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Post Info TOPIC: The Draft - Long but important!

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The Draft - Long but important!

All - 

Since this is now our sixth year using Strat Draft for the IOD, I think that we likely all know what is going on.  BUT, this is all here so that all of the information you should need will be laid out in one place for a reference.

Two reminders up front.  Please check your picks and money balances before the draft starts so I can fix anything that looks wrong.  Second, please please please be very careful about drafting a player that we haven't loaded.  I'm sure we don't have everyone that might be interesting already on the site but if you think that SD's fifth-best prospect needs to be added, it's almost certain that you're wrong.  Check VIII below for more info.


I. Questions and Issues

If you have any questions or issues with stratdraft please contact me or Eric.  We are both very familiar with Strat Draft and can help you figure out whatever is going on.  In the unlikely event that you have a problem with the site once the draft starts having timed picks (see below) please contract me, Eric, and Kevin (who runs a SD draft in another league) ASAP.  Any of us have the ability to deal with the site and, in the highly unlikely event of a major problem, pause the draft and deal with any issues.  If this does happen please be sure to contract all three of us ASAP in case one or more of us are busy, travelling, or otherwise unavailable.

Please take a few minutes before the draft starts to poke around the site and familiarize yourself a bit with how it works.

II. Dates and Times

Per the calendar, the IOD is to start on Sunday March 13.  I am going to open drafting on the Strat Draft site on Friday March 11 but I will not start the time periods for picks until March 13th.  Thus, to the extent that people are ready and willing to do so, they can start drafting people early without the pressure of a time clock ticking down, but nobody will be required to pick until the 13th.

Starting on Sunday the 13th the IOD will be a timed draft - each pick will be allotted 30 minutes.  If you do not make a selection during your time slot, your pick will be passed over and the next owner will be up.  If your pick is passed over, you will be able to login and make that selection at any later time, but you will have lost the opportunity to draft any player subsequently taken after you missed your pick.  Use the AutoDraft function (see below) to prevent this ever happening to you!  The time for your pick will be set when the schedule resets the night before (see below) and will not change.  In other words, if your pick is allotted to be between 2:00 and 2:30 pm ET, your deadline will be 2:30 ET no matter if the picks before you are all made by 9:00 am ET.  So you can check stratdraft the night before or the morning of and see when your deadline is.

24 picks will be scheduled each day: 12 hours, from 9:00 am ET until 9:00 pm ET.  You may draft before your time slot comes up, and if you use Autodraft, your top of the list player will be automatically taken by the draft site once your next pick comes up.  In other leagues, with several owners using Autodraft, there are times when 5 or 6 picks are fired off in less than a minute.  Again, note that your time slot schedule will not change even if the draft goes rapidly thru previous picks. 

The schedule for picks will be reset every evening around 11:00 pm ET.  You should all get an email (unless you have opted out on the site) with the notice that the pick slot schedule has been updated and listing the new times.  Remember, you will be able to estimate your pick time slot based on the progress in the draft once we get near 9:00 pm.  And we will never start the draft prior to 9:00 AM ET, so you know your "next pick" will always be after that time for the next day.

III. Navigating Strat Draft

When you sign in at the site you will automatically be taken to the main draft page that will show the current round of picks and prior/upcoming rounds.

Navigation on the site is done through the buttons on the left side of that page.  Most of these can be safely ignored - the ones that you will likely need are "Front Office" (discussed below), "Draft Players" (also discussed below), and "Draft Views."

The "Help" button at the top of the main page is actually very good if you want to take to the time to understand Strat Draft more fully.

You may want to use "Draft Views" from time to time to see either "Full Draft," which will show the entire draft (set up for 20 rounds, which is longer than any prior ARBA draft has gone) and not just the current and immediately surrounding rounds, or more likely to be helpful, "My Draft," which will show: (i) all players you have drafted so far, (ii) all of your team's picks in the draft, (iii) your current Autodraft lists, and (iv) your current money balance.

IV. "My Profile," Drafting Players, and Autodraft

The most important page in Strat Draft is the "My Profile" page.  If you click on "Front Office" -> "My Office" -> "My Profile" you will get to a page that has your profile information and user preferences, your team's Autodraft settings, and lists of all players available for drafting (more info on this below), separated into carded players ("Standard Players") and minor leaguers ("Auxiliary Players").

