Tout Daily: Lindblom leads the way

Tout Daily is back! We’ve abridged the format to account for the short season, running a pair of simultaneous contests on Tuesday and Friday, so twice a week we’ll be sharing our top picks on the slate. Let’s get right to it!

Anthony Aniano (Rotoballer, @AAnianoFantasy)

Pitcher: Walker Buehler – A very thin group of pitchers on tonight’s slate and Buehler stands out as the superior pitcher of the night. It’s a chalk play but one that needs to be done.

Hitter: Matt Olson – For $4300 he faces a pitcher with a ERA of 6.71 in 2019. Olsen hit .288 with 25 of his 36 home runs versus RHP last season

Charlie Wiegert (CDM Sports, @GFFantasySports)

Pitcher: Justus Sheffield – Going cheap, hoping for some K’s and a win his last outing produced7 k’s Yeap Buehler is top play, but I don’t trust it!

Hitter: Nolan Arenado – Time for a big night and first dinger, loaded with Betts, Alanso, etc

Phil Hertz (BaseballHQ, @prhz50)

Pitcher: Josh Lindblom – Buehler is clearly heads and shoulders better than all the other options, but I don’t want to invest that much on a pitcher that might not go 5 innings. Lindblom is a flyer, but I like him more than the other options

Hitter: JD Martinez – Going against a rookie pitcher who hasn’t pitched above Double-A.

Mike Gianella (Baseball Prospectus, @MikeGianella)

Pitcher: Zach Davies – It’s a bad night for pitching. Buehler is the obvious choice and I’d normally roll with him, but I don’t want buy into WB and only get 3-4 innings. The Giants have been terrible against righties so far and I’m hoping Davies and his veteran presence can give me five decent innings. This is more about being able to maximize my offensive money than anything else.

Hitter: JD Martinez – Martinez rakes against southpaws and is going up against a lefty making his major league debut who isn’t a high strikeout arm. This feels like a gimmie.

Jeff Boggis (Fantasy Football Empire, @JeffBoggis)

Pitcher: Walker Buehler – Not afraid to pay up tonight for Buehler at $11,300, in a night where starting pitching is very scarce.

Hitter: Nelson Cruz – I’l take Nelson Cruz to the bank at $4,500 tonight. Small sample size, but he is the top ranked hitter so far this season with 3 home runs, 10 runs batted in, and a .538 batting average.

Steve Gardner (USAToday Fantasy Sports, @SteveAGardner)

Pitcher: Josh Lindblom – Is there any pitcher who’s good for 5+ innings tonight? I don’t think there is. But a starter on a decent team going up against a below-average lineup? Give me Lindblom at Pittsburgh.

Hitter: Salvador Perez – He didn’t play at all last season so it seems he’s severerly underpriced at $2800, even in the KC lineup. He does have a couple homers already this season …

Rick Wolf (Fantasy Alarm, @RickWolf1)

Pitcher: Kyle Gibson – Now in Texas where we saw Lance Lynn breakout, Gibson’s advance metrics show that his numbers don’t make sense. His velocity was up. His BABIP was 50 points higher than the year before. His HR/FB% was way higher cause all the other metrics to be out of whack. Texas is a better park and that will be better this year. Home tonight against Arizona is looking good to me.

Hitter: Pete Alonso – With lefthanders on the mound for the Mets vs Red Sox, the righthanded hitters in both lineups will be in my game stack. If you go with one bargain at picher, you can fit them all. Feel like it is time for Alonso’s power to break out. LGM.

Todd Zola (Mastersball, @toddzola)

Pitcher: Josh Lindblom – Like a couple of my esteemed colleagues, the key is the Rotowire blurb, “Lindblom is not expected to have any restrictions early in the season.” Though, a weak Pirates lineup in PNC doesn’t hurt.

Hitter: Mike Trout – Saved enough at C, 1B and SP2 to afford a 6K guy and still get a two-man LAD and BOS mini-stack.

Tout Wars FAAB Results: July 26

With only three days of play since our first FAAB run, it was a quiet night. Here’s the winning bids and link to the full report for the five Tout Wars leagues using FAAB.

