Scoresheet Draft Preparation

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Primer for Newbies and maybe a few helpful tricks for the rest of you

Scoresheet Draft Preparation 101 

The process I go through in preparing for the draft can be broken down into three realms:

1)    Knowing your team.

2)      Keeping up with the news.

3)      Having a good draft guide. 

Notice there is nothing here about knowing the other teams. There is no accounting for other managers’ logic. If they have an opening, then they have a greater chance of drafting a player at that position soon. However, do not rely on them not drafting someone just because they already have that position filled. Especially in a live draft, you don’t have time to keep an eye on other teams’ progress, give adequate consideration to your next pick – and still have fun bantering with the other owners. At least, I could never handle it. 

Knowing your team is so obvious you might overlook it. The point of knowing your team is to draft complementary players such as:

a) stronger back-ups where you are most vulnerable

b) good platoon partners

c) younger players if you are building or overlooked vets if you are re-arming

d) appropriate late game replacements

e) full time players backing up injury prone starters

f) an appropriate number of speculative picks (e.g. prospects) for your building phase 

This why I do not manage more than two teams. (Sorry, Jeff & Dave.) If I had more teams than that to keep track of, I would have trouble holding in my wee brain whom I have where. Well, another reason for keeping your number of teams low is that each team does require a fair amount of maintenance, if you wish to manage it to the best of your abilities. Time is ever more a precious commodity as we get older. But, no, it would be outrageously ironic for me to criticize anyone’s level of baseball obsession. 

The most important position to have backed-up, is catcher – followed by shortstop and centerfield. Catchers get hurt the most and there are no substitutes – only dreaded AAA fill-ins made even worse for 2013. Middle infielders get their share of injuries, too, and the fielding penalty for putting a second-baseman at shortstop is a killer. You can get away with putting a shortstop at second-baseman, so getting a back-up second-baseman isn’t nearly as necessary. There are likely too many good hitting third-basemen to effectively back the hot corner with a shortstop, but I’ve done that.  More preferable is to back up your first-baseman with a third-baseman, if you can snag a good one. However, it is probably best to start off with a back-up at each infield position. Having versatile middle infielders is a nice bonus giving your team far more flexibility to adapt to injuries, send-downs, or overall disappointing performances. The more active players you have, the more pinch hitting and platooning you can do, and the greater chance you have of avoiding AAA players. 

A classic strategy is to draft the real life back-up of your starter. However, it is not always clear who the back-up will be if your starter goes down. Nonetheless, this strategy is worth considering when there are no regulars left to draft and you still need someone to back up a particular position. I try to avoid this situation at the cost, perhaps, of starting off the best bullpen possible. I tend to find good relievers, anyway. 

Unless one of your catchers is particularly injury prone, it is OK to wait for the supplemental drafts to find a 2nd back-up (assuming your first two are regulars). It is not unusual for a career back-up catcher having a career year to still be available in the May draft. 

With a minimum of 8 full time infielders, 5 full time outfielders, two regular catchers, and 8 starting pitchers before the start of the season, you have room to draft a combination of relievers and prospects that add up to 12 (plus or minus draft picks and protection slots traded). This is a slight departure from my earlier advice, which was more aggressive towards getting good relievers. The trend in the Majors has been towards deeper and better bullpens with minimal benches. Bench players are almost completely useless in Scoresheet – and that problem is exacerbated by Scoresheet’s unwillingness to credit utility players with all the positions they are expected to cover in real life. 

Hence, there aren’t enough useful position players to go around, although, that problem is alleviated by cross-overs and in the American League: having a DH in which anyone can play and gives A.L. team more starting regulars to vie for. Furthermore, most A.L. leagues have 10 teams, while most of the old N.L. teams have 12 teams. 

My advice is really geared for American League teams. I would think National League Scoresheet teams would be so squeezed for active Major Leaguers, that they couldn’t afford to take on as many prospects – and that they’d have to settle for some well chosen bench players. 

If your team is in serious rebuilding mode, you don’t want to overload your team with relievers at the expense of prospects or even not-ready-for-prime-time position players who are still young enough to mature into protectable players. A six and six mix of relievers and 6 speculative picks not expected to start the season in the Majors is a conservative mix, if you want to keep enough Major Leaguers to insure your team finishes above .500. You could go with 4 relievers/7 starters/5 ss-2b-3b/6 of-1b-dh/11 prospects, if you really wanted to get aggressive and still have a chance at .500. I have never been that aggressively, personally. I have always managed to keep even my rebuilding teams above that level, just out of pride. It’s not like you couldn’t sell a decent veteran in August to further your building efforts for the following season. I average about four or five prospects these days. 

