Wednesday, March 18, 2009

How To Find Draft Bargains

One of the great things about HBD is there are LOTS of ways to build a good team - free agency, the international market, trades and the draft. In many ways the draft is the most difficult way to go - the benefits are 3-5 seasons away and depend on successful development and injury avoidance (for one). But despite the popular sentiment that draft scouting needs to be "fuzzier," there are still bargains to be had. There's a huge difference between landing 1 or 2 major-leaguers in the draft (like I did here last year picking 7th) and landing 5 (like I did in another world that drafted this morning).

I did quite a bit more prep for that draft than I've done before, and some of the guys I had rated very high lasted a lot longer than they should've (imho). Here's what they looked like:

1) Pitchers with LOW control (50's) but very good splits, groundball and pitches. If you do a player search and look for guys like this you find that they generally perform quite well. I think what happens is a lot of owners do their first sort of pitchers by their control rating, then "eyeball it" one by one until they've manually ranked 100 or so players (or they just automatically move down those 50's control guys). In my other draft I had targeted a guy who projected to 54 control, 92/91 splits, 84 groundball, and 97/72/54/51 pitches for my 2nd-rounder. I actually had him as the 6th best player. He went #49. At 2 (64 overall), I ended up getting a high-DUR RP rated 59 control, 88/86 splits, 82 groundball, and 82/72/42 pitches.

2) Good-D 2B'men. Good-defense SS's and CF's don't fall far, and you see lots of good-hitting 2B with Range/Glove of 73/70 getting playing time. Conventional wisdom seems to be that you can give up a bat at SS and either C or CF, but 2B get a lot more chances than CF's - it's really a more important position defensively. We had quite a few of these in Double Mendoza: a couple went pretty high (26 and 30 overall), but one with Range/Glove of 93/92 and a vR split of 90 fell to #106 overall (probably because 0 power but who cares at that point?).

3) RH Pitchers with low vR (as opposed to LH Pitchers with a low vR). All other things being equal, a righty with a 60 vR is oing to be more effective than a lefty with a 60 vR. Seems pretty obvious, right? Looking at the DM draft, it doesn't look like most owners took that into acount.

4) Low pitch-count RP's (with good ratings). When your choices are a LF with 40's in all hitting categories; a lefty RP with Sta 25, Dur 32 and Con/vL/vR of 89/88/57, and a starter with Con/vL/vR of 80/32/32, who to take? The RP is the only major league player - tailor made to come in and get 1 lefty hitter. A number of these guys feel out of site in DM...I didn't apply my own rule well enough and missed on all.

Happy bargain-hunting!

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