I’ve received multiple emails and tweets in the 24 hours since the 2012 BaseballGuys’ Fantasy Draft Guide was released. I have to say I’m humbled by the support from all of you, and thanks so much for the kind thoughts that have been shared (you can read some of the testimonials on the link to The Guide).
The one question that I’ve heard from more than one person is – why is there no top-300 like last year? Was I lazy? Did I forget to add it into the mix in some sort of clerical oversight? You know me better than that at this point don’t you? So what was the conscious decision that led to my omitting the overall list after I added it to The Draft Guide last year?
I never use a top-300 to put a team together on draft day. Never. I think it’s a terrible way to construct a squad. What generally happens is that people slavishly draft off the list. By that I mean, if player #132 is there you obviously draft him over player #148 because he’s listed so much earlier in the rankings, right? Never mind the fact that player #132 may not be a fit for your team as it’s currently constructed. The list dictates take the higher ranked player so people take the highest ranked player. People then wonder why their team finishes in last place in steals… it’s because they drafted their team based on a top-whatever list versus putting together a club that could compete in all categories. This situation is the key reason why I did not include a top-300 in my draft guide.
Would I draft Albert Pujols over Prince Fielder? Of course I would. Do I prefer Pujols over Robinson Cano? You can look at the $ figures in The Guide to get an idea of my thinking there as well (let’s say the answer is yes). It’s fairly easy to discern how to rank the top guys. The real problem though occurs when we start talking about those players that are listed outside the elite level performers. Here’s a concrete example.
Do you take the 8th best first baseman or the 4th best second basemen? Well, if seven of the top eight first baseman are off the board, and there are only eight truly strong options, you had better take guy #8 at first base before you look toward second base. However, what if the #8 first baseman is listed behind the #4 second baseman in the rankings? If you look at the top-whatever list you would end up taking the #4 second baseman who is ranked higher overall than the #8 first baseman. That makes sense right? Or does it? If you followed a top-whatever list you’d take the second baseman even though it would make more sense, because of how the draft was playing out, to take that last elite first baseman. Why? There will still be an elite second sacker the next time you pick because it’s pretty doubtful that five second baseman would be taken in the next round of picks. However, you can be fairly certain that the lone remaining first baseman will be taken in the next round of picks, so if you passed on him, he’d be gone by your next selection. If you followed at top-300 list, you’d make the wrong call and take the second sacker.
I’m sorry if you are disappointed in the lack of a top-300 in The Guide. It was an executive decision I made. I’d hope people would be more focused on the tiering of players – that’s more important than a top-whatever list (in my rankings players are placed in tiers, i.e. groups of players that should be viewed as roughly interchangeable in terms of the production that they will bring). If you focus on the tiering model, instead of an inert top-whatever list, you’re likely to end up with a better team to compete for your league championship.
By Ray Flowers