Fantasy Baseball Today

Going overboard on upside

By Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com

Stop drafting a boring Fantasy team. At a certain point in every draft, owners are faced with the option of selecting a steady, veteran player, or reaching for the next young, fire-balling prospect. The choice that owner makes is often based on risk. Can they take the chance on the all-or-nothing youngster? Or are they at the point in the draft where they need solid innings? While being safe may seem smarter, sometimes you have to take the plunge.

While prepping for one of my leagues this offseason, I started toying with the idea of loading up on young, promising starting pitchers at a certain point in the draft. My league-mates generally do a solid job drafting starters, and that leaves an underwhelming bunch of players in a later rounds. So, this year, I decided to try and get ahead of my opponents. Once I felt the pitchers started to lose upside, I started reaching on the young studs.

I already selected Jose Fernandez, Homer Bailey and Mike Minor before the remaining pitchers started to get boring. Keep in mind this was a 10-team head-to-head league. These were the next six pitchers I selected:

Round 10: Danny Salazar

Round 12: Shelby Miller

Round 13: Yordano Ventura

Round 14: Zack Wheeler

Round 17: Scott Kazmir

Round 20: Drew Hutchison

Some of these picks are more interesting than others. For example, I know Ventura was an overdraft in the 13th round. Scott White is the highest on Ventura, ranking him as the 63rd best starter. Even he would say I should have waited. I could have instead opted for A.J. Burnett, Lance Lynn or Andrew Cashner. But I have a sense for what those guys can do, and decided I would rather risk it with Ventura. The same thing applied to Wheeler and Hutchison. They probably weren't the best players on the board at the time, but I liked the upside they offered me compared to other options.

You'll notice Kazmir doesn't necessarily belong in that group. He's not young, but he does carry considerable risk. At that point in the draft, I felt he was too valuable to pass on. My other options were Jake Peavy, Tyler Skaggs and Rick Porcello.

Will it work? That's my question for the readers. I figure I really only need to hit on one in order to come away from the draft happy. Of course, that could change given Minor's status. If he suffers a setback and I suddenly need to rely on two of these guys, I'm going to be nervous.

Personally, I'm not sure what to think. I was happy getting all the upside during the draft, but wished I had one safe option once I looked at my roster following the draft. Is this a strategy you might try? Would you be comfortable with these players? Will I regret my decision in June?

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