If you want to win your NL Only league you MUST have a draft plan. This is a given. Trying to head into the draft and "winging it" is extremely hard. Here are some key points and questions to help formulate a successful draft plan....
- Who are my keepers? What kind of stats do my keepers project? What do I need to reach my goals?
- How am I in terms of draft dollars to spend on draft day after my keepers?
- What are the strengths & weaknesses of the upcoming draft and how does that play into what my team needs?
- What other owners in my league share the same weaknesses as me and how much draft day dollars do they have?
- What positions do I need and how does that play into what I need?
A team in an NL only league should be compiled with your core & secondary players. The core of your team should consist of the top half of your team (10 to 12 players) which would be your top 6 to 8 hitters, your top 3 starters, your closer and if possible another releiver who can get you at least 10 saves. The second half of your team will be comprised of secondary players. These players may not be sexy but can give you good numbers at reasonable dollars (think of players like Aaron Rowand, Casey Blake or Joe Blanton). In my experience, teams that win the league or are at the top of the standings have strong secondary players.
A championship team displays a combination of power, speed, average, good front end starting pitching and a good closer or two if possible. This is a good model to start with in putting your team together (you can tweak this model to what fits your team and league best).
- Try to get your top 12 players to be your core players
- The remaining 11 spots will be your secondary players
- Leave a budget of $35 for three good players who go late in the draft (this will be part of your secondary players budget). This will be strong purchasing power at that stage of the draft.
- The remaining eight secondary slots should be able to be covered with $25 to $30. This will include your 2nd catcher, 5th OF slot, UTIL, either your 3rd middle infielder or corner, your 4th and 5th starting pitchers & two middle relievers who can give you 60 to 70 IP with strong ERA, Ratio and K numbers (possible cheap saves would be a great bonus - look at each teams 8th inning guys).
- That leaves a budget of around $200 for your core players
Using this draft plan model you can start putting together lists of adding to your already core keepers.
- Write down a list of core players available in the draft for the area's you need and go three deep on those different slots. So if you need a big hitter that gives you power & speed a possible list could be Justin Upton, Troy Tulowitzki and David Wright for one of those core spots (estimate a draft day price range for each core spot).
- Being somewhat reasonable do this for all remainig open core slots.
- See how many draft dollars you have left after filling out the top 12 core slots. If you have at least $60 left for your secondary players then this draft plan can be a very good one as long as you have addressed all the essential items a championship team needs. Again this is power, speed, average, front end starting pitching and a closer.
Next Article: Executing the Plan on Draft Day
C. Lizza - NL King
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