Power Surge

The first True Diamonds draft of the year is only 10 days away, and it is time to start thinking about strategy. The reason the Power league is so popular is that the scoring is so simple. You don’t have to focus on roster positions since there are just 4 infielders, 4 outfielders and 1 utility spot. The only hitting categories that count are HR, RBI, K and BB. It is all about taking it deep. Homers are worth 10 points, RBI are worth 3 and BB and K are worth plus or minus 1. Any batter who can score 4 points a game is a clear first rounder. With Ryan Howard wearing a boot that leaves 11 players as elite (4.0+) power hitters.

Albert Pujols, LAA IF
Jose Bautista, Tor IF/OF
Adrian Gonzalez, Bos IF
Mark Teixeira, NYY IF
Evan Longoria, TB IF
Miguel Cabrera, Det IF
Ryan Braun, Mil OF
Troy Tulowitzki, Col IF
Prince Fielder, Det IF
Adrian Beltre, Tex IF
Paul Konerko, CWS IF

Any of these guys are excellent first round picks, but only Bautista and Braun qualify as outfielders. In the next tier of hitters (3.0-3.9) the positions are fairly split. You’ll find Votto, Cano and Berkman all clustered around the high 3s. This is where Stanton, Granderson, Hamilton and Cruz make their appearance. It is very likely you will be able to snag a powerful outfielder in the second round to go with a Longoria or Konerko if you find yourself somewhere in the #10 to #14 draft position.

After three rounds you should have your top 2 bats and one ace starter. That leaves 7 batter slots to go. Projecting accurate power numbers on the pack of remaining players and making shrewd matchup substitutions will win this league. You need to pay attention to the opposing pitchers and ballparks to maximize the lower half of your roster.

The biggest challenge in the draft is deciding when to pick each of your starting pitchers. You have to build a staff that will spread your starts to cover each day of the week. There is only one SP slot. Otherwise you risk having two aces on the same day and have to sit one of them. While it is true that rotations stagger during the year, you’d be surprised how often the #1 starters on different teams pitch the same day. The best approach is to plan to grab quality #2 and #3 starters and a couple of top closers. It’s not a bad strategy to get the top 3 pitchers from the same team.

There are a dozen power starting pitchers who will score 600+ points a season and average between 18-20 points per appearance. The point system awards strikeouts and quality starts. These guys are comparable in value to late first round hitters and should not be overlooked in the second round:

Justin Verlander, Det SP
Clayton Kershaw, LAD SP
Felix Hernandez, Sea SP
Zack Greinke, Mil SP
Tim Lincecum, SF SP
Yovani Gallardo, Mil SP
Cliff Lee, Phi SP
Dan Haren, LAA SP
Roy Halladay, Phi SP
Jered Weaver, LAA SP
James Shields, TB SP
CC Sabathia, NYY SP

While you should target one of these guys, you probably do not want two or you may end up looking around for a trade. Once you pick your ace you should compliment him with a Matt Cain, Cole Hamels or Matt Moore for a 1-2 punch. If you can pick the #2 from the same team, even better. No one can argue with Cliff Lee and Roy Halladay. A certain amount of streaming is encouraged in this league, but don’t count on quality arms on waivers when so many teams will be searching. You should plan to snag at least 4 starting pitchers at the draft.

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