If you don’t have a strategy, you’re part of someone else’s strategy.” – Alan Toffler, business visionary.
The key to winning a fantasy baseball draft is strategy. Have one or perish.
You can do your homework, but everyone else should too. You need to go beyond homework and anticipate your opponents’ strategy. I like to concentrate on average draft position (ADP) to clue me in.
Finding values in pitchers is very different than batters this year. The big trend is to wait on pitchers. While that is a very sound strategy, you need to have the battle time tactics to realize when everyone else is waiting too long on pitchers.
Once the stampede to draft arms starts, you can find few pitchers who Yahoo ranks much lower than non-Yahoo rankers. If you concentrate on those differences, you can beat the lazy competition that is relying on Yahoo ADP.
Today we look at pitchers to take advantage of in your draft.
Yahoo ADP – 148
Yahoo Rank – 145
ESPN Rank – 121
CBS Sports – 176
ZiPS/Fangraphs – 53 (Pitchers only)
SB Nation – 40 (SP only)
Anibal Sanchez flew so under the radar last year, it is easy to wonder why his name pops up in the 13th round. By the 12th round, you might be looking for a 2nd or 3rd pitcher. Sanchez is great as a No. 2. He has been consistent with games started (30+), Innings Pitched (190+), and strikeouts (175+). His ERA and WHIP are average, but he’ll get double-digit wins with the Tigers offense behind him. I wouldn’t jump on him earlier than the round prior to his Yahoo ADP, but put a smile on your face like a cunning Tiger… er, cat.
Yahoo ADP – 198
Yahoo Rank – 216
ESPN Rank – 149
CBS Sports – 175
ZiPS/Fangraphs – 30 (Pitchers only)
SB Nation – UR (SP only)
I’ll be honest and say that I did NOT want to add Wade Miley to this list. He is on my secret list. I’ve heard to expect a decent-sized regression in his sophomore year. However, I’m thinking folks are over-reacting. Trust ESPN’s 149 instead of the Yahoo ADP of 198. Miley only averages about 6.22 K/9 so don’t jump too early. If you don’t get him in the 17th/18th round, there are compable guys that will be available.
Yahoo ADP – 243
Yahoo Rank – 177
ESPN Rank – 190
CBS Sports – 207
ZiPS/Fangraphs – 77 (Pitchers only)
SB Nation – 41 (SP only)
Typically, I’m using non-Yahoo ranks to try to beat Yahoo. With Jaime Garcia, I keyed into Yahoo’s own ranking. Garcia is falling about 50 spots below his Yahoo ranking. Across the board, there is a consensus that Garcia is worth an 18th round pick and not a last-pick flier in a 10-team league. He is projected to have double digit wins and 100+ Ks if healthy. The key is health. After a Tommy John surgery in 2008 and arm soreness last year, you may want to double check the updated news before picking. I understand the desire to grab a prospect like Shelby Miller to be your last pitcher, but there is something to be said for a solid veteran.
Of course, all of this goes out the window if you believe Yahoo is better at rankings than all of the other sites that I’ve listed. But, you’ll notice there is more consensus with non-Yahoo sites. Treat Yahoo as the outlier and take advantage.
Brian Reddoch is a CraveOnline reporter and rabid fan of all teams Seattle. You can follow him on Twitter @ReddReddoch and at www.facebookcom/craveonlinesports.com.
Photo Credit: Getty