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Position Scarcity
Posted by Dalton Del Don at 3/14/2007 11:25:00 AM
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While some overrate position scarcity, others pay no attention to it. Winning is likely possible with either strategy, but the object of this article is to decide just how to go about dealing with thin positions. First off, let’s identify which positions are shallow and which ones are loaded with talent. Obviously, each person’s particular league rules have an effect on this, so realize the difference between a 10-team league and a 15-team one.

Outfield – It’s top heavy, with numerous sleeper/upside options in the middle tiers. Overall, there are at least 60-70 quality options. Verdict = Deep

1B – Not as deep as usual. Surprisingly, first base is one of the thinner positions this year, as after you get through the top-13 options, only players with significant risk remain. Personally, I’m not even enamored with options 8-13 either. A smart owner will use 3B as their corner infield position, waiting to fill that out later on. Verdict = More Shallow than you think

2B – While middle infield is typically considered the toughest area to fill out each season, that’s not the case with second this year. Chase Utley separates himself, but there are 15 rock solid options and a handful more that could easily prove capable. Verdict = Deep

SS – There’s a pretty clear-cut top-7, and one or two from that tier have typically been falling as far as the fourth round, making a great value pick. The next tier (8-13) is a solid yet not without risk group. After that, you’re reaching. Verdict = Somewhat Shallow

3B – There’s the big three, and then a clear-cut 2nd tier. Options 7-15 will differ on almost every single cheat sheet, and all come with big reward/risk. Since another 10 options exist as passable CI starters even after that, third base is about as deep as it gets. Don’t pigeon hole yourself and take two early, as that blocks your ability to fill it out with value later on. Verdict = Very Deep

Catcher – In a two-catcher format, Joe Mauer has been undervalued in most leagues. In those formats, he’s worthy of a top-20 pick. In 1-catcher leagues, it’s not nearly as big of a deal, since 12 solid options exist. Still, in those 2-C leagues, you better not wait, because options 18-30 are pretty terrible. Remember, production isn’t always just production:

Catcher #1 25 HRs Catcher #2 15 HRs Outfielder #1 40 HRs Outfielder #2 35 HRs

In this example, catcher #1 is obviously the first pick, despite hitting 15 fewer HRs than Outfielder #1.

Relief Pitchers – Do yourself a favor and wait on the closers run. If you’re drafting for saves before round 5, you’re doing a great disservice to yourself. Not only is the “saves” category the most volatile and unpredictable category, but about 30 percent of this position won’t finish there at season’s end. Also, drafting a starting pitcher contributes about 2.5-3 times as much to your team in ERA and WHIP than a RP does, since that’s how many more innings they typically hurl. Verdict – Wait, it’s deep enough

Starting Pitchers – This very much so depends on your league format. If you have a 1250 innings cap, you can probably afford to wait a few rounds before taking a SP. In leagues that allow a bigger innings max, SPs become even more valuable. Remember, in an 1800 innings cap league with 14 starting offensive players, a SP will count for about 1/8 of your pitching stats while an offensive player counts for 1/14. While many sneaky, bottom tier options exist this year, don’t miss the boat early on, as plenty of upper echelon hurlers are falling into the middle rounds. Verdict = Not Deep

In summation, going crazy and drafting Chase Utley over Albert Pujols is obviously wrong, but position scarcity is a very real thing and must be accounted for. When drafting, take a look at how many options remain at each position that you would be comfortable with inserting into your starting lineup. If very few remain at SS but plenty do at OF, use that as a determining factor if you’re deciding between Edgar Renteria and Magglio Ordonez, even if you think Mags is going to put up slightly better numbers.

Good position scarcity targets:

Round 1 – Chase Utley.

Round 2 – Jimmy Rollins, Hanley Ramirez (SBs are a category scarcity) and Joe Mauer (if 2-C league).

Round 3 – Derrek Lee

Rounds 4-7 – Starting Pitchers. Think Jake Peavy (ADP=46) and John Smoltz (ADP=69).

Later Rounds – Fill out relief pitching, outfield and 3B/CI.


Well, this is the first time I've heard 2B as described as deep. There's a clear tier 1 (Utley), a tier 2 (Roberts and Cano), and then it's a crapshoot with young guys with potential (Kendrick, Weeks, etc), aging vets (Kent, Durham), and then it's a serious crapshoot.

Nice job!
Posted by vtadave at 3/14/2007 8:51:00 PM
That young guys with potential group is pretty crowded (along w/ Kendrick and Weeks, there’s also Ian Kinsler, Brandon Phillips and Josh Barfield). In some leagues, Ryan Freel is available at 2B, and Jorge Cantu is a great “post-hype sleeper.” My favorite target of all, however, is Chris Burke, and we haven’t even talked about Figgins, Lugo, Uggla and/or Iguchi.
Posted by Dalton Del Don at 3/14/2007 11:36:00 PM
Agreed. Barfield went nuts at one point last season, Iguchi is terribly under-rated, Lugo in Boston is more than drool-inducing, Figgins, even Orlando Hudson to a degree, Kendrick could be a .345 bust out waiting to happen, Jose Lopez gets ignored. I love 2B this year. Unless Utley drops to me at the bottom of the first round (that's where I am in my main league), I'm grabbing Iguchi way late.

Opposite side of the coin - I think Uggla is going to disappoint A LOT of owners this year. His hit rate/contact rate/ discipline was awful in '06 (lucky, lucky, lucky, in other words).
Posted by RogOli71 at 3/15/2007 8:22:00 AM
Very good post, by the way.
Posted by RogOli71 at 3/15/2007 8:23:00 AM
Oh I agree Roger, Uggla screams “sophomore slump” this season. I think so many people feel this way, that in drafts I’ve been in at least, he’s being treated with extreme caution. And I still let him pass me by.
Posted by Dalton Del Don at 3/15/2007 9:10:00 AM
I've felt there's less outfield depth this year compared to recent years; I think the penny-pinching guys you normally land were easier to find and cash in on the last few seasons. As for Uggla, he's UNIVERSALLY PANNED in the expert community, and that makes him a discount if you're playing with those guys. Maybe he won't hit 27 homers again, but I bet you make an easy profit if he hits 18-20. I'm worried that Cantu's glove could potentially keep him off the field, plus he swings at anything.
Posted by spianow at 3/19/2007 8:01:00 AM
I can't get on board with the theory that you don't draft an OF until Round 8. Tough to swallow.
Posted by bsmith9108 at 3/21/2007 12:57:00 PM

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