Furthermore, there are other ways to rebuild than just with prospects. Both Cliff Lee and Jose Bautista were around peak age veterans when I picked them up deep into their drafts. If you avoid drafting players past their 20s as you restock your team each year, you greatly increase your chances of latching on to someone who has a surprising late career impact. 

Whether you start with 4 or 6, eventually you will want more relievers having good years no matter how well you selected them during the off season. Fortunately, they are the easiest pick-ups in the supplemental drafts. Each year, you can count on some new guys finally harnessing their 96 mph fastball and taking the league by storm. Often you will find a couple of 30-someting veterans getting the right coaching or just enough time for their arm strength and command to come back after an injury. Be warned, however, that pitching is often scarce in April. Often highly touted young pitchers who appear to be ready to start in the Majors are kept in AAA for a bunch of starts. And, there are often a few veteran starters who needed an extra month to recover from their off season injuries. Even during spring training, you don’t know exactly which pitchers are going to make the team or not. During the season, of course, you do and can draft accordingly. 

The number prospects you should hang onto does depend somewhat on your league. Just don’t forget to consider the potential value of all those low picks you miss out on protecting the prospect and the possibility, nay, probability that the prospect will not have an impact the year during the season that he breaks his rookie status. In those cases, you have to consider the value of all the core players you will have to cut while waiting for your prospect to start having impact seasons – if he ever does. In other words, out of 6 prospects, you might consider three of them trade bait and keep the three who you are most sure are going to be stars. Two of those might make it. 

If you have trouble finding 8 worthy starters, stocking up on good relievers is a good solution, if you can afford the draft picks. Relievers tend to have lower ERAs than starters due to all the times starters are relieved in the middle of an inning by a reliever and gets credit for the inherited runners who score instead of the reliever.  Some owners find great success with this strategy and don’t even bother trying to get so many starters. However, this observation was taken before the 2012 rule that puts off short relievers until the 4th inning instead of the 2nd. Now, with only 7 starters, I would have a couple of relievers who qualify as starters. When I am drafting relievers, I put a small premium on those types. 

Every year we get reminded by Scoresheet “that IT IS BEST to *NOT* actually open your lineup card form until your draft is over”. Later in the sentence the edict is toned down a bit: “(or if you are in a web draft, at least wait until the draft is almost over)”. My advice is to ignore the scary caps locked warning and make a point of loading your team in the line-up before your last three or four picks come up on your web draft. Then make out your line-up card with the players you have so far. It is a worthwhile exercise to see what type of players would best fill in your remaining needs. When you go into your line-up card after your web draft is complete, your new players are automatically added to your “farm system” and you can move them into your line-up at your leisure. It will not undo any of the work you have already done in filling out your line-up card.

Keeping up with the news 

The most timely and thorough free internet baseball news reporting comes from Rotoworld. It actually summarizes and links the original news reports and tweets – not just trades, but rumors, positional changes, hot/cold streaks, management issues, etc. When you click into the player’s profile, you can check all the news blurbs on him since they started saving the news blurbs. Of course, that comes with plenty of stats and graphs. Rotoworld has a nice package of Fantasy Baseball tools including a wonderfully handy depth chart. Each league is all on one page. 

Caution: many Depth Charts can be a bit lax keeping up-to-date - especially during the off-season. In different years, different depth charts are the ones best at keeping up. Right now (winter/spring 2013), I believe the most thorough AND up-to-date depth chart is Jason Martinez and Clint Chisam’s MLB Depth Charts. By each organization, the players are grouped by those on the 25 man roster (or the most likely scenario during the off season), those just missing out on the 25 man roster, prospects nearly ready for the Majors, and prospects in the lower minors. It is updated, at least, twice a week, or it seems whenever there is a trade. Another cool feature is that at a click and a glance you can see how each man on the 40 roster was acquired – and when.

The nicest looking and a wonderfully functional depth chart is CBS Sports. The injured players are flagged. Each player has a data summary bubble including their latest news and injury reports. Each name is linked to their player profile page for even more details. 

