Draft Day Software Review: Diamond Draft

by Ray Flowers
February 25, 2005


From the dawn of time human beings have searched for ways to lighten the load of the daily grind. First we tamed fire and then we invented the wheel. Then came along refrigeration, the car and television. As we now move full-force into the age of computers our daily lives are often greatly aided by the genius that invents new and useful forms of software. In the case of fantasy baseball, we have one such source in Keith Macari’s Diamond Draft Software (DDS).


WHAT IS IT?

OK, you’re sitting there on draft day fumbling through your copious notes and magazines every time someone makes a pick. What round was that again? Which team still needs an OF? For that matter, who do I need and who is left? That’s the strength of DDS, it does it all for you. No more need to lug 5 magazines and that old spiral notebook filled with rambling notes with you on draft day, DDS can do all your work for you in one highly organized spot. You’ll no longer have to divert half your attention to the process itself; you’ll now be able to focus solely on making the proper choices for your fantasy team.

I have to admit that being a historian I’ve always been a pencil and paper kind of guy. Therefore I’ve tended to avoided software aimed at aiding me to do much of anything (I’m the guy who checks out library books that have layers of dust on them cause no one has bothered to read them in 10 years). So it was with a bit of trepidation that I decided to work with the DDS, a program designed to provide you with everything you’ll need to choose your team on draft day. However let me tell you that I’m greatly relieved that I changed my mind.


EASE OF USE

The first thing you will notice is that DDS is very easy to use. The start up screen allows you to setup the parameters of your league to include the number of teams playing, the amount of players and the positions they play, the categories you are using and what type of league it is (NL, AL, Mixed). I found particularly useful two key components of the set up design; the ability to adjust the positions your league uses as well as the statistics under consideration.

Most leagues have roughly 23 or so players, but what if you league employs middle or corner IF…are infielders then worth more $ than OF? DDS does the work for you by calculating the player amounts based upon the positional parameters you give it. Also of particular interest is the ability to tailor the dollar amounts used in the program based on your desired breakdown of pitching and hitting categories. For example, you can choose to use the standard breakdown of a 67% of your money for offense and 33% of your cash on pitching. However if you don’t abide by the “standard” way that player values are assigned, you can task the program to breakdown the dollar values any way you deem fit (from 1% to 99%). This allows you to precisely value players based upon your own ideas and not off some subjective standard that you don’t abide by.

The other feature that I found particularly satisfying was that DDS also allows you to choose from a list of non-traditional scoring categories including: OPS, Runs Produces, XBH, Net SB, TB, Wining %, Neutral Wins/Loses, Net Saves, K’s per 9 IP, and Holds to name a few. Just about any stat your league will be using is covered by DDS. This variety allows you to set up DDS to precisely value the players you use at the positions you need, with the dollar value breakdown that you deem appropriate. Neato-keano.

The next thing you notice are a series of clearly defined icons that take you to the various tools available throughout the program. The simplest setup allows you to pull-up just your team so that you can see where you need to focus your resources.

However if this is too simple for you there are of course other options. Other options include viewing all the teams in the league in columns next to one another or you can view the entire draft chart with all players that are available in your universe (drafted players change colors to let you know they are no longer available). This draft table can be ordered by position, dollar amount, or any of the categories that you wish to view (i.e. HR, RBI or whatever).

There is also another option that includes a depth chart screen that actually closely approximates my pen and paper system of listing the number of slots per position and filling them as you draft your team. In addition, there is also a very useful icon that leads you to a games played chart so that you don’t miss out on that player who might give you a huge advantage because he played SS 20 games last year.

One last feature that I will mention is the icon that allows you to LINK to the Net. You can program whichever websites that you would like to have at your disposal (such as Wild Pitch or you can just operate off of the over 200 links that the program provides for you! This feature allows you to link to fantasy related sites, baseball-related sites as well as the hometown newspapers for all 30 teams, a super cool feature. I can’t say enough about this function…if you draft someone who is hurt or has been recently benched it won’t be because you couldn’t find the information; it will be because you didn’t look.

As one final bonus when your draft is all done DDS will automatically transfer all of your data to WORD so that you can print out all the teams that have been selected. From start to finish, DDS has it all.

FINAL REPORT

PLUS

~ Very easy to set up.

~ Allows you to choose from a large list of categories besides the standard 5x5 categories to tailor the dollar values to your specific leagues needs (i.e. you can customize the categories to produce the dollar amount projections that are appropriate for your leagues settings).

~ Easily allows you to store all of your leagues teams and players with a click of a button.

~
You are able to customize the order in which the players are listed:
alphabetical, positional, by dollar amounts, by fantasy category, by games played, by age or by team (either their actual professional association or by the team they were drafted on).

~ Personalized information for each player is offered through the use of graphs and colors (red and green) which enable the user to visually see how the player has performed the last three years.

~ Allows you to access any website you so desire by clicking on the Internet tab where you can store your favorites (one of the tabs already is linked to http://www.athomeplate.com/). You won’t have to worry about missing a player who is injured - you can just click on his latest report through your web links.

~ Provides weekly updates to keep your kind fresh until the moment of your draft (just click on a tab for a painless download). These updates include adjusting dollar amounts based on spring performance and injuries, as well as little quick hits describing how the player is performing.

~ You have access to player projections using the Brock2 system.

~ Cost…it’s much cheaper than comparable products.

~ And when your all done with your draft, all you have to do is to click on one tab to send all your info over to a fully completed, and printable, WORD document which lists all players and teams.


MINUS

~ TIME. Though extremely easy to use, there is no way to prepare for using the software in your draft without doing a mock draft or two prior to your real one. While this is by no mean a negative comment on the software, you will have to spend an hour or so playing around with all the features of the program in order to be comfortable with it. In fact, when I spoke with Mr. Macari, he suggested that I do the very thing I’m suggesting to you. So this really isn’t a negative at all, it’s more like “breaking in” your new baseball glove so that it will be ready for the big game.


OVERALL

Diamond Draft Software, available at http://www.diamonddraft.com/, is an absolutely wonderful tool to work with (remember, I have never used a system like this before, so if I can work it, you can too). I found DDS to be extremely user friendly in addition to offering just about every piece of information you could reasonably expect to have on draft day. Also of great interest to me is the ability of DDS to directly access the Internet for up to the minute injury and status reports…that’s something that I never thought of being possible in a program of this nature. I also greatly appreciated the ability of the software to customize the dollar amounts of the players on the draft board according to the specific categories that your league uses (no more worrying about how to value Juan Pierre if your league doesn’t count SB, DDS does it for you).

In the end this program offers you everything you’ll need to get a huge leg up on your competition. Heck, there is even a place on the program where you can store audio clips that you can play at the draft to get a little rise out of your friends. When one of your friends chooses Placido Polanco in the 6th round, anyone out there think that he or she would deserve a Harry Caray “Holy Cow”? With Diamond Draft Software, you can do just that.

On a scale of zero to 4 balls, I give this one 4 balls.


Our Rating System is based on a four ball system as follows:
One Ball: Average. It has something to say but is nothing special.
Two Balls: Something men usually have - also means its a cut above average, and worth reading/owning.
Three balls: Stands out from its peers and is highly recommended.
Four Balls: More than just what two men have when hanging out together, it means it is an exceptional book that truly earns a walk - straight to the local book store to get a copy.

 

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