Sometimes when playing in “expert” leagues, I feel a little overmatched.  The opponents have our game plan in advance because Glenn Colton and I have been posting it and refining it every year as we compete in these competitions.  Our opponents study baseball all day for their jobs while Glenn Colton and I have jobs that have us doing something different than analyzing, writing, shooting video and being on the radio.  Don’t get me wrong, those things are hard, but it gives our opponents a knowledge advantage.  Reminds of something Professor Moriarty says:

“You see, hidden within the unconscious, there is an insatiable desire for conflict. So, you're not fighting me, so much as you are the human condition. All I want to do is own the bullets and the bandages.”

Well, we need an angle.  We need a way to find gems for our drafts.  One way to do that is to examine other drafts.  Now you may believe that quote unquote experts are not any better than your league.  You are right.  However, they are consistent.  You will not get many wildcards who don’t know anything or much and in your league you probably have one at least.  So, one really good way to find some gems is to Shadow Draft.

What is Shadow Drafting, you ask? Well, I am not 100% of the origin, but for me, I saw Ron Shandler doing it at a LABR draft in the early 2000s.  Here is how it works:

Description – Take the expert’s draft from this past weekend for LABR.  This creates a salary listing of all players.  Each player is given a salary equal to his dollar value + $1.  All $1 + $2 players remain at $1 and $2 respectively.  Each participant will create team of 14 hitters and 9 pitchers in the standard Rotisserie format with a salary cap of $260.  TourWars.com has been running a contest exactly like this that they call DoubtWars every year.  Glenn and I have won it with our Tout Wars AL draft each of the last two seasons.

LABR American League – Shadow Draft

Here is the link to the American League Draft for you to find the dollar values.

http://www.rtsports.com/labr-al-auction

So take that link and go ahead and post in the comments your team.  Here are ours:

Rick Wolf   Glenn Colton
Pos Lastname Firstname $ Tm   Pos Lastname Firstname Tm $
C MurphyJ John 1 NYY   C McCann Brian NYY 20
C Soto Geovany 1 CHW   C Soto Geovany CHW 2
1B Cabrera Miguel 36 DET   1B Davis Chris BAL 27
2B Bonifacio Emilio 11 CHW   2B Cano Robinson SEA 31
SS Escobar Alcides 18 KC   SS Cabrera Everth BAL 6
3B Davis Chris 27 BAL   3B Freese David LAA 7
MI Refsnyder Rob 1 NYY   MI Ramirez Jose CLE 9
CI Moustakas Mike 10 KC   CI Morales Kendrys KC 10
OF Trout Mike 45 LAA   OF Martin Leonys TEX 22
OF Jackson Austin 13 SEA   OF Cespedes Yoenis DET 26
OF Arcia Oswaldo  15 MIN   OF Arcia Oswaldo  MIN 15
OF Marisnick Jake 2 HOU   OF Ackley Dustin SEA 8
OF Rua Ryan 1 TEX   OF Rua Ryan TEX 2
UT Carter Chris 25 HOU   UT Castellanos Nick DET 15
                     
Pos Lastname Firstname Tm   Pos Lastname Firstname Tm $
P Allen  Cody 18 CLE   P Allen  Cody CLE 18
P Hutchison Drew 10 TOR   P Hutchison Drew TOR 10
P Verlander Justin 12 DET   P Greene Shane DET 8
P Eovaldi Nathan 9 NYY   P Sabathia CC NYY 6
P Kelly Joe 4 BOS   P Gibson Kyle MIN 3
P Hahn Jesse 9 OAK   P House T.J. CLE 6
P Bundy Dylan 1 BAL   P Qualls Chad HOU 5
P Tropeano Nicholas 1 LAA   P Tropeano Nicholas LAA 2
P Shaw Bryan 1 CLE   P Soriano Rafael FAN 1

LABR National League – Shadow Draft

Here is the link to the American League Draft for you to find the dollar values.

http://www.rtsports.com/labr-nl-auction

So take that link and go ahead and post in the comments your team.  Here are ours:

Rick Wolf         Glenn Colton      
Pos Lastname Firstname $ Tm   Pos Lastname Firstname $ Tm
C Ellis A.J. 1 LA   C McKenry Michael 3 COL
C Recker Anthony 1 NYM   C Cervelli Francisco 5 PIT
1B Rizzo Anthony 31 CHC   1B Rizzo Anthony 31 CHC
2B Kendrick Howie 21 LA   2B Kendrick Howie 21 LA
SS Tulowitzki Troy 29 COL   SS Cozart Zack 5 CIN
3B Franco Maikel 5 PHI   3B Arenado Nolan 25 COL
MI Mercer Jordy 9 PIT   MI Flores Wilmer 9 NYM
CI Alonso Yonder 11 SD   CI Alonso Yonder 11 SD
OF Gonzalez Carlos 24 COL   OF Gomez Carlos 33 MIL
OF Gomez Carlos 33 MIL   OF Kemp Matt 24 SD
OF Kemp Matt 24 SD   OF Gonzalez Carlos 24 COL
OF Inciarte Ender David 7 ARI   OF Taylor Michael 2 WAS
OF Bourjos Peter 1 STL   OF Guerrero Alexander 4 LA
UT Taylor Michael 1 WAS   UT UptonBJ B.J. 6 ATL
                     
Pos Lastname Firstname   Tm   Pos Lastname Firstname Tm
P Cishek Steve 15 MIA   P Cishek Steve 15 MIA
P Wood Alex 15 ATL   P Anderson Brett 3 LA
P Martinez Carlos 7 STL   P Alvarez Henderson 7 MIA
P Lynn Lance 9 STL   P Nelson Jimmy 6 MIL
P Miller Shelby 7 ATL   P Anderson Chase 2 ARI
P Leake Mike 4 CIN   P Marshall Evan 3 ARI
P Gee Dillon 1 NYM   P Leake Mike 4 CIN
P Parnell Bobby 3 NYM   P Gonzalez Gio 14 WAS
P Soriano Rafael 1 FAN   P Morton Charlie 2 PIT

Don’t Be Fooled By the Chess Game

So play the Game of Shadows (Shadow Draft) to learn where players fell in LABR to see where you might get bargains in your drafts.  Don’t think too much…meaning always take better talent over hype in the fantasy media. Also, know your opponent’s strengths and play to them.  In LABR AL, we needed more starting pitching when we got to the end.  In LABR NL, we were prepared for that because Doug Dennis and Steve Moyer always play to their strength of selecting great pitchers at the end of drafts. Like Sherlock Holmes said in Game of Shadows: “First, pillage the nest. Clip wings. Now, blunt his beak. Crack eggs. Scramble, pinch of salt. Touch of pepper. Flip the omelet. Additional seasoning required. Breakfast is served.”

Play Hard; Never Say DIE; and Eat Your Opponent for Breakfast!