Now that we’ve discussed the basics concerning the types of leagues available for fantasy baseball, it is important to discuss how teams are selected. All leagues hold a draft before the season begins. Drafts are either live or auto-pick. The most common types of drafts are auction drafts and serpentine drafts.
In the auction draft, teams all receive a fictional (or maybe not fictional) amount of money in which to bid on players that are “auctioned.” Teams are not allowed to go over their assigned amount, and team mangers take turns nominating players for selection.
In a serpentine draft, a draft order is assigned (usually at random), and the last manager to choose his first player in the first round becomes the first manager to choose his second player in the second round and the draft proceeds back up the order.
There are advantages to both types of draft. An auction draft is more time-consuming, but owners tend to be able to acquire more of the players they really want because they can bid on them and there's more strategy involved on how to spend your money. A serpentine draft doesn't take nearly as long to compete, and it's a little easier to prepare since a player has an idea of which players might be drafted when, especially in the first couple of rounds of the draft. But the downside to a serpentine draft is that managers may not get every player they want.
In almost all leagues, each owner picks a team based in the players' real-life positions, with catchers, first basemen, second basemen, shortstops, third basemen, outfielders, starting pitchers and relief pitchers.
Many drafts are held in person and others are held online on one of many internet services. In serpentine drafts, it is common for players who cannot attend the draft to let the computer system auto-pick their team, but this is not recommended as the computer does not always recognize what you consider to be a good player when your drafting turn arrives.
There are also a few leagues where all teams in the league use the auto-draft mode, which gives everyone an equal opportunity to have the computer supply them with bad picks. But again, these types of leagues are not recommended. I will cover this in more detail in a later post.