American League

PlayerWinner and Bid
GHolland, KCChris Liss 289
ABass, TorJeff Erickson 227
RDolis, TorChris Liss 177
JMarmolejos, SeaLarry Schechter 116
ACobb, BalRyan Bloomfield 98
BSinger, KCMike Podhorzer 93
TWilliams, SeaMike Podhorzer 53
CSulser, BalMike Podhorzer 53
INova, DetRyan Bloomfield 47
EAdrianza, MinRyan Bloomfield 9
DJohnson, CleRyan Bloomfield 8
JBeeks, TBJason Collette 5
RBleier, BalLarry Schechter 4
CCuthbert, CWSJason Collette 3
KPlawecki, BosJeff Erickson 2
HCastro, DetPatrick Davitt 0
MStassi, LAADoug Dennis 0
CBedrosian, LAARob Leibowitz 0
TClippard, MinRob Leibowitz 0
JChavez, TexDoug Dennis 0
Full report available here

National League

PlayerWinner and Bid
FCervelli, MiaJustin Mason 43
AMorgan, PhiBrian Walton 36
AAquino, CinGrey Albright 34
ABarnes, LADPhil Hertz 28
JMateo, SDJustin Mason 19
PEvans, PitTodd Zola 17
AGimenez, NYMPeter Kreutzer 8
RHarper, WasPeter Kreutzer 4
PSandoval, SFPeter Kreutzer 3
RStanek, MiaLenny Melnick  2
PBaez, LADFred Zinkie 0
Full report available here

Mixed Auction

PlayerWinner and Bid
AMills, ChCJeff Zimmerman 215
SSanchez, MiaBrent Hershey 121
EHernandez, MiaJeff Zimmerman 120
ACobb, BalJeff Zimmerman 87
GHolland, KCDerek VanRiper 69
EHernandez, LADJake Ciely 65
JLester, ChCDerek VanRiper 59
ZPlesac, CleDerek VanRiper 59
CMize, DetAl Melchior 42
ABass, TorTim Heaney 36
TWolters, ColZach Steinhorn 33
TWilliams, SeaAl Melchior 32
KWright, AtlScott Swanay 28
CRodon, CWSScott Swanay 28
KGraveman, SeaJeff Zimmerman 25
ODrake, TBScott Pianowski 22
KPillar, BosAl Melchior 17
EOlivares, SDBrent Hershey 17
THeineman, SFDerek VanRiper 11
JBradley, BosScott Pianowski 3
RMcGuire, TorRon Shandler 2
LGarcia, CWSTim Heaney 2
JIglesias, BalScott Pianowski 1
JRomano, TorScott Pianowski 0
Full report available here

Mixed Draft

PlayerWinner and Bid
GHolland, KCScott White 216
ABass, TorD.J. Short 180
EHernandez, LADAdam Ronis 138
TGott, SFRay Murphy 136
BSinger, KCD.J. Short 120
EHernandez, MiaTim McLeod 83
MAdams, AtlD.J. Short 75
ODrake, TBPerry Van Hook 69
ZEflin, PhiD.J. Short 60
FCervelli, MiaD.J. Short 60
WFlores, SFD.J. Short 50
FValdez, HouPerry Van Hook 37
RDolis, TorTim McLeod 11
TWilliams, PitAnthony Perri 8
HAlberto, BalCharlie Wiegert 6
RDobnak, MinSeth Trachtman 5
MWacha, NYMCharlie Wiegert 4
MRojas, MiaCharlie Wiegert 3
AGordon, KCTom Kessenich 2
Full report available here

Head to Head

PlayerWinner and Bid
KLewis, SeaClay Link 237
JCueto, SFIan Kahn 172
JLester, ChCIan Kahn 106
JAguilar, MiaIan Kahn 51
DMay, LADIan Kahn 45
MKelly, AriAriel Cohen 42
ZPlesac, CleAndy Behrens 16
AWainwright, StLRalph Lifshitz 12
FValdez, HouRalph Lifshitz 12
BSinger, KCRalph Lifshitz 9
CGreen, NYYAlex Chamberlain 5
ASantander, BalClay Link 1
Full report available here

Draft and Hold report available here

Tout Wars Pre-Opening Day FAAB

We’re back! With the unique circumstances to the season, and the fact we drafted our teams in March, the Tout Wars board decided to allow teams to release anyone and receive FAAB back. This is usually allowed for players on the IL, but for this one transaction period only, the offer was extended to everyone..

