Help with Draft format

tonyandpals

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So I run a men's league, and we draft Friday. Some rules you need to know.

Each team has 14 roster spots

Our draft is broken into three parts

Returning Player Draft
Free Agents
New Player Draft

All players that were in the league last year are either protected or unprotected by their manager.
All unprotected players go into the Returning Players Draft, so they are guaranteed a spot in the league.

Each team can bring in one free agent, a new sign up that is placed directly on the team.
If a team doesn't use their FA spot, they will have an extra pick from the New Player Draft pool before the New Player Draft starts

Remaining roster spots are filled with the New Player Draft

Notes:
Managers can protect 7 players, in addition to themselves.
They have an option to protect an 8th player by forfeiting their 1st pick in the New Player Draft
They have an option to protect an 9th player by forfeiting their 1st pick in the Returning player draft (must exercise the 8th keeper, New Player option above first)

So, a team can essentially bring back 9 players, plus the manager for 10 total.

Draft order - This is kind of funky. When you pick first in a round, you go to the back of the next round
Out order goes:
Round 1:
1-8 (8 being the champs)
Round 2:
2,3,4,5,6,7,8,1
Round 3:
3,4,5,6,7,8,1,2
Round 4:
4,5,6,7,8,1,2,3

This has lead to a lot of "luck" in the returning player draft. In the scenario above, lets say there were 20 returning players. You'd be done when you got to the 5th pick in round 3. Those are teams 7+8 in the scenario above, your Runner Up and Champion. They just miss get the 2 worse remaining players in the Return Draft and essentially get an extra pick in the New Player Draft. The New Players are typically significantly better than the last 10-12 or so returning players.

So we put in a rule last year that we would "re-order" whatever the last round of the draft was to ensure the Championship team got the last pick, and work backwards from their. It worked out fine last year...this year, it's looking like an issue.



The Championship team (Sliver Bullets) along with 2 other teams, are exercising their free agent and the 2 extra protected players. Those players are slotted below in Blue. They are removed from the returning player pool.
That gives a count of 31 returning players to be drafted in the 'first' draft.
You can see below that spills them over to the first two picks (30+31) of round 5. Our rule would give those two picks to Blue Sox and Silver Bullets. BUT their rosters are going to be already full because they get their 10th player in round 2, 11th in 3, 12th in 4. Their free agent is 13 and their slotted returning player in the New Player Draft is 14.

Any ideas on how to fix this?

My original thought was to skip their 4th round picks, and add them to the end of the draft. But the effect is when they are skipped, it just makes another player available and extends the draft. I did this an rearranged the last two rounds of the draft and it ended up giving the Orange Crush (worst team) two picks in a row (22+23). But they kept 1 fewer player than everyone else in hoping to rebuild. It seems like a penalty for them in this case to get the extra returning player. If they had kept the minimum amount of 7+ manager, then using that same logic, they would only have a single new player pick, when they are really the team that should be getting at least 2.

I know it's a lot of info, but I have until Friday to iron this out.

The easiest thing would be to make them carry 15, but that sucks and I don't think it will pass (rule changes need a 5-3 vote to pass). So I'm hoping to bring some other stuff to the table.

I'm sure there are questions, so ask away...

51640
 
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Phil Plantier

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If I get this:

You have 3 constraints (roster size = 14; can't remove players once placed/claimed; returning players must be drafted)

You have multiple goals:

-- Give lower-finishing teams higher draft position for returning players
-- Give lower-finishing teams higher draft position for new players
-- Give lower-finishing teams more new players and fewer returning players (after the first 16?)
-- Overall fairness concerns

Ordering these might be helpful.

I wonder if you can split the first draft: hold the first two rounds, then draft the new players, then draft/assign the remaining returning players?
 

tonyandpals

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Constraints are correct.

Goals:
Making sure the last player(s) in the draft are essentially slotted in order of Best team w/ worst player.
Overall fairness is high priority with an eye on parity.
 

Phil Plantier

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Constraints are correct.

Goals:
Making sure the last player(s) in the draft are essentially slotted in order of Best team w/ worst player.
Overall fairness is high priority with an eye on parity.
Can you just remove the 3 teams that claimed three players from the 4th round?
 

Phil Plantier

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Yeah, exactly. If they'll go for it. Or keep the Shamrocks in between them still.

Maybe a rule next time that claiming a free agent results in forfeiting a penultimate round pick
 

tonyandpals

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Also thinking of having the team rank the bottom of the returning players. Then slot those in the spot where the 3 teams at roster limits would be. Which I guess is the same as skipping and moving them to the end...
 

BigJimEd

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Can you combine the two drafts with a cap on the number of new players? You know how many new players can be picked so once you reach that number, returning players must be picked.

Protect 8 and you lose your first round pick.
Protect 9 and you lose your 2nd round pick.
Don't sign a free agent and you get a pick (maybe early on or a sandwich pick between rounds?)
 

tonyandpals

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Can you combine the two drafts with a cap on the number of new players? You know how many new players can be picked so once you reach that number, returning players must be picked.

Protect 8 and you lose your first round pick.
Protect 9 and you lose your 2nd round pick.
Don't sign a free agent and you get a pick (maybe early on or a sandwich pick between rounds?)
Those could work in the future for sure, but I had them making their keep selections this season under a different set of rules, so changing mid stream is tough.

BUT

Fortunately one other team has declared they are using the extra keeper spots. This pulls one player out of the returning player pool, slots them in the new player draft. So the returning player pool is now down to the perfect # of 29, which will let me reorder the last round in its entirety.

