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2011 Fantasy Baseball Strategy: Keeper Leagues Draft Format

With fantasy baseball drafts only a month or two away, it is time to start preparing for your fantasy baseball keeper league draft. There are several more challenges that go into getting prepared for a keeper league than there is in doing an annual draft that starts new each season.

First you need to determine which players you are going to protect. There are several ways that you can go about determining who you want to keep. One is by projecting all of the keepers for the other teams in the league. This will give you an idea of what positions will have some decent players to draft from so you can plan your keepers accordingly.


If you play in an AL or NL only format, not only do you have to look at the players that may be cut from other teams, you also have to be aware of the new players that have come over from other leagues. This will have an impact on your keepers plus the position of where you are drafting.


For example, in an NL only league, say you get 10 keepers and plan on keeping five pitchers. Regardless of who other teams cut, you could argue that the first four picks of the draft will be Cliff Lee, Zack Greinke, Shaun Marcum and Javier Vazquez in some order. Now, with five pitchers on your team as keepers, you may not want to take a pitcher there but it is the best value on the board. If you know this ahead of time, you can trade one of your possible keeper pitchers for a hitter so your team ends up more balanced.


Once you have projected all of the keepers in the league as well as your team, then you want to conduct a mock draft. You can do this simply on your own and since you most likely will know where you are drafting from. By doing this for the first five to six rounds, you will quickly be able to see what positions will have players available to pick from as well as which positions may be weak. After running through the mock draft, you may soon realize that you need to keep player A over player B because you are not going to be able to fill that position with anyone of value in the draft.


Just like in a one year draft, you will want to be tracking your goals throughout the draft to make sure you are hitting targets in pitching and hitting categories to make sure you are not falling short of any of your goals. The idea is to target the top three in each category with the closer you can get to the top of each one the better off you will be.


If for some reason your team is at a big disadvantage heading into the season and you don’t feel like you have the keepers to compete this year, then right from the start you need to be focused on next year. That means thinking of players that are coming off of injury and will be ready 2012 such as Kris Medlen or Stephen Strasburg or going for the next wave of rookies that are coming such as Mike Moustakas or Eric Hosmer.


In NL or AL only leagues because the talent pool is so shallow, rookies tend to go early in the first few rounds even for teams that are trying to win as the value of that player even playing half of the season is higher than anyone on the draft board plus you will get to keep that player for “x” number of years afterwards.


Another thing to be aware of in AL or NL only leagues is the contract situation of players. Because you will lose the rights to that player in most leagues if he is traded or signs as a free agent in the other league in the offseason, it is important to plan for that in advance. Losing a top player in an only league can be a setback where the talent pool is not as deep as it is in mixed formats.


By Todd Lammi at