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, but that would be a lucky shot. Usually, all the really good prospects are long gone by now. If you want to try, anyway, look 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. Since 1995, though, (excepting `99) he`s been excellent. The last two seasons, since he turned 30, he has been great.
One manager in my championship team`s league dug up Hank Blalock last May. He must have done a ton of homework. He was not listed over the winter as one of Texas`s top couple of prospects. He was just starting the higher level of A ball. By the July draft, it was evident he was blasting his way towards the top of the prospect heap, and I snatched him up for my other team. (He is floundering so far this year, but I`m not worried.)
Use the usual methods for rating players. Try not to get too overwhelmed with fabulous Aprils. However, do pay close attention to pitchers` K:BB ratio. With so few innings pitched, an ERA is not a good indicator of how well a pitcher is pitching. However, pitchers are more likely than hitters to make a real leap in talent - (or a real dive).
Here is my routine for preparing the first supplement draft:
1. Copy your 3rd phase draft list (including all the names that were left off on what was sent to Scoresheet) and delete all the names which were drafted.
2. Identify your team`s needs, so you can target them.
3. Go through the lists of Top Undrafted players in your league and see how they are doing. If they have earned a job through merit rather than someone else`s injury, then enter them on your list with the same projected stats as you did for the others on your winter phase drafts. If they are hitting significantly better than their projections, then raise their projections - very conservatively. Be even more conservative when raising the projections of non-regulars. They have had too few at bats to prove they have actually improved themselves. As I was discussing about pitchers, you can be less conservative, but look at the K/BB and even their `Ratio` (H+BB)/Ings. more than their ERA.
4. If you are willing to spend $10, add a team to Team Tracker available through The Roto Times (http://www.rototimes.com). This product has improved since last year and I enthusiastically recommend it. I have used it the last couple years for analyzing my line-ups and making sure I`m not ignoring a red hot or stone cold player. Add all the players you think you might want to list here, so you can look at their stats for the last two weeks and the entire season as well as get the latest news updates on them.
5. Look for players who have fewer innings or fewer at bats than the last player listed on the Top Undrafted lists. Don`t forget to look for scouting reports on these guys who will mostly be prospects.
6. Take a peek at how the top undrafted prospects are doing. You might use Baseball America (http://www.baseballamerica.com/today/Stats/index.html) 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, AA, or AAA Leagues, then pounce on them.7. Don`t forget to plug your holes and strengthen you pitching staff. That`s mainly what this draft is about. Unless all you want is pitching, you probably won`t need to use plusses. Otherwise you get up to three pitchers or two at any of the other positions. You only get four players in total, unless you traded for more, so sort these guys carefully.