Paying the Check Your Mouth Wrote - Draft Elite SP First

Last night was my first, and only mixed league, 2014 fantasy baseball draft. My strategy pre-draft order was to take Clayton Kershaw at any pick but the first or second overall.

I came to this decision after an off-season of draft preparation debate surrounding the value of elite starting pitching. (The other two debates were less radical - Trout vs Cabrera and when to draft Billy Hamilton.)

What makes this radical is not the fact that information doesn't exist that shows starting pitchers are always amongst first round value at the end of the season. Baseball HQ runs this every year. (As an aside, the draft preparation industry has interpretted this data as a way to disparage ADP as a draft tool and not as a way to improve player projections.)

The TaPE strategy (Take Pitching Early) is radical because the industry has made drafting hitters first the default position as no one's expert credentials will be at risk for taking Robinson Cano or Adam Jones over the top SP in the first round. There is also an unknown risk adjustment that is placed on SP versus hitters at draft time that influences drafting behavior - even if the drafter is unaware that this is what he or she is doing!

So putting my own learned behaviors aside, I applied the TaPE strategy, and here are the results. Looking at the whole team rather than the round by round doubt and angst, I believe TaPE is effective and, in this 5x5 H2H redraft league, an easier path towards victory.

Round Pick Player Position

1 3 Clayton Kershaw SP

2 22 Stephen Strasburg SP

3 27 Adam Wainwright SP

4 46 Albert Pujols 1B

5 51 Álex Ríos OF

6 70 Josh Donaldson 3B

7 75 Trevor Rosenthal RP

8 94 Brett Lawrie 2B,3B

9 99 Everth Cabrera SS

10 118 José Abreu 1B

11 123 Matt Wieters C

12 142 Brandon Belt 1B

13 147 Desmond Jennings OF

14 166 Anthony Rendón 2B,3B

15 171 Yordano Ventura SP

16 190 Adam Eaton OF

17 195 John Axford RP

18 214 Zack Wheeler SP

19 219 José Veras RP

20 238 Chad Qualls RP

21 243 Will Venable OF