Dealing with the MLB Delay: Draft Now and Draft Later!

Do you have a draft scheduled and want to draft now? Consider using this twist.

Here at Pitcher List, we are right in the midst of draft season. We have a ton of community leagues and staff leagues of every different variety.

We also have COVID-19 and the MLB delay.

What are we supposed to do about fantasy baseball season?

Nick wrote about the impact that the delay will have, and I encourage you to read it. He outlines some of the players that rise and fall in value if the season is pushed.

Sometimes life comes along and puts a wrench into our plans. We need to adjust. Here is how I suggest we continue to enjoy fantasy drafts, and stay flexible.


Take Care of Yourself


Fantasy baseball isn’t the priority right now. Making sure that you are taking precautions to reduce exposure and transmission is vital. Be smart and stay healthy, nothing is more important than that.

Part of taking care of yourself might be enjoying our hobby. We love baseball and we love fantasy baseball. That’s why I write at Pitcher List and why you read articles at Pitcher List. For me, fantasy baseball helps me get through the long cold winter. It helps pass the time. If people are spending more time at home or are in quarantine, they need a diversion and they need to do things that they enjoy. For me, and maybe for you, that is fantasy baseball.

One thing that I have noticed is that drafting has ground to a halt. March 13-15 and March 20-22 should be the two biggest draft weekends of the year. We have spent five months preparing for our drafts. We are ready. Let’s go!

Now that we know that the season is delayed, we need to adjust. Does that mean that we just stop? I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to stop drafting and preparing. It’s fun and I enjoy it. This situation is made even worse without fantasy baseball!

I also need to get an influx of normalcy. I need a diversion and I can get that by enjoying my hobby.


What we Know Now


We know, right now, that the MLB season will be delayed two weeks. We know that players (especially pitchers) will have to ramp up. We know working out is a long way from throwing 100 pitches in an in-season game. We know that there will be time for players to get game-ready. How long that will take is unclear.

We also know that this situation is changing quickly. MLB is played across many states, in two countries (plus scheduled games in England, Mexico, and Puerto Rico), all with different governments and policy-makers. The situation and responses in all those jurisdictions can be very different. With that, the MLB season is all the more complicated.

Travel is an issue. MLB teams put in thousands of travel miles in a season. We don’t know what will happen when it comes to travel.

The delay will impact players differently. As I mentioned, Nick addressed some of this earlier last week.


A Proposal


Considering that there is more that we don’t know than what we do, some have decided to postpone drafts. As fantasy baseball fanatics, we want to get drafting right away. The problem is that it is so hard to draft right now because we don’t know how baseball (or the world) will look in a week, a month, or two months. The situation is so fluid.

That doesn’t mean we have to go back into hibernation.

Go ahead and start your slow drafts. Have fun. Have some laughs. Use your research and prep to put together an amazing team. When the season begins, win your league!

There is one thing… I propose that all managers have the opportunity to redraft later, if they wish.

Let me explain…

We all draft our teams. We love them. The problem is that we can’t see the future and we don’t know baseball season will begin, and we don’t know what the season will look like when it does begin. The best way to deal with this is to give managers an opportunity to make some adjustments.

  1. Slow draft with the knowledge we have now.
  2. When the draft is complete, managers can make drops if they wish, but cannot add players to their roster.
  3. When we know when the season will begin, and we know how long the ramp-up period will be, managers can:
    1. Keep as many players as they wish. If they are happy with their team they can keep all players.
    2. If they choose to drop a player, for any reason, they may do so. No maximum. If they want to drop their whole team, they may (though I doubt that this is the right move).
    3. After all managers have been given the chance to drop players, a second draft will begin. Managers who do not have a full roster (i.e.: they dropped a player) will participate in the second draft. The same draft order as for the initial draft.
    4. Managers draft until their roster is full. Once the roster is full, the manager is skipped in all remaining rounds.
    5. This continues until all rosters are full.

The second draft can be set before the eventual start of the MLB season. Ideally, it happens during the ramp-up period before the season begins, just as drafts have been happening during the last few weeks of Spring Training before the start of the season.


How This Helps


This isn’t going to solve everything, but it is intended as a way to make lemonade when all we have are lemons.

First of all, this helps because we can all continue doing what we love: drafting and preparing for fantasy baseball.

Secondly, it does not punish managers who might be impacted by any future governmental, procedural, public safety, or league decisions. At the very least, it helps managers who may be impacted.

Thirdly, it preserves Free Agent Acquisition Budget. We don’t want a situation where a manager has to replace a player and has to use some/most/all of his/her FAAB to replace a player for a COVID-19-related reason. This is beyond a fantasy manager’s control. It might ruin a season. The second draft will allow managers to adjust their roster, if they wish, and the FAAB budgets will remain untouched.

Does this solve everything? Not at all. It does, however, try to make the best of a bad situation and, hopefully, it helps us get through it.


Featured image by Justin Paradis (@freshmeatcomm on Twitter).

Mark McElroy

When I am not watching baseball or writing about fantasy baseball, I can usually be found cycling in and around Victoria, BC. I am a manager at Pitcher List and can be found on Twitter @markmcelroybb.

One response to “Dealing with the MLB Delay: Draft Now and Draft Later!”

  1. J.C. Mosier says:

    Well said, Mark. I’m going to propose this to my league this week!

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