Anyone that writes about fantasy baseball for any length of time, at some point, has a desire to be invited to participate in an experts league. The idea that your work has gotten to a high enough level that it is respected enough by your peers in the same industry to be called an expert is appealing. To say it doesn't appeal to one's vanity is unrealistic, and frankly a load of crap. We all want to be recognized in that manner, because of the validation involved and the respect that it implies.
I was lucky enough to participate in an experts league last year, and actually did extremely well after it was all said and done. So when the email showed up from our former counterpart (and head of fantasy content over at Baseball Prospectus) Bret Sayre emailed me to ask about whether I'd be interested in participating in another experts' league, I jumped at the chance.
Here are the details:
20 team dynasty league
40 round snake draft, any player signed by a major league club at the start of the draft is eligible for any pick
4 hour per pick slow draft
Roster is C, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, MI, CI, 5 OF, 9 P, 7 BN, and 10 minor league slots
Minor league slots are available for anyone that qualifies for a prospect list (less than 130 AB, 45 IP)
5x5 categories, with weekly lineup deadlines
$100 in-season FAAB
35 players kept each year out of the 40 on the total roster
No limit on the time a player can be kept
Now, it wouldn't be a dynasty format without a little bit of a wrinkle, and Bret came up with a doozy. In a dynasty league of this size, the unfairness of being completely random with the draft order is extremely high. If you get the first pick, then you are set for a very long time with Mike Trout. If you end up at #19, it could get ugly fast. So, about a week before the draft was supposed to start, we received an email from Bret explaining the following:
To determine your pick number, you may bid a certain number of your keepers for after the 2014 season for a certain pick. For example, if you want the first pick, you can bid X number of keepers, and if you have the highest bid, you will get that pick in the draft, and you will have 35 minus X keepers after the 2014 season. You will revert back to the 35 total after the 2015 season.
You are also not required to bid on a specific spot at all, and will be given a random pick based on the order of picks remaining which are not bid upon.
Hoo boy. How much is Mike Trout worth? How many secondary players in a league where you will have 700 players kept would you give up to have him on your team for eternity? But it isn't as simple as that though, is it?
In a 20-team league, there are questions about where you would like to draft as well, which you don't always have to make a decision about with a shallower league. If you grab the second pick, that means that every other time you pick, you will have 36 picks in between your next one, but then just 2 picks the other time. Where you end up drafting can change your strategy for the whole draft in one fell swoop.
To be honest, I had never seen this one before, and frankly, I didn't really want to over think this part of the draft. While I can say it's obvious that you'd want to pick pretty early, I didn't know what that would do to an overall strategy if it would take a lot of keepers to get the job done. With that in mind, I did not bid, and decided that the randomness would give me my choices, and go from there.
You can find the participants in this league, their draft order, and how many keepers they paid for that spot below:
|The Dynasty Guru (TDG)||15 keepers||@643ball|
|Bloomberg Sports/MLBAM||8 keepers||@sabometrics
|3||Alex Kantecki||Fake Teams / TDG||6 keepers||@rotodealer|
|4||Nick Shlain||Rotowire||8 keepers||@electricsnuff|
|6||J.P. Breen||Fangraphs||2 keepers||@JP_Breen|
|8||Chris Cwik||CBS Sports/Fangraphs||2 keepers||@Chris_Cwik|
|9||Wilson Karaman||Dynasty Guru||1 keeper||@vocaljavelins|
|11||Bret Sayre||Baseball Prospectus/ TDG||1 keeper||@dynastyguru|
|12||Nick Doran||Blazing Fastball/TDG||Random (#4)||@blazingfastba11|
|13||Chris Crawford||MLB Draft Insider||Random (#6)||@CrawfordChrisV|
|14||Mike Rosenbaum||Bleacher Report||Random (#8)||@goldensombrero|
|15||Ben Carsley||Baseball Prospectus/TDG||Random (#9)||@bencarsley|
|Dynasty Guru||1 keeper||@adbarnes81
|17||Mike Newman||Rotoscouting||Random (#11)||@MikeNewmanRS|
|18||Jason Hunt||Fake Teams||Random (#12)||@jasonsbaseball|
|19||Craig Goldstein||Baseball Prospectus/TDB||Random (#15)||@cdgoldstein|
|Dynasty Guru||Random (#17)||@lukechatelain
It's strange, I was actually relatively happy with pick #18 when I received the order. I personally like the ability to pick relatively quickly after my previous pick, especially in a deep league like this. While it does keep me from picking for 34 players, I then have only 4 between my first and second pick. If you follow me on Twitter, you've probably noticed me tweeting about this draft as it is going on (along with cursing out some of my fellow owners for sniping players I was hoping to grab later in the draft), under the hashtag #TDGX. On Wednesday, I will be going through my first ten picks in this league, along with some observations on where other players went in a pure, start-from-scratch dynasty league.