If you are going to pay anything for your baseball hobby beyond the cost of your Scoresheet teams, I strongly advise becoming a Premium subscriber to Baseball Prospectus. It is a pittance to pay for:

   Player Profile cards that include:

complete detailed Injury Histories

multi-year and varying percentile projections

pitch F/X data and charts

links to the player’s previous BP articles

salary data

a truck load of statistical data

   Team Tracker – that can automatically down load any entire Scoresheet team

   A huge staff on ever changing writers, who I would swear beat any other site around:

Humour? Sam Miller is a genius and digging up baseball GIFs and writing hilarious columns about them. He isn’t just funny, either. He often has insights quite useful to Scoresheet players. Occasionally Jason Parks’ off-the-wall but astute observations remind me of the great writer David Foster Wallace, yet Parks is a fine scout.

Player insights? How about former GM Dan Brooks? Many other writers have keen observations taken either from the mouths of real scouts, gleaned from F/X or whatever the state-of-the-art data is available, or observed first hand.

Sabermetric ingenuity? That’s what Baseball Prospectus has been famous for over the years, although their days as the leaders in this area have waned. Real baseball teams and bigger networks keep hiring their leading talents. You’ve probably heard of Nate Silver. As far as playing Scoresheet goes, I’d still say they are the best at applying what we know about sabermetrics. 

Although, the projections on the Player Profiles do not come out in time for a Scoresheet draft, the PECOTA projection spreadsheets generally do come out in mid February. As far as I know, PECOTA is the one well regarded projection system based on comparisons of similar players. The rest are based on the direct regression and aging of each player’s individual stats. I’m not sure, which system is considered the best, but if you are looking at more than one, PECOTA is probably the best one to have as a second opinion as it uses the most unique methodology. 

I would not dissuade anyone from plunking down their shekels for Rotowire, if only because John R. Mayne and Jeff Erickson provide such entertaining and/or astute writing.  However, I have yet to find anything in Rotowire I would consider indispensible except their “Search for Player” box. Yes, during the off-season it is the quickest way to see the team to which a player is signed or if he is signed. You don’t even have to finish typing in his name – a bubble appears after three letters with all the possible players and their current team. As you type each letter thereafter, the list is filtered – or you can just paste in his name if you can cut it from somewhere else. It’s the fastest player search on the world wide web. 

If you have any specific Scoresheet Baseball questions that cannot be answered by the Scoresheet Baseball website, you might find the answer in Jay-Del Mah’s Scoresheet Notes or my own handy index of Strategies. If you have any other Scoresheet related questions, need direct “expert” advice, or just want to get something off your chest to other like minded individuals, sign-up for the Yahoo Scoresheet group scoresheet-talk. There you have yearly player polls, end-of-season tournaments, a very handy out-of-position range finder, and free advice from a large group of savy Scoresheet players. There really are some brilliant and articulate amateurs in the group. Among the professionals are Rob McQuown, Geoff Young, and Ben Murphy of Baseball Prospectus and John R. Mayne and Jeff Erickson of Rotowire. The regular contributor known as Ebbets Fielders is the author and former CBC reporter Jay-Dell Mah.  The Barton brothers who own and run Scoresheet – or, at least, Jeff in particular, read the comments scoresheet-talk and often contribute back. Opinions can get heated, but generally everyone is respectful and there are watchful moderators to make sure it stays that way. Unfortunately, the quality of commentary has gone greatly downhill there in the past year or so. We’ve heard less from the best and too much from a few snarky punks. I’m still listening and contributing, though, and have already seen maturity from the punks. It is still well worthwhile and starting back on the upswing. 

Before your draft picks come up it is worth doing one more check on their worthiness. I would check on their spring training achievements to make sure they were playing and not completely struggling. Sometimes a hot spring training might be some indication that they are reaching their potential, if they were previously underachieving. I don’t know, experts say to ignore spring training stats, but in my experience they have been helpful more often than not. Perhaps, I’ve just been lucky. Baseball-Reference is the quickest source to spring training results. 

If you have the time at that stage, it might be worth rechecking through MLB Depth Charts for changes in team plans. At the very least, recheck the any individual player you have coming up next on your draft list. 

Most important is to recheck your news source (I use Rotoworld) for the latest update on the health of your upcoming picks. Particularly, stay away from anyone with a shoulder issue. (Boo, hoo! I ignored that advice and drafted Jamile Weeks about an hour before it was announced that he was cut.)