Profile Information

You can change all of this information as you wish.  Obviously, if you change your Username or Password that will change how you log into the site.  You can change your email for draft notifications or add a second email to also get the notifications.  You can also change the notification setting for picks - the default setting for the league is for everyone to get an email of every pick made in the draft.  Personally I find this helpful both to see what players are being taken and to judge how fast the draft is going, but if you would rather receive fewer emails during the draft, you can change the setting to only get notification as your pick approaches.

Note that there is also a box for "Notify me of league openings."  Because Strat Draft is a site used by active and engaged Strat owners, this is a service they provide where leagues looking for new owners can send emails soliciting people who might be interested.  We have received many great owners this way!  However, if you are not looking to join a new Strat league I highly recommend turning this option off, as otherwise you will receive 5-10 emails a week along these lines.

Drafting Players (Non-Autodraft)

There are two ways to draft a player when your pick is up.  The first way, which is used in my experience for the majority of picks, is Autodraft which I will discuss below.  The other way is, once your pick is up (requiring you to be online and on the site when your pick is up, obviously), clicking on "Draft Players" on the main page.  From there you can click "Batters, "Pitchers," or "Non-Carded Player."  PLEASE DO NOT PICK NON-CARDED PLAYER UNLESS YOU'RE REALLY REALLY REALLY TOTALLY COMPLETELY SURE about doing so - this is discussed more below.

If you select "Batters" or "Pitchers" you can choose to look at all of them or by a specific position (eg Catcher, Closer, Right Fielder).  Note that while Eric and I have tried this year to split Auxiliary Players into Batters and Pitchers, we make no promises that that sorting is actually 100% correct - so if you're looking for a minor leaguer and don't find them under whatever Batter/Pitcher designation you think they should be under, please check the other one first.  The minor leaguers are not broken down by position, so if you click on a specific position the site will give you a list of all carded players qualified at that position but no minor leaguers.

If you want to draft a player this way then during your turn when you go to a selection of players all of them will have a "Draft" button by their name.  Find who you want to draft, click the button, confirm the pick on the next page, and you're done.

If you do draft this way, note that you can make your pick at any time after the pick before yours is made - you do not have to wait until your time slot to make a selection - you can get online and select well before your time slot.  But your pick won't be passed over until the end of your time slot.


Using Autodraft - Autodraft Is Your Friend

Autodraft is the function that allows you to set up your pick in advance so that you don't have to be available during the day to make your pick during your time slot.  You can enter up to 30 players in your Autodraft list and, with a maximum of 24 timed picks per day, you should be able to ensure that you can set up your Autodraft at night, walk away, and not worry about the draft until you come home and see who you got.

There are two things you have to do to use Autodraft - first, click the box in the top left of the Autodraft box that turns it on for your team.  Then, make a choice to the right of that as to whether your Autodraft pick will be made "Immediately on my turn" or "Only to prevent a time violation."  Obviously, the draft will go quicker and your fellow owners will love you if you select "Immediately on my turn."  But if you want to be able to check in and possibly modify your picks during the draft you can select "Only to prevent a time violation."

Once you've done this, Autodraft is a way to setup an ordered list of up to 30 players to draft.  Autodraft allows you to put in ordered list of players, such that when your pick comes up, the site will take the highest player available from your list.  There are 6 groups of 5 - if you just want to set up for a single pick then this is easy - provide a list of up to 30 players in order.  If you want to set up for multiple picks in a single day then the separate groups become important - for example, if you want to get a carded shortstop but only need one, and then you want minor leaguers, you can list up to 5 carded shortstops in your 1st player group with a designation to First draft a maximum of 1 player from this 1st player group, then list minor leaguers in the rest of your autodraft. 

If you turn on Autodraft, when your pick comes up, the system will choose the highest ranked Available player in your autodraft list (players selected previously will be dropped from your list automatically), subject to the maximum player designation you have used if any.  If several owners have autodraft set On, the system will continue picking until either an owner has autodraft Off, or an owner's ordered list is 'empty' (meaning all players in his list have already been taken).

Using Autodraft is highly, highly recommended.  It prevents you from "missing" a pick because real life got in the way and called you away from the computer when the time slot for your pick comes up.

