Maybe the most straightforward draft strategy to execute is POSB. This theory is built on drafting power and speed, with batting average being a secondary consideration. The goal is to dominate home runs and stolen bases, which will hopefully lead to high scores in runs and RBI.
In most drafts, fantasy owners shy away from players with batting average risk. It's a minefield out there with low-average power littering the player pool after round ten or twelve in 12-team and 15-team leagues. With this draft style, it's a gold mine.
Identifying Low Average Power with Batting Average Upside
By buying weaker pieces to the puzzle, a fantasy owner can open up some early rounds to make sure they build the base of their pitching staff. In the ideal situation, an owner would like to finesse this plan, so they don't finish last in batting average.
In any given year, a high strikeout hitter can still post a respectable batting average, which is why I like to use contact batting average paired with strikeout rate. A batter with a contact batting average over .375 can offset a 25 percent strikeout rate, leading to a possible neutral batting average (.265 in 2019 in 12-team leagues). In a season with strength in the starting pitching inventory, batting average could be depressed, which helps this draft plan.
What is a Negative Batting Average?
Over the recent fantasy baseball seasons, a fantasy team’s batting average needed to finish over .270 to rank in the upper levels of the standings. Any baseball player who hits .250 or below would be a drain on your overall team’s batting average. For every .250 hitter, a fantasy would need a .290 hitter with the same number of at-bats if they wanted to rank over the league average. In any given season, it’s possible that three or four low average hitters breakout in batting average in the same year, helping this type of drafter to finish higher than expected in batting average. In a trading league, you can flip a weak asset if he gets off to a hot start. In a 12 or 15 team league, you can still win by punting one category.
Be Careful Not To Overdraft Steals
An owner with this thought process has to avoid too much flash and dash. He can accept weaker pieces, but he has to be careful not to own too many players that offer just pure speed. In seasons with lower expected offensive stats, a Judy-type hitter (low power and plus stolen bases) should have more value as a fantasy owner can commit more roster slots to power hitters.
If a fantasy owner adds Mallex Smith in 2020, he's hoping for a run at 50-plus steals while understanding he has a slim chance at ten home runs. If this same owner has two more short power hitters to their starting lineup, they have a good chance of underachieving in power, especially if their team ends up with two weak catching options.
In a perfect world, a fantasy team would love to have three players that can steal over thirty bases to set the foundation in steals. In some years, there are double value bases stealers, which have a chance at 55 steals or more. These types of baserunners are rare, but they created a massive edge in one category. If that same player can hit over 15 home runs, he has the foundation skill set to be a stud. I had a lot of success when Carl Crawford was in his prime.
From 2004 to 2007, Crawford hit .304 while averaging 97 runs, 14 home runs, 73 RBI, and 53 stolen bases per year.
Have Target Goals While Drafting
Remember to review the previous year's final standing to know your targets in each category. The goal is to finish in the top 25-percent of categories if you want to have a chance to win your league. By fading batting average, your team would need to rank in the top ten percent in runs, home runs, RBI, and steals while hoping to own a strong base in ERA and WHIP.
For this theory to win, a fantasy owner must establish an edge in three areas - power, speed, and starting pitching. The key to the plan is identifying the falling pieces in the draft that offer the skill set to execute your plan. Once a fantasy owner has some ideas about how he wants to backfill his roster, he can start looking at the starting pitching trade-offs to decide which rounds you want to use to build your pitching staff.
This drafting style will overlap the PAPS style many times, so a fantasy owner needs to be careful that those owners don't steal their key players.
A fantasy owner looking to execute this draft plan will be looking for proven players with longer resumes. When some owners are looking for young players with upside late, this owner is squirreling away older veteran players. You may shake your head at the draft table, but this fantasy owner has a chance to win if many of his late veteran options produce their expected stats.
For more game-breaking advice from Shawn Childs, a 5-time high-stakes fantasy baseball national champ, subscribe to FullTime Fantasy. Use coupon code EDGE25 to receive 25% off your monthly season-long subscription & gain a cash-winning edge with FullTime Fantasy.