The Trade Counsel: Don’t Disregard Your Draft Prep

by Simon Jones

The opening day of the season has come and gone (at least for Seattle and Oakland), drafts and auctions are now complete, and fantasy owners everywhere are trying to make sense of their rosters. People in shallower leagues may be feeling pretty content with their rosters, but in deeper leagues or AL/NL only, you are probably looking at a bunch of holes in your hitting line-up and your pitching rotation.

Pretty much every halfway committed fantasy manager will have done some draft preparation and produced a few cheat sheets analysing the players they liked and where those players might be taken in drafts and auctions. However, how much of that information and preparation gets discarded as soon as draft day is over? My thoughts are that those who discard all that information too readily are missing a trick.

When I discussed my tactics for drafting a few weeks back, one of the points that I made was that after I compile my list of players, I cross-reference it to the ADP of the site that hosts my league. This can help provide a list of players who might be undervalued come draft day. It’s a tactic I’ve employed for a number of years quite successfully, but no matter how well it pays off, for every one guy you get who you feel is undervalued there are another 2 or 3 who slip past. You simply don’t have enough picks to take them all.

One of the first things I do post-draft is to look at the players that I didn’t get and see where they went in the draft. In some instances, other managers will have targeted the same guys and taken them at the same point or even earlier than I had valued them. One such example in TCFL was Madison Bumgarner, who at the time had an ESPN ADP of 89 but I had ranked at 70. Unfortunately Wall Street (managed by regular commenter JMax) had taken him in the bookend pick at 49. There’s no point in me targeting Bumgarner as Jason obviously ranks him higher than I do.

However I noticed that a number of players I did rank above ADP had slipped below where I had ranked them, and some even below the already deflated ADP price. I won’t go into all of them here as I’m still pursuing a few, but one guy I still had in mind was Jason Kipnis. I rank him at about 130, way above his ESPN ADP of 183. He was actually drafted at 145, but I still thought he was worth pursuing, He’d represent value at 145, but with that 183 ADP shining against his name whenever you look at the team pages, I thought I might be able to grab him slightly less than that. As it was, I acquired him in a multiplayer deal and then moved him on in a subsequent deal.

This is a classic case of perception becoming reality and giving a clued-up owner the chance to exploit that perception. Irrespective of the true value of a player, if he has an ADP of 200 and got drafted at 200, then the perceived value of that player soon becomes 200.

I’d recommend using this approach during the first 2 or 3 weeks of the season, before the 2012 season’s sample size becomes significant enough that it impacts your rankings materially.

TCFL Update

It has been another busy week in the TCFL. The biggest deal of the week was the trade of Albert Pujols from Down Eastahs (managed by Darin G.) to Team Dannick (who have now officially adopted the nickname I gave to them last week) in exchange for Adam Jones, Matt Garza, Ike Davis and Greg Holland. Now I’m a big fan of Pujols, but that does seem a lot to give, especially in a league this deep.

As always, I’ve been busy in the trade market. If you remember from last week, I drafted the following roster

 

C              Brian McCann
C              Yadier Molina
1B           Brandon Belt
2B           Brandon Phillips
3B           Kevin Youkilis
SS            Troy Tulowitzki
2B/SS      Dustin Ackley
1B/3B     Todd Helton
OF           Nick Markakis
OF           Austin Jackson
OF           Hunter Pence
OF           Jon Jay
OF           Yonder Alonso
UTIL        Ian Desmond
Bench     Wilson Betemit
Bench     Bobby Abreu
P              Roy Halladay
P              Daniel Hudson
P              Tommy Hanson
P              Brandon League
P              Tim Hudson
P              Chris Perez
P              John Danks
P              Juan Nicasio
P              Frank Francisco
Bench     R.A. Dickey
Bench     Andy Pettitte
Bench     Aaron Harang

Less than two weeks on, and Tulowitzki, Pence, Belt, Alonso, Helton, Desmond, Francisco, Dickey and Harang have been traded away. In have come Cuddyer, Victorino, Konerko, Jeter, Morrison, Beltran and Freeman, whilst Kipnis, Walden, Cordero and Jurrjens were acquired and then traded away again. In the space of 6 quick fire trades, my roster now looks like this:

