2014

2014 Fantasy Baseball Draft Strategy (Part 1)

Fantasy Baseball Draft Strategy

Now that you have prepped, completed your cheat sheets, perused your draft guides, and burnt through highlighters it is time to focus on your 2014 Fantasy Baseball Draft Strategy.

I will be focusing on the first three rounds in this article.

Also, make sure to utilize mine, and many others rankings over at Fantasy Pros. They will certainly help you in your drafting and studying. Positional tiers are also a great tool and they should be posted on davidgonos.com soon, as well.

Now, let’s dip into these first three rounds to see what it gets us!

McCutchen will have no problem diving in to the top four of drafts in all formats in 2014. Photo By: Keith Allison

2014 Fantasy Baseball Draft Strategy

 

ROUNDS 1-2

To me, there is no hard-line Fantasy Baseball strategy one must follow, but it does help to have a gameplan, and to evaluate what you want your draft plan will be.

If you have a top four pick, for example, essentially any format your top four picks are stable and consistent. Picks 5-12 can get murkier, and decisions will need to be made based on your strategies, interest, and how you value players or positions.

If I can get an elite shortstop or second baseman in the first three rounds I will be very happy. If I can get both, I am very confident in my team already. If not a shortstop, or second baseman, I would like to get a top tier third baseman (likely in Round 2) depending on my draft position, of course.

In the breakdowns below, I considered the turns at the end of the draft, so I consolidated a few sections to cover this, rather than split it up.

Picks 1-4:

As I said earlier, picks one through four are all but locked in, no matter the format. Mike Trout, and Miguel Cabrera are typically fighting for that top pick overall, while Paul Goldschmidt and Andrew McCutcheon usually swap between the third or fourth pick overall.

I will be just fine with any one of those players, and depending what strategy I want to use it comes down to wanting a 1B or OF. Both positions are deep in 2014, although, one could argue after the second tier of both positions, outfield is far weaker. Regardless, if you have a top-four pick, you are safe, and can make your decision with comfort.

Typical Players Selected: Mike Trout, Miguel Cabrera, Paul Goldschmidt, Andrew McCutchen

Picks 5-9:

Here is where it starts to get tricky. Plenty of talent available, and this is where your strategy comes in to play. I am a tier and positional scarcity drafter, meaning I typically avoid deep positions such as pitching and first base with these draft slots, and target elite players from scarce positions. Shortstop, Second Base and Outfield are my likely targets based on talent, tiers, and scarcity.

With the options available I go with my heart as well. If I am a HUGE fan of Bryce Harper, yeah I may as well take him seventh overall over Robinson Cano or Chris Davis, knowing I will not get him back in Round 2.

If your strategy is to get elite aces, then Clayton Kershaw is a safe pick. I do not draft pitching early, but if you are in a points league, or pitching-heavy scoring system, you may need to reconsider.

If you are in a dynasty format, players such as Bryce Harper, Carlos Gonzalez, and Adam Jones will get a hefty bump in value. Keep all of this in mind when laying out your battle plan.

Typical Players Selected: Carlos Gonzalez, Clayton Kershaw, Robinson Cano, Chris Davis, Adam Jones, Bryce Harper

Picks 10-15:

If I don’t get one of the top four picks, I prefer to be toward the end of the draft. In this case, you may miss some huge names early, but can snag two very good, if not elite players quickly. If I have any of these picks I am looking at getting an Outfielder and Shortstop. If a player such as Hanley Ramirez, Bryce Harper, or Ryan Braun are still there I am taking one or two of them without hesitation.

If Hanley is gone I will gladly take Troy Tulowitzki and lock up an elite player — albeit injury-prone — at the thinnest position, shortstop, right away.

It can be risky using your first-round selection on a player who will likely miss time, so keep this in mind. If you don’t feel comfortable taking risks, then by all means play it safe with other players such as Prince Fielder.

On the turn into Round 2, it is very important you consider how many picks will go before it is your turn to draft again. If you want to lock up a third baseman and see Evan Longoria ranked 22nd overall, he will not come back to you. If you really want him, you have to take him. Reaching or not. When you work the tail ends of draft, reaching should not be a concern.

