As we’re nearing the 60% completion mark of the @STLDraftTB fantasy baseball draft, I’ve decided that now is a good time to sit down and evaluate my drafting strategy, assess my picks, and contemplate changes to my aforementioned strategy for the remaining rounds. The complete guide that I published may be found here, but I’ve included a summary of the draft strategy to see how well I’ve followed my own advice so far.
- In round 1, draft the best player available and ignore what other people are doing.
- In round 2, scan your spreadsheets to determine which positions are close to hitting “dropoff points”. Those are points at which the drop in rankings between one group of players at a position and the rest of the group is significant. Think “big disparity”.
- In round 3, try to grab an “ace” starting pitcher.
- Start filling in gaps and looking for value or players that are being overlooked. Keep in mind that the value of using the spreadsheet method isn’t necessarily in the first 4-5 rounds. The real value is usually after round 10.
- Make every single pick count. It’s tempting near the end of a draft just to get things over with and move on to something more important….like reading this blog or something. The blog will be here when you get done. Focus.
- Look for duel threat players. Players that qualify at multiple positions (usually by playing 25+ games at each one) are great as insurance, especially if they played some combination of IF/OF.
Here are my picks from the first 14 rounds:
- Robinson Cano – 2B
- David Wright – 3B
- Ubaldo Jimenez – P
- Buster Posey – 1B/C
- Jose Bautista – OF/3B
- Mat Latos – P
- Carlos Marmol – Cl
- Corey Hart – OF
- Nick Swisher – OF
- Starlin Castro – SS
- Madison Bumgarner - P
- Vladimir Guerrero – DH
- Paul Konerko – 1B
- Trevor Cahill – P
So, did I follow my own advice?
Round 1 -> Albert Pujols, Hanley Ramirez, Miguel Cabrera, Troy Tulowitzki, and Evan Longoria were already off the board by the time I drafted. I had a choice among Joey Votto, Carlos Gonzalez, Adrian Gonzalez, and Cano. I went with Cano, because I didn’t like the options after the top tier of 2B.
Round 2 -> Longoria and Alex Rodriguez were already gone by the time my 2nd round pick came up, so I snagged David Wright. I like this pick, because he didn’t rank high solely based on a high home run count. He had solid numbers straight across the board.
Round 3 -> Needing an “ace”, I got one in Jimenez. He also happened to be my 2nd highest rated starting pitcher, although that ranking probably places too much emphasis on his 2010 work. Still 19 wins with 214 strikeouts doesn’t seem outlandish based on what I saw of Jimenez last year.
Round 4 -> I wouldn’t normally go this high to pick a catcher, but this was an exception. Posey hit 18 hr and drove in 67 in just 108 games, but that’s not the sole reason why I picked him here. Sure, he played 76 games at catcher, but he also qualified at 1B by playing 30 games there as well. Sweet, sweet bonus. That gives me some added flexibility in my picks later in the rounds.
Round 5 -> It’s not realistic to expect Bautista to go out and hit 54 homeruns again, but 30 with a high OPS wouldn’t be a huge shock. If he drives in 100+, then he’s still a reasonably good pick for me here, and anything that closely resembles his 2010 campaign is a bonus. Oh, Bautista also qualified at two positions as well by playing 48 games at 3B and 113 in the OF.
Round 6 -> Since I picked up 2 duel threat players already, I decided to go after another top-shelf starting pitcher. Since Latos is ranked 12th on my starting pitcher’s list, I couldn’t believe my good fortune here. Just having 2 starting pitchers in the top 15 in an 11 team field is a good start, but there was no time to celebrate. It’s not like I had a complete infield, outfield, or a closer.
Round 7 -> I’ve been burned in fantasy leagues by not having a top 5 closer, so I went after one here. I felt like I could wait on a SS and 1B, because there wasn’t a lot to be lost by waiting a few more rounds. Opted to take a bit of a flyer on Marmol, because of his strikeout rate and the potential for the Cubs to get him more save opportunities.
Rounds 8 & 9 -> Completed my outfield with Hart and Swisher. If this were a real team, they couldn’t cover their own shadows defensively, but fortunately it’s fantasy baseball. They just have to hit and steal a few bases.
Round 10 -> Maybe Castro won’t hit .300 again, but maybe he’ll hit for a little more power and steal a few more bases. More importantly, he just needs to cross the plate more than the 53 times he did last season to be a real plus at SS.
Round 11 -> 7-6 with a 3.00 ERA and 86 strikeouts in just 18 starts? Yes, please.
Round 12 -> Vlad almost qualified as an OF as well, but he’s one of the better DH options as it is. Sacrificed more pitching in favor of a good DH, so I hope he hits well in his new home.
Round 13 -> I don’t expect Konerko to repeat his 2010 numbers, but I was picking in the 13th round, so it’s not like I can complain, either. Fortunately, I have a built-in backup for him, so I just need to add another catcher at the end of the draft.
Round 14 -> I was shocked to see Cahill still available in the 14th round, and I had to double check my player lists to make sure. Hope he works out to be the steal of the draft for me.
Final Grade: B => Trotting out a lineup without a top 10 1B is a tough way to go. That means that I’m relying on pretty much every other position to make up for the production that other teams will be getting out of that position. If Konerko can somehow go on a few bashing streaks, everything should be fine. If not, then I’ll probably be hurting at that position all season. The same might be said for SS, especially if Castro slips down the batting order. As a plus, the 4 starting pitchers are really solid, and I intend to add another 2 decent starters before round 20.
TIDBIT: Daniel at C70 At The Bat does an interesting study each season called the Cardinal Approval Ratings, and he’s looking for your feedback. Please take a minute to click on the link and enter some random information. It’s painless, and it’s cool.
Like it? Think I deserve lower than a “B” for my draft efforts so far? Follow gr33nazn on Twitter and feel free to deduct points!