We’ll return to the normal Sunday FAAB at 8 PM ET this coming Sunday,. followed by the table of winning bids in each league. With that, here are the players acquired in the initial Tout Wats FAAB run.

American League

PlayerWinner and Bid
FCordero, KCJason Collette 386
TNaquin, CleRyan Bloomfield 294
JHernandez, TexChris Liss 155
MKing, NYYJason Collette 83
TLopes, SeaRick Wolf/Glenn Colton 76
FValdez, HouRyan Bloomfield 62
AAdams, SeaDoug Dennis 61
KMiddleton, LAADoug Dennis 61
BBrennan, SeaDoug Dennis 61
AEngel, CWSHoward Bender 61
NHeath, KCJason Collette 53
SCishek, CWSRyan Bloomfield 42
KGraveman, SeaRob Leibowitz 32
CDevenski, HouChris Liss 23
SLeon, CleHoward Bender 22
CIannetta, NYYDoug Dennis 13
MThaiss, LAADoug Dennis 8
MAndriese, LAAJeff Erickson 5
CChang, CleJeff Erickson 1
JCordero, CWSRick Wolf/Glenn Colton 0
CEdwards, SeaRick Wolf/Glenn Colton 0
BAbreu, HouMike Gianella 0
ODrake, TBMike Gianella 0
The full report can be found here

National League

HRamirez, MiaGrey Albright 354
TFrance, SDGrey Albright 354
MTaylor, WasBrian Walton 220
IVargas, AriLenny Melnick  205
KCrick, PitGrey Albright 168
MKemp, ColLenny Melnick  150
ADuvall, AtlSteve Gardner 137
NBurdi, PitJustin Mason 101
MFeliz, PitScott Wilderman 81
RStephenson, CinSteve Gardner 78
MAdams, AtlPhil Hertz 77
LMorrison, MilLenny Melnick  75
EOlivares, SDJustin Mason 71
SGreene, AtlPhil Hertz 55
RRodriguez, PitScott Wilderman 34
ChMartin, AtlPhil Hertz 33
TRainey, WasPhil Hertz 25
ERios, LADPhil Hertz 23
ElDiaz, ColPhil Hertz 17
THeineman, SFTodd Zola 17
BGamel, MilPeter Kreutzer 14
AHechavarria, AtlBrian Walton 12
EFedde, WasBrian Walton 12
AMills, ChCBrian Walton 12
EGonzalez, PitPeter Kreutzer 7
RRavelo, StLPhil Hertz 5
JCotton, ChCPeter Kreutzer 3
MStrahm, SDFred Zinkie 2
THill, SDFred Zinkie 2
LJackson, AtlScott Wilderman 2
MWieters, StLTristan H. Cockcroft 0
The full report can be found here

Mixed Auction

PlayerWinner and Bid
AHicks, NYYScott Swanay 372
ZBritton, NYYTim Heaney 343
JHeyward, ChCRon Shandler 275
EThames, WasRon Shandler 257
IKinerFalefa, TexJake Ciely 218
TRichards, TBJake Ciely 164
SPiscotty, OakJake Ciely 138
NBurdi, PitJake Ciely 94
RTapia, ColScott Engel 89
VVelasquez, PhiBrent Hershey 87
CTaylor, LADMichael Rathburn 80
DPomeranz, SDScott Swanay 79
JNaylor, SDJake Ciely 78
AWainwright, StLZach Steinhorn 78
AAdams, SeaAl Melchior 76
MKelly, AriAl Melchior 76
JChoi, TBTim Heaney 66
JBruce, PhiZach Steinhorn 58
MFulmer, DetScott Swanay 56
FBarreto, OakMichael Rathburn 50
JOsuna, PitAl Melchior 37
JSmoak, MilJeff Zimmerman 35
VCaratini, ChCJeff Zimmerman 35
TChatwood, ChCRon Shandler 27
DFletcher, LAAMichael Rathburn 25
CMoran, PitMichael Rathburn 25
BSinger, KCJeff Zimmerman 13
YPetit, OakScott Engel 10
ARomine, DetScott Pianowski 4
MMoreland, BosScott Pianowski 3
The full report can be found here

