Last-second Fantasy Baseball draft advice – Think ‘Up the Middle’

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - SEPTEMBER 07: Francisco Lindor #12 of the Cleveland Indians (Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - SEPTEMBER 07: Francisco Lindor #12 of the Cleveland Indians (Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images) /

If you are locked into a last-second fantasy baseball draft for 2020, one of the keys to building a successful team is drafting “up the middle.”

The late Detroit Tigers manager Sparky Anderson used an  “up the middle” strategy to turn the  Tigers into perennial contenders in the 1980’s.  Anderson had slugger Lance Parish behind the plate; Jack Morris, Dan Petry and Milt Wilcox as his starting pitchers; Aurelio Lopez and Willie Hernandez as the closers in the bullpen; 2nd baseman Lou Whitaker ; shortstop Alan Trammell and centefielder Chet Lemon.  From 1979 to 1988, Detroit won 865 games and lost 700.  Their winning percentage (55..3%) during that time span was higher than Sparky Anderson’s career winning percentage of 54.5%.

This coronavirus-shortened season is the perfect time to use the “up the middle” strategy.  Two of the five most coveted players n this year’s draft are Angels centerfielder Mike Trout and  Mookie Betts, who can play right field or center field for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Though making DFS and fantasy picks with the season opener less than a week away is less than ideal, I participated in  a draft Friday and selected shortstop Francisco LIndor of the Indians with my 1st pick.  The strategy was to draft my double-play combination for my”up the middle” squad in the early rounds.

Rotating between position players and pitchers, my 2nd draft pick was starting pitcher Max Scherzer of the  Major League Baseball champion Washington Nationals.  Another Nationals pitcher, Stephen Strasberg, was the 3rd pick.

Amazingly, Jose Altuve was available in Round 4 of the draft, so I selected him to team with LIndor as my double-play combination.  To secure the starting rotation for “Team Martin”, the 5th and 6th round picks were Cleveland’s Mike Clevinger and  Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers.

Rounds 7 through 12 focused on tn the selection of the “best available”: position players:

I found my catcher in Round 14 when I selected Gary Sanchez of the Yankees.  Adan Eaton of the Nationals may be my starting centerfielder, while I check the waiver wire.

Here’s the rest of Team Martin:

What do you think of “Team Martin’?  What are your thoughts on the “up the middle” strategy?

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