In my last article, Fantasy Baseball 2008 – Pitcher Draft, I discussed my strategy for pitchers. Drafting hitters is a little more involved due to the number of positions you must field. For a general overview of the scoring system and position requirements for both my 21 and 40 man rosters see Fantasy Baseball 2008 – Introduction.
Let us start by looking at the deviations from the standard 5×5 stats for each league. As you should know, the basic 5×5 stats for hitters are R (runs), HR (home runs), RBI (runs batted in), SB (stolen bases) and AVG (batting average). Both leagues use these categories plus two more, in addition the 40 man league puts a little twist on stolen bases by subtracting CS (caught stealing), or in other words net steals. The 21 man league adds 2B (doubles) and 3B (triples), while the 40 man league adds TB (total bases) and OBP (on base percentage). So what do we need to consider for our drafts?
SB vs SB – CS
Last year in MLB, there were 8 players with 40 or more steals. The average success rate was 82%. Of the top 8 base stealers, the success rate did not deviate more than 5%. Given the fact that Jose Reyes, the leading base stealer with 78 SB/21 CS had a net of 57 was still better than the second best Carl Crawford with 64 SB/15 CS and a net of 49, it was clear that the slightly different scoring category was not going to make that much of a difference.
Who I ended up with, Jerry Owens (32 SB, 24 net), Brandon Phillips (32 SB), Chris Young (27 SB, 21 net). I will be hurting at SB and SB – CS this year, I’m not even starting Owens.
2B and 3B
HR is obviously perhaps the most important statistical category for hitters. An HR accounts for at least a HR, a R, a RBI and a slight bump in AVG (and in the 40 man league 4 TB and a slight bump in OBP). 3B are a bit of an anomaly only 5 hitters were in double figures last year, and only two Curtis Granderson (23) and Jimmy Rollins (20) had 20 or more. 2B on the other hand is a little more common, 32 players had 40 or more and three Magglio Ordonez (54), David Ortiz (52) and Matt Holliday (50) top the 50 2B mark. In contrast there were only 5 players to hit 40 or more home runs. My goal then was to pick up Granderson or Rollins if available and rate hitters with high 2B totals a little higher.
Who I ended up with, Adrian Gonzalez (43 2B, 3 3B), Jeff Francoeur (40 2B, 0 3B), Carlos Guillen (35 2B, 9 3B).
A lot of my research into 2B and 3B was carried over to the TB category. TB requires power and speed, so some spill over is expected from SB and HR. There were 26 players with 300 or more TB in 2007. Of these, 6 topped 350; Matt Holliday (386), Jimmy Rollins (380), Alex Rodriguez (376), Hanley Ramirez (359), Prince Fielder (354) and Magglio Ordonez (354). With so many players to choose from in this category, I was sure to look for player that would contribute in other areas as well.
Who I ended up with, Matt Holliday (386 TB, 120 R, 36 HR, 137 RBI, .340 AVG, .405 OBP), Chipper Jones (310 TB, 108 R, 29 HR, 102 RBI, .337 AVG, .425 OBP), Nick Markakis (309 TB, 112 RBI, .300 AVG) Robinson Cano (301 TB, .306 AVG).
Plate presence or patience is what OBP is all about the largest contributer to OBP are BB (Base on Balls/Walks), however, HBP (hit by pitch/positive) and SF (sacrifice fly/negative) make a minor contributions (where-oh-where is Biggio?). Since BB will let me ballpark above average achivers in this category. I took a look at the top 17 in BB. That produced a spread from Barry Bonds (132) to Prince Fielder (90). Looking through the list, I noticed that the majority were power hitters. Only one player, Todd Helton had less than 20 HR (17). Remarkably he had the second most BB (116). Remarkably only 5 of the 17 players had an AVG of .300 or better, while only 7 players had a OBP lower than .400. What I took away from this was OBP was some what a way to off set power hitters AVG.
Who I ended up with, Chipper Jones (.425 OBP, .337 AVG, 29 HR), Jim Thome (.410 OBP, .275 AVG, 35 HR), Matt Holliday (.405 OBP, .340 AVG, 36 HR), Pat Burrell (.400 OBP, .256 AVG, 30 HR).
Of course not everthing goes to plan. In the 21 man league, I received the first draft pick. That was a no brainer Alex Rodriguez (143 R, 31 2B, 0 3B, 54 HR, 156 RBI, 24 SB, .314 AVG). By the time it got back around to me, I had to pick up a second baseman Brandon Phillips (107 R, 26 2B, 6 3B, 30 HR, 94 RBI, 32 SB, .288 AVG) my next pick was Jake Peavy. I was a little more satisfied with picking 5th in the 40 man league. Matt Holliday (120 R, 36 HR, 137 RBI, 386 TB, 7 SB – CS, .340 AVG, .405 OBP) was followed by Ryan Braun (91 R,34 HR, 97 RBI,286 TB, 10 net SB, .324 AVG, .370 OBP) who only played 113 games last year. I followed these two up with 3 straight pitchers, Sabbathia, Putz, and Verlander.
21 man starters
|C||Russell Martin||4 (40)|
|1B||Adrian Gonzalez||12 (120)|
|2B||Brandon Phillips||2 (20)|
|3B||Alex Rodriguez||1 (1)|
|SS||Carlos Guillen||5 (41)|
|OF||Chris Young||7 (61)|
|OF||Nick Swisher||8 (80)|
|OF||Jeff Francoeur||17 (161)|
|Util||Josh Willingham||19 (181)|
40 man starters
|C||Mike Napoli||23 (225)|
|C||J.R. Towles||19 (185)|
|1B||Nick Swisher||9 (85)|
|2B||Robinson Cano||7 (65)|
|3B||Ryan Braun||2 (16)|
|SS||Troy Tulowitzki||6 (56)|
|MI||Kelly Johnson||17 (165)|
|CI||Chipper Jones||12 (116)|
|OF||Pat Burrell||16 (156)|
|OF||Michael Cuddyer||20 (196)|
|OF||Matt Holliday||1 (5)|
|OF||Nick Markakis||8 (76)|
|OF||Chris Young||11 (105)|
|UT||Jim Thome||15 (145)|
In my next article, I will briefly discus moves I’ve already made and trade options I think I have from my bench.
Until next time.