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May Supplementary Draft
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Hard work could pay off

The first supplemental draft is most valuable for filling holes. When we pick our third phase in early March, we are pretty blind towards which marginal players best prepared themselves for the upcoming season. There are usually a surprise regular or two at each position who wasn`t drafted during the winter - and often you are the only manager who desperately needs a player at a specific position.

 

This draft is also good for pitching depth and picking up a 3rd catcher, both of which everyone needs,. Most first string catchers require more rest than other position players, plus you can`t move a player from another position to catcher.

 

Once in awhile a long-term gem is plucked from this draft, as was Hank Blalock a couple years ago. Someone in my league this year drafted Jason Kubel. Who knows? Usually, all the really good prospects are long gone by now, but it might be worth doing your homework, if you enjoy it. Comb Baseball America http://www.baseballamerica.com/today/Stats/index.html) for AA or AAA players with eye popping stats. If they are young and have some tools, give them a shot, if you don`t have some glaring hole to fill. Particularly pay attention to any previous year`s no. 1 picks, who are still available. If they are feasting on the Florida State, Carolina, or California Leagues or higher, then pounce on them. Make sure you know how long he has taken to reach that level in the minors. Baseball Cube (http://www.sports-wired.com/players/) will do that, if your prospect source does not.

 

Also, check on the A level performance of anyone else who has been highly recommended from that far down particularly the previous year`s number one picks.

 

And don`t forget to make sure you are examining players who aren`t already taken. It is easy to spot Major Leaguers from Scoresheets` lists of undrafted players. However, it is sometimes difficult to find a player. You could save yourself the trouble of looking and not finding a player, then double checking for him, by just doing a search for him on the league`s player roster. Click on Find from Edit on the tool bar.

 

Look in the Major Leagues for a fairly young overachiever who has made his way into a regular line-up. No one would have ever suspected that Jim Edmonds would have blossomed into a star based on his minor league career or his rookie season in `94. He was a May supplemental pick in our league that year.

 

No. 1 rule for May drafts: do not put too stock in April averages. Most players will quickly revert to what is closer to their career stats. And remember a pitcher`s SO:BB is a better indication of how well he is pitching with only a few innings to go by, then his ERA or anything else.

 

Some more rules are:

 

Identify your team`s needs, so you can target them. Anticipate where you are most vulnerable if an injury occurs. Before my last supplemental draft pick, I was not sure what I needed most:

         another decent bat to pinch hit for my weak crew of secondbasemen?

         another secondbaseman to come in after a pinch hitter?

         a little more bullpen depth?

         an all-purpose prospect I could use as trade bait? 

To find out, I played with my line-up card. I saw that  limited to 30 players, I would have to drop some players that I wouldn't want to drop in order to add another layer of PH/2B. I felt I was probably deep enough, and that with one or two pitching injuries - and those will happen - I would be thinner than I would like to be in the pen. So, testing my ideas out on my line-up card was a worthwhile exercise.

 

When looking for players not previously expected to be starters, make sure they aren`t just filling in for someone who is injured. Also, make sure one of the team`s top prospects isn`t a strike out away from taking his job away.

 

If you are willing to spend $10, add a team to Team Tracker available through The Roto Times (http://www.rototimes.com). This product keeps improving and I enthusiastically recommend it. I have used it the last couple years for analyzing my line-ups newly emerged or sadly aged player is not ignored. You can also use it for getting the latest results and injury notes about the players you are considering to draft or to acquire by trade.

 

To do well in the supplementals, you need hard work and luck, but they can pay off grandly. To me, one supplemental pick is worth more than two Phase III picks.

John Carter