Friday, June 9, 2023

Fantasy Baseball draft strategy: tips, advice to dominate snake drafts

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For years, the correlation between playing fantastic sports and poker has surfaced, especially in everyday fantasy. However, in snake drafts or auctions, whatever the stakes, fantasy baseball may be more like chess. With all due credit to my girlfriend, who requested to watch “The Queen’s Gambit” on Netflix, the layers of chess process and strategy align with my fantastic research, and I’m here to pass on the tips and advice That I learned.

The name “The Queen’s Gambit” refers to the sacrifice of a pawn in the hope of securing the center of the board. If the opponent takes the bait, it allows the white pieces to switch from defense to attack. A key element displayed by chess masters lies in the credo: to win, you must avoid losing. No, Yogi Berra did not invent this sentence. After a move to the board, it is not strategy or victory that remains at the forefront of their thinking. Chess masters ask, what is the threat?

NO MORE FANTASY ALARM: Draft guide 2021 | Projected depth maps

In drafts in 2021, buzzwords include a shortage of stolen bases, avoid scarcity and lack of depth in pitching launch. There will be six-man rotations, openings and leg limits. In some of fantasy baseball’s higher-stakes leagues, like the National Fantasy Baseball Championship (NFBC) Main Event, only one of the top 10 teams started their draft with three straight hitters. According to leading player Dave McDonald, each team in last year’s top 10 targeted at least one, if not two, starting pitchers from their top three picks.

Toby Guevin coined the term “pocket aces” as a strategy by picking two top pitchers in either the first two rounds or the second and third rounds in the drafts with aplomb last season. Ever-changing environment in the major leagues. While many remain firm in their approach to picking up hitters early because they are more reliable, it could complicate matters as the draft progresses.


Since “full hand” remains a poker term, there is still a connection between connecting the first five rounds of a draft to an “opening” in chess. I don’t think there is an exact way to implement a show of hands strategy, but as Ryan Bloomfield from Baseball Headquarters told me, taking three pitchers from his top five picks is the path many have taken. to be successful last year. Staying in your comfort zone a bit, taking at least two pitchers with three top-five hitters can still represent a full-hand approach, so make it a tenable transition.

Catch | First | Second | Third | Short | Outfield | Entrance | Relieve | Top 300

Why is inflation on the pitch? There is so much gray area heading into 2021 due to the shortened 20s season and how that can affect the pitchers. An average start last year lasted less than five innings on average in the MLB. The starting pitchers had 1,796 starts with 8,589.2 innings for an average of 4.8 innings per start. This isn’t just a problem from last year, however:

This creates a ripple effect in the report stats for starting pitchers and relievers. The glory days from 2018 died down with the potential for ‘juicy’ baseballs in 19, then all the hurdles of the start of spring training, stopping and restarting in July. Securing veteran pitchers who have pitched at least 180 innings in the past is a falling commodity, especially when seeking ratio protection (ERA and WHIP).

Forming a solid base gives options in the blanks. Using NFBC ADP as a guide, here’s what a draft committee might look like using strictly the top 75 players in a 15-team draft as a drill. A few players switched positions because a team got three shortstops, but that’s almost in order using the data from January 1:


Of those top 75 picks, there are 25 starting pitchers (33%) from all picks in the first five rounds. The teams also take 16 offsides and 11 shortstops, meaning those three positions represent 69.3% of total ADP top 75 players. Taking that a step further, nine of the 15 hypothetical teams achieve the full-hand ploy by getting at least two pitchers. Teams 3, 6 and 15 represent teams with three pitchers and two hitters in the purest sense of full-hand approach. Team 2 comes closer to my personal opinions on how to build a successful team.

Getting Fernando Tatis Jr. to deliver power and speed and building on a Jack Flaherty rebound season is a good start. Ozzie Albies adds counting stats to a shallow position, Corbin Burnes is a major throwing contender, and Luke Voit will provide power. From there you can take another pitcher on the way back, a closer one for the stops, an outfielder with pocket steals (10 or more), a catcher, and well you get the point.

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After going through the lists, which teams can control the center of the draft? Take a team that aligns with your thinking and identify needs as the project progresses and threats to reach the 80th percentile markers. For example, in NFBC, here are the goals to aim for:

  • Launch of 15 team leagues: 1,428 strikeouts, 90 wins, 75 saves, 3,807 ERA, 1.20 WHIP
  • 12-league pitching: 1,525 strikeouts, 96 wins, 82 saves, 3.74 ERA, 1.18 WHIP

Finding different versions becomes easier when you’re not trying to outsmart the field. The opportunity cost creates a lens when evaluating how a player added to the roster affects the outcome. It also leads to preparing for what must happen next and at the expense of what. A strong opening, or a full hand, allows a designer to control the center of a project with a myriad of follow-up motions to strengthen the list. Then, achieve your goals late in the game by taking your players before their ADPs or address a need identified as a threat. There is no such thing as a bad choice that fills a gap in your list.

There is no drafting for dummies, but the show of hands strategy, no matter how you deploy it versus the batter to pitcher ratio, works as long as there are at least two of the two in the dummies. top five picks. Remember to stay a move or two ahead of the room when it comes to hitting your marks. A strong opening, control of the middle and a focus on the end of the game are the guarantors of success.

As famed investor Charlie Munger said, “It’s remarkable how much of a long-term advantage people like us have gotten by trying to be consistently not stupid instead of trying to be very smart.

Use the freehand approach as a building block for a fantastic 2021 season.


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