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6-4 H2H Strategy

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6-4 H2H Strategy

Postby quiksilver » Fri Mar 04, 2011 6:49 pm

Each year I utilize a strategy that I came up with (and others have employed before) for at least one of my fantasy baseball teams. I call it the Six-Four Strategy, because it aims to win each week by the slimmest of margins while taking punting categories to the extreme.

In most standard Yahoo! leagues managers try to draft a well-balanced team- one that will compete in all 10 scoring categories. Occasionally, managers choose to "punt" or ignore a category... for example: if they miss out on grabbing most of the top tier closers, they may punt saves and just focus on building the rest of their team. After all, saves are only one category, and in head-to-head it's majority rules. Six-Four Strategy takes punting to a whole new level.

In those standard Yahoo! leagues there are 10 scoring categories: R, HR, RBI, SB, AVG, W, SV, K, ERA, WHIP. In order to win each week you need to take six of the ten (or five, but more on that later). So, instead of trying to diversify your team across the board, you could conceivably focus your energy 100% on six categories, and punt the other four completely. There's the rub.

The ideal categories to focus on are the five standard pitching ones (W, SV, K, ERA, and WHIP) and SB on offense. Why steals? By process of elimination: average is too hard to predict and fluctuates on a week to week basis (a .300 hitter may hit .500 one week, and .100 the next), while runs, homers, and RBI are all costly in the draft. Look where the elite homerun hitters fall in the draft- most all in the first few rounds. Look at the elite basestealers- of the top 25 SB players from 2010, only 12 are even rated in the top 100 based on Yahoo! rankings. Steals are traditionally undervalued, and provide an offense loaded with this stat with consistent output.

Pitching tends to slide under the radar as well. Less than a handful of pitchers are taken in the first two rounds this season, and a few of them are typically reaches in terms of ranking (ie: Cliff Lee). While other managers are loading up on the power sluggers, you are slowly stockpiling a team of aces, closers, and basestealers.

If you say "tl;dnr", here are the key points:
1. Draft pitching early, draft it often. You'll want to finish with roughly 10 starting pitchers.
2. Draft elite closers, and reach a little to get them. You aren't just looking for saves- multiple elite closers will give you an edge in ERA and WHIP, and they pitch multiple times a week.
3. Mix basestealers in with your selections. Grab Crawford in the first round if available, but go ace, ace, closer right after that if you do.
4. Avoid injury prone pitchers like the plague, at least early in the draft. Losing an ace in a strategy that is built around pitching can end your season real early.
5. Skimp on offense, especially in positions where SBs are rare. Realistically, don't even plan on drafting a firstbaseman, thirdbaseman, or catcher. Instead, use the extra roster spots on extra starting pitchers late in the draft.
6. Play the hot hands. Take advantage of the waiver wire to pickup new starters, and spot start at will. Keep an edge. ;-D
7. You want, ~10 SPs, ~5 CLs, and about ~250+ SBs (based on projections).

Even with this strategy there will be some wacky results. Some weeks you're runners will get hot and grab you runs, steals, and AVG all in one week- securing an 8-2 win. Other times, you meet a team with hot pitching (at least hotter than yours) and you lose 3-7. The net average for the season will be roughly .600 winning percentage. Based on Yahoo! rules, the tie-break is ERA... so, with dominant pitching even a 5-5 "tie" is considered a victory for you. It happens in the playoffs all the time, but your team is more built to succeed with this if you stay active.

You are susceptible to other people's suspicions though. If teams catch on, they can bench their pitching if they do well after hitting the minimum innings, and steal ERA and WHIP out from under you. You can't let anyone on to your strategy, you have to play stupid like it's your first fantasy draft ever. This can be even more entertaining if you have a devious side, as people comments about "how awful your team is", but can't figure out how you made the playoffs... and, ultimately, win!

Bottom line- it's a fun way to mix things up a bit, and challenge yourself in a different way. Out of boredom, I will post about my current team here throughout the season to update the progress, as I seek another championship. I recommend anybody else try it out as well, just for kicks.

