• Jordan Eisen

The Perfect Roto Draft in 2021

Updated: Apr 15

If you're a nerd for baseball, naturally you've looked through ADP and wondered about what your perfect team would look like. Well, I too have experienced this so I spent some time to build my ideal team solely based on ADP. Note that this is totally unrealistic not only because the other teams didn't take team needs into account but also because I was able to plan ahead without fear of being sniped.

This is based on a 12-team league picking out of the seven hole and then snaking from there. To come up with this list, I went through my ranks and found every player's FantasyPros ADP, and, if they were a good fit and their ADP was later than or equal to my pick, I'd take them while also accounting for who would be available later according to the ADP.

By no means should you expect to get your perfect team because your draft won't go exactly like ADP, but this was a fun exercise nevertheless that helped me think about how I can go about possibly getting all of my favorite values.

If you're familiar with Adam Aizer, surely you know the infamous TAPHAPAMC (two aces plus Hader and Paxton and more closers,) well this year I'm introducing TAWADHAPE! (Three aces, Whit, and DH and position eligibility.)

Final roster

C: James McCann

C: Wilson Ramos

1B: C.J. Cron

2B: Whit Merrifield

3B: Brian Anderson

SS: Didi Gregorious

CI: Jared Walsh

MI: Max Muncy

OF: Byron Buxton

OF: Trey Mancini

OF: Nick Solak

OF: Raimel Tapia

OF: David Peralta

UTIL: Nelson Cruz

SP: Gerrit Cole

SP: Lucas Giolito

SP: Clayton Kershaw

SP: Corbin Burnes

SP: Hyun Jin Ryu

SP: Jesus Luzardo

RP: Trevor Rosenthal

RP: Joakim Soria

RP: Anthony Bass

BN: Jameson Taillon

BN: Andrew Vaughn

BN: Myles Straw

BN: Emilio Pagan

BN: Drew Smyly

BN: Griffin Canning

BN: Jesus Aguilar

How and why does this build work?

Starting pitchers early

As I've said time and time again, I think you need to go SP heavy early to get guys that you know are good and will have a big workload. Though three aces may be a little much, I think it gives you a major advantage in four categories and allows you to take lots of great hitter values later on.

DH only discount

If you start the draft with three SPs in the first four or five rounds, you're going to be really behind in every offensive category. That's why a DH (preferably Nelson Cruz) is absolutely vital in this plan. I think Cruz is one of the most likely to achieve any one of 40 HRs, a .300 BA, or 200 runs plus RBI. Since his price is brought way down because his lack of an eligibility, you're getting one of the best anchors for four hitting categories somewhere in rounds six to eight which is an absurd value, especially if you already have a huge advantage in pitching.

Position eligibility

Now is where it gets a little more complicated. If you're taking a DH (which I think is necessary if you go SP heavy early,) position eligibility is a great way to counter the lack of flexibility.

This is where Whit Merrifield comes in. If you're planning on taking Cruz and a few SPs with your earliest picks, you're going to be way behind in steals. That's why it's important to plan ahead by taking Merrifield in the early rounds. In addition to his 2B, OF eligibility, I also think Merrifield is one of the best bets for steals and batting average which comes in handy later in drafts.

Ok... that was a lot. Now we're in round 8. Another key part of this plan is taking Max Muncy and filling up your infield with multi-eligible guys like Merrifield, Mancini, and Edman so that Muncy can play anywhere he's needed depending on mid-season transactions. This allows for you to shuffle around almost any position and basically completely mitigates the downside of drafting a DH only guy.

Relief pitcher

Assuming all of that goes as planned, all of the hitting and SP categories look really good but you're missing saves. In most of my actual drafts, Trevor Rosenthal goes at a point where I don't feel comfortable taking him but given the rules of this "perfect team" build, I don't have to worry about getting sniped on hitters that I would typically take instead of him. That means, in real drafts, I pass on Rosenthal and typically draft 3 RPs late and plan to be aggressive on the waiver wire.

The rest of the offense

From that point, just take hitters you like and be mindful of where you plan to play them. Though taking lots of position eligibility does increase flexibility, it's still very delicate with a DH stuck in your UTIL spot.

How can this be applied in real drafts?

This all sounds really complicated but it (or an amended version of it) has worked in all my leagues. For example, in TGFBI, I wasn't able to get Merrifield or Cruz so I pivoted to Kyle Tucker instead of Merrifield, Yordan Alvarez instead of Cruz, and Nick Solak late.

Basically, you can't expect to actually get your ideal team, but if you're creative enough and can find the values that your draft gives you, you can certainly create some version of it.

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