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fantasy baseball draft strategy

Old 03-31-10, 09:36 AM
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fantasy baseball draft strategy

Does anybody have a quick and dirty fantasy baseball draft strategy for a newbie?

I got roped into playing fantasy baseball this year and I've never done it before. I've been playing fantasy football for years and I think have gotten pretty good at drafting. Of course it's mostly luck, but I also go into the draft with some kind of strategy and the last couple years I've come out with pretty good teams. I just don't know anything about baseball and don't know what a good draft strategy is. Load up on pitchers? Load up on homerun hitters?

We start one player at each position plus 5 starters and 2 relievers. 6 hitting stats and 5 pitching stats. Can't remember all of them, but it seems fairly balanced although from what I hear, offense is more important.

Can anybody just give me a real brief idea of what to look for at the draft? When to draft a catcher? When to draft backups? Relievers before starters? Stuff like that. Thanks a bunch. Oh by the way, I just found out the draft is tomorrow.
Old 03-31-10, 10:07 AM
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Re: fantasy baseball draft strategy

There's a lot of compression at 1B - Pujols, Tex, MCab are the top 3, but there are Votto, Morales, Youkilis, Morneau that will give you performance very close but a few rounds later.

There are a lot of outfielders, especially with speed. I like Julio Borbon this year a lot (leadoff hitter Texas, lots of steals). Other outfielders I like, Franklin Gutierrez, Carlos Gonzalez (and Dexter Fowler), Carlos Quentin, Josh Hamilton, Jay Bruce, Nolan Reimold, Jason Heyward. There are also some interesting values out of slightly older guys - Manny, Beltran, Damon, etc.

In general I like balanced hitters, 20/20, 25/10 is a decent target for outfielders, try and get more power out of the corner infield positions. If you have an obvious BAVG liability (Adam Dunn, etc) you should try and balance that out. Positional scarcity plays a big role, there are only so many top hitting middle infielders, but more corner infielders or outfielders, etc.

Pitchers I like - Dan Haren, Felix Hernandez, Tommy Hanson, Chad Billingsley, Kevin Slowey, Scott Baker, Francisco Liriano, Cole Hamels, Clayton Kershaw, Ricky Nolasco, Jered Weaver, Matt Garza, Gavin Floyd, Johnathon Sanchez

In general, look for guys who don't walk too many batters and that won't hurt you with strikeouts. Pitchers like Hiroki Kuroda, Tim Hudson, and others are good but if they don't have excellent WHIPs they also don't contribute in Ks.

I wouldn't pay too much for closers (Mariano, Papelbon, Broxton are the top 3). There are usually a few changes as the season progresses that you'll be able to pick up - otherwise try and find cheaper guys with guaranteed jobs - Brian Wilson, Rafael Soriano, Octavio Dotel, Billy Wagner
Old 03-31-10, 09:29 PM
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Re: fantasy baseball draft strategy

Originally Posted by Birrman54 View Post
There's a lot of compression at 1B - Pujols, Tex, MCab are the top 3, but there are Votto, Morales, Youkilis, Morneau that will give you performance very close but a few rounds later.

There are a lot of outfielders, especially with speed. I like Julio Borbon this year a lot (leadoff hitter Texas, lots of steals). Other outfielders I like, Franklin Gutierrez, Carlos Gonzalez (and Dexter Fowler), Carlos Quentin, Josh Hamilton, Jay Bruce, Nolan Reimold, Jason Heyward. There are also some interesting values out of slightly older guys - Manny, Beltran, Damon, etc.

In general I like balanced hitters, 20/20, 25/10 is a decent target for outfielders, try and get more power out of the corner infield positions. If you have an obvious BAVG liability (Adam Dunn, etc) you should try and balance that out. Positional scarcity plays a big role, there are only so many top hitting middle infielders, but more corner infielders or outfielders, etc.

