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Interview with Derek Carty from The Hardball Times-Part 1

This is part 1 of a 4 part interview with Derek Carty from The Hardball Times. Derek won the LABR NL-only league this past season in his first season in the league. Derek took some time to answer questions about his LABR draft strategy, fantasy league strategy in general, what stats he uses to evaluate hitters and pitchers, and some sleepers for 2010.

Here's part 1 of the interview:

Fake Teams: Some people, including Fake Teams, questioned your NL only LABR draft back in March, what was your strategy going into the draft? Do you cater your strategy according to who the other owners are in the league?

Derek Carty: Well, I don't want to give away too much of the strategy in case I want to pull it out again in a future year (although I am planning something different for 2010), but it focused on maximizing the value from my reserve slots, building a good bullpen, and spending a lot of my budget on hitting to accumulate ABs (though at 68%, I ended up spending a bit less than I thought I would).

I absolutely will cater my strategy to the other owners in my leagues, although for LABR I didn't really know a whole lot about their strategies and tendencies, being a rookie, so I wasn't able to do much on this front. Whenever possible, though, I think it is important to include opponent tendencies when forming your strategy. This is part of the reason I'll be shifting strategies in LABR next year - I've had a year to learn about my opponents. I can't talk about what I'll be doing, obviously, but as a more concrete example, in one mixed league this year I was perfectly comfortable waiting until the end of the draft to take closers because, from past experience, I believed I would be able to beat my competition to the waiver wire when a closing gig would change hands. I ended up drafting just one reliever who began the year as a closer yet ended the season with 5 or 6 on my roster. ‘Knowing your opponent' may be on the verge of becoming a cliché, if it isn't already, but it is an important concept, nevertheless. We should also keep in mind that knowing yourself is perhaps even more important.

More after the jump:

Fake Teams: It appeared that your LABR team lacked power and starting pitching, but your reserve pitchers (Marquis, De La Rosa and Duke) must have won you some points in the wins category. How did you fare in the power categories?

Derek Carty: Lacking starting pitching was intentional, part of the strategy, and I finished with at least 10 points in all of the (hitting) counting categories. I finished with 10.5 HR points and 10 RBI points, which honestly didn't surprise me much. I know some people weren't big on my draft, but guys like Ibanez, Ross, Fukudome, Rowand, and Ruiz all played about where I expected them to and above what I paid for them. Sure, I was aided by some unexpected power from Clint Barmes and a September trade for Prince Fielder, but I also had Jimmy Rollins, James Loney, Kelly Johnson, and Ramon Hernandez underperform (the latter two pretty extremely), so I think it all evened out in the end. Part of my strategy was to save a good chunk of money to spend on hitters and take mostly guys with secure jobs who would rack up the ABs. Sheer volume would allow me to finish at least respectably in each of the counting categories. As it turned out, I finished with the most ABs of anyone in the league, so I think I was pretty successful here.

Fake Teams: Stepping back a bit, how do you prepare for a draft? Other than THT, what other sources do you use to evaluate hitters? Pitchers?


Derek Carty: While I read a number of other sites and occasionally a book or magazine, I really don’t rely on anyone but myself for evaluating player talent. I like to conduct my own analysis for most things and even create my own stats where I believe current thinking and analysis doesn’t suffice or can be improved. I’m also developing my own projection system, although in the past I’ve certainly looked at other systems (CHONE has been a favorite). While most of what I write is of the statistical variety, I am actually a very large proponent of combining stats and scouting. I even attended the MLB Scouting Bureau’s Scout Development Program (aka Scout School – not an easy program to get into) earlier in the off-season, so I’ll likely be mixing some of that into my preparations as well. I’m also an avid reader of MLB Trade Rumors and Rotoworld to keep tabs on player news, manager quotes, and the like which can impact playing time. In the same vein, I absolutely loved Tom Tango’s Community Playing Time Projections this past season and found HEATER Magazine’s Radar Tracking quite useful as well. For the 2010 season, THTF is planning on keeping updated depth charts and playing time projections for those who purchase the Season Preview, so I’m sure I’ll be a big fan of that. Finally, in preparing for drafts, I usually like to try different strategies and tactics out in a few Mock Draft Central mocks before the season.