From Felipe Alou to Ben Zobrist, from 1883 to 2009, eighty-one new plays were drafted this year and thus introduced into the ATB source database, where they'll remain for use until (heavens forbid!) our centralized league collapses.
I understand why the 1800s and 2000s time periods are among the most often used time periods for new players. The 1800s are still a relatively unexplored player set in ATB as players from this period have only been eligible for a few seasons.
The 200os are popular because owners are most familiar with players of the very recent past and, while often a crutch, we draft what we know.
But why the 20s and 30s, and then 60s and 70s? I think random chance but any ideas are welcome.
Gamblers and Conservatives
The Downsouth Brews and Planet 10 chose to fill almost 1/3 of their rosters with unproven players. This is a huge risk as each new roster invitee may result in a small disaster. On average, owners chose around 4 new players each, with the median value ending up slightly lower at 3 per team.
Initial reports have the Brews starting these season with these unknown commodities at Shortstop, Left Field, DH, and Long Relief. Planet 10 counters with new players stationed at Third Base, Left Field, Long Relief, and Setup. Both teams have multiple bench options in this category as well.
Extremely conservative drafting was seen by the Beau Brummels, Gargle Blasters, and Mike T.
When To Draft an Unknown?
As a whole, owners recognized the risk of new players and correspondingly held their gambles until round 21 or later 65% of the time. However, nine owners truly gambled and drafted new players in rounds 1-10. The leader of the pack was Planet 10, selecting 1930 Goose Goslin in Round 2. There were two other Top-5 Round gambles, both coincidentally catchers - the Oathbinders took 2009 Joe Mauer in Rd 4 and the "Mechanics" went for 1935 Mickey Cochrane 10 picks later in Rd 4 as well.
Also to note, the Oathbinders selected a new season of Ken Griffey Jr in Round 6 but ultimately got cold feed and switched his season to the oft-used 1994.
We'll check back in on these gambles as the season progresses.