Monday, March 12, 2007

Playing both ends.... or the middle?

Which way should you go? You've got only 100 million dollars, and the top guys are going to go for alot of money in your draft. Do you spend 14, 15 million or more on Albert Pujols? Johan Santana? A-Rod?

There are two schools of thought when it comes to managing budget. Spend on the studs and fill in with your roster with lower priced players (playing both ends), or paying around 5-10 million for several players (the middle).

The answer to this question is.... it's a matter of opinion. And I come down squarely on the side of playing the ends. This is especially true in smaller leagues, where the difference between the last player drafted and those 5 and 6 million dollar players is much smaller. The secret to making this strategy work is to have good projections for your players, and identify where there is a significant falloff to the next player at that position. The most obvious example of this is Albert Pujols, who is likely to score almost 100 points more than the next player at his position.
But some dropoffs won't be as clear. In some positions, there may be three or four potential targets. But the more of these players you snag, the bigger your advantage over your opponents. In general, it's a good idea to pay for performance only on players who are significantly better. The list is very short, there may be no more than 10 or so players on my list for this year. If you get two or three of them, your advantage in points more than overcomes the cost.

The Mantle conference FAB is underway, 3 rounds, short time between events, and I'm in the middle of two other FABs. Makes it tough, but I did manage to sign three players today, including two (hopefully) up and coming outfielders in Carlos Quentin, 1.5 3 years and Luke Scott 2.5 3 years. I added David Bush to bolster the pitching staff (5.5 million), and Jose Valverde for 3 million 1 year.

Some strange goings on, at least a couple of teams seem to be stockpiling starting pitching, and there seems to be a premium being paid for young and mostly unproven pitching. That's usually a mistake,hopefully Bush will pan out.

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