Typical Players Selected: Ryan Braun, Hanley Ramirez, Bryce Harper, Prince Fielder, Troy Tulowitzki, Adam Jones, and Yu Darvish

Yu Darvish is being taken in the early second round, or in late first round of deep, or pitcher-heavy leagues. Photo By: Keith Allison

Draft Strategy: ROUNDS 2-3

 

Picks 16-24:

You will need to feel out your league and stick to your guns with these middle-round picks. If you went outfield in Round 1, you better get a scarce position in Rounds 2 and 3. With these picks, and based on ADP, you will likely be targeting a third baseman. If you aren’t worried about positional scarcity, then getting some power, or even pitching, is an option. If it were me, I would be looking at third base or second base.

Typical Players Selected: Joey Votto, Edwin Encarnacion, Yu Darvish, Adrian Beltre, Jason Kipnis, Yasiel Puig, Evan Longoria

Picks 24-28:

The long wait is over, and now you can select two players to pair with your top-4 pick. Although, I prefer to wait on pitching until Round 4 or 5, you may need to draft one now depending on your league. If the top three or four pitchers are gone already, you will have to consider getting your ace now. If not, I am once again filling scarce positions as much as I can. If I ended up with McCutchen in Round 1, I am hoping to get my shortstop, third baseman or second baseman now.

Based on ADP, outfielders and pitchers are ranked and drafted most between now and my next pick. So, since I have an elite outfielder already, I am going against the grain. If I can somehow leave Round 3 with Jason Kipnis and Longoria? I am doing cartwheels.

Typical Players Selected: Yasiel Puig, Evan Longoria, David Wright, Jason Kipnis, Freddie Freeman, Jay Bruce, Carlos Gomez, Giancarlo Stanton, and Max Scherzer

Draft Strategy: ROUND 3

 

Picks 29-32:

If you missed out on Tulo, or Hanley in the first rounds, fear not. There are three very good, borderline first/second-tier shortstops who are typically available with these picks. If you don’t have your shortstop yet, I strongly encourage you to get one now! If you do have your shortstop set, you have some wiggle room and get a very solid Outfielder, or Starter here.

Typical Players Selected: Jay Bruce, Jean Segura, Dustin Pedroia, Ian Desmond, Jose Reyes, Stephen Strasburg, Jose Fernandez, and Alex Rios

Picks 33-36:

Knowing you will have another pick coming around quickly in Round 4, this pick can be flexible, but if you are worried about starters, you may as well grab one now, or in Round 4. Otherwise, just fill your roster using your tiers, and based on previous selections and he best available.

Typical Players Selected: Jay Bruce, Jean Segura, Dustin Pedroia, Ian Desmond, Jose Reyes, Stephen Strasburg, Jose Fernandez, and Alex Rios

If you happen to miss out on your Tier 1 Shortstop, you have assurance Ian Desmond will be available later in most drafts. Photo By: Keith Allison

Potential Roster Through Three Rounds

I would gladly take any of these teams and all three would fulfill my early round strategy, as well. (Roster Requirements: C, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, OF, OF, OF, UT, SP,SP, SP, SP, SP, RP, RP)

Pick 2

Miguel Cabrera-1B/3B, David Wright-3B, Ian Desmond-SS

Pick 7

Robinson Cano-2B, Adrian Beltre-3B, Jean Segura-SS

Pick 12

Hanley Ramirez-SS/3B, Evan Longoria-3B, Justin Upton-OF

Stay tuned for Part 2 of the Fantasy Baseball Draft Strategy Series coming soon, as well as the results of the Gonos 30-for-30, 12-team Rotisserie League. It should help provide realistic draft results.

2014 Fantasy Baseball Draft Prep

Rankings: Overall | C | 1B | 2B | SS | 3B | OF | DH |SP |RP

Strategy:Drafting Rds 9-16 | Drafting Rds 4-8 |Drafting the First 3 Rds | 7 Steps to Success | Positional Tiers | 30 for30 Draft Results
One-Man Mock Drafts: Mixed Roto (1/27) | Mixed H2H (2/4)

Fantasy Baseball 30-for-30 MLB Team Previews

AL East: Baltimore | Boston | N.Y. Yankees | Tampa Bay | Toronto
AL Central: Chi White Sox | Cleveland | Detroit | Kansas City | Minnesota
AL West: Houston | L.A. Angels | Oakland | Seattle | Texas
NL East: Atlanta | Miami | N.Y. Mets | Philadelphia | Washington
NL Central: Chicago Cubs | Cincinnati | Milwaukee | Pittsburgh | St. Louis
NL West: Arizona | Colorado | L.A. Dodgers | San Diego | San Francisco
Prospects: Top 50 Prospects | Nick Castellanos | Javier Baez
Stat Deep-Dives: Expected RBI Totals from 2013
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