2010 Fantasy Baseball: Draft Strategy

Jamie DruckerContributor IMarch 23, 2010

BRADENTON, FL - MARCH 14:  Infielder Derek Jeter #2 of the New York Yankees fouls off a pitch against the Pittsburgh Pirates during a Grapefruit League Spring Training Game at McKechnie Field on March 14, 2010 in Bradenton, Florida.  (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
J. Meric/Getty Images

If you haven’t drafted your 2010 fantasy baseball team yet, the time is just around the corner. You’ll undoubtedly be in front of a computer screen with several magazines and websites at your disposal.

Or maybe you’ll be gathered with your entire league and fierce competition, eating chips and drinking beer, over-analyzing your own picks, and laughing at your opponent’s selections.

But regardless of what all the magazines, sites, and your friends tell you, there is still a simple, basic strategy that can work for you every time.

The first few rounds should be spent drafting proven players who have had a solid three-year statistical past. This should be the best available player from your own player rankings, a set of rankings you should organize by comparing several rankings from different sites and magazines.

You should stay away from drafting your sleepers or prospects in the early rounds, so you can get that best value available, and that you don’t reach too early on a player you will easily be able to snag in the middle or late rounds. Once you get into your fifth or sixth round you should be intensely focusing on filling out your line-up with the best players available at the positions of greatest need.

Grabbing the biggest name available is always enticing, but if you don’t fill-out your complete roster, you’ll be stuck with skilled players at positions they can no longer be used for, and will also be stuck with players at some positions where you don’t have have a legit starter.

Plain and simple: You draft the top studs you can get in the early rounds, and then start rounding out your team by position.

A key strategy that will come in handy when picking your first five fantasy picks is to look to build a strong infield. The reason behind this is because there is an abundance of outfielders to choice from.

This can play into the way you draft your pitching roster, as well. Obviously it’s be nice to have Roy Halladay, Josh Beckett, and three or four more aces for your roster, but if you land that many stud pitchers, the odds increase that the rest of your roster won’t be very well-rounded.

A star shortstop like Derek Jeter helps further prove this point. If he’s available and there is a huge drop-off between him and the next best shortstop, then you need to take him because the next available player after Derek Jeter is likely to have an extremely lower output. Therefore, if you don’t take Derek Jeter then your team could be crippled at the shortstop position. This is the whole concept of being aware of your position on your draft board and your player rankings.

Based on these projections you can come up with a list of players that will allow you to make decisions much easier then if you were drafting without a concrete strategy.

Basically, if you can set up your own player rankings by position you will be able to see what your player is and at what round you should be picking certain players. This system can help you produce a list quickly and is simple to follow during your fantasy draft.

Now, when your competitors are drafting the highest ranked outfielders in the first rounds you can sit back and watch them sweat as you take all the best infielders.

The fact is, rankings and projections are a dime a dozen. For the most part, they’re all the same, and only you can offer any true discernment between them. That’s why incorporating your won preference (or rankings) is key in the draft strategy, and inevitably helps decide how your draft will play out.

On top of knowing the players, the stats, and the projections for 2010, it’s very important to be aware of each position’s depth, and where exactly the major drop-off point is for each position, and what 2-3 players are the final players before a dramatic drop-off.

While most of the fantasy owners in your league are patting themselves on the back after nabbing a few big names in the first 3-4 rounds, you can feel good about being hard at work, staying alert deep into the late rounds. Know your strategy as good as you know the players, and you’ll be sure to escape with a solid fantasy baseball roster.