The Fantasy Dump: Baseball Edition 3/27/12

Matt Kemp, Miguel Cabrera, Albert Pujols (Left, Justin K. Aller/Getty Images; Chang W. Lee/The New York Times; Darryl Webb/Reuters)

Tonight at 10pm is the MoneyBall Fantasy Baseball League draft, the fantasy league that I am involved in with some other fantasy baseball junkies spread out around the nation.  It’s for bragging rights.  It’s for pride.  But most of all, it is for MONEY!

I am going to be breaking down the draft strategy that I will be using for this draft and then tomorrow I will update you with the results of the draft and tell you where I feel my team is to start the season.  Then each Sunday starting on 4/1/12 I will bring you my weekly fantasy preview, the Fantasy Dump.  It will include some player projections, 2 start pitcher options, injury replacement strategies and many other useful tips to help you win your fantasy league (and hopefully mine). 

Jumbo’s MoneyBall Fantasy League Draft Strategy

The MoneyBall league is a 5×5 Rotisserie League using both NL and AL players.  If you are not familiar with 5×5 Roto fantasy baseball it is when you get ranked 1-10 compared to the other 9 teams in your league.  The stats used are Hits, HR, Runs, RBI and AVG for the batters and Wins, Saves, Strikeouts, ERA and WHIP for pitchers.  A Roto league is much different from a H2H league in that you are not scoring points to defeat an opponent but you are accumulating stats for the entire season.  If you need to know more please just research it on your own.

I am coming into the MoneyBall draft with the 2nd pick and will be able to get Albert Pujols or Miguel Cabrera.  I have considered Matt Kemp but I want an AL player as my first pick.  Now my strategy starts.  My draft strategy is a variation of the Core Four Draft Strategy by Steve Gardner, USA Today with some additions that I feel are necessary.

In the “Core Four” there is a premium placed on 4 specific categories that will affect your team the most.

Home Runs:  We all know that home runs are the most important stat in baseball for most baseball fans.  We all want to see home runs in the highlight shows and home runs can change the outcome of a game in one swing but what do they mean to Roto baseball?  Each home run will help your team in 4 of the 5 offensive categories (Runs, RBIs, Batting Avg and of course HRs) that you will be scored on.  Knowing this I put a premium on home runs early (rounds 1-5) in the draft.

Hits:  The more hits a player gets the higher his batting average is, the more chances he has to steal bases and score runs.  In fact in Roto ball nothing can go wrong if a player gets on base.

Stolen Bases:  Since they are their own category, SB are very important but on top of that stolen bases will put the runner in position to score more runs.  If you are building a team and you have to try to get some players who will help you in steals or you will not be able to win your league.  Take this example:  If you are 1st in HRs and 10th in Stolen Bases you will net 11 pts.  But if you are 3rd in HRs and 5th in Steals then you will net 14 pts.  You need to have a balance if you want to be successful.

Strikeouts:  Strikeouts are the biggest factor in a fantasy pitcher’s success in Roto.  More strikeouts = more wins, lower WHIP and ERA.  Wins are an unpredictable stat but strikeout pitchers are pretty consistent.  If you try to build the core of your pitching staff with players with a high K/9 rate you should be successful.


Outside the “Core Four” I put a premium on 2 other categories.

Batting Average:  I use batting average to split 2 players apart that I am comparing after I have started building my core.  If I am looking at a OF who hits 30 HR and bats .273 and one that hits 26 HR and bats .304 I will lean towards the .300 hitter more time than not.

Saves:  Saves are the only category that doesn’t really help any other one and that leads some owners to just punt the category and concentrate on other stats.  I think this is a bad idea.  When it comes to saves there are only 25 to 30 guys that can get you saves throughout the season.  Instead of not trying to get saves I feel you should go after 2-3 of these closers and make sure yourself a strong ranking in the save category at the end of the season.

I will fill my roster based on feel and needs I have at the time of my pick.  It can also vary if there is a run on certain types of players but I tend to avoid runs since concentrating on other position will net you better results.  My first 5 pick breakdown will look like this.

1.2- A 4 tool workhorse (Pujols/Cabrera)

2.9- Middle In-Fielder with power or SB (Cano, Pedroia)

3.2- High K/9 SP

4.9- Corner IF or Outfielder

5.2- Outfielder

After the first 5 picks I will re-evaluate and adjust to fit needs.

I will update Wed on how my draft went.  Have a great evening.


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