With the 2009 fantasy baseball rankings in the bag, we turn to strategy. Did you know your very own mustachioed ‘pert has a fantasy baseball draft strategy? It’s called Performance Enhancing Draft Strategy or PEDS. As you can see from that link, it’s in its 2nd year of existence. With a new year comes some changes. The first big change, I lost the 2nd -ing. Not sure why I was dropping gerunds like they were “tic-tacs,” but I’m a changed man. I was younger then, almost a full year. Let’s face it, I was naïve. That draft strategy was like amateur hour. And this is the first time I’m admitting this to anyone, but my cousin wrote the whole thing. I’m not going to tell you my cousin’s name or why I had him write it. I was young and stupid. Not as young or as stupid as I was the day or weeks preceding that draft strategy post, but young and naïve and stupid nevertheless. Luckily, I got all of my young, amateur hour, stupidness out in that one post and I was able to go back to being a fantasy baseball blogger without the assistance of my cousin, Tom. Okay, I am telling you his name. But that’s the last you’re ever going to hear from him or me on him or him on me. We’re through, Tom and I. This is 100% my fantasy baseball draft strategy and some that I cribbed from other people. Enjoy.
1. Never draft a pitcher with your first two picks.
No Johan. No Lincecum. No Javier Vazquez if you’re a diehard CHONEr. They’re fantastic. I love them all. If I had a pet guinea pig, I’d name him Joham. These sums-a-snitches give you the value of a 1st or 2nd rounder. They do. I said it. 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 Utley or Teixeira or Beltran or whoever is too great. Recognize! Or not. Your call.
2. Never take a closer in the first tier.
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 Papelbon, Nathan, Rivera, Lidge… Wait, this has a name! I need to look it up in my fantasy baseball glossary… I knew it! This is a closer run! I have to take K-Rod with my next pick! And why am I not wearing pants?!” 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. You barely need a 2nd tier one. 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.
As appealing as Ryan Church seems on your bench, it’s poppycock. 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 Jose Guillen on your bench. 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.
4. When deep into a position, take a flier 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 fliers late. You’re looking at either Crapolanco or Ian Stewart for your MI spot, who do you choose? Pierzynski or Saltymochachino? Valerie Harper or Sandy Duncan? You get the picture.
5. When in doubt, draft your second, third and fourth starters from NL teams.
Self-explanatory. No DH, pitchers hitting, weaker offenses. They bunt in the NL! So when choosing between Greinke and Lowe, go Lowe. Between Kershaw and Baker, go Kershaw. Instead of chewing gum, chew bacon!
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.