Having a Good Draft Guide


What works for most drafts – even draft lists - is having your draft guide or player projection list grouped by position then sorted by whatever their Scoresheet value is to your team. When you are choosing a player in your draft, you try to pick players from the position where there will most likely be the greatest drop off in value to the best player available on the following round.


Speaking of Projections: do read this.


Once a player becomes unavailable, rather than delete his line, change the color of his entire line to a light gray. That way you don’t lose sight of your player’s relative value. If you are working with a hard copy, draw a single line through his name. Here is the upper half of my shortstop list for 2008:


cR        Fla    Ramirez, Hanle         24-b ss     90-37       155      ss       465

cjhRB Hou  Tejada                         31-r          86-37       150      ss       475

cw        NY    Jeter                             32-r          85-39       155      ss       467

cw        Det    Guillen, Carlos           32-b         86-37       145 1b-ss470-186

cjhz     Cle    Peralta, Jhonny        26-r          79-35       150      ss       475

cw        Tex   Young, Mike              33-r          81-36       155      ss       469

cjh       TB    Bartlett, Jason           28-r          72-34       140      ss       484

cjh       Det    Renteria                      32-r          75-35       140      ss       471

cjw      Bos   Lugo, Julio                  32-r          72-33       145      ss       477

cjh       CW   Cabrera, Orlando      33-r          72-33       155      ss       473

cjh       CW   Uribe, Juan                 28-r          72-30       140      ss-2b 482

cjh       Tor    Eckstein, David         33-r bb     72-35       130      ss       476

cjh       Sea   Betancourt, Yun       26-r          73-31       145      ss       473

czw      TB    Brignac, Reid             22-l           68-30         40      ss       475

cjh       Oak  Crosby, Bobby          27-r ip bi  70-31       100      ss       480

cjh       LAa  Aybar, Eric                 24-b         65-30       100 ss-2b 473-426

cjhw    Min   Everett, Adam           31-r ip      64-29       125      ss       486

cjh       KC    Pena, Tony                 27-r          65-29       140      ss       481

cjh       Bal    Hernandez, Luis        23-b         61-29         80      ss       478


Those are the shortstops who provide considerably more value than part-timers due to the fact that they are starting off the season as their team’s regular shortstop (or are prospects most would consider worth protecting for next year and beyond). The rest of the shortstops are listed on the right hand column of the same paper or web screen, so I can easily see what the back-up shortstops are up against towards winning a job if not more playing time. Don’t forget players get traded, so do not be overly enthused for a weak shortstop just because he has no competition on his team for the job. Besides, there might even be a shortstop in house you have missed. Last season in 2008 after supposed starter Tony Pena, I found three other viable options to supplant him at shortstop. However, I still missed their 27 year old AAA man Mike Aviles who hit a respectable .796 in 2007 at Omaha. After 51 hot hitting games there in ’08, he came up and locked down the Royals’ shortstop job. The year before I overlooked listing Brendan Harris who didn’t take long leap frog over Ben Zobrist as the starting Tampa Bay shortstop.


cjhw    KC    Callaspo, Alberto      24-b         72-33         90      if 472-

cjhw    KC    Berroa, Angel             30-r          68-31         60      ss      

cz         KC    Sanchez, Angel          24-r          64-31         70      ss       475

cjh       Tor    Scutaro, Marcos        31-r          72-34         90 ss-2b 472-427

cjh       Tor    McDonald, John       33-r          60-28         60      ss       484

cjh       Bos   Cora, Alex   h/j          31-r          67-32         80 ss-2b 481-426

cz         Bos   Lowrie, Jed                 23-b         74-33         70      ss       475

cjh       Oak  Murphy, Donnie        25-r          71-30         90      ss       474

ch        Bal    Bynum, Freddie        30-l           70-30         80 ss-of  468-211

ch        Bal    Fahey, Brandon        27-l           63-30         60      ss       475

cz         Tex   Vazquez, Ramon      31-l           68-31         80 ss-3b 469-265

cz         Tex   Arias, Joaquin            23-r          65-30         60      ss       475

c           Tex   Andus, Elvis               19-r p1     65-31       LA       ss       475+

ch        TB    Cannizaro, Andy      29-r          66-32         60      ss-2b?