2009 final winning roster (was MIA for 2010):
C - empty
1B - empty
2B - Chone Figgins
3B - Adam Kennedy
SS - Orlando Cabrera
OF - Rajai Davis
OF - Michael Bourn
OF - Nyjer Morgan
Util - Jimmy Rollins
BN - Julio Borbon

SP - Tim Lincecum
SP - Felix Hernandez
RP - Joe Nathan
RP - Francisco Rodriguez
P - Jonathan Broxton
P - Rafael Soriano
P - Neftali Feliz
BN - Dan Haren
BN - Matt Cain
BN - Jered Weaver
BN - Carlos Zambrano
BN - Brett Anderson
BN - Clay Buchholz
BN - Homer Bailey
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Re: 6-4 H2H Strategy

Postby quiksilver » Fri Mar 04, 2011 7:18 pm

2011 Draft Round-by-Round:

Pre: I am slotted at 11th overall, a good position in this draft.
-----
1. Roy Halladay went 1st overall, crazy! Might try to grab speed here. Carl Crawford it is.
-----
2. With the swing Tim Lincecum was available, so I reached on him. Hoping for a rebound.
-----
3. Cliff Lee and Felix Hernandez off the board. Jon Lester next highest on my list.
-----
4. McCutchen and other speed options available, but I need my first closer. Reach for Mariano Rivera.
-----
5. Thankfully my reach did not cause a closer run, and some talent was still on the board. Fear the Beard.
-----
6. I took Neftali Feliz at the rebound, but I was hoping for a closer. Looks like he'll be used as a starter, so this could potentially be a misstep on my part.
-----
7. My speed targets around here are already gone, so I'm going pitching. Jered Weaver- always undervalued.
-----
8. Was hoping for another starter, but guy with pick #12 took Oswalt AND Cain right after me. Went Andrus instead to grab one of the few remaining good speed threats at short.
-----
9. Brett Gardner is available. Guy is young - with wheels - and he is in a potent lineup so run scoring potential is there.
-----
10. Gotta pray for some health out of the kid, but here goes... Andrew Bailey.
-----
11. Surprised how far this guy has fallen. His OPS was atrocious last season, but he still runs. Chone-e!
-----
12. Call me a homer, but this guy is also undervalued. Brett Anderson.
-----
13. Cahill, Hudson, Nathan, Lidge... many targets fly off the board. Grab Chris Perez. Hoping for Pierre with the swing.
-----
14. Guy at #12 swoops on Pierre right from under me. Not chill, bro. Never was a fan, but he seems to be putting it goether: Gio Gonzalez.
-----
15. Again, taking a gamble that #12 doesn't need more speed, but will target pitching. Hiroki Kuroda.
-----
16. He took Rajai Davis, now it's personal! Went with Mr. DUI, Coco Crisp.
-----
17. Austin Jackson
18. Peter Bourjos
19. Johan Santana (will DL and patiently wait for a return)
20. Hong-Chih Kuo (hoping for more Broxton failures)
21. Cliff Pennington (my only bench offense, gives me flexibility to start at SS or either utility position)
22. Dallas Braden (I'm completely a homer, but he can be expendable for a hot hand on the WW)
23. Carl Pavano (game, set, and match)


2011 Roster:
C - empty
1B - empty
2B - Chone Figgins
3B - empty
SS - Elvis Andrus
OF - Carl Crawford
OF - Brett Gardner
OF - Coco Crisp
Util - Austin Jackson
Util - Peter Bourjos
BN - Cliff Pennington

SP - Tim Lincecum
SP - Jon Lester
RP - Mariano Rivera
RP - Brian Wilson
P - Andrew Bailey
P - Chris Perez
P - Hong-Chih Kuo
P - Neftali Feliz
BN - Jered Weaver
BN - Brett Anderson
BN - Gio Gonzalez
BN - Hiroki Kuroda
BN - Johan Santana
BN - Dallas Braden
BN - Carl Pavano

Good: 10 starters, five closers, 260 steals floor :-)
Bad: injury concerns, Feliz's success (or lack of) after conversion, diversifying away from A's pitching


