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.
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.