Scouting the Fantasy Baseball Draft Room

Christopher J. FarinoContributor IMarch 5, 2009

We have all heard the phrase ‘keep your friends close and your enemy’s closer.’ This article aims to show you how you can apply that to your draft prep.
Of course, you need to know as much as possible about the players you are drafting, but it is almost as important to know as much as you can about the people in the room doing the drafting with you.
One of my leagues has been the same 12 people for several years now, and I have picked up a few draft tendencies from around the room (I may wait until after the draft to tell them to read this article).
While I assume that none of you are drafting with my friends, I have been in enough other draft rooms to know that these tendencies are pretty universally found. You may even find yourself fitting into one of these categories.

Homer: This is the easiest one to spot. Maybe he comes in with a team’s hat or jersey on, talking about his season tickets, or maybe you just know that he hasn’t missed a game this decade. Either way, this guy overvalues the hometown talent and is more than likely to end up with at least four or five guys from his favorite squad.

Big Name Hunter: This guy gets his highlights on Sports Center and stops there. He could name the All-Star starters, but would have a hard time telling you who is battling for the fourth and fifth starter jobs in any camp during spring training. If he is in the fifth round and looking to choose between Derrek Lee and Chris Davis, you know exactly who is coming off the board next.

By The Book: This guy picks his favorite ranking sheet and lives and dies by what it says. He shows up for the pizza and beer on draft day, but he might as well be on Autopick.

Too Much Information: There isn’t a magazine or website about fantasy baseball that this guy hasn’t read. The big problem is that he printed out pages from every site, added them to his backpack full of magazines and showed up on draft day with enough paper to fill an army of hamster cages.
In between each round, he tries to read a bio on every available remaining player. Like they told you in high school while you were cramming for the test in the hallway, if you don’t know it by now, you are not going to learn it in the next sixty seconds.

Believe The Hype: Somewhere there is a sixth grader taking his summer league by storm. Somewhere close by, this guy is jotting his name down to take him two rounds too early in 2018. Let him waste the early picks. When the youngsters struggle early, you can pick them up off waivers when he gets frustrated and drops them in May.

Mound Mentality:This guy probably pitched a bit himself in the past. He harkens back to the dead ball era, and would rather see a well pitched, two hour, 2-1 ball game than an 11-9 slugfest. He will overstock his staff and look to fill in his lineup with whatever is left in round 13.
Keep an eye on his hitters, and maybe pick up an extra position to use as trade bait when the draft is over and he realized he has Jeff Kent playing second base (and yes, I know he is retired).

The Big Bopper: If there is one thing that Greg Maddux taught me, it is that ‘chicks dig the long ball’, and so does this drafter. This team may run away and hide in the HR category, but will do no running on the base paths. This is another team to target for some preseason trades when the owner realizes he unintentionally punted steals.

The Insecure Drafter: He has his mind made up until there are 15 seconds left to make the pick, then he then frantically starts asking everyone else in the room if that is a good pick. He is a terrible person to be behind in line at your favorite lunch spot.
No, I do not know if you are in the mood for a burger or a Reuben, and I am certainly not going to give you draft advice in the middle of the round. Okay, I will give you advice, as long as it keeps you from picking the guy I want.

Now, of course, this article was not written to pick on my friends, but to give you to something to use this while you are gearing up for your draft.
If you have a ‘By the Book’ in the room, make some notes on your cheat sheet of where your players vary greatly from the standard sheet.
Maybe you are stuck next to the ‘Big Name Hunter.’ You might be able to wait a few rounds to grab the below the radar pick.
Knowing who others are going to draft is almost as important as knowing who you are going to draft. If you have two guys on your list you cannot decide between, you may be able to grab them both if you know the tendencies of the drafters around you.
This is not something that takes years to pick up. Most drafters show their stripes within the first half of the draft, so be sure to pay attention to what others are doing while you fill your team.
Are there any other personalities out there in your draft room? Let me know in the comments section.