Week 1 Outlook: He already posted in the smack talk- "OH MAN I FEEL SO SRY FOR YOU BRO", which makes me laugh a little. Too perfect. He's rockin' Ichiro, Jeter, and Andres Torres- but I've got a huge advantage in steals. Pitching is a bit of a toss up this early. He's throwing out Halladay and Lee (possibly twice?), with some good value in his late round starting pitching; however, his lack of quantity should give me the edge in Wins and K, and his lack of closers will make ERA and WHIP an interesting race. Projection: 4-6 Loss, getting the rust off.
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Re: 6-4 H2H Strategy

Postby kickureface » Fri Mar 04, 2011 8:19 pm

are u plannin gon winning all 5 p stats and the STL?
12x23
Keep: 1IF, 1OF, 1SP, 1RP
R, HR, RBI, AVG, SB, BB, K, 1B, 2B, (3B, E, GS)
W, SV, K, ERA, WHIP, BB, HLD, IP, QS, (L, BS, CG)

C: Montero
1B: Teix
2B: Roberts
3B: Longoria
SS: Nishioka
LF: Holliday
CF: Rios
RF: Bruce
OF: Pence
IF: Kila
Util: Raburn
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Re: 6-4 H2H Strategy

Postby quiksilver » Fri Mar 04, 2011 11:11 pm

That's the goal. It's definitely a challenge, but that's part of what makes it fun. You take Wins, SVs, and Ks more often than not due to brute force. ERA and WHIP fluctuate somewhat, but as long as you're sporting a couple of aces and a lot of relievers you take that often.
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Re: 6-4 H2H Strategy

Postby cs3 » Sat Mar 05, 2011 4:59 am

interesting strategy.
but instead making such a drastic over draft on your first 2 closers (a closer at #38 overall?!), couldnt you draft a much more valuable position player, and then trade for a closer + a cheap run scoring speedy OF?
or package that player with say your #4 or #5 starter (anderson/gonzalez/kuroda) to try get another elite SP along the lines of Kershaw, Greinke, CC or Josh Johnson?
i just think you could get more value by drafting better talent (Esp in rds 4-6) and trying to make trades to fit your strategy
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Re: 6-4 H2H Strategy

Postby kab21 » Sat Mar 05, 2011 7:09 am

If your only goal was winning SB's then I would use more high picks on SP'ers early. Your hypothetical rotation is very good but it really should be better considering that you might be punting 4 offensive categories.
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Re: 6-4 H2H Strategy

Postby theonemephisto » Sun Mar 06, 2011 1:04 pm

I'm thinking of trying this in a free league, but I have a question. What do you do if you're slotted in the top 1-5 picks or so? I'd imagine a 9-12 pick is the best, as you can aim for Crawford/Halladay or Halladay/Felix or something. But with an early pick, what do you do? Should you pick a Pujols/Ramirez and try to trade them immediately for pitching? Or just pick according to what you need and go for Crawford/Halladay?

EDIT: Also, is it worth getting 1B/3B eligible basestealers to fill those spots, or are the roster spots better used for more starting pitching? For example, Zobrist is 1B/2B eligible, and Figgins will be 3B eligible early on in the season. So you could conceivably set up a Zobrist, Theriot, Figgins, Andrus infield and get 100+ steals out of them, but you'd obviously lose some of those SP spots. Would it be better to just go with 5 OF + Andrus + Figgins and get 10 SP, or 5 OF + Andrus + Figgins + Zobrist/Theriot with 9 SP?
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Re: 6-4 H2H Strategy

Postby shmolex » Sun Mar 06, 2011 1:22 pm

I've tried this in the past and it can work well. The problem comes when someone else tries to do the same thing and both your pitching staffs end up too weak.
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Re: 6-4 H2H Strategy

Postby intense » Sun Mar 06, 2011 3:15 pm

I am going to try this in a free auction draft in a few hours. I few like if you have an auction draft you can much better formulate your teach exactly how you want too.
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Re: 6-4 H2H Strategy

Postby quiksilver » Sun Mar 06, 2011 7:04 pm

cs3 wrote:interesting strategy.
but instead making such a drastic over draft on your first 2 closers (a closer at #38 overall?!), couldnt you draft a much more valuable position player, and then trade for a closer + a cheap run scoring speedy OF?
or package that player with say your #4 or #5 starter (anderson/gonzalez/kuroda) to try get another elite SP along the lines of Kershaw, Greinke, CC or Josh Johnson?
i just think you could get more value by drafting better talent (Esp in rds 4-6) and trying to make trades to fit your strategy


