Reviewing a Mock Draft Team: Punting Power

Here is a team that I picked during mock draft season on March 2nd over at Mock Draft Central. I had the third pick overall in a 12-team mixed league 5×5 draft.

David Wright
Carl Crawford
CC Sabathia
Joe Mauer
Dan Haren
Josh Beckett
James Shields
Mariano Rivrea
Torii Hunter
Andre Ethier
Jose Valverde
Derek Lowe
Conor Jackson
David DeJesus
Adrian Beltre
Ted Lilly
Placido Polanco
Fred Lewis
Gil Meche
Edgar Renteria
Carlos Guillen
Brandon Inge
Jason Bartlett

At the time, the projected standings at MDC loved this team. It was judged the first-place team with 94 points, a healthy 21 points above the second-place squad. The category breakdowns were:

AVG – 12
HR – 1
RBI – 3
SB – 11
R – 11
W – 12
SV – 9
K – 12
WHIP – 11
ERA – 12

This would have been a pretty decent team in reality, too. Two top 10 hitters (Crawford and Mauer) supported by three top 20 pitchers (Haren, Rivera, Sabathia) and three great late picks (Lilly, Polanco, Bartlett).

It was far from a perfect draft, with fantasy killers Renteria, Lewis, Guillen and Meche. But I believe with proper oversight during the year, this team would likely be a money finisher and a first-place finish would not have been out of the question.

While I went into this mock draft trying to build a stronger pitching squad than I usually do, I did not consciously punt power. And what looked like a poor HR team on paper was no doubt worse in reality, with the down year in homers by Wright and injuries to Hunter, Beltre and even Jackson sapping what little power this team possessed.

To me, this squad begs the question: Can a successful fantasy team punt HR, and by extension RBIs?

On paper this team had 56 pitching points, which is pretty close to what this “strategy” would need to be successful. And even if you ace the pitching categories, it could still fall flat if the non-power categories did not also average double-digits in points.

It is certainly not a tack I would recommend, especially with the third overall pick. All of the top pitchers need to come through, and one has to draft at least one closer, and probably two, in the top half of the draft.

But, as a fantasy player who always favors power, this team was an eye-opener.

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I tried a new strategy for one of my teams this year where I punted batting average. I went for the Adam Dunns, Ryan Howards, and a couple guys for SB like Willy Taveras & Chone Figgins.

At the time, I figured the advantage would be in getting undervalued players like Brandon Inge and Mark Reynolds (both great picks) in the later rounds and spending the earlier rounds going for upper eschelon mashers and pitchers.

Where the strategy didn’t work was in pitching. Higher draft picks included Brandon Webb (4), CC Sabathia (3), and James Shields (8). Without running the table on pitching, it didn’t matter that I finished with 12 points in 3 offensive categories, 11 in SB, and 3 in AVG. I finished with 103 points, but it wasn’t enough to overcome a very balanced team with 107.

Still, it was a fun experiment. I’d much rather punt one category over two, but the lesson remains that it’s tough to predict quality pitching from year-to-year.

Samuel Lingle
Samuel Lingle

I won my league using this strategy, but it was H2H so that’s quite a bit a different. In terms of roto, I still would have topped the league based off the end of year standings, although strategy throughout the season would have been different and thus had different results.

I had Lincecum, Felix, Wainwright, Billingsley, Carpenter, Jiminez in my pitching staff, along with some others, and Fielder, Rollins, Roberts, Reynolds, Dunn, Uggla (who I traded for since someone took him one round too early for me), McLouth etc. as hitters.

My pitching was WAAAY dominant since obviously I hit on my pitching targets and spent a lot of good draft picks on them, and my hitting did not suffer much, although that could largely be because of an amazing year from a guy like Reynolds.

Samuel Lingle
Samuel Lingle

I forgot to mention, this was an 8-team league, if my roster description sounded a little stacked… not ideal, I know, but the LM couldn’t find two more in time for the draft or something.

In a 10-team league, though, the strategy might be even better since you’ll get more production from your low average late round picks than the average late rounder for the other teams.