Here are the current standings in CBS Sportsline's NL-only Experts 5x5 draft league:
Team Batting Pitching Total
Rotowire.com 40.0 49.0 89.0
CBS SportsLine.com (Gonos) 37.0 45.0 82.0
CBS SportsLine.com (Mack) 38.0 40.0 78.0
Roto Times 32.0 35.5 67.5
FantasyBaseball.com 50.0 17.0 67.0
Baseball Prospectus 24.0 42.5 66.5
SportsBlurb.com 30.5 35.0 65.5
SportFanatics.net 45.0 20.5 65.5
Baseball Info Solutions 46.0 17.0 63.0
Patton 9.0 47.0 56.0
Elias Sports Bureau 19.5 21.5 41.0
Mastersball.com 19.0 20.0 39.0
I'm running the risk of a massive jinx/collapse over the last couple of weeks here, but Jeff Baker's two homer game (his first game in my lineup) has me feeling cocky.
My hitting has been keyed by a third round pick, some Ryan Howard guy, plus a catching tandem of Brian McCann and Josh Willingham. Contributions from mid-round picks like Eric Byrnes and Wilson Betemit have also helped a lot.
On the pitching side, I've been able to overcome a draft day goof (taking Ben Sheets instead of Roy Oswalt with my second round pick) thanks to the rest of my regular rotation -- Brandon Webb, Brad Penny and Matt Cain. Not spending picks on closers, and instead scrounging through the free agent pool for Takashi Saito and Jorge Julio to keep me competitive in saves, also paid off.
The moral here is an old military adage: no plan of battle ever survives contact with the enemy. I'm usually the first guy to advocate punting catchers, as the studs go too early and the mediocre guys are extremely fungible, but with everyone else shying away from the position in the middle rounds I grabbed McCann hoping to start a run, and then Willingham when the run didn't materialize. Closers were overvalued, so I didn't take any even though I came into the draft wanting to make sure I got at least one. And everyone else seemed youngster-shy, so I happily scooped them up (and boy did I pick the right year for it) -- in fact if I'd had the balls to take Hanley Ramirez in the middle rounds as a potential secondary steals source instead of (blech) Adam Everett I would have run away with the league.
More and more draft and auction skills are overlapping with skills developed at the poker table. Reading your opponents' tendencies, not just looking at the cards in front of you, can be crucial to victory.