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2020 Fantasy Baseball Draft Strategies: Pick 7

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Welcome to the 2020 Fantasy Baseball Draft Strategies: Pick 7 article.

The seventh pick in the draft can be tricky. After the cream of the crop is off the board with the first six picks, should you draft a hitter or pitcher? Value usually dictates the direction you should go, but why not have a strategy in mind before entering your draft?

In this article, I go over three different strategies to use with your seventh pick:

  1. Heavy-Hitting
  2. Heavy Pitching
  3. Avoiding Relief Pitchers

Using the FantasyPros Mock Draft Simulator application, I took part in three separate mock drafts. Each mock draft had one of the aforementioned strategies. Which one had the best results?

Let’s Dive in.

2020 Fantasy Baseball Draft Strategies: Pick 7

Free five-minute mock drafts against industry experts and custom analysis for your team with the FantasyPros Draft Wizard.

Heavy-Hitting Strategy

With the heavy-hitting strategy, I’m not even looking at a pitcher until the eighth round. The hope is to fill my team with sluggers in the first seven rounds and grab solid pitchers in the eighth round and beyond.

My first seven picks went swimmingly. Nolan Arenado (7), Fernando Tatis Jr. (18), Pete Alonso (31), Aaron Judge (42), Keston Hiura (55), Eloy Jimenez (66), and Max Muncy (79) rounded out my first seven rounds.
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Notable pitchers I passed up on:

With plenty of power and speed, it’s time to shift from hitting to pitching.

Trevor Bauer, RHP, Cincinnati Reds

Trevor Bauer was the first pitcher I took off the board with the 90th pick in the eighth round. Bauer has all the tools and pedigree of an SP1. I almost went with Brandon Woodruff here instead, but your SP1 needs to be a near-lock if you go with this strategy. Bauer should provide elite Wins and strikeouts along with a solid ERA and WHIP.
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After grabbing my SP1, I went on a pitching run and drafted Sonny Gray (103), Madison Bumgarner (114), Liam Hendriks (127), Kyle Hendricks (138), and Hector Neris (151) before taking Edwin Encarnacion with the 162nd pick in the 14th round.

Notable hitters/pitchers I passed up on:

I devoted the first seven picks to hitters and spent the next six picks on pitchers. Despite not having a top-tier starting pitcher, there is plenty of consistency with this pitching staff to go along with elite hitting. I spent the rest of the draft taking high-floor players (J.D. Davis, Hunter Dozier, etc.).

Heavy Pitching Strategy

With the heavy pitching Strategy, I’m not looking at hitting until at least the fifth or sixth round.

Even though I waited until the eighth round to find my SP1 in the Heavy Hitting Strategy, there aren’t enough hitters who can carry your offense available past round six.

My first five picks were Jacob deGrom (7), Justin Verlander (18), Mike Clevinger (31), Zack Greinke (42),  and Josh Hader (55).
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It doesn’t get much better than the first three pitchers drafted in this strategy. I chose deGrom over Gerrit Cole, Verlander over Stephen Strasburg, and Mike Clevinger over Shane Bieber based on my rankings. Drafting any of the aforementioned pitchers in the first three rounds would suffice.

Manny Machado, 3B, San Diego Padres

With four elite starting pitchers on my team along with the most dominant relief pitcher in the game, I turned my attention to hitting. With the 66th pick, I drafted Manny Machado to be the offensive centerpiece on my team.
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Notable hitters I passed up on:

  • Nolan Arenado in the first round
  • J. D. Martinez in the second round
  • Whit Merrifield in the fifth round

Once I had my offensive centerpiece, I shifted back to pitching and picked up Jose Berrios (79) in the seventh round. Now that I have five starting pitchers and closer, it’s time to draft the best team possible. Here’s how the rest of the draft went:

Starting in the eighth round, I took Nick Castellanos (90), Sonny Gray (103), Edwin Diaz (114), Rhys Hoskins (127), Hector Neris (138), Kyle Schwarber (151), and Nick Anderson (162).

Notable hitters I passed up on:

After the first 14 rounds, my starting pitching and relief pitching are set. Now is the time to spend the rest of the draft grabbing hitters with power, speed, and batting average.

I devoted 10 out of the first 14 picks to pitchers (six starting pitchers and four relief pitchers). I spent the rest of the draft taking high-floor hitters such as J.D. Davis (175), Khris Davis (186), Adam Eaton (210), David Peralta (223), and similar hitters who have a combination of power, speed, and batting average.

Avoiding Relief Pitchers Strategy

If you’re like me, you want to make sure your hitters and starting pitchers are set before looking at relief pitchers. This doesn’t mean you should completely avoid relief pitchers all together, but I am not reaching for saves until I feel comfortable with every other statistical category.

With this strategy, I am looking to draft the best hitter or starting pitcher available until I lock up every category.

I spent the first 14 picks without taking a relief pitcher. I drafted Nolan Arenado (7), Jose Ramirez (18), Javier Baez (31), Clayton Kershaw (42), Keston Hiura (55), Zack Greinke (66), Bo Bichette (79), Brandon Woodruff (90), Jeff McNeil (103), Rhys Hoskins (114), Carlos Carrasco (127), Tommy Edman (138), Cavan Biggio (151), and Julio Urias (162).
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Notable relief pitchers I passed up on:

Even though there was value with the relief pitchers I passed up on, I made sure the rest of my team was good to go before I took a relief pitcher. I didn’t take a relief pitcher until the fifteenth round.

Archie Bradley, RHP, Arizona Diamondbacks

With the 175th pick in the fifteenth round, I selected Archie Bradley. After that, I went on a mini-run on relief pitching drafting Hansel Robles and Ian Kennedy in the sixteenth and seventeenth rounds, respectively.
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Notable pitchers/hitters I passed up on taking Bradley, Robles, and Kennedy:

I’m encouraged with the elite balance of both hitting and starting pitching to go along with three solid closers. Even though I passed up on Salvador Perez in the seventeenth round, I made up for it by scooping up Francisco Mejia in the twenty-fourth round.

What I Like

“Avoiding Relief Pitchers Strategy” worked out the best. Not only did I find an elite balance with my hitting and starting pitching, but I grabbed three solid closers in rounds fifteen, sixteen, and seventeen.

Another reason to avoid drafting closers early is the volatility that comes with that role. Only 22 pitchers reached 20 saves in 2019, and only 11 pitchers reached 30 saves. Unless you’re drafting one of the top-tier closers, it’s much safer to wait till the later rounds to grab a closer. Avoiding relief pitchers until the mid-to-late rounds can benefit the rest of your team.


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I’m rolling with the “Avoiding Relief Pitchers” strategy with the mindset of finding saves late. A lot of closers can be scooped up via the waiver wire, anyway. If you roll with this strategy, you need to be active on the waiver wire and grab any closer or potential closer throughout the season.


Check out the rest of the 2020 Fantasy Baseball coverage to help win your leagues.

About Jacob Dunne

Jacob Dunne has been a fantasy sports athlete since the days of yore. He is also an expert on FantasyPros. You can follow him on Twitter, @AintDunneYet, where he'll be ready to answer your questions and help you win a championship!

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2 Comments

  1. Pingback: 2020 Fantasy Baseball Draft Strategies: Pick 3 - Fantasy Six Pack

  2. Pingback: 2020 Fantasy Baseball Hitting Heavy Draft Strategies: 1st Pick - Fantasy Six Pack

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