048 1.97 0.0082 20.0 4.63

The slope value is needed for the SGP formula. Now, one value I need to explain is the Adjusted Slope. In leagues, owners will completely tank a category like Saves or Steals if they see they have no chance of winning the category. Their value is so out of place, it is useless for determining the slope of the line. Using, the above values, here are the the average Save totals.

Usually Saves and Stolen Bases get the this ‘S’ type curve, other categories can also. The top teams won by 12 Saves, while the middle rankings differed by an average of 5.4 Saves. To remove any out of place values which were too high or low, I only got the slope value for the middle 11 positions. This is the ‘Adjusted Slope”.  Finally here are the two equations I am going to move forward with.

Pitcher SGP = W/1.97+SV/4.63+SO/20+((3.55-((ER+524.2)*(9/(IP+1329))))/.048)+((1.229-((1633+H+BB)/(IP+1329)))/.0082)

Hitter SGP = HR/5.5+R/12.5+RBI/13.8+SB/4.7+((((1846+H)/(7058+AB))-.2616)/.00135)

Now it is time to find some basic projections. Well, I do write for FanGraphs and we currently have Steamer projections available for download. I got both the pitcher and hitter values and put them into a spreadsheet (found here) and calculated and ranked by SGP using the above two formulas.

Note: Don’t change the yellow columns. They are calculated from other columns.

Now, it is time to sit down become intimate with the projections. Which players do I love? I will bump up the stats on those players to what I think they will be. Which players do I not like.?Move those players down by changing their projections. One player who immediately sticks out is Billy Hamilton and his 68 stolen bases. I am thinking ’14 may be about as good as it gets for him and move the number down to 55. This is the time I reach for players I like, not during the draft. I may think Mike Moustakas’s post season performance is his true talent level so I will bump up his value now. This will give me time to see how his new value compares to other players.

Even if a draft is a couple months away, all these steps can be done right now. If I think a player changes his talent in some way, I will change the projections as I go along. Usually, I wait for a couple of projections to become available and average the pair, but I can just track the players I see as being off.

After this step is done, there are three more items to accomplish: position adjustment, looking for tiers and comparing my rankings to the ADP. I will go over those three before my draft on Thursday night. For now, I need to go and privately massage my projections.



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Jeff writes for RotoGraphs, The Hardball Times, Rotowire, Baseball America, and BaseballHQ. He has been nominated for two SABR Analytics Research Award for Contemporary Analysis and won it in 2013 in tandem with Bill Petti. He has won three FSWA Awards including on for his MASH series. In his first two seasons in Tout Wars, he's won the H2H league and mixed auction league. Follow him on Twitter @jeffwzimmerman.

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johnnycuff
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johnnycuff

are you using the terms “standard points gained” and “standings points gained” interchangeably or is there some distinction? the article you linked to doesn’t even mention “standard points gained” and i’ve not heard it as a method anywhere else.