Rudy’s been dropping a bunch of fantasy baseball strategy posts lately. Here’s one on how to split up your hitting and pitching. And here’s one looking at the consequences of showing up to your draft ten minutes late. As for my strategy posts, they’re timeless — so I recycle ’em. For most of you, been here, read this shizz already, but there’s Razzball newbies (Razzbabies?) that need some coddling occasionally. If you know PEDS, skip ahead into the comments and discuss innovative uses for my mustache. I’ll start, “If you get really close to me, you can use my mustache as an umbrella.” For the Razzbabies, come here and let Uncle Grey burp you. Maybe I can get you to spit up everything you learned at ESPN. Fantasy baseball strategies are as old as the earth, if the earth were ten or so years old. There’s a LIMA Plan (Low Investment Mound Aces) by Ron Shandler. There’s been a ZIMA Plan by Matthew Berry; it involves a lot of stumbling around, groping and the hiccups. There’s been a Punt One Category draft strategy. There’s been a Punt Two Categories draft strategy, which was conceived by a leaguemate of Punt One Category who just couldn’t stand being upstaged. And there’s the Forget When Your Draft Is So Your Team Is Autodrafted strategy. I love when my leaguemates use that one. Then there’s my fantasy baseball snake draft strategy, Performance Enhancing Draft Strategy or PEDS. (You might even want to use this strategy for our Razzball leagues. Join now. Thank you.)
PEDS has five basic steps. If you follow these steps, you will place near the top in all of your leagues. No plan is foolproof because, unfortunately, they still have to play the games, but PEDS puts you in the best position possible to win coming out of your draft. Actually, this plan is foolproof and you should ignore the previous sentence that said no plan is foolproof. No sentence is foolproof, that’s more accurate. Okay, onto the steps:
1. Never draft a pitcher with your first two picks.
No Kershaw. No Darvish. No Sidd Finch. You abstain! They’re fantastic. I love them all. I’d eat sushi off their nipples. I’d go to a drive-in theater with any of them and neck for a solid two hours even if the movie is only an hour and forty minutes long. Unless it was 12 Years A Slave, then that’s just disrespectful. Though, I will say that movie felt more like 16 and a half years. These starters give you the value of a 1st or 2nd rounder. They do. I said it. Sue me! (Good luck winning that lawsuit — haHA!) The problem is the loss of one of your 1st two hitters is really difficult to bounce back from. You, son, are putting yourself in a hole. A hole? Yes, you are. The absence of Goldschmidt or McCutchen or who(m)ever is too great.
2. Never take a top-tier closer.
This is a tough one for some people. I’m going to be you for a brief moment. Me as you, “Hey, everyone’s starting to take closers in the fifth round. There goes Kimbrel, Kenley, Aroldis… Wait, I have to take a closer with my next pick, too! And where are my pants?! For the Lord’s sake, why don’t I have pants on?!” See what happened there? You done got swept up. You did. You got swept up in a closer run. Ignore everyone who takes closers. You don’t need a top tier one. Stick to your own game plan. Grab some schmohawks later that will get saves because, as we all know, SAGNOF.
3. Have your offense squared away before the final rounds and never take an offensive bench player unless it’s a flyer with massive potential (like George Springer, for instance).
This rule has been slightly adjusted from previous years. Let’s call it the Mike Trout Effect Or Is It Affect? The MTEOIIA is telling you it’s okay to grab a hitter for your bench if he has boat-tons of potential and could end up being worth a lot more than his draft value. This addendum could’ve also been called the Bryce Harper Effect Or Is It Affect or BHEOIIA. Or it could’ve been called the Wil Myers Effect Or Is It Affect or WMEOIIA. WMEOIIA is also the most powerful talent agent after they all merged. As for grabbing a guy like Ben Revere for your bench? Belch. I burp at you. I get gas in your general direction. I know, you owned Ben Revere last year and you guys got along thick as thieves. Awesome! Send him a postcard. I think postage is up to eighty-seven cents. You should check on that. You’re not going to hold onto these late round offense guys anyway. You’re going to get to the first week of the season and you’re going to wonder why you have Ben Revere on your bench when there’s a hot hitting guy on waivers. Instead of an offensive bench player, grab a middle reliever who seems like he has a good chance of taking over for the incumbent closer. Or grab a starter. (Note: This rule is for 14 team leagues and shallower. If you’re in a 15 team league or deeper, offensive bench players can come in handy when there’s nothing but scraps on waivers. If you’re drafting more than 350 players, you can take a bench hitter. Or in AL- or NL-Only leagues. Or in leagues that only use Astros hitters. Then you can tell your leaguemates, “I got Hoes on my Snapchat! Oh, it’s L.J. Hoes.”)
4. When deep into a position, take a flyer on upside.
Nobody in the history of fantasy baseball has ever won a league by playing it safe in the late rounds. In 1995, I tried drafting Mike Greenwell as my fifth outfielder; just didn’t work. A darn fine year by Klesko wasted! You play it safe in the early rounds. You take solid contributors early. You take flyers late. You’re looking at either Nick Swisher or Adam Eaton, who do you choose? Omar Infante or Scooter Gennett? Watching the USFL 30 for 30 again while wearing your Halloween Donald Trump wig or watching something new that you’ve heard good things about? You get the picture. Embrace the unknown late.
5. When in doubt, draft your fourth and fifth starters from NL teams.
Self-explanatory. No DH, pitchers hitting, weaker offenses. They bunt in the NL! No, I’m not saying don’t draft Chris Archer. I’m saying when in doubt. Martin Perez or Taijuan Walker? Trick question, I’m taking Walker. Zack Wheeler or Kluber? I’m going Wheeler. (Walker, Wheeler, Kluber? Sounds like a night out with Chris Brown.) Erasmo Ramirez or Kevin Gausman? Ah, another trick question, but I’d go Erasmo.
If you follow these five simple steps, I guarantee you will be in the top three in your league battling for your championship. PEDS is so easy, it should be illegal. You’re welcome.