My First Well-Hatched Sweeney Plan

I’ve wanted to do this in a roto fantasy baseball league all my life, and tonight I finished up a draft where I am going to try The Sweeney Plan. Let’s review what it is:

You go into the draft deliberately ignoring all players who provide home runs and RBIs. You must draft at least two of the league’s top average/speed guys and backfill your offense with players with good batting eyes, including good pinch-hitter types. Then you have to spend heavily to ace all the pitching categories. A 130/130 budget split is usually doable here.

What you potentially gain: This strategy also frees you up to focus your efforts on fewer variables. The element of surprise helps give you an edge over the other owners here as well.

Conditions necessary for success: You absolutely must be able to maximize your investments in the other categories. High minimum AB requirements make this plan more difficult to pull off. This strategy is difficult in low parity leagues since there is a ceiling to how many points you can get (74 points in a 12-team league, which is 12 points in 6 of the categories and 1 point in each of HR and RBI).

Risks: Being found out early on in a draft could mean that you will get bid up on the other categories you need to maximize.

Result: Moderate probability of success if all the conditions above are met. If any one of the three conditions does not exist, this strategy can easily fail.

So let’s take a look at who I drafted in this 5×5. Since it’s built around pitching, I did my best to buy some aces and categories here. It wasn’t easy.

Now my hitters:

Look at that junk heap. If someone wonders why I drafted Mookie Betts; I did it because I wanted to lay down a solid base in average and stolen bases as well as runs scored. I don’t think he’ll hit for a ton of power this year but I think he’ll get on base and hit about .320 on the year. I figure I could also move him later in the year for something I’m deficient in if I care enough to do that.

What I could have done better: Shit. I don’t know. True aces were all going to go for about $40 or $50. I tried to get guys with that upside without spending $70 on a Kershaw. I probably could have done without Betts at all. I didn’t get a true “lead the league in steals” guy like Billy Hamilton or Dee Gordon, and wanted to come away with Jarrod Dyson; but it just didn’t work out. Paying that much for Buxton was probably a serious mistake. I also am a closer short of the max I can play each day.

It’s such a weird thing to enter a draft ass-backwards and think about not touching guys who hit home runs. I think it’s also going to be tough to decide to play each day because all of these shitheads virtually do the same thing; however it will give me the chance to really maximize match-ups and not be forced into starting someone when a guy draws an ace that day.

All-in-all, it should be interesting to experiment with. The Sweeney Plan lives on.