Diversifying your portfolio is one of the most basic tricks of the trade in the stock market. If you don’t bank too much on a single company’s success, but rather create a portfolio of varied, cross-industry stocks, the old adage says that you’ll succeed. In it’s most basic and unscientific form, is the same strategy worthwhile?
Pictured below are some pretty pie graphs of my draft breakdown thus far in 2012. I’ve drafted in five out of the seven leagues I’m participating in this year, and found myself building a core, generally, around a whole slew of different guys each time.
Is that a keen strategy—using my end game, and even centerpiece picks, on a variety of guys, assuring—in theory—the chances for success? Or, like in Vegas when you’re feeling good about a certain game or a certain line, should I have “whacked” a certain player, gone all-in, and drafted him in every single league (say, an Alejandro de Aza, Cory Luebke, or Carlos Gonzalez, all of whom I own in three out of five leagues so far)?
I own 16 percent of my hitters in more than one league, and 23 percent of my pitchers twice or more, for reference. But it all comes down to personal preference. Feeling a big year coming from Carlos Gonzalez like I do? Not so risk-averse? Bid him up in every league and put all your money where your mouth is.
My personal bend is to diversify my assets and simply look for the best deals where available. This draft season, I’ve found my strategy pretty straightforward and repetitive: draft a couple of studs, spend a good deal on pitching, but generally hold my money until the mid-range players come around and buy whomever I choose. Jordan Zimmermann and Cory Luebke, to a certain extent, fit that mold; I’m not targeting them, but they’re falling to me. I’m paying less for their value than what I should, and that, in it’s simplest form, is how to win any given league.
A couple of reminders when chasing a player you love:
What’s the difference?
I’ve seen, by nature of participating in a good number of drafts over the past few weeks, a bunch of guys bid past the projected value of a player on a site like Yahoo, only to be pushed one number further and drop out. Sometimes—and this is what doesn’t work for me—the chat box will read, from the recently outbid, “I was willing to go (insert arbitrary number here) but wasn’t willing to go (insert arbitrary number plus another bid, usually $2) on him.” Err… If you’re willing to spend $27 on Clayton Kershaw, for example, but aren’t willing to spend $29 on him, you’re letting self-doubt rule the day. I’d put the likelihood that Kershaw’s actual value lies in the $27-$29 range at “very low.” What one is really thinking when they self-confirm their dropping out of the bidding is, I’d think, “Crap, maybe I oughtta spend my money elsewhere! Or let this guy or gal with a fat stack left burn some of their cash so I can have the most money left!” Don’t self-doubt, and don’t back down at such levels. Target your guys and go get ‘em.
Don’t price enforce
By all means, if you’ve pinpointed a couple of guys that you feel you absolutely need to build around, don’t play the role of the price enforcer. By pushing the price up on guys you have no intention of buying, you’re playing into a risky strategy that may not pan out (i.e. when you get stuck with Chris Carpenter for three bucks trying to push his price up to pre-draft value of, say, seven dollars).
That said, deplete the market and pounce
Especially if you play in a keeper league, it would certainly be a deft move to take into account position scarcity and current rosters and, depending on the situation, try to fill others’ gaps. Say, for instance, I play in a 10 team NL-only league, and there are seven or so catchers kept. I figure I need Brian McCann or things might get ugly, but there are, plausibly, the two other teams without a catcher competing for McCann’s services to fill their void. I spot Buster Posey, who I’m low on this year, still hanging on my draft board, and throw him out there very well knowing I’ll eliminate one of my competitors for McCann: I sit back, relax, and enjoy the show. Now, of course, such a situation is unlikely (catcher is pretty weak this year, let me tell you), but the idea rings true at any point in the draft and in many analogous situation. Take money out of the total pot without price enforcing.
So, you feeling lucky on Carlos Gonzalez this year? Play your cards right, put a chip in each of the pots, and hold your breath.