V. Special Note to Owners of Two Teams

Because each team might have different needs and priorities, each team will have its own login, profile, autodraft list, & etc.  Thus, those of you with two teams will have to set up each team separately.  You can, of course, use the same Autodraft list if you want, but you will have to enter it for both teams.

VI. Trading

Because using Strat Draft is going to be considerably less frantic than a live IOD, the old prohibition on trades during the draft is lifted.  Please report any trades involving picks to me and Eric so one of us can adjust the site asap.  If a traded pick comes up before one of us adjusts the site, the ideal solution would be to just have the original team make the pick and we will effectuate the trade afterwards.  If that is not possible for some reason (ie the team trading the pick is out of money and thus cannot draft the player) please send a note to the league asap and we will try to deal with it.  Obviously it would be highly preferable for this to not happen so if it looks like you might be trading an upcoming pick without having cash to cover the pick yourself and effectuate the trade after, please make every effort to not wait until the last second to make it happen.

VII. Money Balances and Salaries

Another advantage of using Strat Draft is that we will have real-time money balances so that there will not be any accidental negative balances.  If you're not being allowed to draft someone please check to see if it's because you don't have enough money left to do so.  Eric and I will be adjusting money balances for trades as we go.

VIII. Checking Information and "Non-Carded Players"

Eric and I have spent a lot of the past weeks putting information into the site - picks, money balances, and available players.  It is almost 100% certain that I have gotten something wrong.  PLEASE PLEASE check before the 13th to ensure that all of your picks are correct, that your money balance is correct, and especially that none of your minor leaguers are listed in the available Auxiliary Players.  If everyone takes 10 minutes to do this in advance of the draft I would greatly appreciate it and everything will go extremely smoothly in the draft.

Note in the draft that some picks are shown are "traded" that are actually just changed draft position due to our tradition of alternating picks for teams that had the same record. Same thing for the first 5 picks in the first round due to the lottery.

The list of Auxiliary Players on Strat Draft has been poured over and will likely be adjusted as others review it.  BUT there are still a LOT of names!  It is likely that there might be some errors on the list.  Just because someone is on the Auxiliary Player list does not necessarily mean that they are actually unowned!  Please check as you normally would to see if a player you want to draft is actually owned or not before drafting the player.

Eric and I have tried to include an extremely comprehensive list of around 1000 available Auxiliary Players with names from every source of minor-league prospects that we can think of.  Having said that, I know this league and someone will come up with a 12-year-old from Zimbabwe that can throw 112 mph or something that will not be on the list.  Of course you can draft that person.

On the "My Profile" page there is a box between the "Standard Players" and "Auxiliary Players" that says "Obtain ID for pre-Majors player."  You can use this to draft your guy that is not on the pre-loaded lists.  Just put in his (or her) first and last name, pick a level (it doesn't matter which it's just a required field for some reason) and add the 40000 salary and the guy will get an ID that will let you draft him and will let you include him on your Autodraft list.  This is set up to be specific only to you - your doing this will not reveal the name to anyone else so your secret discovery is safe.

Having said that PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE only do this if you're totally, completely, really, utterly sure that the player isn't already owned, already drafted during the IOD, or already on the list of Auxiliary Players.  As mentioned, we have already scoured all prospect sources we can think of so if you think that Baseball America's #4 prospect for Cincy is a secret discovery that you need a special code for, it is extremely likely that you're wrong.  Remember that, try as I might to prevent it, some player names are misspelled on the official rosters too - if there is a player on the right MLB team with an extra "e" in his name that is owned, it is extremely likely that it's the same player.  (If you really want to check you can use baseball america's player search function to see if there really are two players with similar names - this does happen occasionally (but only occasionally) - for example the two Luis A. Basabes and the two Cristian Stewarts).  You can also ask me or Eric if a guy is owned if you would like to be sure.

If you do draft someone using the Obtain ID function that is already owned, we will undo the pick as soon as it's noticed and you will be able to re-pick but you will not be able to pick anyone who has been taken after your erroneous pick.  This is very definitely a "buyer beware" situation, just like it has been handled during the live IOD.  Obviously, if anyone thinks that one of your guys has been taken in error please let me and Eric know ASAP.

Because we still have the cut-down date after the IOD, I have not limited the number of players you can draft.  So if you don't want to draft more than 60 players, you need to know how many open slots you have.

Thanks to everyone for reading and good luck in the IOD!

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