Supplemental Draft Tips

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keep a tight list that includes just the most important details

When sorting player lists for the draft, I like to see all the most important stats on one short line. By “short” I mean not much wider than a column. I get lost if it is much more than that.

The important stats? Projected OBA, Slugging, and an abbreviated comment on how often they are being used. Yes, age and defense are important, too, but the best long term veterans are probably already taken. The non-prospects available now are generally for filling in holes.

For pitchers I look at their projected ERA, K/9, K:BB, GB%, and also cryptic notes about their use pattern.

By “projected”, I mean a combination of their current stats and their projections for the rest of the year. My teams are all generally play-off bound, so the first half stats are significant. I also adjust the projections if I think they are not giving the player enough credit for changing his game. This is most often the case for pitchers who were converted to the bullpen this year. You can’t expect their K rates, etc. to be as low as they were when they were starters. I look at BABiP to make sure the projections are considering his luck (or lack of it) so far in the current season.

It is easy to move players up and down in the Scoresheet player draft list, but since it does’t save the stats they way I like them, I sort my players on a separate text file. Here’s the key: use the Scoresheet listing system to generate your rough player list, then paste it into a text file where you can add data and save the players at will. Just don’t touch the player numbers or his name. When you are ready, paste your text back into the Scoresheet ranking page section. When you press Save, it simply ignores your extraneous data. If you want to add a player - add him to the bottom of your Scoresheet ranking list. Copy that line to wherever you wish on your text file - add data and notes, if so desired, resort, etc. then paste it back into you Scoresheet ranking page and Save. The most inelegant thing, perhaps, is that when a player is drafted, it doesn’t automatically delete the player from your text file. It is worthwhile doing that as the draft goes on, if you can, but it is not a serious problem as the Scoresheet draft will ignore those already drafted players anyway. 

SEMI-IMPORTANT: Do not use a plus (“+”) in any of your added notes or stats as this signals to Scoresheet that you want to override the roster balancing on that player. Whether or not you use roster balancing, it reformats and kind of messes up your list.

Early in the season, you are more likely to have a hole to fill - and that should be your priority if it is too difficult or costly for fill by trade.

Late in the summer, though, you might not need any more depth - unless you just had a major injury, suspension, or a player you are relying on is on the verge of demotion or release. If you can, you probably should be looking either for a reliever who won’t blow rookie status by the end of the season or a prospect for either your future or as a trading chip - in case you do have a major injury before the trading deadline. 

You want to know a prospect's age, level, and scouting hype (and for a pitcher: his strikeout rate). It is too difficult to put down meaningful minor league stats unless he is a AAA veteran. Honestly, in previous years, I tended not bother and just count on remembering how promising and close to productive the few available attractive prospects are. However, I’m getting old and my brain needs all the help it can get. So, for hitters I add their age (to the quarter of the year), the levels they have played in the current year, a rough estimate of their combined OBA and Slugging, while with the pitchers I cite their levels, K/9, K:BB, and HR/9. For all prospects, I am including their midseason prospect rankings by Baseball America, Baseball Prospectus’s Jason Parks, ESPN’s Keith Law, and John Sickels. These are all to be taken with the proper dosage of salt. Just remember that in Scoresheet, there is a greater premium on prospects closer to the Majors. They do cost a late winter’s pick - could be a significant one if you keep many prospects. Then multiply that cost by the number of years you wait for that player to mature. Then good luck if he is clearly worth protecting after his rookie season. 

Well, that’s it. I have a busy week and have to find some time to work on my lists!

John Carter