There’s been a Lima Plan (Low Investment Mound Aces) invented by the great Ron Shandler, the Zima Plan invented by the presumably tipsy Matthew Berry, the Punt One Category probably invented by someone who realized they forgot to draft steals, the Balanced Team Theory, the Punt Two Categories (probably a leaguemate to the Punt One Category guy who just couldn’t stand being upstaged), the Forget When Your Draft Is So It Autodrafts Strategy, etc. Yesterday, our very own Rudy Gamble went over his reasoning behind why you should draft a starting pitcher in the first three rounds. Today, we’ll stop the madness and just give you proper drafting strategy. It’s called Performance Enhancing Drafting Strategy or PEDS, for short.
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. Injuries happen. Carlos Penas happen. Ryan Brauns happen. But PEDS puts you in the best position possible to win coming out of your draft. Okay, onto the steps:
1. Never draft a pitcher with your first two picks. I know; Rudy Gamble just gave you legitimate reasons why you should draft a pitcher early. Yeah, and Gamble ended up with Teixeira as his second round pick in the fantasy baseball writers’ league when he still could have done his fahcocta “Draft a Pitcher in the first three rounds” strategy and got Peavy. He only drafted Santana because he was determined to get Santana or Peavy, so with the fifth pick he had to take Santana. (BTW, he traded his second overall pick to get the fifth pick because he wanted to take Santana and he didn’t want to commit a 2nd overall pick to Johan. I would’ve liked to see what would have happened if the fourth overall pick off the board was Santana, then Gamble probably would’ve taken Peavy with the fifth.) Anyway, you don’t want to put yourself in such a hole on offense by taking a pitcher first. There’s plenty of pitchers out there you can get later on. You don’t have to turn your Ks to eleven, a seven will do.
2. If you don’t get steals in the 1st or 2nd round, don’t worry about steals until late in the draft or after the draft. In other words, if you fail to snag Hanley, Reyes, etc, steals will be there later. Don’t draft anyone because you’re looking for steals. No Carl Crawford, definitely no Eric Byrnes, no Brian Roberts, no Ichiro, no Figgins, please God no Juan Pierre. Cause if you think you’re drafting these guys to get a balanced team, you’re doing the opposite. Drafting one of these schmohawks makes your team unbalanced. After the draft, steals are available whenever you want them. If not on the waiver wire, then through a trade, because you know who loses the most value as soon as the draft is over? Anyone who gives you steals. Speed guys are like new cars, once you own them, their value diminishes. After the draft, count the days until the guy with Juan Pierre wants to trade him. (BTW, Prepare yourself to go into the All-Star Break needing steals, because if you drafted all of your other positions properly, chances are you can trade some homers for some steals in July. Because, as we know, the guy with 25 homers at the All-Star Break is less likely to get 25 more homers after the break, while someone like Michael Bourn could get you 15 steals in a month.)
3. Never take a closer in the first tier. You should pay for some saves. Just don’t overpay. You need at least two closers, otherwise you’re scrambling the whole season. Grab Hoffman. Don’t draft Nathan. Not K-Rod. Mariano is a no go. Draft Valverde.
4. Have your offense squared away before the final three rounds and never take an offensive bench player. You’re much better off with a middle reliever or potential closer than Brian Giles on your bench.
5. When in doubt, draft your second, third and fourth starters from NL teams. Self-explanatory. No DH, pitchers hitting, much weaker offenses. They bunt in the NL! Here’s a quick scenario, it’s your turn to draft and you’re trying to choose between Gil Meche and Chris Young, who do you choose? Wainwright or Verlander? Do you see how easy this is?
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 and good, it should be illegal. You’re welcome.