There's going to be a vote this year on removing the extra keeper spots, which I believe will pass. Also getting rid of the funky draft order and just going 1-8 each round (no snake), then the last round going X-8 depending on how many returner their are.

Thanks for taking a look guys, I appreciate it!
 

BigJimEd

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Glad it worked out! I like the proposed changes to your draft order. Should make things much simpler while still achieving the goals for the draft.
 

Old Fart Tree

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I think that works. I've learned that incumbency is SO powerful in adult leagues that teams tend to dominate for long stretches, a decade even. And while it's fun to be on that dominant squad, it can suck the joy out of it for the bottom finishers, who can go five years (probably more than the average tenure in a men's league) without even sniffing the playoffs. That's complicated by the fact that

  • you tend to have massive turnover on the teams that are getting smoked (some guys just hate losing every weekend and quit, some decide to go to a winner) so those are the teams that need to just get BODIES in the draft;
  • you tend to have little to no turnover on the dominant teams, because it's fun to win championships, and so they can afford to take nobody unless someone great falls into their lap;
  • the dominant teams tend to have better 'proprietary deal flow' in terms of attracting people outside the draft to their already dominant franchises; and
  • there are usually only one or two really good ballplayers available in a free-for-all draft.

I think you've done the best you can but those four structural issues are pretty pervasive. To turn it around, you basically need to get lucky with a couple friends who are all good ballplayers at once, or grind away one good ballplayer a year for years and years.
 

tonyandpals

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I think that works. I've learned that incumbency is SO powerful in adult leagues that teams tend to dominate for long stretches, a decade even. And while it's fun to be on that dominant squad, it can suck the joy out of it for the bottom finishers, who can go five years (probably more than the average tenure in a men's league) without even sniffing the playoffs. That's complicated by the fact that

  • you tend to have massive turnover on the teams that are getting smoked (some guys just hate losing every weekend and quit, some decide to go to a winner) so those are the teams that need to just get BODIES in the draft;
  • you tend to have little to no turnover on the dominant teams, because it's fun to win championships, and so they can afford to take nobody unless someone great falls into their lap;
  • the dominant teams tend to have better 'proprietary deal flow' in terms of attracting people outside the draft to their already dominant franchises; and
  • there are usually only one or two really good ballplayers available in a free-for-all draft.

I think you've done the best you can but those four structural issues are pretty pervasive. To turn it around, you basically need to get lucky with a couple friends who are all good ballplayers at once, or grind away one good ballplayer a year for years and years.
This is exactly what we're seeing, and it's not unexpected.

A few years ago we were struggling on attracting new players, and re-enrolment numbers were low because guys were 'afraid' of ending up on a new team. That's when we added the two optional protection spots. We do take an approach of 'to get, you have to give' and that's why we have them forfeit their first new player pick, as that's where teams can typically bulk up.

The Free Agent was added few years prior as what was happening is new players were signing up, getting drafted to a team, and deciding they won't play, as it wasn't the team they wanted to be on. We keep their draft fee and they are permabanned, but it wasn't helping new enrolment. So we gave everyone a shot at bringing a player in. That has cleaned up the draft sketchiness quite a bit, and I think we can keep that in play.

But the extra picks have to go, and we're debating on even lowering the # of keepers to make turnover just a part of the league. That's a priority we'll be voting on tomorrow, for the sake of parity. As is moving to a standard draft format. First round we do the first team out of playoffs gets the #1 pick, 2nd team out 2nd, etc. Champs are last. This encourages teams to keep fighting and not mail it in. But I'm going to propose that it resets to Worst-First in round two, and then "trim" what ever the last round is to ensure the champs get the last pick and the 'worst' teams get an additional new player. We'll see how that goes over tomorrow.

Appreciate the feedback and insight.
 

Old Fart Tree

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Man, reducing the number of keepers is gangster! I like it. It's tough when guys have been playing together forever or are even related - oh, my brother is like the 8th best member on the team so I'm gonna leave him unprotected and you're gonna force us to split up??? - but that is definitely putting your money where your mouth is in terms of a commitment to parity. In my experience, leagues fold when teams fold, and teams fold when they realistically don't have any chance of competing for the foreseeable future. So... it is what it is. I was on the other side of it in SF, where we were the big bad winning six out of seven... and now I'm on the ass end of the stick with a team that won one game last year (out of 15) and is 0-4 with four pretty savage asskickings. It's not easy, for sure.
 

tonyandpals

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Man, reducing the number of keepers is gangster! I like it. It's tough when guys have been playing together forever or are even related - oh, my brother is like the 8th best member on the team so I'm gonna leave him unprotected and you're gonna force us to split up??? - but that is definitely putting your money where your mouth is in terms of a commitment to parity. In my experience, leagues fold when teams fold, and teams fold when they realistically don't have any chance of competing for the foreseeable future. So... it is what it is. I was on the other side of it in SF, where we were the big bad winning six out of seven... and now I'm on the ass end of the stick with a team that won one game last year (out of 15) and is 0-4 with four pretty savage asskickings. It's not easy, for sure.
It's a fine balance for sure. We operate on a fixed # of teams, eight. Overall it's a pretty tight group, and I'm trying to move people from, "It's fun being on this team" to "it's fun playing in this league." It's a journey, but we're going to run some player surveys this year and see if anyone is interested in BLOWING it up and working more towards a full on Draft League. I've played in hockey leagues like that, which were great. You get to know everyone across all the teams. Every year is a fresh start.

We'll see...