Reaction to “Why Your League Should Not Re-draft”

It’s that time of year! We get lots of emails from Little League board members who tell us that their league is considering whether to be a titled league, (players stay on the team to which they were drafted for the duration of their league participation) or a re-draft league where the entire pool of players is tossed back into the hat each season prior to the draft. Below is a recent email we received and our response. You can read the original post on titling here.

Hi

I am a long time baseball coach and board member in Bedford Mass. I am in the middle of a movement of new people changing our league from a titled player league to re-drafting every year. I read your paper on your web site.  Needless to say I am in agreement with everything you say as is the minority group. I was wondering if there is any more data or info out there that I can use to try and convince the new people that the title players is the way to go? This would help me greatly.

Thank you

(Our response):

Thanks for your note. In order to help you, I’d need more information…especially in terms of the reasons why the majority of the board wishes to overturn titling, (my guess is they think the teams will be more fair). Since I do not know which of my article you read, I am not sure what more information I can provide. You might want to go back to our blog and search for “titling” and “re-draft” because I believe there are several articles with additional information, including one with a long back and forth discussion between a re-draft proponent and me.

As far a data goes, what I always look at are standings of divisions that do re-draft every season, either in the younger age groups or in other leagues. (e.g. your Minors divisions might re-draft every season and a neighboring league might re-draft its Majors division). You’ll always find that there are teams that go 15-1 and 2-14 in those re-draft divisions which disproves the theory that re-draft leads to more competitive balance and “fairness.” My main argument is that every new season half of the managers are returning and know all of the kids. The new managers coming up from Minors don’t know any of the players. In a titled situation, at least those rookie managers get a few established players on their team as a base, so that if they don’t have a great draft they will still be competitive. But if they have to draft an entire roster against managers who know the players much better, they are at a huge disadvantage and risk picking a very weak team.

Let me know if there is anything else I can do to help.

Thanks

(And our reader’s reply):

I got your article on coach deck and it is titled Why your league should not re-draft. In it is every reason that they brought up. The 10 year old being groomed by a manager. The Dynasty issue.  On top of that they are picking the draft order every year as well. Which eliminates the order of who won the year before. They do not get the concept of keeping the kids in one system helps them develop faster.

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4 Responses

  1. To all concerned,

    I am a volunteer coach in a very successful Little League program and there was a lot of thought this past year of going to a redraft system. This movement was being led by parents whose children never played in the major division and were used to the instructional style of play in our minor division.

    I have only ever been in the Major division and have played or coached baseball nearly my whole life. I could clearly see the benefits of titling as opposed to redrafting. With help from the Coach on this website and with the help of parents on the board whose children came through the Majors, I was able to convince the rest of the board that titling was the way to go.

    I would GREATLY urge all leagues to NOT redraft. The benefits to titling, as described on several posts here on the website, are great and allow your son or daughter to move from childhood into young adulthood while learning valuable skills along the way.

    I just wanted to put my thoughts out there.

    Coach Joe
    LLWS 2013

  2. The best way to draft teams to get fair and balanced teams…blind draft. Every coach will rate the players during evaluation. As league coordinator – I take all these sheets. I add up Player A’s evaluation (1-5 for throwing, hitting, fielding, pitching when needed). Player A has a score of 35. Player B’s score is 56. Player C score is 24….You then take the highest rated player (we do it by grade, but you could do it be league). They go in slot 1:1 (Row 1, Column 1). Next highest rated player 1:2 (Row 1: Column 2)…Until all the players are gone in a snake like fashion. Then if a coach has a his son/daughter in 1:4…his team is the 4th column. If his assistant coach has a son/daughter in 3:2 (Row 3, Column 2) -we simply swap players in Row 3 from Column 2 to Column 4 or vice versa.
    My opinion: the less adults that draft – the better off. Adults have agendas (like you mentioned – maybe a rookie dad who doesn’t know anyone in the league versus a parent who has been involved for 4 years). We all know who will draft a better team.
    It has been my belief that when you evaluate the players – coach1 may rate player A a 1 on throwing, and coach2 rates them a 4 on throwing. Normally – coach1 is a harsher evaluater for everyone and coach2 is a generous evaluator and that holds true for league so it evens out especially with 10+ evaluation forms.
    I have been doing drafts this way for 11 years. I have always had different winners of each half, and play-offs. Two times we had a possibility of a 5 way tie for first place..with only 7 teams in the league.
    Sure some teams will still struggle – but that is our fault for not working with coaches and training them better or finding someone better, or a “#1” draft pick getting hurt in the preseason and missing the entire season.

    • Thanks for your comment. The blind draft is also effective. Our league did this in our Juniors Division (ages 13-14), out of necessity because we were combining kids from several different leagues and none of the managers knew kids who had played in neighboring leagues. What we did was evaluate all of the players not only during a “tryout” session, but also with input from each manager who had coached with or against the players in previous seasons. From there, we put each player into a specific round, (one through twelve). So there were six teams and that meant six first-rounders, six second-rounders, etc. One thing we did differently was that we made sure the first two rounds were comprised of kids who could pitch and that the third round was made up of players who had played catcher. That way every manager was assured of getting two pitchers and a catcher and no one was stuck by the luck of the draw with three first basemen in the first three rounds. If a manager’s son was drawn by an opposing manger, they just swapped picks. We also allowed trades after each round so that if two managers agreed they’d prefer the other’s player, they could exchange.

      No system is perfect. The downside to ranking all players 1-120 and then assigning them serpentine is that sometimes it is difficult to get an accurate evaluation from a one-day field tryout. It is very likely that the player ranked # 1 overall is not really even in the top 20, etc. Also, managers are likely going to rate their competition (other manager’s sons) much higher than they should be ranked. I would also caution against allowing anyone to “claim” an assistant coach before the draft. Usually, my experience has been that managers want to choose an assistant coach because his son is a first-rounder, not so much so that they can coach together. Not allowing this practice eliminates those manipulations. After the teams are picked, if you can convince the manager who drew your preferred coach to switch, fine. Otherwise you just need to recruit parents from the players you drafted to help out.

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