One analyst's ridiculous draft strategy for the ridiculous RazzSlam fantasy baseball league

·5 min read

I have a terrible idea that I'd like to share with you all.

In fact, it might be one of my very best terrible ideas. My marketing team is tentatively calling it the Behrens 10+15 Plan™ and I think you're really gonna hate it.

Here's the basic concept: Open your fantasy draft with ten straight hitters, then follow with fifteen consecutive pitchers. From that point forward, draft for need as you see fit.

Terrible, right? It might very well be the worst approach of all time. But I've done it anyway:

Some of you might be thinking that you don't even have 25 total roster spots in your league, so this plan is impossible from the start (in addition to being, in all likelihood, a terrible idea). For you, I would recommend a modified Behrens 10+10 Plan™ or, if you're new to fantasy, perhaps the 6+6 Plan™.

Here's the key detail with this 15-pitcher nonsense which makes it, arguably, a semi-viable approach: I'm doing it in RazzSlam — a league founded by our friends at Razzball — and the format is highly irregular.

The Draft Strategy

It's a best ball cutline points league involving only minimal maintenance. A manager's optimal lineup will automatically be used each week, which means I won't have to guess right on any of my high-variance starters. And pretty much all my starters are of the high-variance variety since I didn't start grabbing 'em until the eleventh round. The idea here was to lean hard into the advantages of the format and embrace a pitching tier that never fails to deliver breakout performers. So we'll see how that goes.

RazzSlam's points format has been designed and refined to align closely with traditional 5X5 player values, which is nice. Of course, in any sort of points league, there's no need to actually account for all categories, making team builds a bit less challenging. Saves are worth 8 points here, wins are six, a full inning pitched is 3 and strikeouts are valued at 1 point. A multi-save week from a closer is plenty useful, which led me to select a batch of middle-tier relievers with bankable roles (one of whom is now likely done for the season, unfortunately. Early drafting can get messy).

Starting lineups consist of 14 batters (two Cs, MI, CI, five OFs) and nine pitchers.

My fully assembled roster looks like this, with multi-position eligibility noted where applicable:

C - Willson Contreras, Martin Maldonado, Tyler Stephenson, Jason Castro

1B - Paul Goldschmidt, Mitch Moreland, Colin Moran

2B - Cavan Biggio (2B/3B/OF), Kike Hernandez (2B/OF), Luis Urias (2B/3B/SS), Nico Hoerner (2B/SS)

3B - Anthony Rendon, Alex Bregman

SS - Francisco Lindor, Jose Iglesias

OF - Christian Yelich, Randy Arozarena, Wil Myers, Justin Upton, Manuel Margot, JaCoby Jones

UT - Giancarlo Stanton

P - Brad Hand, Marco Gonzales, Pablo Lopez, Trevor Rosenthal, Sixto Sanchez, Dallas Keuchel, Mike Soroka, Corey Kluber, Kirby Yates (alas), Michael Pineda, Domingo German, James Paxton, Greg Holland, Freddy Peralta, Tejay Antone, Jake McGee, Jake Arrieta, Adam Ottavino, Julio Teheran, Josh Staumont

Team Analysis (and self-reflection)

When you enter a draft knowing you're gonna lead with ten bats and then follow with a huge block of pitchers, you'd better build a pretty badass base of hitters. I think I pulled it off, beginning with a Yelich/Lindor open from the seventh spot. We've already discussed my unwavering faith in Arozarena, so I'm not gonna cover that ground again. He's great — perhaps not quite as great as his postseason would suggest, but great.

The only sorta-regrets I have about my 10-hitter opening binge are these: I didn't land enough multi-position players near the top — this is no small thing in best ball — and I drafted a utility-only bat. In the RazzSlam format, you clearly want to create as many paths as possible to the highest-scoring weekly lineups; multi-position players are thus huge assets, whereas utility-only players simply jam up a roster spot. But hey, if you're gonna lock up utility with a dude who doesn't qualify anywhere else, make sure to get a guy with a 59-homer season on his resume. Stanton has been absolutely crushing this spring, going 10-for-30 with a home run, five walks, and his usual inhuman exit velocity. Here's hoping he eventually gets enough time in the outfield to add eligibility.

Following the 15-pitcher streak — which took a full week to complete in this slow-pick draft — I managed at last to collect a few hitters who can fill various spots (Hernandez, Urias, Hoerner).

All things considered, I'm feeling good about the execution of the 10+15. It might have gone a bit better if I'd snagged, say, Dylan Bundy or Chris Paddack or Andrew Heaney or any of various other mid-draft targets, but Lopez, Sanchez, Gonzales, and Pineda will do just as well (with any luck). The plan has received a full endorsement from this gentleman, which honestly thrills me.

Sometimes, a quirky league format demands a quirky draft strategy. Whatever else you think of this approach, you can't tell me it isn't bold.