Pitchers I like - Dan Haren, Felix Hernandez, Tommy Hanson, Chad Billingsley, Kevin Slowey, Scott Baker, Francisco Liriano, Cole Hamels, Clayton Kershaw, Ricky Nolasco, Jered Weaver, Matt Garza, Gavin Floyd, Johnathon Sanchez

In general, look for guys who don't walk too many batters and that won't hurt you with strikeouts. Pitchers like Hiroki Kuroda, Tim Hudson, and others are good but if they don't have excellent WHIPs they also don't contribute in Ks.

I wouldn't pay too much for closers (Mariano, Papelbon, Broxton are the top 3). There are usually a few changes as the season progresses that you'll be able to pick up - otherwise try and find cheaper guys with guaranteed jobs - Brian Wilson, Rafael Soriano, Octavio Dotel, Billy Wagner
Thanks. So do you suggest just kind of picking the best player on the board for whatever position is needed or focus on offense first and then pitchers or what?

Like I said, I've played football for years and I typically do not take one of the big quarterbacks (Peyton, Brady, Brees) but rather pick one up in the 7th or 8th round. Instead I almost always go RB first and then depending on what's available either another RB or WR. I also stay away from Witten and Gates and instead get a TE fairly late too, so basically I go with all RB and WR until at least the 7th round and then start thinking about QB and TE.

That stategy has worked very well for me over the years and I'm wondering if there's a similar strategy for baseball.
Old 04-01-10, 12:09 AM
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Re: fantasy baseball draft strategy

Fantasy Baseball - Fantasy Football Translation

1B/3B/OF = RB, WR
SP = QB
RP = K
SS, C, 2B = TE

Lincecum, Greinke, Felix Hernandez = Peyton, Brady, Brees
Mauer, V. Martinez = Witten, Gates
Old 04-01-10, 03:00 AM
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Re: fantasy baseball draft strategy

Originally Posted by whoopdido View Post
Does anybody have a quick and dirty fantasy baseball draft strategy for a newbie?

I got roped into playing fantasy baseball this year and I've never done it before. I've been playing fantasy football for years and I think have gotten pretty good at drafting. Of course it's mostly luck, but I also go into the draft with some kind of strategy and the last couple years I've come out with pretty good teams. I just don't know anything about baseball and don't know what a good draft strategy is. Load up on pitchers? Load up on homerun hitters?

We start one player at each position plus 5 starters and 2 relievers. 6 hitting stats and 5 pitching stats. Can't remember all of them, but it seems fairly balanced although from what I hear, offense is more important.

Can anybody just give me a real brief idea of what to look for at the draft? When to draft a catcher? When to draft backups? Relievers before starters? Stuff like that. Thanks a bunch. Oh by the way, I just found out the draft is tomorrow.
What's the 6th hitting stat (besides - I'm guessing - R, HR, RBI, SB, and AVG)? If it's OPS, it probably won't effect the rankings too much (guys who walk alot get a bit of a bump). But if it's Ks (as in, more Ks are bad), otherwise high-ranking players like Mark Reynolds and Ryan Howard lose a lot of their luster.

I like to think I'm pretty good at fantasy baseball. I always go for hitting early - I think the earliest I've taken a pitcher is round 5. That's the general wisdom - I think stemming from the fact that pitchers are more variable (and injury prone) than position players. And as the season goes on, it seems like there's more value to be found in the undrafted free agents at pitcher than any other position. That goes extra for relievers. Every year, there's always a new bunch of closers who emerge. This isn't to say that it's a bad move to draft a good pitcher. I just wouldn't reach for any of them, at least early.

I do tend to make most of my bench starting pitchers. That's because you rotate starters in - if it's a H2H league, that gives you an advantage in the counting stats (Ws and Ks). It also gives you the flexibility to cherry-pick your starts - like not starting your worst SP when he's on the road in Yankee Stadium.

Are you in a H2H or roto league? I don't think it makes much of a difference in the draft, but it does have a big impact on seasonal strategy. Certainly in H2H, more bench SPs is better.

