Last week, I posted Fantasy Baseball Planning Part I, where I laid out some of the tools and methods to use for a fantasy draft. In Part II, I’m going to go a little more in depth.
If you’ve looked at a list of players at all this offseason, you’ve noticed that there are a few positions where talent is very thin at the top. Catching is almost always the thinnest of those. It is one of the few positions on the field that players will be kept in the lineup for their defense in spite of poor offensive contributions, which makes them bad fantasy options. Obviously, the top of the list has 3 great options in Joe Mauer, Brian McCann, and Victor Martinez, but after that the talent drops off, or the risks jump up. Is Mike Napoli going to kill your batting average? Was Geovany Soto really a product of bad luck? Is Jorge Posada going to be healthy enough to play all season? Will Matt Wieters show major growth? Tough questions.You want to make sure that you adjust a player’s value based on the scarcity of the position he plays, especially in keeper leagues. For example, if you are in a league that keeps 4 players per team and Hanley Ramirez, Troy Tulowitzki, and Jimmy Rollins all get kept, that thins out the SS pool a whole lot. Someone like Jose Reyes now jumps in value because of the fact that the talent after him falls off the table.
You should participate in at least a few mock drafts before the real thing. If you aren’t sure of your draft position yet, try drafting in different spots in a mock draft. The players available to you are much different from the 2nd spot to the 11th spot. It’s a good idea to have category targets that you want to reach after your draft is complete, as well. These targets depend on the number of teams in your draft, but if you can be near them, according to your projections, you’ll have a good measuring stick of how you’ll have to draft come draft day.
There are a bunch of different strategies for drafting pitchers. One of the most common ones is not paying for saves. Saves are generally easy to come by on the waiver wire, so there’s no reason to waste a 3rd or 4th round pick on a relief pitcher who is essentially only good for one category. I’m not sure that I necessarily agree with this idea. Yes, you can find saves on waiver wire most seasons, but the best relievers are the best relievers for a reason. They will put up good rate stats and decent strikeout numbers for the innings they pitch. In a weekly head to head format, one relief pitcher can theoretically pitch in enough innings to match what a starting pitcher does, and usually with better stat rates. There is a new trend that is developing that the more astute fantasy drafters will draft one of Rivera/Nathan/Papelbon earlier in the draft than they “should,” like the 6th round, and go with a second closer much later to tack on more saves. This strategy requires the drafter to be very good with his offensive picks, and even more so with his starting pitching picks, because taking a closer that early means you are going to miss out on either a very good offensive player, or a top level starting pitcher.
Pitchers and catchers are reporting to camps this week! Get excited, baseball season has officially started!