Mixed Draft

PlayerWinner and Bid
AHicks, NYYSeth Trachtman 450
ZBritton, NYYTim McCullough 291
KCrick, PitTim McCullough 241
KLewis, SeaD.J. Short 200
JJones, DetTim McLeod 187
CKnebel, MilScott White 167
JLoaisiga, NYYCharlie Wiegert 144
DDuffy, KCGreg Ambrosius 141
IKinerFalefa, TexMichael Beller 129
ABohm, PhiTim McLeod 127
AOttavino, NYYTom Kessenich 117
NBurdi, PitGreg Ambrosius 114
AEngel, CWSCharlie Wiegert 98
SNewcomb, AtlCharlie Wiegert 93
JPCrawford, SeaDan Strafford 75
KWright, AtlGreg Ambrosius 66
JBruce, PhiAdam Ronis 48
ABummer, CWSCharlie Wiegert 47
JFraley, SeaRay Murphy 42
HPence, SFTom Kessenich 28
JBradley, BosPerry Van Hook 23
YPetit, OakRay Murphy 22
JStallings, PitRudy Gamble 17
CDavis, BalScott White 17
TRogers, SFPerry Van Hook 17
CGreen, NYYSeth Trachtman 15
BKeller, KCSeth Trachtman 15
MMaldonado, HouCharlie Wiegert 12
TChatwood, ChCCharlie Wiegert 7
DPomeranz, SDPerry Van Hook 0
AWainwright, StLPerry Van Hook 0
Full report can be found here

Head to Head

AHicks, NYYRalph Lifshitz 525
CBurnes, MilFrank Stampfl 262
IKinerFalefa, TexRalph Lifshitz 230
ZBritton, NYYAriel Cohen 212
YCespedes, NYMIan Kahn 151
JJimenez, DetClay Link 124
MMelancon, AtlClay Link 112
VVelasquez, PhiIan Kahn 96
YDiaz, TBAriel Cohen 84
HKendrick, WasIan Kahn 68
NBurdi, PitAndy Behrens 61
JCastro, LAAClay Link 53
MCarpenter, StLIan Kahn 46
MFulmer, DetRalph Lifshitz 43
TLaStella, LAAAlex Chamberlain 21
SHilliard, ColAndy Behrens 16
CBassitt, OakFrank Stampfl 13
JReddick, HouFrank Stampfl 12
EInciarte, AtlAlex Chamberlain 6
RCano, NYMFrank Stampfl 6
BAbreu, HouIan Kahn 6
JUrena, MiaAJ Mass 5
Full report can be found here

Tout Table: Short Season Strategies

Hey everyone, we’re back! Let’s jump right in with this week’s query:

Are you changing any general draft strategies compared to spring drafts?

Scott Engel (Rotoballer, @scotteTheKing): Yes, I am focusing more earlier on hitters with high batting averages and less on guys who strike out a lot. Cold streaks can be much more dangeous in a shortened season. I’ll risk the up and down tyoes later on. Also, I am going for more middle relievers late because some starters deeper in the rotations may be yanked quicker this year

Phil Hertz (BaseballHQ, @prhz50): Depends on whether it’s a keeper league or not. If it’s a keeper league, my decision will rest on whether I’ve got a really good core or not. If my roster doesn’t look like a winner, I’m going to draft for 2021. If it’s not a keeper league, aside from setting aside guys with known health issues, I’m going to draft as I usually do.

Brad Johnson (Patreon/BaseballATeam, @BaseballATeam): Absolutely. The most glaring is how I’ll approach closers. I usually trust myself to find a goodly chunk of my saves during the season. This year, I’ll aim to address as much as I can during the draft. I’ll also have a few daily moves leagues where I’ll experiment with avoiding premium starters.

Ryan Hallam (Fighting Chance Fantasy, @FightingChance): With so much uncertainty on pitching, I want to hit those few elite pitchers who I believe will be treated as usual after the first time around, and then after that going after value pitchers as I could see cycling pitchers a lot this season. Bullpens will be a big concern and managers might not have as long of a leash. I’d focus on the guys with rock solid holds on the job and not trying to find those fliers later in drafts

Tristan H. Cockcroft (ESPN, @SultanofStat): I’m not making any dramatic changes to my strategies, but I’ll be willing to take more chances, reaching for ceilings (especially the “innings-capped” pitchers who no longer are). We preach not to buy into small samples, but 2020 in itself is a small sample, and to win, we’re going to have to embrace a more reactionary approach. If some of my draft picks go bust, I’ll be more prepared to act more quickly on the waiver wire.

