I want to start from the top
Maybe like a do over
Just like the song Re-do from Modern Baseball — topical band name, I know — I’m looking to get a complete re-do after my first mock draft. My rocky-at-best crack at the early off season mock draft is outlined in three parts, the infield, outfield and pitchers but I went away from my normal “Bats first, pitchers second” mantra. At the risk of having Howard Bender poach my players away from me, something he is wont to do, I’ll be outlining my strategy for my mock draft as part of Bender’s Mock Draft Army.
In snake-format redraft leagues with roto scoring, I have several fantasy pillars. They have worked out well for me in the past and if all goes to plan, will continue to work for me in tomorrow evening’s draft. Auction leagues, keeper/dynasty formats, custom scoring and head-to-head all require very different approaches, so we’ll stick with the simple 5×5 redraft format as a loose template.
More bats than my favorite Batman scene
It isn’t to say that hitters don’t get hurt — Joey Votto and Paul Goldschmidt owners from last year in particular know this — but they do get hurt less often than pitchers. A good enough hitter can be a five category guy, and outside of the vulture win by a closer or even rarer save by a starter (huge props to Dan Haren for helping me win a league in 2013 with his one save when I accidentally left him in my lineup) most pitchers are four category guys. In a standard 12-team mixed league with 25- man rosters I believe I can cobble together a pitching staff built on the middle-to-late round starters plus high strikeout relievers. I can help make up the starting pitching gap by streaming starters, preferably as many two-start guys I can get my hands on each week. Over at Mock Draft Central, for their 11 qualifying drafts they have guys like Zack Wheeler, Marco Estrada and Carlos Carrasco all being taken around pick #200. I can contend with those guys as my starters. I don’t worry about the the streamed pitchers ratios as my relief corps helps keep my ERA and WHIP in line while helping to hold some ground on the strikeout front. Basically I run a modified LIMA plan, and usually my first pitcher off the board is at round eight or so.
Not just hitters, but non-catching hitters
With leagues that run two catchers I do tend to grab a backstop in the middle rounds, maybe 12-15, but otherwise I like to move around my catchers almost as much as my starters. Given that catchers play the fewest games of any position player due to the stress on their bodies, I’ve found that not paying for catchers early works the best for me. While only nine catchers qualified for the batting title last year, 79 different players accrued at least 40 plate appearances as a catcher, making them eligible in almost any fantasy league. Not to say each of 79 catcher eligible players are fantasy relevant, but to me I like John Jaso as a waiver wire guy or Russell Martin as a pick in the mid 200’s rather than spending early on a guy who will play 120 games.
The mock draft takes place tomorrow at 6:30 pm eastern alongside other fantasy baseball nerds. Instead of breaking out of my little roto-niche I’ll be staying in my wheelhouse and grab my bats early and often. If tomorrow’s draft goes as poorly as the first mock, I’ll at least be able to claim the other writers intentionally cramped my style.
You can catch David spouting off about baseball, soccer, esports and other things by following him on twitter, @davidwiers.