Passing Judgment: Fantasy Baseball Draft Strategy

There was some discussion on Twitter about my fantasy baseball strategy to double up on first basemen within the first five rounds of the KFFL Baseball BAD Fantasy League.

This is an 15-team industry expert Roto league with standard 5×5 scoring categories.  For some background of my draft thus far and the reason for this question to be presented, here were my first five picks: 1. Clayton Kershaw (SP-LAD); 2. Freddie Freeman (1B-ATL); 3. Jose Bautista (OF-TOR); 4. Carlos Beltran (OF-NYY); and 5. Adrian Gonzalez (1B-LAD).

Adrian Gonzalez 2As you can see, I took a Gonzalez as my Corner Infielder when I already had Freeman and yet didn’t have any other infielders.  At the time, I had considered taking Pedro Alvarez or a catcher such as Brian McCann, Joe Mauer or Carlos Santana.  But since I am completely adverse to drafting catchers early, it really came down to Alvarez versus Gonzalez.  While Alvarez has massive power and could easily hit 40 home runs this year, he would still be an albatross to my batting average and has too many flaws in his swing to truly be trusted.  Instead, I viewed Gonzalez as the best player available at the time.  He can be counted on for close to a .300 batting average along with 20 home runs and 100 RBI.  I feel much more confident knowing I can rely and depend on that production rather than wondering whether Alvarez can grow as a hitter.

My view on this issue is that you should pick the best players available early in drafts regardless of position.  That doesn’t mean you should take five outfielders or three second basemen in a row.  But filling a Corner Infield position is just as important as the other infield positions which need to get filled as well.  It just so happens that some other fantasy baseball pundits happen to agree with this sentiment as well.

After the fifth round of a 15-team draft, the pickings become slimmer and slimmer so you should take advantage of the opportunities that are presented to you.  That is exactly what I did by taking Gonzalez.  I managed to fill the rest of my infield by the end of Round 11 after taking Daniel Murphy (2B-NYM) in the 8th round, Nolan Arenado (3B-COL) in the 10th round, and J.J. Hardy (SS-BAL) in the 11th round.  I am happy with how that turned out, especially knowing I have both Freeman and Gonzalez in my lineup as well.

The moral of the story is that no one strategy is the end all be all.  Personally I believe that you should draft the best players available in the early portions of the draft.  Since that was my belief and strategy, I went ahead and implemented it in the draft.  I did not second guess myself one bit about it, nor will I play Monday morning quarterback regardless of how things play out later.  If you have a particular viewpoint or draft strategy, you should feel comfortable going with it (as long as there is some inherent logic behind it).

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