Looking for a killer Fantasy Baseball draft plan this year? Every year I sit down in November, I look at the players, and I start working on a draft plan. For the most part, I participate in 12 team mixed leagues as most of the expert leagues we do are 12 teamers. I like to come up with a scenario where I know what positions I want and what categories I want in any given round. As many of you know, I prefer categories over positions and is why I am not shy about loading up on power 1B's in the first three rounds. However, even The Fantasy Man can get savvy from time to time. Here is my 2011 fantasy baseball draft plan. This is my personal plan and now that I am done drafting, I will share more in depth. Many of you still have drafts, so remember this is my personal advice, not gospel. Hope it helps you. good luck!
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Planning my Draft Strategy:
I go hitting early and pitching late, pretty basic philosophy. I go all hitting, first 5-6 rounds. A top hitter is normally more valuable in a typical 5x5 roto so that's why I'm loading up on hitting early. My top priority is power, especially at the weak positions, but I am also a sucker for Carl Crawford and Andrew McCutchen. Both players can easily screw up my plan, but at the same time, I know how to adjust. Here's what I know going in...
1. I know that I can grab speed later (Juan Pierre, Michael Bourn, Brett Gardner, Austin Jackson, Dexter Fowler, etc... I believe Fowler/Jackson will both steal 30+SB)
2. I know power gets tougher to acquire late unless you're savvy (Mark Reynolds, Ian Stewart, Jason Kubel, Travis Snider, etc.)
3. I know there is plenty of starting pitching aces available between rounds 6-8 (Mat Latos, Tommy Hanson, Yovanni Gallardo, Francisco Liriano, Chris Carpenter)
4. I know there is plenty of either upside pitching late(Jonathan Sanchez, Phil Hughes, Clay Buchholz or Jon Niese, Jouhlys Chacin, Bud Norris, Brian Matusz later), or comeback/veteran pitching late (Jake Peavy, Carlos Zambrano, John Lackey).
5. I know that I like to draft closers early so I can take advantage of the better ERA/WHIP/K categories.
6. I know there are plenty of solid everyday outfielders available late, so unless I draft Crawford or McCutchen, you won't see me draft an OF until at least R10 or so if I'm itchin' to grab Juan Pierre, Brett Gardner or Michael Bourn.
Executing my Draft Plan (Snake Format):
R1 - Load up on Power - Albert Pujols, Miguel Cabrera, Robinson Cano, Carl Crawford, Alex Rodriguez, Adrian Gonzalez. There are realistically the only guys I'm looking at. I consistently pass on Troy Tulowitzski, Evan Longoria and Joey Votto (You can listen to my podcasts for reasons why). Obviosuly, Crawford throws a wrench in the plan but I know I can get big power in R2).
R2 - If I have a middle pick and grab Cano/Crawford, I look for A-Rod to slip. If A-Rod is gone, I go Ryan Howard or Prince Fielder. There is always one available by the end of R2.
R3 - Jose Reyes - This is an opportunity to grab a potential contract year break out, get top speed, and cover a weak position. If I grab Crawford in R1, obviouslyI'm loaded at SB and I can concentrate on power for pretty much the rest of the draft. If Reyes is gone, I go back to power at 1B, CI or I might grab Andrew McCutchen as a plan B. McCutchen is realistically Crawford minus some SB but more power.
R4 - I'll look at Dan Uggla here, Kinsler, Mauer, McCann, VMart. If all gone, I'll grab Adam Dunn.
R5 - Same as R4...whoever slips of that group. If all gone, I'm looking at Justin Morneau, Brandon Phillips, Buster Posey, and may stretch out to grab Carlos Santana or Stephen Drew. Otherwise, might just look best hitter available.
R6-R9 - All pitching. I like to grab a closer here first (Carlos Marmol,Brian Wilson, Heath Bell), then alternate SP, RP, SP. Bottomline, I want to come out these 4 rounds with two solid SP (Hanson, Latos, Gallardo, Liriano, Jimenez, Price, Oswalt, Carpenter) and two top RP (Marmol, Wilson, Bell, Soria, Rivera). If I miss on the other closer, I'll grab Stephen Drew in the middle here if I need the SS or Carlos Santana if I need a catcher. Then I'll look at Thornton, Valverde, Broxton, Lidge if the closer run started too early.
R10 - I'll look catcher if I need my first, other wise, I look Juan Pierre or Brett Gardner for speed if need. If I need power, I'm all over Mark Reynolds.
R11- 13 - Will look to grab my second catcher in Jorge Posada, Miguel Montero, or Kurt Suzuki depending on availability. If these guys are gone, then I just wait until late to grab another. I'll also look to grab an SP (Sanchez, Hughes, Buchholz if I'm lucky) and a closer (Broxton, Lidge, Thornton or Nunez if they slip). Those are the three positions I like to fill in rounds 11-13. At this point, managers are just filling spots, so you have to see what positions are getting weak and fill your spot with that last good player before someone else does. This is where rankings with tiers come in handy.
R14+ - The rest - Now your just filling needs like stolen base or power or starting pitching and looking at positions at the same time. Most solid power/speed combos are gone, so for speed, fill OF slots with guys later like Dexter Fowler and Austin Jackson or power guys like Jason Kubel, Travis Snider, and throw an upside pick like Logan Morrison. Then fill in pitching as you go with good young SP's with upside.
Some other sleeper speedsters I like late (in order)...
Power I like late (in order)...
Pitching I like late (in order)...
That's my personal plan and I'm confident its a killer! Good luck in 2011!
The Fantasy Man