Want to keep your post-draft roster from being full of you-know-what? Work Razzball’s BRAN (Balanced Roster After Nine) strategy into your diet so your roster doesn’t turn out irregular!
I know I could spend an extra 20 minutes brainstorming an acronym that’s more alpha-male but combining power with our strategy’s high fiber content makes me flash back to the old SNL Colon Blow commercials.
Okay, I’m done with the crap(py) metaphors.
The BRAN strategy is for snake drafts with only one catcher (proponents of two catcher leagues are the real tools of ignorance if you ask me…). It applies for 10 or 12 team mixed leagues.
There’s no doubt you’ll find some differences between the fantasy baseball draft strategies of blogmate Grey and myself – e.g., he says not to draft a 1st tier closer where I recommend it. How boring of a site would we be if we agreed on everything? Just goes to show that there are multiple strategies to success in fantasy baseball and that you have to find the one that best fits your drafting and FA pickup skills .
Anyway, here are the objectives of the BRAN strategy:
1) Get as much value as possible out of our first 9 picks which means keeping flexibility to take advantage of bargains.
2) Remain balanced enough w/ your roster to take advantage of bargains at any position in rounds 10-25 – i.e., if you stack up on OFs in the 1st 9 rounds, you have to ignore OF bargains in favor of backfilling other positions (like pitcher).
Here is the plan:
In the first 9 rounds, fill 6 set positions (1B, 2 OF, 2 SP, RP) and 3 ‘flex’ picks that can be used on the best values across any position. See below for the position breakdown – note that OF (2/3) means draft at least 2 OFs and no more than 3 OFs. Also, any round projections for players is based on 10-team leagues.
C (0/1) – I hate picking a catcher in the first 9 rounds because 1) the stat difference between a top 3 catcher and the last drafted catcher are the smallest of any position, 2) no one is going to take an additional catcher so I know I’ll get at least the last catcher on my draft list and 3) catchers seem more likely to get injured. If you’re going to take one, aim to take someone going at least a round later than they should go.
1B (1/2) -As my blogmate Grey points out in his Top 20 1st Basemen post, there is a top tier of about 8-10 1Bs (depending on how you feel about Youk and Votto, though Youk will get snagged earlier for 3B). The first 8 of these guys are going to get snagged in the first 4 rounds (Pujols, Howard, Cabrera, Teixeira, Berkman, Fielder, Morneau, A-Gonz). High-ceiling guys like Votto and Chris Davis will get picked one or more rounds early because owners w/o 1Bs will panic. Solid vets like D-Lee and Delgado can get snagged any time as a team’s cornerman. My advice is if there is a 1B at a good value in the first 4 rounds, grab him. If a top-tier 1B is still hanging around in rounds 6-9, grab him for cornerman.
2B (0/1) – The same deal applies for 2B and SS so I’ll just write it once. Middle infielders picked in the first 9 rounds almost always turn out below the expected value at that draft position. Last year, Ian Kinsler was the only one out of 10 MIs drafted in Rounds 3-8 that provided above-average value (and, yes, that factors in position scarcity). I called this before last season in a middling infielder post. I’d look to use one of your 3 Flex Picks on either a 2B or SS and then grab the other and a MI in rounds 10-25. After catcher, I’d say these are the best positions to punt.
SS (0/1) – See 2B.
3B (0/1) -This is a strange year for 3B. A-Rod and Wright rule the category now that two of the top four no longer qualify (Cabrera, Braun). No argument w/ them as your 1st round pick. I don’t think there’s value to be found until Round 4 (Aramis Ramirez). Atkins could be a steal at Round 5/6. I’d avoid jumping at Chris Davis and Youk unless the value is there based on Marcel or CHONE projections – e.g., don’t believe Bill James’s projections on Chris Davis and assume Youkilis regresses after a career year.
OF (2/3) – Since the BRAN strategy is all about balance, I suggest breaking the draft into 5 segments and aim to get one per segment. Think 1 OF in Rounds 1-5, 6-10, 11-15, 16-20, 21+. If you can get two high-value OFs in a five round segment, go for it. There is no reason to have more than 3 OFs in the 1st 9 rounds though.
SP (2/3) – Similar to OFs. There are some that love to punt SPs until Round 10 or so. Seems unnecessary to me. I’d aim to get at least one SP in the first 5 rounds and another one before Round 9. Realize there will be a round or two between the 3rd and the 6th where a number of SPs are picked – get ahead of that wave to get the most value.
RP (1/2) – My ideal closer pick is something like the 3rd-5th closer off the board as detailed in this closer post from last year. Aim for a closer in Round 5-7 that can be your foundation (and help with ERA/WHIP/Ks). If a top tier closer makes it to Rounds 7-9 and you still have Flex picks, go for it and then you can focus on stocking up on OF and SP in rounds 10-12.
DH (0/1) – In a league with just one UTIL slot, a DH really hurts roster flexibility. Determine what fair value is for a DH and then wait an extra 2 rounds before drafting.