cjhw    TB    Zobrist, Ben               26-r          72-34         60      ss       472

ch        Det    Santiago, Ramon      28-b         63-29         60      ss       480

cz         LAa  Rodriguez, Sean        23-r          67-31         50      ss       475

ch        Min   Punto, Nicky              30-b         64-32   90 ss-2-3b 476-426-269

cz         Min   Basak, Chris              28-r          71-32         60      ss

cz         Min   Plouffe, Trevor          21-r          62-29         40      ss       475-

ch        Sea   Cairo, Miguel             33-r          65-31   70 ss-3-1b 464-262-185

c           Sea   Moustakas, Mike      19-l           hs 2nd overall pick        ss-if

c           Sea   Truinfel, Carlos         18-r          59-28 LA-hA ss-if 475-

cz         NY    Gonzalez, Alberto     25-r          65-31         60      ss       475

ch        CW   Rouse, Mike               28-l           64-31         80      ss       475


Is my color coding not beautiful?


Light blue (“aqua”) are prospects worth noting who will not likely contribute this year.

Blue-green (“teal”) are under 25 prospects who could earn a starting spot during the season.

This hazier blue-green (sea green) are under 26 prospects probably hoping for a back-up job.

Pure green are players age 26-31 fighting just to get out of the minors.

Blue-gray are MLB bench players under 28.

Dark gray are bench players over 27, but still in their peak plateau.

Lavender are bench players past their prime or still trying for a job.

“Rose” players are bench players in danger of getting suddenly much worse.

Bright blue are regulars under 25, generally expecting more improvement.

Dark blue are regulars aged 25-27.

Black signifies the regulars over 27, but still seemingly in their peak plateau.

Dark red are regulars who could be starting to slide downhill. Note to self: automatically color 32 year old SS dark red (see Jeter, Guillen, Renteria, and Lugo).

Bright red are regulars in danger of steeply going down hill – or sharply increasing their injury risk.


1st column: Projections Used & Cross-leaguers


The first column on my player list indicates which sources were used to project his season. Described below are the projections I used 4 years ago. CHONE and ZIPS are no longer free on Fangraphs. This year 2012, I used Bill James and to some degree hedged his projections with the others provided plus my own common sense. I look at BABiP to see if the player had a lucky year. I look at his minor league performance to see if it was being overly ignored. I might go back over them with PECOTA, but I don’t want to waste too much time on players I am probably not going to be interested in drafting in the first place.


c - “Carter” – during the winter of 2007/2008 I decided to take the time to make my own projections. The year before I updated player projections started with an “x”. This year they start with a “c”. That way I know which year’s rating it is. Whether I make a projection or not, occasionally I will fudge the numbers, because I know something about that player which is probably ignored in the other projections. These could be scouting reports, injury history, or personal problems.


j – Bill James projections as obtained from FanGraphs. This site has replaced Hardball Times and The [Toronto] Star’s Player Index as my starting points for player evaluation. Fan Graphs includes BA/BiP, their recent years of Minor League stats, and for pitchers: K/9, K/BB, HR/9, LOB%, as well as BA/BiP. Of course, it gives their age, too, which is about all you need to know statistically. James came out a close second in a comparison of hitter projections in a 2005 report in Fantasy Café.


h – CHONE (by  Chone Smith) – also taken from FanGraphs. In a 2007 Baseball Prospectus study on projections, CHONE came in a strong 3rd for hitters and 2nd for pitchers. James was not rated. Marcels are also on here. Since these were the first projections available, last year, I averaged CHONE and James, then only looked at Marcels to decide which way to round the number.


z – ZiPS by Dan Szymborski of Baseball Think Factory came out well behind James in hitters in the 2005 Fantasy Café study, but came out one of the highest in the more recent BP study. Ironically, they were the top ERA projections in the FC study, while finishing further down the list in the BP study. ZiPS does have more players rated, so some ratings are based almost completely on ZiPS (until I add in Warren and PECOTA ratings). ZiPS is the one system which is by team. This is more difficult for looking up individual players, but much easier for finding minor leaguers who have demonstrated a pitching or hitting ability worthy of a Major League trial. That niche makes them more valuable. Unfortunately, due to that method, some players switch teams in-between their team’s assessments and therefore fall through the cracks un-projected or are projected in a separate Baseball Think Factory article such as this one for Jon Garland. Eventually, they do make it into FanGraphs.


w - Ken Warren’s SWARP is obtainable through the contact info on the home page here. In a January 2004 BP comparison of projection systems, Ken’s beat out ZiPS and many other more notable projections in the market. I have not seen any comparison using his projections since, but I have seen recent high praise for them. The convenient thing about Ken’s projections is that he gives you a spreadsheet with the players ranked within each position just as I recommend for your draft guide. Hence, you could use his spreadsheet and not even bother setting one up for yourself as I am describing in this article. If you know the basics of using Excel, you can add in any of these other projections next to his.


p – PECOTA – Baseball Prospectus’s projections by Nate Silver. According to not just his own studies, but the Fantasy Café study as well, this is the best all around projection system. However, the studies did not show it was hugely more accurate than the others listed here.


