Fantasy Baseball Draft Review: Results, Commentary, Unique Rules and CBS

Rick MillemanCorrespondent IMarch 26, 2010

SAN FRANCISCO - AUGUST 28: Tim Lincecum #55 of the San Francisco Giants pitches against the Colorado Rockies during a Major League Baseball game at AT&T Park on August 28, 2009 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

The Herzog fantasy baseball league draft is in the books, as of the middle of this past week, and we are now eagerly awaiting the start of baseball season to get this league going. Here is some commentary on the league and the results of the draft, to help you prep for your own upcoming fantasy baseball draft.

Mike MacGregor, owner/operator of , started the Herzog league and is the commissioner. He opened it up to all of his Cheatsheet Compiler & Draft Buddy customers, and 14 stepped up to the challenge to take on Mike, with me being his draft day conscience to prevent him from drafting Toronto Blue Jays rounds ahead of their average draft position, if at all.

The league is a 15-team 5X5 roto, mixed (AL + NL) format. Given the difficulties of coordinating 15 middle-aged guys each with a wife, kids and a job (sometimes all three) to find time for a live draft, we arranged for a slow draft using a timer running Monday to Friday, morning to night. The timer turned off on the weekend and overnight.

Choosing Our League Management Software

To our surprise, the only major player amongst the online fantasy baseball league managers—CBS, ESPN and Yahoo—that offered a slow draft option, with a timer and the ability for owners to input pre-draft selections, was CBS. For this reason, CBS clearly met our needs better than the rest.

CBS also has the ability to input weekly lineups with exceptions, the exceptions being swapping starters midweek who unexpectedly go on the disabled list. That was one of the planned rules for this league. The starting lineup options for the other league managers were much more restrictive in this respect. It was daily or weekly, and that was it.

Plus, CBS has all the bells and whistles that make it the fantasy sports leader that is it—live scoring, integrated chat, quick and helpful customer service and the ability to manage our teams from mobile devices like the iPhone.

CBS also offers keeper league support, although we didn’t need that this year. If you want to start your own fantasy baseball league on CBS, make sure to use the 50% off discount available through Bleacher Report.

Unique Draft Order Selection

One unique thing incorporated into this league is what is called a "Kentucky Derby Style" draft preference, or KDS for short. Each owner submitted a list of what pick in the draft they prefer to have the most, then second most, third most, etc. for all 15 potential draft spots.

Once every owner submitted their preferences, then a random draw was held of all owners, and the owner who won the random draw got their first preference, which was not necessarily the first pick in the draft.

The second name out of the hat got their first preference if it wasn’t taken, and if it was then they got their second preference.

This is a really great system, because at the end of the day, most if not all owners end up with a draft pick closer to what they prefer to have than what they would have ended up via the commonly used, complete random draft order.

In this league, the first four teams out of the hat got their first preference. The first team got their second preference. Even the ninth team out of the hat happened to get their first choice for draft pick. Here is how it all fleshed out, so you can see the advantage of using KDS:

1 – mhilt11 …… will draft 1st
2 – cdeboer …… will draft 3rd (first choice)
3 – Cubbiesyear .. will draft 6th (first choice)
4 – garf112 …… will draft 2nd (first choice)
5 – cpsilo1 …… will draft 3 13th (second choice)
6 – parvinator … will draft 1 2 3 4th (fourth choice)
7 – posbaby …… will draft 1 2 3 4 5th (fifth choice)
8 – Mike ……… will draft 2 3 1 11th (fourth choice)
9 – bump14057 …. will draft 7th (first choice)
10 – ezcollectibles . will draft 4 3 5 6 2 1 8th (seventh choice)
11 – katanga …….. will draft 1 2 15th (third choice)
12 – rightwingtroll . will draft 1 2 3 15 14th (fifth choice)
13 – mvayp1 ……… will draft 3 2 1 15 14 6 8 4 5 9th (10th choice)
14 – therobsclub …. will draft 1 2 3 4 5 7 6 8 15 14 9 10th (12th choice)
15 – BeanTown ……. will draft 12th (15th choice – sorry JB!)

Draft Results

Finally, we were ready for the draft to begin. It kicked off on Wednesday March 17 in the morning and finished off just over eight days later, the evening of Wednesday March 24.

That is a pretty good clip at almost four rounds a day, and shows that even a fairly large and deep league—with a commissioner who is on people to pre-draft often—can finish a slow draft in time for the start of baseball season. A league of 10 or 12 teams, with 23-24 starters could even go much quicker.

Here is an image of the draft results through the first three rounds, and no surprise, Albert Pujols is first off the board with Hanley Ramirez and Alex Rodriguez following right after him.

The league starting lineup requirements are as follows:

2-C, 1-1B, 1-2B, 1-3B, 1-SS, 5-OF, 1-CI, 1-MI, 1-UT and 9-P (any mix of starters and relievers)

The two-catcher requirement, especially in a 15-team league, does bump the value of that position a fair bit. Finding five starting quality OF is not insignificant, and having no requirements on starting versus relief pitching does open that up for owners to try a LIMA approach , as long as they meet the minimum innings mark of 700 IP for the season.

There was definitely a difference of opinion on the importance of getting an ace on your staff. Tim Lincecum was the only pitcher pulled in the first round, but then Roy Halladay , Felix Hernandez , and Adam Wainright went in the top half of the second round.

Through three rounds it gets interesting, because at that point two teams each owned two starting pitchers, and then one of those teams grabbed a third in fourth round. Team mvayp1 is building his team with pitching—starting with Wainright, C.C. Sabathia and Cliff Lee to go with Ryan Howard drafted in the first round.

The first relief pitchers went in the fourth—Jonathan Papelbon , Jonathan Broxton , and Mariano Rivera . Then teams seemed to pick away at the relievers a bit at a time at one to two per round through the next dozen rounds until nearly all of the projected starting closers were taken.

Jays’ 2B Aaron Hill , a player everyone and their mother is predicting to seriously regress from his career year last season, went at the end of the fourth round. There is sure to be one person in most leagues who will still take a chance on Hill that last year wasn’t a fluke. Similarly, 2B Ben Zobrist went at the top of the fourth round.

Sophomore C Matt Wieters went in the middle of the seventh round. Superstar-in-waiting OF Jason Heyward went in the eighth round. If you want the upside these guys offer then you are probably going to have to pay a premium in drafts this weekend and next week.

At the time of this draft, there were a lot of uncertainty about the health and expected playing time of Mets SS Jose Reyes . Reyes amazingly dropped all the way to the 9th round, which looks like an absolute bargain right now.

There are a lot of comments that could be made on many specific players and picks, but you can review the complete draft results for yourself. Also review the team rosters to see how each team came together.

The Cheatsheet Compiler & Draft Buddy provides projected team stats and roto standings, based on projected starters. The results are shown below.

Good luck to everyone drafting this weekend, and if you don’t have your league setup online yet, or aren’t happy with the league manager you’re using now, check out CBS with the special Bleacher Report discount offer . is a Bleacher Report partner and paying sponsor of the Bleacher Report baseball communities. This post is one of a series of sponsor-endorsed posts related to the Fantasy Baseball Commissioner League.

Rick Milleman is the head fantasy baseball contributor at . Check his annual player projections included in the Cheatsheet Compiler & Draft Buddy to help draft your championship team.


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