What I'm Looking At

Back from Costa Rica (after nearly being swept out to sea in a rip tide), It's about 10 days until I leave for LABR and time to dive into baseball full bore. Here's what I'm looking at.

1. RotoWire Latest News. Before I even begin the process of building my own cheat sheet via the site's depth charts, I'm already reading all of the latest news each day. If I were to restrict myself to only one source for my draft prep, this would be it. The latest news feed conveys every relevant fact nearly in real time. Cheat sheets, rankings, projections, sleeper lists, etc. are merely opinions - always fallible and quite often wrong. I'll look at them occasionally for ideas, but 95 percent of my prep work is about familiarizing myself with the facts and trusting my own fallible interpretation of them.

2. RotoWire Depth Charts. I detailed my method for building my cheat sheets above. The latest news is great, but it's also important to understand it in context.

3. Other sources: I'll read the RW blog most because I'm in charge of editing it, but also the feature articles on the site, both of which almost always contain facts about players I hadn't known. The conclusions don't matter much to me, but DDD, Bernie, Erickson, DVR, Regan, Benkard, Sickels, etc. are great sources of ideas - things to look at that I might not have considered. Outside of RW, I don't read a whole lot. I'll check out the stuff on Yahoo. I'll occasionally stop by Fangraphs or ESPN - usually when prompted by a link. I'll also check out Baseball HQ from time to time.

The bottom line - I really don't care about anyone else's opinions, but I do care about their observations. If someone tells me Player A is a stud, that matters a lot less than hearing them say Player A hit a 450-foot home run in spring training off a pitcher who was dominating that day. I don't care where someone puts Player B on their cheat sheet so much as hearing that the reason why they bumped him up was his post-injury power surge in August and September.

By this time next week, I'll know the American League cold and will have more to say about specific players. In a week or so after that, I'll learn who's playing for the Padres this year.


By: schoenke
On: 2/25/2010 1:21:00 PM
How about doing a mock draft on or checking out ADP data. Or checking out dollar values. I always check out dollar values of some key pubs/sites just to see what the market for players is like.

And I always put the complete scoring system of the league in the custom projections or better yet, the draft software

Some players always pop up with the quirks of the system. Of course, you know LABR so well, that's a given. But most leagues I just double check for that as one of my initial passes.
By: Chris Liss
On: 2/25/2010 1:31:00 PM
I know some people use ADP heavily, but I don't really think it helps me. I know roughly where guys will go, and to the extent that the ADP is more precise, it might not be more precise for my particular league. So let's say I pass on a player I want because according to ADP he'll be there on the way back, and then someone takes him, I'm unhappy. So I'd rather just go with a general feel that I've got.

If I hadn't done this for 15 years (and five leagues a year), maybe that data would help me more. But if anything it's a detriment.

As for custom projections and software, I'm not a spread sheet/projections/dollar value guy. I go into my auction and wing it based on the flow of it. Some people like to have things more predetermined and precise, and in that case, those tools are the best around. But I tend to do better with one cross off list and keeping track of the money I have left with a pen and paper.
By: Dave Regan
On: 2/25/2010 2:42:00 PM
I've always gone into drafts with software, books, web access, etc. I wonder if trying to keep track of whether the guy next to me already has a second baseman and how many pitchers are left to be chosen takes is distracting?

This year, at least in my next draft, I'm going the paper / cross-off route. I think I need to trust my knowledge and lists and stop worrying about what the other guy is doing.
By: Kenn Ruby
On: 2/25/2010 7:23:00 PM
I way overprepare with the spreadsheets, but someday I'd like to just go in cold. One sheet with a player list, another sheet with everyone's rosters. I'd love to be able to pull that off.
By: tumanic
On: 2/26/2010 2:37:00 PM
Rotowire is a great tool to have.....I hear Costa Rica is a great place for fishing(aka escort services) I am sure you had a fun and cheap
By: cdgarosi
On: 3/12/2010 5:31:00 AM
This may not work for "expert" leagues, but I've always used this for the leagues I'm in. I like to take the projections or cheat sheets for the site the league is hosted on (Rotowire, Sportsline, ESPN, etc.) and then run my own numbers. Then, I'll compare mine to the "stock" lists from the site (knowing that folks use those as a guide) and see where the over and under valued players are in my mind. For drafts, I know who I might be able to grab later than I expect. In auctions, I can call out those players who are overvalued in my mind early to get $ off the table.

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