Fantasy Baseball: Draft Players in Pairs


July 24, 2013; San Francisco, CA, USA; Cincinnati Reds right fielder Jay Bruce (32) hits a RBI-double against the San Francisco Giants during the third inning at AT&T Park. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

There is a fantasy baseball strategy I use and swear by – it’s called coupling.

Simply put, it is the use of players together.

There is a scene in the movie Moneyball that demonstrates this strategy.  Billy Beane has just hired Peter Brand and together they are explaining their strategy of how to replace Jason Giambi to their team of scouts and coaches.

They state that the most important thing that Giambi did was “get on base.”  He did so at a .477 OBP clip.  Then they go on to break down that they plan to “recreate” Giambi’s OBP by combining it with 2 other players that they were losing and then dividing by 3 to come up with a more reasonably achievable .364 per player.


Going into an auction draft I feel that I have much more control over how I build my team as should you.  You can decide to go big on one guy and skimp on the rest of your team or you can go even across the board.

In a snake draft, you have to fall in line to your draft picks.  However you are not a prisoner to your draft pick position in a snake draft.  I am willing to reach for guys to build a team that I am comfortable with rather than wait and see what is available round to round.

The key is knowing which players to reach for and when to pass.  This goes right along with coupling.

Can I get an example?

Combo A: You have a choice of taking Elvis Andrus in Round 4 or taking Everth Cabrera in Round 10.


Combo B: Taking Eric Hosmer in Round 4 or taking Anthony Rizzo in Round 10.

For this decision you need to weigh the differences of the combined projected stats:

[table id=470 /]

This gives you an idea of which combo of players will help your team more depending on what you need.

You also should take into consideration the reliability of the players you are targeting, With these guys the most bankable shortstop is Andrus and that should give his combo of players a little edge over Hosmer and Everth.

What about auctions?

In an auction it would be easier to get the two guys if you budget correctly, and you are not limited to them falling to your pick in a snake draft.

For example, if Hosmer goes early and for bigger money than you like at $18, you simply pass. Now shift your focus to Andrus and Rizzo.

If Rizzo comes up and goes for $18 as well – which is too rich for your blood – you have missed out. You’ll need to fall to just about any other 1B like “Country Breakfast Buffet” Matt Adams, Mike Napoli, or Brandon Belt and be alright, plus save a few bucks in the process.  Then you can use the extra $ to land an upgrade elsewhere.  The key is to not miss out on the guy you want and leave money on the table.

Another Example

Coupling also works to create 2 more complete players out of two polarizing guys.  Often I am looking for 80-20-75-15-.275 roughly from each of my players.

I can take a guy like Jay Bruce and a guy like Norichika Aoki and get pretty darn close!

Here’s the math: 80-20-75-15-.275 x 2 = 160-40-150-30-.275

Coupling them together:

[table id=471 /]

As you begin to use players together you will find you have a lot more options when drafting, and the more options you have the better position you are in.  Take your time and try to figure out how to make better use of guys available.

People might steer clear of Aoki because of his inefficiencies in a category like RBI, or Bruce because of his average.  Together they are a solid couple, and they make sense for almost any team.