Anyway, good luck tomorrow! Overall, don't overthink things too much - just try to keep track of the best player available, and how your roster spots are filling out. Like Birrman gets at, don't just think of how you're filling your starting roster spots but how you're filling the needed stats. For example, if you take a big basestealer at one spot that takes the pressure of needing speed at other spots. And if you can, try to keep track when the talent at a position you need is about to drop a level. And don't overdraft when a "run" is going on at a position. RPs seem particularly prone to runs. Resist the urge to overpay for some loser just because everyone else is doing it. Instead take a guy at another position who represents great value, and get back to the "run" position later in the draft when the price is right (and the other teams are filling other roster spots).

If you have time, I'd suggest some cheat sheets to give yourself ideas (at the very least, to see what the "experts" are saying should be the rankings of players). There are tons of them out there - Yahoo and ESPN, for example. Knowing the ADP (average draft position) is information that I find very useful. As the draft goes on, if there's a guy I like and we're getting close to his ADP I might make a reach (not trusting he'll get back to me). It also can tell you what players are being overlooked, maybe becoming great values. It seems to happen every draft (I'm sure you've seen it in football). The "I can't believe so-and-so is still on the board!" player. Even though they might not have been your favorite, at a certain point every player (at least in the top 150) has a point where they're a good pick.
Old 04-01-10, 10:16 AM
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Re: fantasy baseball draft strategy

Thanks a lot guys. That was helpful.

It's head to head and the 6th hitting stat is total hits I believe.

One final question. Is it a good idea to try to balance my hitters based on the stats?

I mean should I target one homerun hitter (Pujols for example) one AVG hitter (maybe Mauer) one SB guy (Crawford) etc or try to target more balanced players that can get me all the stats?

I guess what I'm asking is should I be thinking "Ok I have a power hitter already, now I need to focus on speed..."?
Old 04-01-10, 12:37 PM
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Re: fantasy baseball draft strategy

Originally Posted by whoopdido View Post
It's head to head and the 6th hitting stat is total hits I believe
Total hits? Ughhh ... that's kind of a stupid category. Redundant with AVG, except you get penalized for having disciplined hitters who will take walks. Anyway, it shouldn't change the draft strategy too much ... lead-off guys and guys who rarely walk get a bump (like Ichiro).

Originally Posted by whoopdido View Post
One final question. Is it a good idea to try to balance my hitters based on the stats?

I mean should I target one homerun hitter (Pujols for example) one AVG hitter (maybe Mauer) one SB guy (Crawford) etc or try to target more balanced players that can get me all the stats?

I guess what I'm asking is should I be thinking "Ok I have a power hitter already, now I need to focus on speed..."?
Either way works ... as long as the total stats add up to be competitive on a weekly basis. My plan is usually flexible depending on what players drop to me. Of course, the best players help you in multiple categories. Pujols isn't just a home-run hitter - he puts up monster numbers in everything but SBs. I generally prefer not to have one-dimensional hitters on my team. Which means that I never end up with slow low AVG hitters like Carlos Pena or Adam Dunn ... or weak speed guys like Michael Bourne. My drafts usually end up following the strategy mentioned by Birrman54 ... with well-rounded hitters. Another problem with being heavily dependent on a single guy to balance your offense is what do you do if he gets hurt? For example, a lot of teams last year that drafted Jose Reyes in round 1 and thought they were set for speed ... well, they had a big problem.

Again, just try to be flexible and keep a clear mind when drafting.
Old 04-01-10, 03:39 PM
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Re: fantasy baseball draft strategy

Originally Posted by brainee View Post
Total hits? Ughhh ... that's kind of a stupid category. Redundant with AVG, except you get penalized for having disciplined hitters who will take walks. Anyway, it shouldn't change the draft strategy too much ... lead-off guys and guys who rarely walk get a bump (like Ichiro).



