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Fantasy Heresy: Draft Pitchers Early

Amongst the various Gospels of Fantasy Baseball is the one that says fantasy players should not draft pitching at the values every rankings system assigns it.  I admit to being one of the faithful, but, recently, I have begun to rethink this.  Not in the first round, though.  The top position players are still much better relative to their peers than the top pitchers are, but, after the first round and a half or so, I am not so sure.

Should I take Carlos Lee or Grady Sizemore over Jake Peavy in the second round when I can get Torri Hunter or Brad Hawpe four or five rounds later?  Should I take Russ Martin in the third round over Erik Bedard or Brandon Webb when I can get Jorge Posada in the 8th round?  How about Bobby Abreu over Josh Beckett when a whole slew of potential 15 HR/15 SB outfielders who will play every day, like Lastings Milledge, Justin Upton and Adam Jones, are available 100s of picks later?

To me the answer is obvious.  You don't.  The bigger question is why others do not commit the heresy I just did.   I can guess that this Gospel was written when fantasy baseball was auction-based and mainly AL- or NL-only.  In these formats, spending $80 on three stud SPs left teams plugging back-ups in the OF and at the corner and middle because they did not have enough money to fill their roster.  And when the big dollar pitcher flamed out, the team suffered as there was no pitcher available to replace that value.  Now the team had a weak offense and a weak pitching staff.

But times changed.  Fantasy baseball became mixed-league, snake draft dominated, and this format does not leave those teams who focus on pitching bereft of hitting options or the money to acquire it.  No matter who you pick in the second round, you have a great option to choose from in the next round.  And if you draft seven pitchers in Rounds Three through Nine, there are still good hitters available like Delmon Young, Todd Helton, Matt Kemp, James Loney, Alex Gordon and Raul Ibanez.

So is this the start of a Fantasy Reformation or am I too megalomaniacal to have thought I have discovered the Truth?