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Fantasy Baseball Draft Strategy: Deep Mixed Leagues

In the Rotoarcade Pro-Am, I employed a strategy based the recognition that the 16-team format, in combination with four D.L. spots and four bench spots, would create the type of scarcity fantasy players are not accustomed to seeing in the standard 10- or 12-team mixed league. In particular, I looked at Catcher, AVG, SB and Saves. All four fit in a league this size.

To determine whether catching was scarce, I simply took the number of catching spots (2) multiplied by the number of teams in the league and saw there were more catching slots than there were starting catchers in the major leagues. I intended to draft two starting catchers.

The same exercise was done for Saves. With 16 teams, there were fewer than two closers per team. While the fantasy baseball rule-of-thumb that punting saves and/or not paying too much for them has reached the status of Truth, it is really a strategy for shallower mixed leagues where the number of closers far out-number the number of teams. Recognizing a team would need two closers to be in the middle of the pack in the category, I drafted three. Either I would be in the top third of the category or I'd be able to trade Saves to a team who recognizes getting a couple points in a category is a major hurdle to winning.

Using the same rationale, I drafted stolen bases. These are also freely available in the standard mixed league. A 16-team one with as many bench spots as the Rotoarcade Pro-Am is not one. Regardless, freely available SBs are usually so because those players who swipe them are typically connected with less than desirable AVGs.

To account for that, I went after high AVG players. One can claim I failed at this with the selections of Mike Jacobs and then Carlos Gomez, but I'd argue my successful execution of a high AVG strategy allowed those selections. As a matter of course, there are only so many viable mixed league players who hit .290 or more. In 2008, there were 61.

Six of the first seven hitters I drafted were amongst those 61, and the seventh, Victor Martinez, hit .301 in 2007. With AVG scarcity addressed, grabbing players with the better single category skills without regard for their potential harm to AVG was easy. In Mike Jacobs' case, HR and RBI were acquired, and, in the case of Carlos Gomez, I was able to contribute to the eventual scarcity of SB.

With my selections of the recently-annointed starting CF of the New York Yankees, Brett Gardner, and one of my fantasy baseball sleepers at Catcher in Carlos Ruiz, I continued to enforce/make the scarcity market.

The question is whether my analysis of the league was correct.