You see no “p”s in the samples, because the 2008 PECOTAs hadn’t come out by the time I wrote this. This year, I will probably skip the James, Chone, and my own full blown projections in order to speed up the process. Probably ZiPS/4 + SWARP/4 + PECOTA/2 is as good as you can do anyway. PECOTA rates twice as valuable because it is as strongest while at the same time takes the most unique approach. Rather than picking the most indicative statistics of skill and massaging them based on age and skill sets towards the player’s mean, the league mean, all the while factoring out luck, PECOTA bases their projections on grouping the player with the players in the past who had the most similar skills/stats at the same age and projecting based on what those similar players did in their future.


What none of these projection systems do as well as any good Scoresheet player is that key consideration of playing time. The only way to project that is to keep constantly on top of the news.


More codes


Two shortstops have a capital “R” after their name and one of them (Tejada) has a “B” as well. These are active cross-leaguers in my Robinson and Brett Leagues.


Sometimes after the team, name, age, and handedness are a few more little color codes in a shade of red. These are injury flags. If the injury is career threatening, I would make the entire listing some shade of red. Otherwise, the little red letters are just an injury concern. If that concern is fading, I use dark red. The codes used in this sample are:

ss  – should surgery

bb – bad back

ip   – generally injury prone

bi   – bicep injury


Here is a sample of pitchers showing more injury examples:


ch      Bos   Buchholz, Clay  23-r             95mc     120   85     23   44   100

ch      Bos   Lester, Jon           24-l   6’3    p293sc  160   70     16   49   110

x        Min   Liriano, Francis  23-l   6’2    93tj11-06120 110   45   33   11

cRB  SF     Zito                       29-l   6’4    88 m      205   65     17   40   100

czhj  Tex   Millwood (j/h)    33-r   6’4aihs92stc  185   65     21   46   101

ch      Tor    Burnett, AJ          31-r   6’4 ip97h        165   84     24   40     93

c        LAa  Santana, Ervin   25-r   6’2 ip 95s       160   70     22   44   118

ch      NY    Hughes, Philip    22-r e  p1   94sh      130   75     22   42   135

ch      NY    Chamberlain, J   22-r   huge 98shc    120   99     30   38     95

ch      NY    Kennedy, Ian     23-r   6’0    91cms   150   80     19   45   110

x        KC    Hochevar, Luke          23-r             p1.1 (col) 94hcs


tj 11-06 - Tommy John surgery Nov. ’06

ai - arm injury

hs - hip surgery

huge – sometimes a player’s physique leads to a greater chance of injuries


Types of Pitches


The pitchers have a column for the speed of their fast ball and yet another code for the type of pitch they throw. If their primary fastball is a two-seamer, then I have a “2” in front of the number. If they pitch both a 2 seamer and a 4 seamer, the letter “t” comes after the speed or whatever order it belongs as I try to list the pitches in order of their effectiveness. The letter codes are taken from the Neyer/James Guide to Pitchers. The other most common pitches are:


m – sweeping curve

h – hard curve

c – change up

s – slider

l – splitter

u – slicing cutter

v – hooking cutter


Stats Projected

For hitters:

86-37 is Tejada’s projected O+S and OBA x 100.

150 is his projected number of games.

ss 475 is obviously his position and range factor.


For pitchers:

120 is Buchholz’s projected number of Innings.

85 is his K/9 Innings x 10.

23 is his K/BB x 10.

44 is his projected ERA x 10.

100 is Buchholz’s HR/9 innings x 100.


