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Draft Day Strategy: Grab an Ace and Wait

Anthony Calanni looks at a new drafting strategy that suggests you take hitters early and wait on pitching.

Cliff Lee whispers, "please draft me" into Mitch Williams's ear.
Cliff Lee whispers, "please draft me" into Mitch Williams's ear.
Drew Hallowell

It's only mid-March and I have already completed three fantasy baseball drafts. I know, I am a little obsessed, but getting these drafts done early has allowed me to pass down some very useful advice to those who have not yet selected their team. Each of my leagues is a ten team, mixed league with 5x5 rotisserie scoring (I'm not a huge fan of the head-to-head format). In two of my drafts, I used the strategy that you see in the title. I snagged a top-of-the-line starting pitcher early in the draft and then I waited a good amount of rounds until I took another pitcher. I found that this strategy worked greatly to my advantage and allowed me to build two very strong teams. The proof is in the rosters.

Draft #1 - 5th Pick, Strategy not used
C- A.J. Pierzynski (round 15)
C- Matt Wieters (round 5)
1B- Freddie Freeman (round 8)
2B- Jason Kipnis (round 7)
3B- Adrian Beltre (round 4)
SS- Asdrubal Cabrera (round 10)
MI- Danny Espinosa (round 19)
CI- Eric Hosmer (round 16)
OF- Chris Davis (round 14)
OF- Dexter Fowler (round 21)
OF- Josh Hamilton (round 2)
OF- Matt Kemp (round 1)
OF- Nick Markakis (round 12)
U- Ryan Ludwick (round 28)
P- Doug Fister (round 20)
P- Yovanni Gallardo (round 11)
P- Casey Janssen (round 18)
P- Ian Kennedy (round 13)
P- Jonathon Niese (round 22)
P- David Price (round 3)
P- James Shields (round 9)
P- Jered Weaver (round 6)
P- C.J. Wilson (round 17)
Bench- Cameron Maybin (FA)
Bench- Drew Stubbs (round 26)
Bench- Dayan Viciedo (round 24)
Bench- Jaime Garcia (round 27)
Bench- Wade Miley (round 23)
Bench- Andy Pettitte (round 25)

Draft #2 - 4th Pick, Strategy used
C- Miguel Montero (round 9)
C- Matt Wieters (round 6)
1B- Paul Goldschmidt (round 5)
2B- Brandon Phillips (round 8)
3B- Chase Headley (round 7)
SS- Asdrubal Cabrera (round 10)
MI- Chase Utley (round 13)
CI- David Freese (round 17)
OF- Jose Bautista (round 3)
OF- Dexter Fowler (round 21)
OF- Josh Hamilton (round 2)
OF- Torii Hunter (round 22)
OF- Matt Kemp (round 1)
U- Adam Dunn (round 23)
P- Mike Fiers (round 16)
P- Doug Fister (round 18)
P- Hiroki Kuroda (round 15)
P- Cliff Lee (round 4)
P- Wade Miley (round 20)
P- Jonathon Niese (round 19)
P- Jake Peavy (round 11)
P- Mariano Rivera (round 12)
P- C.J. Wilson (round 14)
Bench- Adam LaRoche (round 27)
Bench- Everth Cabrera (round 24)
Bench- Jayson Werth (round FA)
Bench- Jaime Garcia (round 26)
Bench- Andy Pettitte (round 25)
Bench- Vance Worley (round 28)

Draft #3 - 3rd Pick, Strategy used
C- Yadier Molina (round 7)
C- Jesus Montero (round 9)
1B- Paul Goldschmidt (round 6)
2B- Rickie Weeks (round 8)
3B- Will Middlebrooks (round 13)
SS- Ian Desmond (round 5)
MI- Asdrubal Cabrera (round 11)
CI- Nick Swisher (round 19)
OF- Carlos Beltran (round 20)
OF- Yoenis Cespedes (round 4)
OF- Nick Markakis (round 14)
OF- Andrew McCutchen (round 2)
OF- Mike Trout (round 1)
U- Adam LaRoche (round 25)
P- Brett Anderson (round 21)
P- John Axford (round 16
P- Doug Fister (round 17)
P- Mat Latos (round 10)
P- Cliff Lee (round 3)
P- Wade Miley (round 22)
P- Jonathon Niese (round 18)
P- Jake Peavy (round 12)
P- Sergio Romo (round 15)
Bench- Mark Reynolds (round 28)
Bench- Denard Span (round 29)
Bench- Jaime Garcia (round 24)
Bench- Brandon McCarthy (round 27)
Bench- Andy Pettitte (round 23)
Bench-Vance Worley (round 26)

My favorite squad is my 3rd team. It is definitely the most balanced with speed and power, plus it has Mike Trout on it. I think that teams 2 and 3 have a much stronger lineup than team 1. Even though team 1 has stronger pitching, I believe that my other two teams have enough decent pitching to get me a solid amount of points from those 5 categories. I went with Cliff Lee as my ace on teams 2 and 3. There are so many good pitchers that you can find late in your draft, like Miley, Pettitte, Anderson, Fister, etc... So I don't see why people feel like it is necessary to take a ton of pitchers early. The hitters you may find in your later rounds are usually guys who you don't want at a starting position, like Danny Espinosa. So in 2013, I suggest that you take hitters in a majority of your early rounds and wait on pitching.