Monday, March 24, 2008

Draft Strategy

There are many competing strategies, that all work, but in my mind my strategy seems to work better than others. I focus on hitters and use pitchers to compliment and fill out my roster. My reasoning behind drafting premium hitters over arms is simple...pitchers are too volatile with respect to performance and injury risk. Hitters seem to perform as expected from year to year...having players that you don't have to worry about during the season reduces the stress of finding new players.

Here is a quick look into my draft strategy. I am assuming a 12-team, mixed, 5x5 league...also known as a vanilla league. I would draft 3 premium hitters before even thinking of a pitcher. Note: there is one and I mean only one pitcher worth picking in the first or second round...Johan Santana of the New York Mets. He is by far the best pitcher in the game. Now you might be wondering, how does this work in your strategy if you just said no pitchers...this is an exception. Okay, back to the strategy. Try and look for hitters who contribute to all 5 hitting categories. Individuals like A-Rod, Hanley Ramirez, Jose Reyes, David Wright, Matt Holliday, and Chase Utley. These players will absolutely go in the first round of ANY draft. After picking up 3 hitters, assuming you did not pick Santana, it is time to pick up a pitcher. This is the time, round 4/5, to pick up a premium pitcher, they include:

  • Johan Santana (He will not last past Round two)
  • Jake Peavy
  • Eric Bedard
  • C.C. Sabathia
  • Brandon Webb
The above list consists of the premium pitchers in baseball for the 2008 season. Taking one of these pitchers in Round 4-5-6 is a must! Okay, I'll retract on the "a must!" comment. You don't have to go out and draft one of these pitchers but if you do end up with one of them it will reduce the need during your draft to find quality pitchers. If you grab one of these guys you can wait another 2-4 rounds without having to draft another starter.

Now that I have 3 premium batters and a stud pitcher I try and focus on a closer. Remember, SAVES and STEALS are always the hardest to come by in fantasy baseball. So, go out in Round 5-8 and grab a premium closer. They include:
  • Billy Wagner
  • Joe Nathan
  • Jonathon Papelbon
  • Francisco Rodriguez
  • J.J. Putz
So, now you have 3 premium batters, 1 ace pitcher, and 1 premium closer. You are on your way to building a fantasy baseball championship team.

Looking at the player pool in 2008 there are positions that are weak and strong. Outfield is always weaker then you think. With 3 OF slots and a UTIL in most leagues you will find it difficult to draft 3 premium OF's. Third base this year is strong as well. If you do not get A-Rod or David Wright don't fear, you can get great stats at a good value from round 11-15 with the likes of Adrian Beltre, Ryan Zimmerman, Chone Figgins, and don't forget about the touted 2007 rookie Alex Gordon. Second base is Chase Utley and everyone else. The position to watch out for in 2008 is the catcher position. There are 5 catchers worth drafting, Victor Martinez, Russell Martin, Joe Mauer, Jorge Posada, and Brian McCann. If you don't get one of these catchers in the early single digit rounds, and you won't find them past round 8 TRUST ME, then don't even bother drafting a catcher until round 15+. It just isn't worth it with the talent out there. I didn't mention 1B or SS but both positions are fairly strong.

Okay a quick recap.
  • Hitters first! R1-3 maybe even 4
  • Premium pitchers R4-6
  • One of the top 5 catchers in round 5-6-7
  • Closer Rd5-8
After following this strategy you should have a decent team that can compete from day one. Remember, drafts are unpredictable except A-Rod as first pick, so remember, go with value over anything else.

Digg this
BallHype: hype it up!

No comments: