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Baseball Is (Hopefully) Coming, and With It, Fantasy Baseball Drafts

Updated on May 8, 2020
Mr Archer profile image

Baseball is the only sport I follow, the only one left from my childhood which has remained close to what I remember it being.

I play ESPN Fantasy Baseball. Come play with me!
I play ESPN Fantasy Baseball. Come play with me! | Source

"Just Win, Baby" Al Davis of the Oakland Raiders

I remember Al Davis, owner of the Oakland Raiders saying this back in the day. "Just Win, Baby!" That pretty much says it all, doesn't it? Playing a sport is all about winning, not these "participation trophies" that became all the rage a few years ago. There is one winner, and everyone else is a loser. Remember Ricky Bobby's daddy, what he said?

"If ya ain't first, yer last!"

Yep, that is what it is all about. Win.

So, once again I will share my secrets of winning a Points Based Fantasy Baseball League. I have been doing a lot of Mock Drafts of late, as a means of not going completely insane during this forced seclusion during our pandemic, and will share with you what I learned doing this. I intentionally set myself up in several different pick locations, from 1st to 3rd to 5th to 8th in an 8 team points based league, and did both picks by rank (which would be the same as if Auto Pick was on), and by expected Fantasy Points for the year for a team requiring 25 players on the team. I will only show the first dozen players drafted and let you figure out where to go from there. Remember though, POINTS MATTER!!!

I tell you this: letting the Auto Pick run is a sure bet to become a loser, whether you pick first or last.

Picking First, 8 Team League

Round
By Rank Pick
Expected Points
By Points
Expected Points
1
Trout
550
Cole
654
2
Story
394
Scherzer
586
3
Devers
440
Rendon
514
4
Bieber
471
Bieber
471
5
Tatis
350
Rizzo
456
6
Morton
452
Semien
473
7
Judge
372
Giolito
471
8
Suarez
349
Nola
464
9
Castellanos
392
Grienke
427
10
Bichette
362
Ohtani
524
11
Darvish
421
Brantley
424
12
McNeil
405
C Santana
442
Total Points
 
9448
 
10605

Having First Pick in an 8 Team League

Mike Trout, the universally accepted Best Player In Baseball, is the normal first pick in almost any league. Yes, he is the best player playing today, I accept that; but is he the best pick in a points based league, the number one overall person to pick for your team IF YOU WANT TO WIN?

No.

Let me explain that statement. This league is based upon how many points you score each week, right? Most points wins, so you want the most points on your team. Trout's expected total points for the year is 550 points, which actually makes him around the fifth or sixth highest expected points total out of all of the players in the league. Gerrit Cole, pitcher for the New York Yankees, is ranked 5th overall yet is expected to tally 654 points for the season, a difference of over a hundred points. Dividing this by an expected 22 weeks (full season stats) that comes out to almost 5 points more per week that Cole brings in over Trout. Not much, but I have lost by a single point in a week before so every point counts.

Overall, by picking whoever is available that has the most points available rather than who is the higher ranked player in this scenario (picking first overall), I was able to gather a team which totals 10,605 points versus a ranked team (picking whoever is the highest ranked player as in an auto pick) of 9,448 points. This is a difference of almost 1,200 points, or an average of over 50 points per week MORE than a ranked team. Folks, that is how you win your league.

Picking 5th in an 8 Team League

Round
By Rank Pick
Expected Points
By Points Pick
Expected Points
1
Cole
654
deGrom
607
2
T Turner
402
Scherzer
586
3
Verlander
541
Strasburg
469
4
Altuve
416
Blackmon
460
5
Albies
395
K Marte
428
6
K Marte
428
Morton
452
7
Villar
276
Hader
425
8
Ozuna
398
M Chapman
407
9
K Yates
396
Ohtani
524
10
R Osuna
383
Giolito
471
11
Glasnow
350
Donaldson
408
12
Moncada
307
C Santana
442
 
 
 
 
 
Total Points
 
9438
 
10266

Picking Fifth in an 8 Team League

In this scenario I chose to pick fifth overall in an eight team points league. Again, I did a Rank pick and a Points pick. This time, however, in my Points pick draft the auto pick in front of me (4th) chose Gerrit Cole, who was the 5th overall ranked player! Even the mock draft will throw a curve at you now and again! So, I adjusted and picked the next highest points total player available, Jacob deGrom of the New York Mets.

The total points of these two teams are as follows: Ranked team was 9,438 points and the Points team was 10,266 points, a difference of over 800 points and a weekly difference of 37 points. Again, when you are playing in a weekly total points league by choosing your players based upon the expected point totals you will come out on top more often than not.


Picking Last in an 8 Team League

Round
By Rank
Expected Points
By Points
Expected Points
1
Betts
527
deGrom
607
2
Soto
515
Scherzer
586
3
S Marte
401
Strasburg
489
4
Strasburg
469
Flaherty
496
5
Rizzo
456
Kershaw
433
6
Alvarez
429
K Marte
428
7
Olson
369
Hader
425
8
Snell
436
Semien
473
9
Semien
473
M Chapman
407
10
M Chapman
407
Brantley
424
11
Muncy
371
Donaldson
408
12
Benintendi
353
Ohtani
524
 
 
 
 
 
Total Points
 
9144
 
10454

Picking Last in an 8 Team Points League

I do not mind picking last in a league like this. Why, you ask? Because you then get an immediate pick again, giving you two before anyone else gets another pick! In a snake draft like this, the 8th place pick then gets the 9th overall pick as well so that will give you two picks before anyone else gets their second pick. To me, this is a distinct advantage. You get two of the top 9 players, a sure advantage moving forward.

So, what did I do with my picks? Pitchers of course! deGrom and Scherzer are two sure fire points demons who will net you a lot of points over the year, and I followed those up with more pitchers, five in a row and six of the first seven picks being pitchers. Generally speaking, the better pitchers in the league provide more points than the better players so by picking pitchers I am able to dominate the overall points based leagues. The difference between a Mike Trout and a Mike Brantley as an outfielder is 126 points, but the round difference between the two is first to tenth. By choosing pitchers early in the draft, I am able to get a dominating pitching staff and offset it with decent outfielders and other position players without losing very much in the points process.

Look at the overall points difference in picking 8th by rank and 8th by points. 9,144 to 10,454! Wow! Over 1,300 points difference with an average of almost 60 points per week of pure domination.

Other Considerations in Drafting

The difference in a catcher is negligible for the most part outside of J.T. Realmuto. He is the only catcher expected to total more than 300 points for the season. All others, which would be picked in an 8 team league, run between 250 and 280 points, making a difference of about a point a week, nothing much to worry about so long as you have a catcher who is active.

Another thing I noticed while drafting by rank is that it seemed that position players, particularly shortstops for some odd reason, would come up time and again as one to draft. For instance, I would fill my SS, then my 2B/SS position and sometimes even my DH position and still a SS would come up as the highest ranked player available to draft! It was maddening! I refused to fall into that trap and would move down to the next available player in order to fill my roster as honestly as possible without having a bench full of SS.

One of these shortstops completely befuddled me as to why he was ranked so high: Adalberto Mondesi. He is ranked 75th overall with a measly 275 points for the full season. Hell, Shohei Ohtani is ranked in the high 90's and has an expected 524 points expected for the season. Why? Is it because he can steal bases? If so, that makes sense in a Roto league where stolen bases have value but in a points based league, sorry not so much. There is just no justification for someone ranked fifteen to twenty spots lower to have twice as many points expected from them for a season as someone ranked so much higher than them.

If you draft smartly, by total points expected in a points based league you will do much better than if you just pick by rank, or let the auto pick choose for you. Those that auto pick are fodder for me and others who strive to do our best, in the same manner as we did when playing the game for real. We are not in this to just participate, and even if bragging rights are all we get from winning a free league, then bragging rights to no one other than ourselves is okay by me.

I just wish others would play the game the same way and make a win mean more. After all, it is for fun but one can have fun while winning a league. It is allowed even in the Politically Correct Reality we live in today.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 Mr Archer

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    • Mr Archer profile imageAUTHOR

      Mr Archer 

      11 months ago from Missouri

      Thank you Sir William! Sorry I couldn't include some Mariners here; how about some former Mariners? My drafts are over and waiting for actual games now, these mock drafts are something to bide my time until real baseball begins, along with eating, writing, eating, reading, eating, gardening, eating, cooking, watching old films, eating. Oh, and eating!! Take care yourself Bill, and post some pictures of your garden when you can, okay?

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      What a shocker! I didn't see any Mariners on those lists. lol Baseball in July? Say it's so, Joe! We need it.

      Take care, buddy, and good luck with the draft.

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