Thursday, March 18, 2010

The 2nd Annual BJH Fantasy Baseball Draft Day Strategy Guide


By
With the Tao of Stieb's Roto-Hoedown draft set to go down this weekend and The Blue Jay Hunter draft scheduled for Monday, I thought I would share some tips for draft day.

1.) Concede one category to win two

In my first fantasy baseball draft last weekend, I drafted the golden trifecta of strikeout kings: Mark Reynolds, Adam Dunn and Carlos Pena. While my team's batting average category is going to take a huge hit as a result, it sets me up to win RBI's, HR's and even OBP.

This is a bit of a risky move, but I would much rather have sluggers on my team rather than guys like Ichiro or Derek Jeter who hit for average and can get you some steals, but not much else.

2.) Beware the sophomore slump

Last season I preached the same advice - if it all possible, avoid drafting players in their sophomore year. I subsequently ignored my own advice, and picked up Evan Longoria in 3 of my 4 leagues last season. Luckily, the move worked in my favour, but as far as I can remember Longoria was one of the few exceptions to the rule.

It's difficult to get all wrapped up in the hype for guys like Tommy Hanson, J.A. Happ and Clayton Kershaw. Especially with rookie starting pitchers without a proven track record, it's difficult to guage what their second season will be like in the majors.

3.) Same faces, new places

As usual, there are plenty of players who have new homes to begin the 2010 season.

Will Cliff Lee benefit by moving to the more pitcher-friendly park in Seattle? Will Jake Peavy's ERA inflate after moving from the confines of Petco Park to US Cellular Field? And can Javier Vazquez make the successful transition back to the American League?

All of these things should be taken into consideration when making your picks.

4.) They had the time of their life, but will they do it again?

Last year, their were multiple candidates that seemingly came out of nowhere to snag some MVP votes. I'm talking about players like Kendry Morales, Ben Zobrist, and Pablo Sandoval.

Will they do it again, or were they just some flash in the plan? I have a tough time believing that lightning will strike twice with these guys, so don't be tempted to draft these fellas very high in your league.

5.) Injury notice

There is no way of knowing if the team you draft at the beginning of the season will remain healthy all year, but you can do yourself a favour by checking the injury reports before draft day.

Especially with high-ranked picks such as Jose Reyes, Joe Nathan, Ian Kinsler and Josh Hamilton, you don't want to gamble on guys who might begin the season on the Disabled List.

6.) Go with the flow

Definitely have a plan of attack going into draft day, but don't abandon all hope if Roy Halladay gets drafted one pick ahead of you. If the league starts heading in one direction, shift accordingly and continue to fill your roster as needed.

7.) Ride the dark horses to victory

This is where fantasy baseball teams are made or broken. The dark horse players are always the most gratifying to select, and if they don't pan out then it's never a big loss to just toss them out onto the waiver wire.

Candidates here include pitchers who are coming back from substantial injuries (Shaun Marcum), positional players who have moved up the depth chart (Matt Wieters), and minor league players who are poised to crack their roster (Randy Ruiz).

6 comments:

  1. Check out todays Blue Jay Junction for some thoughts on rebuilding the Jays, a potential Lyle Overbay trade, and info on the 2010 draft.

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  2. I'm drafting Vernon Wells. That's my strategy.

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  3. I shouldn't be giving up my strategies considering I'm in the league as well, but I'd like to add a few strategies:

    A) Forget ignoring just sophomores, ignore highly rated prospects. I don't care how good Stephen Strasburgh or Heyward will be, they won't be studs this year, and there will be much better players to be had at the point of the draft where you would have to grab one of these guys.

    Exception to the Rule: Very late in the draft, if there is a high upside rookie available, who you know will be getting playing time...say Scott Sizemore or Travis Snider. It's not much of a risk to take him.

    2. Undervalued Players are key, if the value of a historically good player takes a hit because of an injured or a down season, depending on the round, they may be a great pick. I.E. Vlad Guerrero, Brad Penny, Lance Berkman, Tim Hudson.

    3. Catchers and Closers SUCK! I think everyone knows this by now, but don't take a catcher or closer in the first 10 rounds of the draft.

    Exceptions to the Rule: Joe Mauer, Victor Martinez, Brian McCann

    3. Good Starting Pitching can be had late. Last year I didn't take any pitching until after the 10th round, and I ended up with a rotation of Zack Greinkie, Adam Wainright, Tedd Lilly, Clayton Kershaw and Max Scherzer. I won most pitching categories by a mile. Pitchers are just too inconsistent and injury prone to waste an early pick.

    4. Ignore trends, if there is a closer run or six 3B's that just came off the board, this doesn't mean you have to take one, it means that there higher valued players available at other positions, take one of those guys.

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  4. eyeB, that's not a bad idea. Especially in teams with 10+ teams, you can probably still snag Vernon in the late rounds.

    Peter - all those are great tips. I find that the talent pool at the catcher and closer position drops off HUGE after about the top three players in that position. If you don't have Mauer, Martinez or McCann, you'll be scrambling to find a good catcher. The same could also be said for Shortstop.

    As far as closers are concerned, I try to draft only bona fide closers who have held down that position for 2 or more seasons. Often times I've been burned by closers who have lost their job after only a few months closing out games.

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  5. My first draft ever last year, I went in with the main idea that I would take the risk of riding the waiver wire. I took in players I was comfortable with drafting and waited on players like Jerry Hairston Jr., Ryan Rowland-Smith, and Dexter Fowler. I rode this strategy, and a bit of smart early drafting to get into a first place finish (followed immediately by a first round playoff drop.

    I was very lucky in my ability to grab them first. The downside is that you have to keep a very close eye on players and their ups and downs.

    It wasn't pretty in the end, but it did work.

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  6. Roll, that's one tip I forgot to include - watch the waiver wire like a hawk.

    The best advice is keep a close eye on the free agents in the first four weeks of the season. Sometimes managers jump the gun the first week when a player jumps out of the gate quickly, but then fizzle off. I was lucky enough to snag Chris Carpenter off the waivers after he cleared the disabled list last year and never looked back.

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