C              Brian McCann
C              Yadier Molina
1B           Michael Cuddyer
2B           Brandon Phillips
3B           Kevin Youkilis
SS            Derek Jeter
2B/SS      Dustin Ackley
1B/3B     Paul Konerko
OF           Nick Markakis
OF           Austin Jackson
OF           Shane Victorino
OF           Logan Morrison
OF           Carlos Beltran
UTIL        Freddie Freeman
Bench     Jon Jay
Bench     Wilson Betemit
Bench     Bobby Abreu
P              Roy Halladay
P              Daniel Hudson
P              Tommy Hanson
P              Brandon League
P              Tim Hudson
P              Chris Perez
P              John Danks
P              Juan Nicasio
P              Kerry Wood
Bench     Andy Pettitte
Bench     Rick Porcello

I still want to trade in some more pitching, but I feel that my hitting has improved considerably since draft day. As always in a league like this though, there will always be holes to fill, and more trades to make!

The Trade Counsel is a weekly trade column – please leave feedback or any trade questions below.

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5 Responses to The Trade Counsel: Don’t Disregard Your Draft Prep

  1. Darin says:

    Nice article Simon, and my name is in print! I was targeting Bumgarner also but not that early. I don’t usually like to make quality for quantity trades, but in a league the size of TCFL depth early in the year is important, and I’m happy with the package for Pujols.

    • SimonJ - Trade Counsel says:

      Thanks Darin. I did promise the chance of fame and fortune when I launched TCFL (well actually more like a little infamy and no fortune), and the more noteworthy trades are made, the more material I have to write with.

      I think the Pujols trade is really interesting. The depth of the league means that I feel you got more than decent value, but there are plenty of scenarios where Pujols gives more value. If Holland doesn’t win the closer job and any of the various injury doubts surrounding Ike Davis come to fruition, then the trade doesn’t look so clever.

      • jmax says:

        I almost sound crazy reaching for Bumgarner like that.No offense taken, however I’d like to explain that there is method to my madness.
        Goal #1 for me is to win this league. With last pick overall and w 15 other knowledgable guys picking in front of me I felt I may have to get a little creative or maybe even a little crazy to do so.
        I’ve read more than a few times to never go early on pitching. This is a strategy I felt every other guy would buy into as it is a general rule and understandably so. I chose to go against the grain (like I have in so many other situations) in hopes of gaining some sort of unforeseen edge.
        Getting a top 5 SP and RP was the 1st step. I took Kershaw 17th overall. Soon after in the same round Halladay, Verlander, Felix and Lee went. I had to consider the wrap around and I would of had no chance in getting a tier 1 arm had I waited. Next pick, 48th overall and somewhat of another reach I took Kimbrel (ADP 58). In a league where trading is to be emphasized, all of a sudden I now have 2 of the sexiest names on the mound.
        Bumgarner was my next pick and yes a big reach. But would I be wrong if I thought that the majority of guys would be targeting him? He’s also a sexy name and even if he should come out of the gate slow his track record will have owners believing his emergance is only 1 start away. He also may even justify me taking him that early based on talent. I feel this reach was low risk.
        All in all I believe I had a fantastic draft. Hanley 16th overall. In a draft this deep he could be so much more valuable when he adds 3B eligibility. Then after watching Wieters, McCann and Posey going I jumped on the bus and took Montero and Mauer. In a 2 catcher format w 16 teams, do I have to mention how valuable this tandem is?
        I picked Brian Wilson 112th overall (ADP of 112 coincidentally), Ichiro at 113th (ADP of 100 which I feel is a bargain still).
        Oh and I was the guy who got Kipnis. Drafted Walden at 176 (ADP 149), Fister at 177 (ADP 184). Oh and not to mention the luckiest pick of the draft of Sean Marshall at 336.
        So to sum it up this is kind of an experiment. Maybe I can make you all think twice about your draft strategy for 2013 and finish in a respectable position standings wise….?

        • jmax says:

          I forgot to mention that Kipnis to me lost value when I read he’ll be batting 7th

        • SimonJ says:

          I’m definitely not against taking a player higher than their ADP. If you wanted Bumgarner then there was no way that he would have dropped to you in the 5th round at 80. In your position, there are probably other guys that I would have taken there, but I can’t argue with your logic at all. Much better to take the players you want, where you need to take them rather than ending up with a roster that doesn’t reflect your preferences at all. Too many people are governed by ADPs and other people’s rankings.

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