In the War Room: Expert Draft Strategy Rounds 15-21

Todd Farino@truegurufarinoCorrespondent IMarch 22, 2009

BEIJING - NOVEMBER 16:  Chinese security guard works at a monitor control room of the Beijing Science and Technology University Gymnasium, venue for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games on November 16, 2007 In Beijing, China. The Beijing Olympic Media Center today invited the media to an exclusive presentation on security for next year's Olympics.  (Photo by Guang Niu/Getty Images)

We continue our pick-by-pick coverage for the KFFL K-FAD Expert League Draft. To recap, the league is your standard roster (2 catchers, 5 OF) 5x5 rotisserie 12-team league. I get the chance to represent Fantasy Baseball Search to play against some of the toughest competitors and expert minds in the industry.

The third segment of the KFFL K-BAD expert league draft went much better then the second segment for my team. I was able to draft all the players I needed and wanted, plus thanks to this being an email draft I was able to discover some fantastic steals.

I have always said that after round 17 or 18, there are no bad picks because the players left all have positives and negatives. They have skills, but risks. Once you get that far into the draft, it's a free-for-all on the picks. Take your sleepers, rookies, minor league players etc.

After the 17th round, go crazy and have fun with your draft. Let's go through picks 15-21 and discuss the strategic draft plan for the third segment of the draft.

Round 15 - Elijah Dukes, Washington Nationals
22 Hrs, 79 RBI, 76 Runs, .274 Avg, 21 SBs

Planned Strategic Pick: As the 15th round was developing, I took note of what I still needed. After the first 14 rounds (midpoint of the draft) I still needed at least  starting pitchers, two-three relief pitchers, three outfielders, middle infielders, catcher, and a badly needed first basemen.

With that many needs, I could take any player I wanted in the draft. The player I immediately targeted was Elijah Dukes. In only 276 at bats last year, Dukes had 13 home runs and 13 steals. He had great minor league stats and finally got regular playing time in the majors last year after being drafted back in 2002.

Honestly, I was shocked he was still available. Up to this point, Dukes was one of my best picks. He also completed my outfield that now consists of Grady Sizemore, BJ Upton, Manny Ramirez, Chris Young, and Elijah Dukes.

Other Considerations: Matt Lindstrom.

Strategic Plan: Fill one of the holes on my team with the best available player. Primarily a closer or outfielder.

Round 16 - Joel Hanrahan, Washington Nationals, RP
4 W, 3.14 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, 39 Saves, 78 Ks

Planned Strategic Pick: My strategy going into round 16 was simple, get a closer. I lost Matt Lindstrom in round 15, so I went for the next best on my personal list, Joel Hanrahan. He is the third closer I've drafted and joins Joakim Soria and B.J. Ryan.

The absolute minimum number of closers you should draft is three, but getting four or five is also a good idea. Hanrahan was on my short list of the perfect fantasy bullpen and he was the only one I got from my perfect bullpen. Broxton, Marmol, and Lindstrom all went much earlier than expected. Hanrahan delivers high saves and strikeouts.

Other Considerations: None.

Strategic Plan: Get a closer, particularly Joel Hanrahan.

Round 17 - David Price, Tampa Bay Rays, SP/RP
14 Wins, 3.09 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 140 Ks

Planned Strategic Pick: In this round I wanted to get my 4th starting pitcher. There were still plenty of pitchers to choose from, but when I saw David Price still on the board I took the chance. He is an outstanding talent and regardless of his status at the beginning of the season, he will pitch for the Rays early and often in 2008.

He will likely open the season in the minors, but that is only for contractual reasons. This is similar to Evan Longoria last year. We should see Price before the end of April.

I did take Price over Erik Bedard, Joe Saunders, and Ubaldo Jimenez, so I believe he will have a rookie of the year caliber season. He was without a doubt a great value at pick 17, especially with a ADP of 137 (12th round).

Other Considerations: Erik Bedard, Joe Saunders, and Ubaldo Jimenez .

Strategic Plan: Get the best starting pitcher on the board. Take a risk if necessary.

Round 18 - Elvis Andrus, Texas Rangers, SS
.259 Avg, 6 HR, 48 RBI, 100 Runs, 41 SBs

Planned Strategic Pick: By round 18, I only had one shortstop and one second basemen. I still needed to fill the MI roster slot and I felt there was another great value in the draft with Elvis Andrus.

Early in the draft I scored some good stolen bases, but I still didn't feel I had enough speed to hold the category. Drafting Andrus gave me my stolen bases. He has incredible speed and he will make his major league debut at shortstop for the Rangers. With the light humid Texas air, we expect him to hit a few home runs as well. I still had no first basemen at this point, but passing on Andrus wasn't possible.

Other Considerations: Hank Blalock, Todd Helton.

Strategic Plan: I was looking for speed or power in a middle infielder or first basemen.

Round 19 - Gaby Sanchez, Florida Marlins, 1B
.279 Avg, 16 Hrs, 75 RBI, 71 Runs, 12 SBs

Planned Strategic Pick: Finally I was able to draft a first basemen. Throughout this draft, the 1B roster slot has been impossible to draft. Every time I targeted a first basemen, he was taken.

Once my pick arrived, there was a better value players to draft over the first basemen. I've been chasing the position the entire draft, but in round 19, I got the hot Marlin prospect Gaby Sanchez.

Sanchez has all the skills; speed, power, and hits for average. He only has eight major league at bats, but his minor league numbers speak volumes. Without a doubt, depending on a rookie for my first base slot is a risk, but with Gaby Sanchez it's one I'm willing to take.

Other considerations: Todd Helton, Casey Kotchman.

Strategic Pick: I had to get a first basemen and get the best value first basemen, even a rookie.

Round 20 - Ivan Rodriguez Houston Astros, C
.288 Avg, 12 Hrs, 81 RBI, 60 Runs, 1 Sb

Planned Strategic Pick: During the 19th round, IROD signed with Houston. I couldn't pass on him in the 20th. He is still a threat on offense and joining Houston just makes him that much more valuable.

He will play 81 games in hitter-friendly Minute Maid Park. I suspect I'll get 12 home run power from him, but he could produce more. I did fill my second catcher slot, giving me a great catcher tandem in Russell Martin and Ivan Rodriguez.

Other considerations: Jeff Clement, Brandon Morrow, Armando Galaragga

Strategic Pick: At first I was looking starting pitcher, but with Clement and IROD still on the board I decided to get a solid average and OK power catcher.

Round 21 - Armando Galaragga, Detroit Tigers, SP
15 Wins, 3.45 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 144 Ks

Planned Strategic Pick: If you haven't already noticed, I use the late rounds to draft young risky players. I've already gotten Andrus and Sanchez, now I add Armando Galaragga. Galaragga got started early this year in the WBC and looked very good.

I think he is one of the up and coming pitchers in the American League and should have a very good year. I'm giving my top projections for Armando Galaragga in this article because I think he has a great chance of producing it. If he does, he was a steal in the 20th round.

Other Considerations: Brandon Morrow, Aaron Hill, Roy Corcoran, Jew Lowrie, or Ryan Spilbroughs.

Strategic Plan: I primarily wanted a pitcher this draft. If not, maybe a middle infielder.

Leaving rounds 15-21 I filled major holes on my team and filled up my roster. At this point as round 22 comes around I can pick the best available player. I no longer have to worry about filling slots, but stealing late studs or at least possible studs in the following rounds.

Several teams are probably in the same position, but it gives me a serious advantage over the teams that are not in the position to free pick the rest of their fantasy team.

Next, rounds 22-28!


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