Tim McCullough (Baseball Prospectus, @TimsTenz): I’m emphazing hitting over pitching in the single-digit rounds and taking my chances with the upside pitchers available in the middle and later rounds. Overall, pitching looks like more of a crapshoot given the different ways teams are approaching their staff size and use. I’m also adding a few middle relievers that could end up with wins if starters are pulled early. For offense, I’m avoiding batting average sinkholes (think Joey Gallo) and looking for upside among the hitters on the better offensive teams.

Perry Van Hook (Mastersball, @): I agree with Brad and Ryan on making sure to ge the elite starters and better closers – you won’t have time to look for saves in bunches on the waiver wire. The one thing I don’t see here that I would target in any leagues yet to draft is multi-position players. You really want guys like Jeff McNeil, Max Muncy, and (if healthy) D.J. LeMahieu that you can move between MI and CI vacancies that will occur in this short season. Middle range and even lower range players (Luiz Arraez, Howie Kendrick, and Starlin Castro) who will be playing almost every day with that flexibility will really help your lineups.

Jason Collette (Rotowire, @jasoncollette): I don’t have any new drafts, but if I did, I would enter the teen rounds with a hoss SP and closer, then load up on second-man in relievers and high-skill relievers in the back half of the draft.

Anthony Aniano (Rotoballer, @AAnianoFantasy): Defintely, Drafts will focus on power and batting average with deemphasis on starting pitchers. In a 60 game season a SP will have at most 12 starts and most likely 10-11 starts which will mean about 70IP. A hitter will have a significant more impact just based on innings played. On this short a season, starting pitching can be successfully streamed if done properly.

Doug Dennis (BaseballHQ, @dougdennis41): Simplifying everything, because of the enormous error bar over 60 games. In a draft, it is imperative to get balance across the roster immediately, but I might be tempted to punt wins and strikeouts if there is no innings requirement. In an auction where trading is permitted, that is typically less important across 162, but this year it is more important early. I am going to use FAAB liberally and be prepared to buy whatever I need through trade or FAAB for each week until I run out. It feels possible to be out of the running in just 3 or 4 weeks, so getting that good start and adjusting from there is critical. If I hear that owners in my league are making closers a priority, I may go the opposite way. Just have to be very flexible.

Todd Zola (Mastersball, @toddzola): Lots of talk about getting a stud starter or two, a solid closer and productive bats. It all sounds good, and sometimes the draft falls in your lap perfectly, but it’s really hard to pull all three off. Of the three, I’m willing to play chicken with closer. I want a couple of foundation arms and steady bats so I can steer into the variance later in the draft. There’s also a bit of supply and demand involved. With so many wanting to avoid trawling for saves, I can fortify offense while others are taking supposed better closers, then I’ll have my pick of the crappy litter. Not to mention, I’ll be willing to spend a little more in FAAB and saves should be more bunched as some teams spread them out more.

Mike Podhorzer (Fangraphs, @MikePodhorzer): The smaller sample of games means more ratio category volatility. More volatility means I don’t want to pay as much for it. So focusing more on buying counting stats and paying less attention to ratios (AVG, ERA, WHIP) seems like the right strategic decision on draft/auction day.

James Anderson (Rotowire, @RealJRAnderson): Just thinking about it as a sprint vs. a marathon will naturally change your strategy a little bit. For instance, I don’t want Giancarlo Stanton or Aaron Judge at their current prices because I can’t afford to take a guy in the first five rounds who may be limited early in the season or may only play 4-5 days a week, especially early on. Plate appearances are now a stat I care about as much as any other stat for a hitter. Over 162 games, if you’re active and you’re smart, you’ll finish high in your league in PAs even if you are using a few part-time players. In a 60-game season, every owner in every serious league will be active for all or most of the season, so just being active isn’t enough of a leg up. There’s just no margin for error with regards to missed time. I also think closers/saves are as difficult as ever to navigate, because saves will be as spread out as ever, which makes the elite guys more valuable. On the flip side, there’s more landmine potential (in my opinion) with early closers, as one or two blowup outings (ratio damage), a couple missed weeks, or one positive coronavirus test makes it a bad pick. I don’t think there is a “right” way to navigate saves, I just know it’s stressing me out more than in a typical year.

