Protection List Preparation

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Graphically coloured rosters / Get busy and trade

About equally important as your first several picks in the draft is your protection list preparation. Not only is it as important protecting the best possible players as it is to make the best possible early picks, but you should ideally make every effort possible to exchange the players who can’t protect for as many draft picks as possible – or double them up for even better keepers. If you are on the fence about a couple of players, then offer them both up and take whichever returns the better deal. Every player has his price, so there is no point in closing off any offer before you hear it. Some managers have a psychological barrier against making one-for-two trades. They are reluctant to make yet another player on their team worthless, so it sometimes helps to include a player from the other team in your two-for-one trade even if you don’t really want him. Nobody likes to be wasteful.


Here’s a fun thing to do when you are trying to make trade in order to get your team ready for the draft. Especially when you get older and are having trouble remembering the needs of every team in your league, it would be nice to have a good visual way to see just that. It is a nuisance to recheck which teams need a centerfielder or which teams already have two cross-overs every time you have an idea for a trade. Yet, if you aren’t aware of those things, you are wasting both your time and the other manager’s time with errant trade offers. So, it is easy and fun to cut the team rosters from your league page. Paste it in a Word document (or whatever you use) in Landscape and Outline modes. Voila! It should all fit with no page breaks (or a small dotted line indicating the page breaks). Next, highlight the sure cross-league keepers in red (or orange if you have it handy – Word 2007 does not), the sure keepers in yellow, the probable keepers in green, the possible keepers in blue, and the probable prospect keepers in grey. It doesn’t actually matter which colours, but that scheme makes the most sense to me. If a cross-leaguer is only a probable or possible, you can highlight part of his name in red and part in the appropriate other colour. This also helps with guessing who might be available. It is best to do this as soon as you have finished evaluating most of the starters in your league – so you can see which players are most worth protecting. Of course, you can do this right after the season ends, but it will likely be way off unless you check again after your annual winter evaluations – or you stay current on every player in your league right to the end of the season. Happy colouring!


As a follow-up John Byrne posting in scoresheet-talk had this advice for managers with several teams:

I keep track of my teams through the tool on Rotowire that allows you to create multiple teams and to add your players to the list. I get e-mails when news items arise for each player, but more important for this exercise, the tool also allows you to pull a stats report for the team.

- I cut and paste the batter and pitching stats for each of my teams at the end of the previous season into an Excel spreadsheet. I use one workbook with tabs for each team.

- To the right of the stats I create a box which I populate with definite keepers (13 slots, or more/less if I deal/get others) and below that I populate another box with the "bubble" keepers - players that either don't make the cut for me, but have value or players that may move up to be protected based on the off-season activity.

- I then copy from the stats section the names, team name, position and age of the keepers and bubble players into the appropriate box. Often, I will have two or three keeper slots free until February when I make my final decisions to move bubble players up. This also helps me remember where I have the opportunity to deal a keeper slot.

- As John mentioned I also highlight the crossovers (and potential crossovers with a separate color) using my own opinion at the time. This year, I also have a third color for Houston Astros. Fortunately, I don't have too many of them.

- I also include my prospects below the definite and bubble keepers, as appropriate.

- After I populate this in October, I will continue to tweak as my opinion may shift based on activity in MLB and info I get. Also, as I make off-season trades, the lists are tweaked as well.

I find having this spreadsheet helps me look quickly at all the teams I have and to quickly identify where I have strengths and weaknesses to deal with. I can't say that I use this exclusively, but after looking at this I will usually go to the SS site and work off the rosters there. But at least it's a starting point for my thought process. If I had just one team, I probably wouldn't need to do this, but sometimes the rosters blur.

A Scoresheet League, in which I am no longer a member, had some owners who would refuse to share their protection lists early. They felt that if they did, it would put themselves at a disadvantage to the other owners who refused to present his list early. Actually, the opposite is true. In a league where owners share protection lists early no matter if all do it, I’ve seen an owner notice a player they wanted who was dropped by another owner and offered a pick for him. If the other owner hadn’t presented his protection list early, he would never have earned that extra pick.

John Carter