I definitely see your point, and there is no perfect answer to the question except that in my experience finding the right trade can be a gamble. How often is a manager willing to part with an elite closer? I don't see it happen very often, and you're certainly taking a risk by banking on making a trade that may never happen. Your point about trading for a higher caliber starter makes sense, but again it involves putting off taking a closer. Rivera wouldn't have been there at pick 50, and usually around round 5-6 there is a run on closers, so it's important to have 2 good ones under your belt before that. Ideally, I wouldn't have had to reach so bad if I had a different pick- but my draft slot and the rankings this year sort of dictated taking Mo at #38.

kab21 wrote:If your only goal was winning SB's then I would use more high picks on SP'ers early. Your hypothetical rotation is very good but it really should be better considering that you might be punting 4 offensive categories.


I'll admit that this is a fair criticism- it wasn't my best draft. This is due in part to other managers taking Halladay and Lee and a few other starters wayyy over slot this season. I think hypothetically my rotation is about average to above average for this strategy, so it's going to take a little work to make sure I'm competitive come September.

theonemephisto wrote:I'm thinking of trying this in a free league, but I have a question. What do you do if you're slotted in the top 1-5 picks or so? I'd imagine a 9-12 pick is the best, as you can aim for Crawford/Halladay or Halladay/Felix or something. But with an early pick, what do you do? Should you pick a Pujols/Ramirez and try to trade them immediately for pitching? Or just pick according to what you need and go for Crawford/Halladay?

EDIT: Also, is it worth getting 1B/3B eligible basestealers to fill those spots, or are the roster spots better used for more starting pitching? For example, Zobrist is 1B/2B eligible, and Figgins will be 3B eligible early on in the season. So you could conceivably set up a Zobrist, Theriot, Figgins, Andrus infield and get 100+ steals out of them, but you'd obviously lose some of those SP spots. Would it be better to just go with 5 OF + Andrus + Figgins and get 10 SP, or 5 OF + Andrus + Figgins + Zobrist/Theriot with 9 SP?


If I had a top pick I would probably target Pujols, Hanley, CarGo, Crawford/Halladay in that order. If you get the #1 overall pick, I think you are basically tied to drafting Pujols... but he has incredible trade value so he could pay dividends in that manner. Hanley and CarGo are not necessarily bad targets because they each could swipe 30 bags, and they both have high average potential (which could win you some random weeks). If you have a middle of the order pick, I think that's where you have more questions early... you have to hope for someone like Hanley to fall, or you have to reach early to get someone like Crawford. I think 1-5 you want Hanley if you can, but anything after that Crawford or Halladay are your best assets available. I have actually gone into a draft hoping to do this strategy, received the #1 overall pick, and decided to draft regular and put off drafting the "6-4 Strategy" team until my next draft date (hoping for a different draft slot than #1 overall)- so that's an option as well.

In terms of offense, you want to be able to get to 250-300 steals with the fewest amount of players as possible. If you can get a first or thirdbaseman that can run, then that's definitely alright; however, there are few options that are worth taking there. The guys you mentioned - Zobrist and, eventually, Chone - are some of the only players who could fill those infield voids. Overall, an extra pitcher is probably going to be more valuable. Extra pitchers add more K's, more Wins, and diversify the risk of a bad start. I think your best bet is 10 SP and any combination of players that gets you to 250+ steals. If that includes Theriot or Zobrist, then that works.

shmolex wrote:I've tried this in the past and it can work well. The problem comes when someone else tries to do the same thing and both your pitching staffs end up too weak.


It's catch-22, because it's fun to share the strategy with other people, but the more people who know the less effective it becomes.

intense wrote:I am going to try this in a free auction draft in a few hours. I few like if you have an auction draft you can much better formulate your teach exactly how you want too.


Good luck dude, and let us know how it goes. I've never thought to try it in an auction league, but I can see how that would be beneficial!
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