The Empire Strikes Back: Crazy LABR NL Draft And Strategy
So, we last week, I broke down the LABR AL draft from Colton & The Wolfman with the first lady of fantasy sports. When we left in our Mariano Rivera jerseys, we knew that it was a classic SMART System draft with scarcity, management, anchors, relievers and players on good teams. We had a “New Hope”.
After the draft, we celebrated at the biggest draft party in LABR history. That is both good and bad. So for those of you who may end up at LABR party in the future, take note to how Eno Sarris and Stacie Stern showed up in the past couple of years. Last year, new to LABR, Eno Sarris brought with him some micro-brew beer and this year, he did it again. He has now created his tradition. Three years ago, Stacie Stern joined the party and brought a nice bottle of Tito’s plus umbrellas for Ray Flowers and that is now her tradition. Neither is obligated to continue, but they cared about what was happening…joining the LABR family.
On Sunday morning, I awoke for the first time in a decade of throwing this party without feeling tired. Like a Jedi, I was ready to get learn from master Yoda and study every player in the National League and come up with a great plan. The first lady of fantasy sports was there with us every step of the way. She had some great insights to some key players and helped us to take the bold move.
Our NL strategy was a lot different from the AL strategy
Third base was really scarce and after reviewing, we decided to punt and move the money to starting pitching. We also knew that we had a couple of wild cards in the draft. Steve Moyer has been known to go very far in either direction to shake up the draft and create value. One year, he had a $9 pitching staff. Doug Dennis won LABR NL two years ago by spending a league record on hitting. Both of those owners ran with a hitting-heavy strategy. That coupled with the early spending of Greg Ambrosius and Shawn Childs (Bryce Harper $32, Troy Tulowitzki $28 and Hanley Ramirez $31), heavily skewed the money spent on hitting. The bargains began to mount on the pitching side.
Our strategy was scarcity first at middle infield and catcher, but we quickly were brought to plan C when all the best scarce players went too expensive. We had spent some money before we realized that the pitching and ESPECIALLY relief pitching was going way undervalued. So now what…I opened my mouth to tell Glenn and it sounded like this:
C-3PO: Sir, the possibility of successfully navigating an asteroid field is approximately 3,720 to 1.
Han Solo: Never tell me the odds.
When the odds set in at the break, we decided to make a change. We had little money to move and one more BIG decision to make.
How far do you go when you adjust?
At that point, we gave up third base for the $14 that was necessary to get an upside starting pitcher in Tim Lincecum and a bottom feeding closer with Bobby Parnell. This move cost us the difference between Juan Francisco who we rostered at $1 and Cody Asche who went for $12. We could have gone even farther by turning Zach Cozart or Neil Walker into $1 players instead of paying top dollar for counting numbers from the two steady but not great middle infielders. It can be argued that would have made us better, but only if we could have been lucky enough to fill those holes. Luck is not a management strategy so we held the line to improve our chances to win.
“A Jedi you’ll be”
So what is the point? As we preach that you need to make a plan and stick with it. We preach to never leave your wingman or for our movie today “feel the force.” We noticed a change in the force going towards the dark side and we made an adjustment. Don’t know if it was enough, but I do know that our team is better with Tim Lincecum and Bobby Parnell instead of Cody Asche. This is also possibly the first time that going and getting players early kept us from a lot of middle round values. The end of the draft had classic overpays and some teams getting stuck with money. Crazy draft. No way to know if you were successful because we swayed from the plan. So, we won’t know if we will end up frozen in Carbonite or defeating the Empire, but always remember what Yoda says…
"Strong is Vader. Mind what you have learned. Save you it can."
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Rick Wolf is a leader in the fantasy sports industry. Wolf is a founding Board Member and one of only fifteen FSTA Hall of Famers including Bill James, Ron Shandler, Glenn Colton and Matthew Berry. Wolf is the Co-Host of Colton & The Wolfman every week on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio. With college friend, Glenn Colton, he has won three LABR Expert baseball titles and four FSTA Expert football titles. Twitter: @RickWolf1
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