As we continue to get you ready for your upcoming fantasy baseball drafts and the season itself, I wanted to take a look at a couple more draft strategies after revealing two in part one of our draft guide. Laying out different draft strategies helps determine the players you will specifically be targeting and allows you to easily adjust throughout a draft.
DRAFTING MULTIPLE POSITION PLAYERS:
Flexibility is crucial in fantasy baseball, and having multiple players who you can move around to different positions will set you up for success. This is especially important for those who are in leagues that make daily moves.
In the first part of the draft guide we discussed positional tiers and realizing which positions are deeper than others. I discussed shortstop being filled with players we want to target on our rosters. Not only is this position filled with talented players, but it’s filled with players who are eligible at multiple positions.
There are 12 shortstops ranked in the top 52 players overall, according to FantasyPros.com. That is an amazing amount of players at one position and that just shows how deep the position is. If we look closer, out of those 12 shortstops, five are eligible at other positions. Fantasy owners could legitimately have multiple elite hitters from the shortstop position on their team and still have roster flexibility. As mentioned in the first part of the draft guide, this is a position we want to invest in this season.
Another important aspect to know is finding out how your league determines when a player is eligible at a certain position. In some leagues a player has to play five games, but for others it is longer than that. This will help planning ahead.
A player who falls in this category in 2020 is Jonathan Villar of the Miami Marlins. Villar is second base and shortstop eligible which already makes him a nice target this season, but the Marlins are hoping the 28-year-old can handle the center field duties on a daily basis. If Villar proves in spring training that he can play the outfield and it carries into the regular season, the fantasy value only increases for the veteran.
Also, some leagues have players eligible at different positions than others. For example, Ketel Marte of the Arizona Diamondbacks is eligible at shortstop, second base and the outfield on Yahoo! Sports, but he does not have shortstop eligibility on ESPN. Marte is already a valuable fantasy player, but he gains more on Yahoo! due to his ability to play multiple positions.
Recognizing these things will go a long way in constructing a strong roster that is capable of competing all season long.
STOLEN BASE STRATEGY:
We have spotlighted the lack of stolen bases in the last few draft guides and for good reason. In 2017, 29 players stole 20 bases or more. In 2018, 28 players stole 20 bases or more. Last season, the dropoff was extreme with only 21 players reaching that threshold.
There were 11 players who stole 30 or more bases in 2018, but only eight did it in 2019. The bottom line is that stolen bases are not as prevalent, which means fantasy owners have to make this category a priority in the draft.
However, this does not mean we should reach early in our draft for a player who just steals bases. I mentioned in the first part of the draft guide that Mallex Smith led baseball in stolen bases with 46. That’s great, but he only hit six home runs and had a batting average of .227. Those numbers are too tough to overcome, even with his elite level stolen base numbers.
In the middle rounds, I love targeting Tommy Pham of the San Diego Padres and Victor Robles of the Washington Nationals, as they should provide a boost in stolen bases while also contributing in the other categories.
This again goes into preparing for your drafts before it happens. We recognize stolen bases are at a premium, so let’s prioritize this category and find the players early in our drafts who will help across the board so we can take risks later.
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