Either way works ... as long as the total stats add up to be competitive on a weekly basis. My plan is usually flexible depending on what players drop to me. Of course, the best players help you in multiple categories. Pujols isn't just a home-run hitter - he puts up monster numbers in everything but SBs. I generally prefer not to have one-dimensional hitters on my team. Which means that I never end up with slow low AVG hitters like Carlos Pena or Adam Dunn ... or weak speed guys like Michael Bourne. My drafts usually end up following the strategy mentioned by Birrman54 ... with well-rounded hitters. Another problem with being heavily dependent on a single guy to balance your offense is what do you do if he gets hurt? For example, a lot of teams last year that drafted Jose Reyes in round 1 and thought they were set for speed ... well, they had a big problem.

Again, just try to be flexible and keep a clear mind when drafting.
Thanks for all the help.

Now it looks like we're not even going to have a league. The idiot commissioner thought that opening day was the 12th, rather than next week so he had it all planned that the draft would be next Wednesday. He just asked me to fill in a spot the other day and I really had no idea when the season started because I wasn't planning on playing fantasy baseball and really don't get interested in baseball until August or so. Now he was trying to throw it all together for tonight but nobody can make it and with it being Easter weekend everybody is unavailable tomorrow and Saturday. I would have been fine with tonight, but I guess nobody else can make it.

Oh well, like I said, I wasn't planning on playing but once I thought I was going to, I was looking forward to it. I suppose I could just join an online league for fun to see if I like it and play next year.
Old 04-01-10, 03:41 PM
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Re: fantasy baseball draft strategy

Originally Posted by Cathepsin View Post
Fantasy Baseball - Fantasy Football Translation

1B/3B/OF = RB, WR
SP = QB
RP = K
SS, C, 2B = TE

Lincecum, Greinke, Felix Hernandez = Peyton, Brady, Brees
Mauer, V. Martinez = Witten, Gates
By the way, using this translation would you take the 2 relievers with the last 2 picks since relievers translate to kickers?

I don't know about everybody else, but I always take a kicker with my last pick.
Old 04-01-10, 04:13 PM
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Re: fantasy baseball draft strategy

Originally Posted by whoopdido View Post
By the way, using this translation would you take the 2 relievers with the last 2 picks since relievers translate to kickers?

I don't know about everybody else, but I always take a kicker with my last pick.
Not quite the same thing. Because with kickers, the weekly point margin between the best K and the 10th to 14th best is pretty negligible (since hardly anyone takes a backup K).

But with relievers, everyone will want at least 2 (most leagues that I've played in allow you to start even more relievers, so many teams have 3 or 4 relievers). And there IS a big difference between the top RPs (like Rivera and Papelbon) and the guys in the 20-28 range (where you're getting into Leo Nunez and Matt C(r)apps territory). And crappy closers tend to lose their jobs, making them completely valueless on your team.

So while I don't like completely ignoring closers, I just don't want to overpay. In the leagues I've played (where in addition to RP spots, there are generic P spots that are flexes for any type of pitcher) , I usually try to shoot for 3 closers. With my goal of 3, I try to get one good closer. I won't take the first closer off the board (some yahoo always goes for a guy like Papelbon in the 4th round or so). But I like a guy I feel good about being solid. For some reason, KC's Joakim Soria always seems to end up on my teams. Maybe people overlook him because his team sucks. But closers can put up great stats for crappy teams. You might think they wouldn't get the saves because the team loses so often. But that's not true, because even though the overall wins are less the wins they do get tend to be close ones. For my second closer I usually go with a lower end guy (like Frank Francisco). And I'm usually scrounging the waiver wires to fill that third closer spot (last season, Andrew Bailey and Ryan Franklin ended up on teams of mine).

In your situation (only 2 relievers), I'd feel fine if I had at least 1 decent (top 15-20) closer. And pick up a late round scrub with an eye for upgrading during the regular season. It all depends on how the draft goes.

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