Justin Mason (Friends with Fantasy Benefits, Fangraphs, Fantasy Alarm, @JustinMasonFWFB): Use this shortened season to use outside of the box strategies and practice pivoting versus other crazy draft strategies.

Eric Karabell (ESPN, @karabelleric): No major changes, but lean more on hitters over pitchers early, bypass batting average killers and later on be more willing to take a chance on a prospect that after one week is likely to get his shot and shine, like a Nate Pearson or Dylan Carlson.

Michael Florio (NFL Network, @MichaelFFlorio): This season is really going to be impossible to predict on many levels, so I am cutting out as much uncertainty as possible early on. I will take more proven, safe players and I am still emphasising elite starting pitchers in the earlier rounds. The way my strategy will be changing for the most part is I will be going after steals and closers more aggresively. Typically I try to draft a player or two who can steal 20+ bases and then add complilers who can give me 10-15 in 162 games. But with the reduced season and less time to try and find speed off of waivers, I have no problem rostering a speed speciliast. Also, with closers, the shortened season means less time to find closers off the waivers. That is why those high end closers, the one who have the ninth inning job locked down plus help ratios and strikeouts are so valuable. I will try to get 2-3 closers I trust and an elite middle relief arm or two. Avoid those backend closers that you only roster for cheap saves. In a 60 game season they could lose the job quickly, while blowing up your ratios.

Ryan Bloomfield (BaseballHQ, @RyanBHQ): Individual player evals will change, but at a macro level, I’m only making minor adjustments to my draft strategy. Like others here, I’m prioritizing at-bats and trying max out as many counting stats as possible on the hitter side (leagues WILL come down to an RBI here, SB there, etc.). Placing an emphasis on starters who are more apt to go deeper into games early in the season, and trying to get an established closer or two. There’s no time for minor league stashes or closers in waiting; those spots are much more valuable as roster depth this year.

Rick Wolf (Fantasy Alarm, @RickWolf1): You have to draft differently based on what is going on. There are so many things to consider here that you never had to. As I said on Colton & The Wolfman, you have to know which guys are more likely party or find lovin’ and who will be reading scripture. Need to know whose wife is expecting. You need to value Verlander, Ohtani and Clevinger higher as they are now over injury. You have to value guys who now will have no innings limits higher like Luzardo. You have to listen to the managers who are saying that they will be doing with pitching and their relievers. You have to understand the number of days to get their service time another year who may opt-out. Everything matters. You won’t get it all right, but why not try to make the best analysis of the situation for each player.

AJ Mass (ESPN, @AJMass): This season is a complete “dart throw” with way too many variables to even concern myself with a strategy. If anything, I’m going to have way more fun with the process, going well more with my gut and taking chances on the extremes — loading up with unproven rookies who may or may not get the call, as well as long-in-the-tooth veterans who may be seeing this 60-game stretch as a last hurrah.

Jeff Zimmerman (Fangraphs, The Process, @jeffwzimmerman): I’m more likely to de-emphasize a stat if the price is too high at the draft table. All the categories, especially counting, are going to to so bunched up I want to pull away as much as possible from the crowd in whatever categories I can. Also, I’m focusing on the early season scheulde and will draft players knowing I’ll drop them after the favorable matchup.

Andy Behrens (Yahoo! Fantasy Sports, @andybehrens): I’m trying to lean into the weirdness to a certain extent. Given the unusual circumstances for most starting pitchers this season, I’d say it’s overwhelmingly likely that a bunch of relievers are going to surface on the wins leaderboard. I think it’s entirely possible to construct a competitive fantasy pitching rotation this season that doesn’t involve any starters. If ever there was a year to attempt an extreme LIMA build, this might be it. I’d like to snag 3-4 sources for saves (including at least one elite option), then target various quality non-closing relievers (Castillo, Pomeranz, et al). That sort of build could play well in a mini-season like this, while allowing extra resources for hitting stats. Really, this is just a perfect year in which to try various odd strategies.

