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The Red Reporter Crock-Pot League

We did something kinda weird, but it was fun

Cincinnati Reds v Chicago Cubs Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Baseball’s regular season wrapped up yesterday, so your Cincinnati Reds now begin a long winter layoff. We here at Red Reporter will try to help you cope with it the best we can.

Towards the end of spring training back in March, I had a weird idea for a fantasy baseball league. See, I really like playing fantasy baseball, but with a job, a wife, a kid, and a handful of addictions, I hardly have time to manage a team over the long season. So the idea was to run a fantasy draft just before the season began and then never touch it again the entire season. We set our rosters and then we forgot about them. I called it the Crock-Pot League.

The conceit is relatively simple. With ten RR writers participating, we each draft 15 players: one for every field position, a utility spot, and six pitchers. We didn’t discriminate between right fielders and left fielders, starting pitchers and relief pitchers. The value of each player is measured using two simple metrics: FanGraphs’ WAR and Baseball-Reference’s WAR. The two numbers are averaged together. The team that accrued the most total WAR over the whole season would be crowned the champion.

We decided to draft only National League players and did so in a snake fashion. That was really the only stipulation on who was draft-eligible. If a player moved mid-season to the American League, like Jay Bruce and Bartolo Colon, their value would still carry over.

If you follow the link above to the spreadsheet, you can see how everything worked out. The ‘League’ tab was what we used to organize the draft, so there really isn’t anything interesting there for you. The ‘Picks in Order’ tab will show you exactly that (with the second pick I took Joey Votto and thus was the automatic supermagic champion but that’s neither here nor there I guess). You can also take a look at each of the team tabs with players and WAR totals.

The ‘Rankings’ tab will show you our final WAR totals and the final standings. Your fourth-favorite Red Reporter, Derek “Slimey” Grimes was the winner with a 42.5 WAR. Your sixth-favorite Red Reporter, Mitchell “I am become ARF, destroyer of worlds” Clark sucked hind tit and came in last with only 16.8 WAR. The final standings (all team names created by Charlie Scrabbles):

1 Grimer and the Real Ghostbusters 42.5
2 Boney Bonerton and His World-Famous Cartoon Show (Aaron Michael)37.45
3 People all over the world, join hands and start a Cy train 35.45
4 British Knights, not LA Gears 30.45
5 Tony "The Dentist" Wolfe 29.5
6 Charlie Scrabbles, Handsome Sex Python 28.2
7 There goes Eric "up your nose with a rubber hose" Roseberry 27.35
8 Jam Scott Sewell, that dumb trader 26.85
9 Wick 26.8
10 Poor arf 16.8

A few conclusions drawn in retrospect: pitching is incredibly difficult to project, but BK actually compiled more pitching WAR than position player WAR. Arfles and I got under seven WAR each from our pitching!

Of course, bWAR and fWAR use the same framework to determine value, but their calculations and formulae are different enough (that’s kinda why I just averaged them). Most players had values that were similar across the two, but there were also a few wild outliers. Jameson Taillon had a 1.5 WAR difference between b and f. Jerad Eickoff’s was 1.2. Michael Wacha’s was 1.7. But Gio Gonzalez’s was 3.2 WAR! The difference between his bWAR (6.5) and his fWAR (3.3) is enough to make up an entire All-Star-caliber season!

As Reds’ fans, we tended to draft more Reds players than we probably should have. Jam Scott Sewell, who no longer writes for us because he’s like a total snob or something and thinks he’s better than we are but guess what he’s not, nabbed Amir Garrett late in the draft. ARF took Cody Reed. I got Brandon Finnegan and Michael Lorenzen. All were bad.

I think the secret to Derek’s success was his ability to avoid drafting any real drags. Clay Buchholz and Adam Eaton were disappointments, but every other one of his players was able to post 1.5 WAR or better. Also, getting Marcel Ozuna (5.3 avgWAR) with the 97th pick was a real boon. To honor Derek’s momentous win, I am allowing him to consider this blogpost as a virtual high five to him from me. But only the one.

It is also worth mentioning that with this win, he is the first beardly-challenged American in history to win the Red Reporter Crock-Pot League title. Truly a historic victory.

You know, I wasn’t quite sure how this thing would turn out. I didn’t really put much thought into it (the time it took to get from initial conception to the end of the draft was something like three days), so it could have broken in any number of ways. I think it was a success, though. I think we’ll do it again next year.