ROTISSERIE: Attempting to Make the (Reliability) Grade in AL-LABR

“A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds” – Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1841

“My foolish little mind spent too much money on inconsistent players” – Dave Adler, summer of 2022

If you use Rotolab during your draft or auction – and if not, what are you waiting for – peeking at the “projected standings” in the midst of the action is de rigueur. While the main draft screen logs progress towards category goals, the projected standings page allow a check on how your team’s holding up against others teams. And leaving the room with a first-place team…well, mission accomplished! Um, well, no…of course. If those danged human players would just play to their projections, the title would be decided before the first pitch of the season occurs.

One way that Baseball HQ tries to mitigate the inherent uncertainty of projections is to assign reliability scores; it’s best to heed those when determining ideal targets. As detailed in the Forecaster, the three-letter assignment corresponds to player’s track records in Health, Playing Time/Experience, and Consistency. The better the grades, the more reliable the player. Founding Father Ron Shandler recently summarized his BABS system to quantify risks in his three-part article.

In the 2022 AL-LABR auction, I concentrated on Health as well as Playing Time for offense, and tolerated a bit more Inconsistency to give a broader pool of targets. Spreading the Risk, I was happy to come out of the auction with some nice projected stats at value or with a bit of projected profit. Here are the hitters I grabbed for $10 or more:

Pos      Name           Team    MM CODE   Sal   $R   
===  ===============    ====    ========  ===   == 
C    Garver, Mitch       MIN    4035 DDF   10   15 
1B   Walsh, Jared        LAA    4145 BAD   21   20
CO   Dalbec, Bobby       BOS    5235 AAD   16   18
2B   Lowe, Brandon       TAM    4345 BAB   25   24
SS   Seager, Corey       TEX    3155 FAB   23   23
OF   Hernandez, Teoscar  TOR    4445 AAC   31   25
OF   Grossman, Robbie    DET    2335 AAB   16   15
OF   Baddoo, Akil        DET    3525 ACF   20   21


You probably can figure out where I’m going with this…too many inconsistent players combined with injuries led to a last place finish. Of course, Consistency doesn’t always translate into “good.” It just means the player has performed at the same level for the last few years. Elvis Andrus has a consistency grade of A, but building a team with 14 Andrus-level players won’t get the job done.

The LABR auctions occured during First Pitch Florida last weekend; attempting to ignore the palm trees and sunshine, I went into the 2023 AL-LABR auction with the goal of drafting a team of higher-reliability players, particularly for the costly players.



Despite the consistency woes in 2022, it wasn’t hard to meet the budget goals. This year, I aimed again to spread the risk on offense, and concentrate on getting a couple of starters from the low-end of the top tier to anchor the pitching staff. To account for the current tier of players in the league, I did adjust the budget goals somewhat:

C ($16) – 15/1
CO ($52) – 25/14/13
MI ($60) – 25/20/15
OF/UT ($68) – 25/15/15/7/5/1
SP ($55) – 22/18/10/4/1
RP ($10) – 7/1/1/1


There’s a deeper tier of decent catchers in the AL this year – nine projected to earn $9 or more – so I bumped up the receiver budget to try to get a top performer. That came at the cost of lowering the outfielder pool; with some interesting names at the bottom of the list, it didn’t seem like a major sacrifice. With a dearth of reliable closers, I also lowered the projected reliever spending and added a few more bucks to go after better quality starters.

Rather than targeting a specific player, I create a list of players in each of the above tiers, and highlight the ones that meet the reliability filters. In this way, one generally does not need to get caught up in high bidding if a particular player is popular; as long as there are more options in the tier, patience may provide more profit.


How it went

The start of AL-LABR always produces spirited bidding on the top stars, with many going a few dollars above projected value. That value is recovered in the mid-end game – but if waiting for values to normalize, the ability to build adequate stats vanishes. So I dipped my toes into the pool regularly, trying to stay within a dollar or two of projected values.



Here’s how the 2023 Baseball HQ AL-LABR team looks.

Pos      Name           Team    MM CODE   Sal   $R   
===  ===============    ====    ========  ===   == 
C    Haase, Eric         DET    4323 ACC    7    9 
C    McCann, James       BAL    1213 DDC    1    1
1B   Abreu, Jose         HOU    3055 AAC   26   21
3B   Turner, Justin      BOS    2345 CAA   12   18
CO   Brown, Seth         OAK    4225 AAD   13   18
2B   Kemp, Tony          OAK    1445 AAD    6   12
SS   Anderson, Tim       CHW    1555 CAB   27   24
MI   Rosario, Ahmed      CLE    1545 AAB   23   22
OF   Santander, Anthony  BAL    4055 CAB   20   21
OF   Isbel, Kyle         KC     1405 ACB    8   11
OF   Stanton Giancarlo   NYY    4025 FAB   17   20
OF   Duvall, Adam        BOS    4135 CBB    9   15
OF   Kepler, Max         MIN    2245 CAA    5   14
UT   Haggerty, Sam       OAK    2523 FDC    1    8
SP   Garcia, Luis        HOU    2203 AAA   18   16
SP   Javier, Cristian    HOU    2503 AAB   24   21
SP   Dettmers, Reid      LAA    2303 FAA   12   12
SP   Civale, Adam        CLE    3303 FAA    8   11
SP   Ober, Bailey        MIN    1201 FDA    1    0
RP   Estevez, Carlos     LAA    2320 DBA    8    4
RP   Sewald, Paul        SEA    2420 BBF   10   10
RP   Neris, Hector       HOU    4520 FDF    1    5
RP   Brash, Matt         SEA    5510 ADD    3    1
RES  Smith, Will         TEX    1413 ABB    0    R
RES  Jax, Griffin        MIN    0001 ADB    0    R
RES  Perez, Cionel       BAL    1333 BBD    0    R
RES  Vavra, Terrin       BAL    3301 AFF    0    R
RES  Reyes, Victor       CHW    5410 DDA    0    R
RES  Silseth, Chase      LAA    4500 AFF    0    R

Followed the plan?

At the auction: I was able to concentrate on the reliability values for the higher-priced stars (in bold, above). However, as the auction went on, and the tiers of players shrank, I had to take on more risk to get the projected stats in my categories of need. All of the top catchers went well over projections, so I settled for a more cost-effective option.

How did the budgeting go? Spread the risk worked well, as I rostered no players over $27 and had only four $1 players. But as the money was being spent, and I saw that the catcher and outfield budgets would not be spent, I shifted gears to take on another mid-tier starter. It wasn’t my goal to spend $87 on pitching, but I’m mostly pleased with how the staff worked out.

In hindsight – I should have taken a stab at one of the top closers. Taking on a $13-15 Jansen, Barlow, Holmes, or Bautista would have made more sense than spreading $20 over three less reliable options.

Offense: Rotolab likes the power on this squad, with 11-12 projected points in HR, RBI, runs. Speed and BA rea middle of the pack

Pitching: Not as successful as in hitting, at 40 projected points. It’s the top projected team in Ratio and ERA, but wins, saves, and K’s need work.



While Rotolab projects this squad for first place, there’s still much to happen before the season even gets underway. But by flattening the cost distribution and spreading the risk, I’ve hopefully set up the Baseball HQ AL-LABR squad to emerge as a contender when the season gets under way.

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  For more information about the terms used in this article, see our Glossary Primer.