Draft Strategy: Tips and Hints on How To Win Your Fantasy Baseball League

Chris McGuirkContributor IDecember 30, 2010

Looks like Bartolo Colon took 'going heavy on pitchers' to the next level
Looks like Bartolo Colon took 'going heavy on pitchers' to the next levelLisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images

Over the years, there have been many strategies that so called ‘fantasy analysts’ have claimed to be the key to a successful draft.  Some strategies recommend going heavy on pitchers early, some recommend getting pitchers late in the draft.  The fact of the matter is, it is important not to restrict yourself to one draft strategy and to keep many different strategies in mind come draft day.

This guide is here to mention several key points that every owner should follow to maximize their team’s potential.

Draft Strategy- Wait on first basemen

Historically speaking, first basemen are the best hitters in the draft.  In looking at the ‘top tiers’ by position, you can see that in terms of the elite, the first base position is by far the most crowded.  With that said, is there really a difference between Miguel Cabrera (Ranked #2 1B) and Justin Morneau (Ranked #9)?  Sure you’d rather have Cabrera but fantasy drafts are all about value. Instead of drafting one of the top tier first basemen, why not use your number 1 and 2 draft picks to fill a premium position?  Aka Troy Tulowitzki, Evan Longoria, Robinson Cano

Draft Strategy- Start Safe, End Dangerous

Your first few draft picks are very important, these picks represent the core of your team and the players you build your roster around.  Why take risks with these picks?  You want to go with the players that you KNOW will help you (barring injury) reach the fantasy playoffs.  As the draft progresses, start to take more and more risks.  You would rather draft a bust in the 7th of 8th round? Or draft bust in the 1st or 2nd round.

Draft Strategy- Don’t buy into 1 Hit Wonders

This is another piece of advice: do not buy high on players who have had only one good year.  Take last year for example, Matt Kemp and Justin Upton were high on everyone’s draft boards.  They were fresh off of career years and were highly ranked because of it.  Unfortunately, those who drafted them within the first few rounds soon realized that they were not going to even come close to their previous career highs.  Instead, they should have gone with the players who have produced consistently over an extended period of time, take Cabrera and Braun for example.

Draft Strategy- Look for Undervalued Players Coming off of Injuries

Now, I’m not saying to draft an injury riddled outfielder who is clearly over the hill.  But, it doesn’t hurt to take a look at those players whose statistics were down from the previous year because of injuries.  In last year’s draft, John Hamilton was drafted anywhere from the 9th round to the 15th round, all because he was hurt from the previous year.  What happened at the end of the season?  He only won the MVP award with a .359 AVG.  Not bad for a 15th round pick.

Draft Strategy- If you miss out on elite catchers, wait

It is very apparent who the top tier catchers are in this year’s draft: Joe Mauer, Buster Posey, Brian McCann and Victor Martinez.  The drop off in points from these four players to the next tier is huge.  After them, the difference between say, Montero to Wieters to Soto is irrelevant.  Why reach for a catcher if you can get another one 6 or 7 rounds later with the exact same production?

Draft Strategy- Don’t be a homer

This strategy so simple yet so hard to follow—who doesn’t want to root for your favorite pitcher to win, in real life AND fantasy.  For those of you Giant Fans out there, I’m guessing you were SO HIGH on Pablo Sandoval at the beginning of the year, circling his name while drafting him in the second round when the rest of the league was telling you not to, “He’s big, overweight, and is nicknamed after a cartoon panda.” Did you listen? No.  Did it work out for you? No.  The moral of the story is: don’t draft players just because they are on your favorite team.