Disclaimer: This is for new Roto players. Parental discretion is advised. You may experience a burning sensation while reading this information. In this event, rub gravel into your scalp every 5 minutes until the burning ceases. After ½ hour, take a bath in tomato juice on your front lawn. This will not help the sensation, but it will be funny to your neighbors, and you may scare some of the ones you don't like.
Concept 3: “Profit!” Or “How to Know When I Need To Take Myself More Seriously”
Guys...you've forgotten something. Maybe you didn't “forget,” but you've been really really busy. You forgot your anniversary. It's 5:45pm, you still have time to cover yourself...maybe...
Recognize this form of panic? This will hit you at some point during your draft. 10 rounds and realize you haven't addressed pitching at all? There's that feeling. Realizing you've addressed all your OF spots and your Utility spot, but you have no middle infield? There it is. 10 Rounds in, you will get some degree of this feeling. It's okay. This isn't so much a “forgetting your anniversary” situation; it's more like a “I've been cleaning the garage all day, so I haven't had time to fix the sink” (and in this scenario, you actually HAVE been cleaning the garage all day, as opposed to cleaning for 20 minutes and playing XBox for the other 4 hours.)
You will always feel like you're behind. It's like life that way, isn't it? Plan on that for draft. That'll be discussed more in the next article; for now, let's get to tiering your rankings. If you feel like you're not following very well, hang in there.
Let's say the categories in this little league here are (for offense) Runs, Runs Batted In, Home Runs, Stolen Bases, Batting Average, (for pitching) Strikeouts, Wins, Saves, Earned Run Average, and Walks and Hits per Inning Pitched (or WHIP).
Here's how my rankings currently work. I break SP's into tiers, like so:
Tier 1: Roy Halladay, Justin Verlander, Clayton Kershaw
Tier 2: Dan Haren, Tim Lincecum, Cole Hamels, Felix Hernandez, Jon Lester, Cliff Lee, David Price, Zack Greinke, CC Sabathia, Jered Weaver
Tier 3: Stephen Strasburg, James Shields, Matt Cain, Yovani Gallardo, Ian Kennedy, CJ Wilson
With SP's, my top tier is made up of players I feel would be AWESOME #1s. Tier 2 is generally made up of guys that I think would be very good #1s. Tier 3 is generally guys who might be okay #1s, but pretty good #2s. I haven't done any tiers beyond that because everything will depend on how many pitchers I have, what categories I'm doing well in and so forth.
That said, I'm probably not taking a Tier 1 guy because I'm probably going offense-heavy in my draft, and there's no chance those guys will be available. Tier 2 guys are a possibility, but unless one of them slips, I may not get any of them. By the time those Tier 2 guys are gone...it's 5:45pm if you catch my drift! That's the point where I have to realize that if I want a decent group of SP's, I should start addressing that spot.
By the way, I have these guys lined up by VALUE. Just because I have Sabathia on the same tier as Greinke doesn't mean that I'd consider him in the same spot I'd take Greinke in. I'd rather have Haren over either of them. I don't have this listed here, but I use a color system as a quick-reference guide to remind me just how I feel about different players. I have Strasberg in a good color to remind me that I don't need to get a Tier 2 guy, I feel pretty good about Strasberg where he's going in another round or two. I also know there are several pitchers that I like a lot. They're riskier, but I like several of them, and they'll be available in rounds where I might be more likely to pick up SP's. Like I said, I'm not going into the color system because that's a whole different level of insanity that I don't want to expose you to...at least not yet.
...okay, you've talked me into it. As I've stated before, I like leaving the site's rankings basically in place so I know where most people are going to view a particular player. That said, I go through a lot of these players and assign a color to them. Light blue means I love where they're being drafted and/or I simply find overlooked. Green means I like them, Yellow is more of a questionable color, Red is bad, and Black means I think they have the plague.
Throughout the draft, I'll keep an eye on my list for upcoming Blues and consider the Greens as well. If there are a few Blues coming up in a few rounds, I won't rush to take guys before them. But of course, I'm going to consider my categories, where I'm strong versus where I'm weak, etc. For example, I feel so-so about a lot of the SP's between 20 and 40. Then we get to Josh Johnson, Tim Hudson, Gio Gonzalez. Guys I'm very interested in. So I probably won't take anyone between 20 and 40 on this list because I may try to snag a couple of those guys I just listed. I'm not in a rush to fill my SP spots.
Getting back to the idea of the tier system...it's a little helpful for the first few SP's, but I don't generally use it beyond 3 or 4 tiers. At the fielding positions, I set 1 or 2 tiers, which simply tells me where the guys I'm okay with having as a starter will be. Another example...at SS, Asdrubal Cabrera is the last guy I'm okay with drafting at that position, if I want to move forward in the draft with confidence that that position is taken care of. He is the last guy on Tier 1 and I have no Tier 2. Once I'm past that point, I'm going to have to be creative about filling that spot. Again, this is where my lovely colors come into play. I see Dee Gordon if I'm willing to take that risk and I need speed, I see Emilio Bonifacio later on. I see Derek Jeter if I need Runs and I don't want to wait that long.
I want to know where others view a player AND where I view a player. The tiers tell me where they view him, my color system tells me where I view them. My list shows me one, my colors remind me where my guys are.
Now that's how I view it. Other people may tell you differently, but for me, I have a much better grip on the draft if I know how others are going to view players and how I view them.
We'll go over several of these points from previous articles and some other things next time. We're getting close my friends!