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12-Team Mock Draft: Punting WHIP (2020 Fantasy Baseball)

May 21, 2020

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We will take a look at the punt WHIP strategy here as we wind down on this post series. This strategy, by necessity, will be the same as the punt ERA strategy. You can find each of our articles in the series here.

League Settings

I set up this league to have 20 starting slots (10 hitters, 10 pitchers) and two bench spots. Here are the full details:

Rosters: C, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, OF x3, UTIL x2, P x10
Categories: R, HR, RBI, SB, AVG, W, ERA, WHIP, K, SV
My Pick: 3rd

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Strategy

  • This is a strange one to punt, as ERA and WHIP are highly correlated. I will focus on offense and then build out a rotation late, hoping to at least be competitive in strikeouts, wins, and saves.
  • If I don’t come out with the best offense in the league, this team will have absolutely no chance.

Results

1.3: Ronald Acuna Jr. (OF – ATL)
It’s pretty surprising to see Yelich and Trout go before Acuna, which made this a slam dunk pick for me.

2.10: Anthony Rendon (3B – LAA)
I started off the draft with a bunch of steals, so taking a hitter that’s elite in every other category made a ton of sense. I was happy to see Rendon fall here.

3.3: Starling Marte (OF – ARI)
I wanted to keep my foot on the gas in steals, and Marte’s batting average and overall upside in his new lineup made this a nice get for me.

4.10: Anthony Rizzo (1B – CHC)
First base is brutal, and Rizzo provides a rare source of batting average at the position. I want to focus on batting average and speed early on, and Rizzo helps me get there.

5.3: Zack Greinke (SP – HOU)
It’s time for my first pitcher time. Greinke should be a great source of wins for me, and I can feel good about him throwing a full season of innings in what should be a very strange year.

6.10: Josh Donaldson (3B – MIN)
I know I already have a third baseman here in Rendon, but I am behind a bit in homers and RBI — Donaldson gives me a whole mess of those in his new Twins lineup.

7.3: Yu Darvish (SP – CHC)
I can’t believe that Darvish fell this far, so while I’m not overly concerned with starting pitching in this draft, he was too good to pass on.

8.10: Josh Hader (RP – MIL)
I need to be near the top of the league in saves since I’m somewhat ignoring starters, so Hader gives me a decent base of saves while certainly doing his part in the ratios.

9.3: Michael Brantley (OF – HOU)
I love Brantley here for a mid-round batting average boost.

10.10: Craig Kimbrel (RP – CHC)
More saves. Kimbrel may not be the most elite reliever in the league anymore, but he should be up there with the league leaders in save attempts.

11.3: Robbie Ray (SP – ARI)
It’s time to catch up a bit on strikeouts, and Ray is a good option for that.

12.10: Byron Buxton (OF – MIN)
Who doesn’t want this kind of crazy upside in the 12th round? If things go Buxton’s way, he could easily clear 20/20 even in half a season, and if he can somehow find his way to the top of that lineup, he’d have runs aplenty.

13.3: German Marquez (SP – COL)
The perfect pitcher for an ERA/WHIP punt is Marquez, who will be elite in innings, strikeouts, and should get his fair share of wins while not helping much at all in ERA and WHIP.

14.10: Corey Seager (SS – LAD)
I have a gaping hole in the middle infield, and my offense is not looking super stellar. I’ll take Seager’s four-category upside here at shortstop.

15.3: Gavin Lux (2B – LAD)
Speaking of upside, Lux could be a 30-homer guy while stealing bases and hitting for a solid average, and he could even pile up some RBI’s in the bottom third of that Dodgers lineup. He has immense upside if he can realize some of his potential in 2020.

16.10: Jon Gray (SP – COL)
I’ll take all of the Rockies’ pitchers and just take all the wins and strikeouts they can get between their blow-up starts.

17.3: Giovanny Gallegos (RP – STL)
One more closer to solidify my saves.

18.10: Anthony DeSclafani (SP – CIN)
I need some more innings if I want any chance of competing in strikeouts and wins, so Desclafani is a nice late-round flier with some upside.

19.3: Jose Quintana (SP – CHC)
I have taken Q in a few of these mock drafts. He is a reliable source of innings on a good team — very appealing to this kind of draft strategy.

20.10: Yadier Molina (C – STL)
Obligatory catcher pick.

Review

I ended up in the middle of the pack and was given a B draft grade. The team is really suffering in homers, RBI, ERA, and WHIP — but I am in the top half in the rest of the categories. The strong points are average (2nd), steals (2nd), saves (4th), and strikeouts (3rd).

To me, there is little doubt that this is a losing strategy. ERA and WHIP are the two most correlated stats in the standard 5×5 game, so they should really be prioritized for the sake of killing two birds with one stone. It’s fun to load up on those hitters early, though, and there are always several pitching gems late in the draft if you want to do a semi-SP punt and try to catch up later. All in all, though, I am not recommending it to anybody.

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Jon Anderson is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Jon, check out his archive and follow him @JonPgh.

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