You may notice Liriano has only 11 on that last column. Notice he has an x instead of a c in the first column. I haven’t finished working on the pitchers, yet, and you are looking at last year’s projection for Liriano. Back then, I used Isolated Power Against x 100 for the last column. I still have a slight preference for Isolated Power over HR/9, because there is a greater N, hence there is less year-to-year fluctuation and therefore plausibly a more reliable skill measure. However, there is more fielding noise in ISOP, so it is not enough better to ignore the extra convenience of using the more widely available HR/9. If you are interested, ESPN carries Slugging Average against and Batting Average against for pitchers (ISOP = SA – BA).  I may change yet again to Groundball to Fly ball ratio. Although, GB:FB may be an even more accurate compliment to K:BB as a measure of a pitcher’s ability, in Scoresheet park effects are not neutralized. Hence, I would rather see a home run rate, if it were nearly as reliable.


Keep in mind that the projected O+S and ERA on your draft guides together with playing time are only projecting the up coming season. That is fine for veterans you draft to fill a need. However, if you are hoping to draft a future keeper or if you want to make trades involving keepers, you should look more at the long run. That is why the list is color coordinated, because values are three dimensional – they have a time frame (Ability / Playing Time / Development). That is why I like having the youngest starters in bright blue. For pitchers bright blue has different implications. Such young starting pitchers are not over the alleged injury nexus and they are likely not established enough in the majors to be relied upon for continued success. For pitchers, strikeout rate is probably a better indicator of expected longevity than age.


Another minor danger that I may fall pray to by mixing projections systems is that some systems might be project a bias towards hitting or pitching. It matters more getting good relative ratings than accurate ratings. If you do not get a projection from one of the systems you are averaging together, then you have to take into consideration its bias and compensate for it. In a small sample, PECOTA’s projections for hitters were a little less optimistic than the other projections.


 My lists have prospects grouped by position, but the ones you draft on speculation rather than helping your team out in the coming season should be listed separately. The projections systems mentioned above do a far better job than I could of translating the various minor leagues, park effects, and skills sets into Major League production. However, for the blue chip prospects low in the minors that you want to draft and hold for a couple years and to a lesser degree all prospects, you have to pay for respectable scouting reports to know whether they are worth drafting and protecting and how early in the draft they are worth bagging. Players who have only had a year or less of professional experience often have not demonstrated their potential in statistics. Some players may do well in the minors but do not possess the physical or skill types which typically continue such success into the Majors. To get a good handle on their relative worth, you need to spend a little money. If you have already spent a few tens of dollars on Baseball Prospectus, then you have access to their and Jason Parks' well researched prospect reports – and he will not steer you too far wrong. If want to go to the ultimate source, then pay $66 to Baseball America and subscribe to them on-line. I’m not sure if Baseball America outperforms all the others in the public prospect projecting business, but they have been doing it the longest and are still regarded as the industry standard. If you want the most reliable handy reference book on each team’s top 40 or 50 prospects – good for looking over players who get called up mid-season for your supplementary drafts – order John Sickels’ The Baseball Prospect Book. Sickels’s Top 150 prospects and Top 20 per team can be found on the internet. Finally, legendary Scoresheet web content contributor Jay-Dell Mah used to make weekly prospect reports of his own, which many of us greatly miss. He is still around, though, and throws us a few bones such as a link to multiple prospect rankings. He only asked for donations. Too bad we did not better support him. 

Don’t let real life interfere

Oh yeah, this a fourth requirement for optimal draft preparation: time. You can try to plan your vacations at Scoresheet’s more down times, but, alas, some things cannot be helped. I have tried to pare the process down here to just the most important preparations.


Final deliberations 

Perhaps, the most fun part of the players lists comes after you have made all your projections and notations. That’s when you rank within each position. However, it can be overwhelming. It’s best not to consider your rankings as fixed when your draft comes up. As players get protected and drafted, you should review the remaining players closest to being ready for selection and recheck their health news, their spring training stats (with a huge grain of salt), and any transactions their team has made that might affect their playing time (i.e. up-to-date Depth Chart). Look for echelon breaks. If there is only one guy left in the top remaining echelon at one position and three guys left at the top echelon of another, of course, take the last guy of the echelon. 

I attempt to explain how I rate players for Scoresheet impact in Rating Hitters and Rating Pitchers. 

Good luck. Perhaps, it sounds overwhelming to be adequately prepared for a Scoresheet draft, but the efforts I suggest here add only a marginal advantage to those knowledgeable baseball fans who just wing their draft – especially in the early rounds. You can draft very well for several rounds with just general knowledge. Obviously these are the players who will gnerally have the most impact. However, my experience has demonstrated that the better prepared Scoresheet managers will outperform their colleagues the most when they are deepest in the draft.

John Carter