Zach Steinhorn (CreativeSports2, @zachsteinhorn): I’ve always favored hitting over pitching in the early rounds and in this shortened season, I’m even more convinced that deemphasizing starting pitching is the smarter route to take. I’m not going to pay for the elite starters as much of their value is tied to a combination of quality and quantity. With the quantity of innings limited and the quality of those innings less certain (even Gerrit Cole can have a so-so five-start stretch), I’d rather take more risk and invest in less pricey (but high-strikeout) starters with breakout potential. As for saves, it’s important to adequately address the category on draft day rather than depending heavily on the waiver wire. There will be less opportunities to stumble upon a reliable closer and the FAAB prices for potential saves will be a lot higher than in a normal season.

Ray Murphy (BaseballHQ, @RayHQ): I don’t have a stock answer here. ADPs are moving a lot since March (esp. closers), but I think the straight draft quandary is the same as it ever was: you’re going to come out of your first ~10 rounds short of something. Be intentional about what that is going to be (or be open to a couple of possiblities), and know how you want to address that in the back half. Maybe you decide current closer prices are ridiculous. Maybe you want to fish in the lower tier of SP. I think there’s a wide variety of strategies for the short season, and I’m not convinced any one of them is more right than the other. The key is to pick the path that you believe you can execute the best.

Charlie Wiegert (CDM Sports, @GFFantasySports): The value of starter other than perhaps the top 10, has gone down…and even DeGrom and Buehler have issues already. Starters will be limited their first few starts, and most will be lucky to get 12 starts. Strike outs will be down, and the chance for wins will be limited. So I’ll be drafting starters latter. Closers should still have value.

Steve Gardner (USAToday Fantasy Sports, @SteveAGardner): I’m making closers with especially high strikeout rates a priority like I never would in a normal season. I think we’ll high-leverage relievers used a lot — and they’ll help fantasy teams more in a short season because they can contribute in all five pitching categories. On offense, I’m looking for guys with particularly high upsides because those hot streaks could be a deciding factor. That said, in-season moves may be more important than ever in a short season.

Frank Stampfl (Fantasy Pros, @Roto_Frank): I agree with the sentiment of many others here that this season will be like no other. It will be wild and unpredictable. We’ll probably have somebody hit over .400 and a starting pitcher with sub-2.00 ERA. What’s changed most for me this season is putting an emphasis on high-volume stolen-base contributors and closers with job security. My plan in Roto has always been to chip away at steals with a bunch of guys who will contribute 10-15. In a 60-game season, we may only get 2-3 steals from said group of players. I’ve basically accepted I need to come out of a draft with one of Trea Turner, Adalberto Mondesi, or Mallex Smith. With Mallex, please have a plan for power beforehand. With saves, we know there is a lot of volatility. As a result, I’ve put more of an emphasis on closers I feel strongly about in terms of job security: Roberto Osuna, Kirby Yates, Kenley Jansen, Ken Giles, and Craig Kimbrel. Notice, I did not list Josh Hader.

Patrick Davitt (BaseballHQ, @patrickdavitt): I’m not drafting before the sprint season, but if I were I think I might be more willing than usual to try players with wider error bars. I might also look harder at setup guys and other non-closer relievers, on the basis that it might be a while before a lot of starters get to five innings consistently, and in the meantime the RPs could generate some good ratio foundations. That depends on your league’s innings minimums, of course. I might also lean towards teams with realistic hopes of playoff success, thinkinig that teams that are out of the running might start seeing players throwing in the towel and going home once the cause is lost (ie for BAL and MIA, July 27).

Mike Gianella (Baseball Prospectus, @MikeGianella): The one draft I’m doing is a shift from a keeper league 12-team AL-only auction to a 10-team AL-only draft so I’ve had to make a lot of adjustments. I’m more likely to focus on one or two pitchers early since pitching is thinner at the bottom in the AL and fill in later. I’m pushing harder for more relief arms because of the wins.

Scott Swanay (FantasyBaseballSherpa, @fantasy_sherpa): For leagues that haven’t drafted yet, I’ll be taking a look at how the standings have looked after ~60 games in recent years – that might give me a better idea of which categories to prioritize differently than I would in a regular-length season (i.e. – I’d give more weight to the categories that tend to be more tightly bunched earlier in the season than they are later in the season). Since injuries and COVID-related absences are going to make team-level success harder to predict than usual in a shorter season, I may also decide to put more weight on categories that are less team-dependent (e.g. – AVG, HR, K, ERA, WHIP)