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Saturday 21st Oct 2017

Imitation is the strongest form of flattery. It’s also a great recipe for success in fantasy leagues. Being original in your draft approach may be cute, but if it doesn’t lead to a cash finish you won’t last long in the high stakes arena. While it’s true that sometimes you have to zig while others zag, there are some core components of constructing a winning roster. The best way to keep a finger on that pulse is to examine the approach of proven fantasy managers and their teams. When I was in little league, I read The Science of Hitting by Ted Williams. I would also study the stance, approach and swing of every successful hitter and selectively implement components into my own swing. In like fashion, it is prudent to examine the approach of heavy hitters of the high stakes world and incorporate them into your draft day strategy.

In four separate private leagues, Perry Van Hook has been in first place wire to wire. These leagues are all NFBC format (slight variations for two that are keeper leagues) and include many seasoned high stakes veterans. I wish to present two of those teams here.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                First Draft

1 – Robinson Cano - 2B

2 - Clayton Kershaw – SP

3 – Curtis Granderson – OF

4 – Paul Goldschmidt – 1B

5 – Yu Darvish – SP

6 – Corey Hart – OF

7 – Miguel Montero – C

8 – Derek Jeter – SS

9 – Manny Machado – 3B

10 - Melky Cabrera – OF

11 – Salvador Perez – C

12 – Sergio Romo – RP

13 – Greg Holland – RP

14 – Brett Gardner – OF

15 – Jurickson Profar – 2B

16 – Alexi Ogando – SP

17 – Steve Cishek – RP

18 – Drew Stubbs – OF

19 – Justin Maxwell – OF

20 – Jean Segura – SS

21 – Hyun-Jin Ryu – SP

22 – Hisashi Iwakuma – SP

23 – Patrick Corbin – SP


a)    Two elite aces in the first five picks, then waiting until the 16th round to select the third

b)   Three closers

c)    Early offense focusing on power and eschewing speed.

d)   Securing a solid 1B


Second Draft

1 – Jose Bautista - OF

2 – Buster Posey - C

3 – Cliff Lee – SP

4 – Paul Goldschmidt – 1B

5 – Jimmy Rollins – SS

6 – Chris Sale – SP

7 – Jason Motte – RP

8 – Melky Cabrera – OF

9 – A.J. Pierzynski – C

10 – Kyle Seager – 3B

11 – Neil Walker – 2B

12 – Coco Crisp – OF

13 – Torii Hunter – OF

14 – Kendrys Morales – 1B

15 – Jeremy Hellickson – SP

16 – Hyun-Jin Ryu – SP

17 – Hisashi Iwakuma – SP

18 – Jean Segura – SP

19 – Matt Joyce – OF

20 – Mitch Moreland – 1B

21 – Tyler Clippard – RP

22 – Justin Maxwell – OF

23 – Wily Peralta - SP


a)    Two elite aces in the first six picks, then waiting until the 15th round to select the third

b)   One closer

c)    Early offense still focusing on power, though Rollins provides some speed

d)   Securing a solid 1B

Notice that with both teams he took two top shelf starters with over the top strikeout totals, securing 480 K’s on the first team and 425 on the second team. He then waited until the mid to late teens to fill out the rest of his starting rotation. Naturally, his first team leads the pack with 66 pitching points, ranking first in ERA, WHIP and K’s. His second team ranks first in WHIP and third in both ERA and K’s. I’ve vacillated in the past whether two or three aces should form the cornerstone of a winning staff, but I believe the Captain has found the sweet spot. This is important because at some point in the draft there is a diminishing return for overloading on a particular category. In this case, ERA, WHIP and strikeouts. If you’ve already drafted two Cy Young candidates, the third may not help that much and the opportunity cost for ignoring other categories becomes more acute. Obviously, you have to hit on some of your later starters, but pitching assets abound in the later rounds.

Captain Hook also acquired talent projected to hit high in the batting order (1st-5th) to maximize AB’s, Runs and RBI’s. Furthermore, he foresaw the breakouts of Patrick Corbin, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Paul Goldschmidt and Jean Segura. The best way to nail those is through scouting, and Perry does an abundance of that. Hailing from Arizona, Mastersball’s own follows all of the rising stars daily from the Arizona Fall League to the preseason exhibition games in the spring. Make sure not to miss his entries into the Captain’s Log as well as the JBL draft prep article penned by Van Hook and Zola.


0 #1 Ryan Carey 2013-07-16 16:41
Nice tip of the cap to the Captain. I am a member of both of Perry's early season leagues, and they are fantastic early prep work as we start drafting the first league right after Thanksgiving. These two leagues are the closest we have here to a Mastersball.com staff league as Perry, Todd, Greg and myself all take part in both leagues. I can personally attest to how strong and balanced both of Perry's teams have been this year as I sit in second place behind the two teams referenced above, ironically the author's two team's are tied with me at that position - looking up at the Captain at the break.

One of the funnest byproducts of these early drafts is getting an early look at the rest of the staff's early sleepers. Perry was on Segura, Ryu, Corbin and also landed Hisashi Iwakuma in both drafts - another nice call. We have a nice race setting up in these leagues - but Greg, myself, Todd and the others owners will have their work cut out for them if they want to catch Cpt. Hook.

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