MLB Insights

February 25, 2010 10:44 PM

Mock Draft: Punting HR

Brian Joura recently posted an article on Fangraphs in which he completed a mock draft while punting the HR category.  Of course, this more or less meant punting the RBI category as well.  Surprisingly, the projection system had him in first place despite being last place in HR and RBI.  A little skeptical, I decided to try this strategy for myself.  Brian picked 11th in his draft so I decided to go at the opposite end of the spectrum, picking 1st.  Sure taking Pujols first is a little counter-intuitive to the strategy, but whatever.  The league set-up was two C, one 1B, one 2B, one 3B, one SS, five OF, one CI, one MI, one DH, five SP, two RP and two P, with no bench.

This is how my draft went:

Nyjer Morgan.jpg1.       Albert Pujols (1B)

2.       Jacoby Ellsbury (OF)

3.       Roy Halladay (SP)

4.       Nick Markakis (OF)

5.       Cliff Lee (SP)

6.       Mariano Rivera (RP)

7.       Carlos Lee (OF)

8.       Gordon Beckham (3B)

9.       Joakim Soria (RP)

10.   John Lackey (SP)

11.   Russell Martin (C)

12.   Nyjer Morgan (OF)

13.   Miguel Tejada (SS)

14.   Rickie Weeks (2B)

15.   Brian Wilson (RP)

16.   Orlando Cabrera (MI)

17.   Neftali Feliz (P)

18.   Todd Helton (CI)

19.   Yadier Molina (C)

20.   Travis Snider (OF)

21.   Jeff Niemann (SP)

22.   Nick Johnson (DH)

23.   Aaron Harang (SP)

My first comment is, wow that is a difficult strategy to adhere to, particularly in the later rounds in such a deep league when all that is left is potential power hitters.  I think I only caved once, taking Snider as my 5th OF.  I also went with Cabrera for my MI over a better hitting 2B just because I think it is realistic that I would need to replace Tejada at SS at some point during the season due to injury.    

I came out the draft projected as the first place team with 84.5 points, the second place team at 83 points.  He took an opposite approach to me, ranking second in HR and first in RBI.  The breakdown:

AVG: 11

HR: 2

RBI: 5

SB: 11

R: 7.5

W: 7

SV: 11

K: 7

WHIP: 12

ERA: 11

I was very surprised that I did so well in RBI considering the lack of power on my team, and also feel that my team was significantly better that the second place team.  His team was ranked 3rd in ERA and WHIP even though his starting pitchers were James Shields, Ryan Dempster, Joba Chamberlain, Kevin Slowey and Hiroki Kuroda... something doesn't add up there.  In my opinion, Kuroda is the best of the bunch, and he snapped him up four picks before me, forcing me to settle for Harang.

Overall, I came to the same conclusion as Brian.  A team without any big boppers (Pujols and Lee are my only true power hitters) can win in fantasy baseball, but I really wouldn't recommend it in a real draft.  Not only are the other managers more aware in an actual draft, snapping up value picks in the later rounds, but it is very difficult to stay loyal to the strategy.  I was very tempted to grab a power hitter (at least for their position) like Mike Napoli, Chris Iannetta or Ian Stewart despite their deficiencies in other categories.  In a real draft, I am not sure I would have been able to resist. 

My final suggestion is to try it for fun in a mock draft, but pursue this strategy at your own risk in a real league. 


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