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Draft & Hold Leagues

If you are truly a serious fantasy baseball fan, then you’ve probably already ordered a copy of Ron Shandler’s 2012 Baseball Forecaster.  If not, then you are missing out on one of the best sources of forecasting fantasy baseball statistics for the 2012 season.  (Click here to purchase a discounted copy of Baseball Forecaster.)

Bryce Harper, fantasy baseball 2012

In a Deep D&H league, managers would be more willing to take a chance on Bryce Harper for 2012.

Shandler, publisher of Baseball HQ, introduced me to a new version of the fantasy baseball game when he discussed draft and hold leagues in the book.  And, these leagues have nothing to do with the designated hitter.  A draft & hold (DH) league is one in which leagues have limited or no free agent or waiver wire moves permitted.  You simply draft your team at the beginning of the season and then watch it go.  (Surely, there are some teams in your league that do the same thing.)

Here are the versions of draft & hold leagues that you may participate in:

  • Pure D&H — Draft a 23 man roster and watch it for six months.  Given the amount of injuries that are sure to hit your team, these leagues are often known as “Last Man Standing” leagues.
  • Deep D&H — Draft a large roster of 40 to 50 players and keep 23 active.  You are permitted to make weekly moves, but there’s no ability to pick up free agents.
  • Limited Free Agent D&H — In such leagues, you are only permitted to pick up free agents in the case of an injury to one of your players.
  • Monthly D&H — This format allows for re-drafts every month.  You accumulate the players selected in each of your drafts.  So, you are essentially drafting another team and accumulating points based on how they do for the remainder of the season.

Shandler says that draft & hold leagues are gaining rapidly in popularity.  When doing a Google search on it, however, I didn’t find that, except for a few articles on D&H leagues.  There are a few guys on forums looking to start D&H leagues.

My reaction to the draft & hold format is mixed.  I like the idea of not having to put extra time into managing another fantasy baseball team (those of us who write about fantasy baseball seem to get invited to play in a lot of leagues).  But, at the same time, it’s hard enough to keep interest in something that lasts six months in the first place.

There’s nothing more frustrating than drafting a team and having several players go down with injuries.  With nobody to back them up, you are doomed.  That’s why the Deep D&H format seems like the best one to me.  It enables you to replace injured players and allows you take a flyer on potential superstars like Bryce Harper.

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