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The “So-Called Fantasy Experts” took part in a new Fantasy Baseball format over at ShandlerPark.com. Basically, you play in short four-week seasons. Then, if you want to play again, you sign up for the next four-week period. It’s a lot of fun, and we’re all looking forward to it! But Shandler Park draft strategy is a little different than a standard league, as you can imagine!

Keep it simple, stupid.

That’s the idea anyway.

Ever heard of paralysis by analysis? Yeah, that’s me – far too often.

I decide to keep it simple with my first ever Shandler Park experience and not over-think it.

April Shandler Park Draft Strategy

The basic formula was to draft players with soft schedules during the first month of the season, don’t pay for catchers (you must start two) and play to the scoring system – which is always a wise decision. The scoring system, if you don’t know, is as follows:

Hitter

  • Home runs
  • Stolen bases
  • On-base average
  • Runs Produced (Runs + RBI – HR)

Pitcher

  • Wins + Quality Starts
  • Saves + Holds
  • Strikeouts
  • ERA

Let’s start at catcher.

There is too much volatility at catcher on a week-to-week basis for me to invest too much of my $300 budget into. Catchers just simple don’t get enough at-bats.

To fill my first catcher slot I grabbed Travis D’Arnaud for $4. D’Arnaud starts the season off against the Nations’ pitching staff – on the road. Woof! After that, however, his schedule softens up and the hits should come.

My second catcher slot was filled by a $1 Nick Hundley. For a buck, Hundley should see plenty of at-bats because of the simple fact that Wilin Rosario can’t catch.

Who’s on first?

Brandon Belt begins the season at the friendly confines of Chase Field. With a fairly neutral schedule during the month of April and a price tag of $9, I’ll take my chances on a handful of homers and runs produced.

For my first big-money player, I invested in Paul Goldschmidt. Goldy plays 14 games at home during the month of April. To my count, that’s 14 home runs. Easy money! Goldschmidt will fill my CI spot.

Who’s on second?

For $8, I thought about Kolten Wong. He has a nice price tag, a favorable schedule and plenty of upside. But Wong could bat at the bottom of the Cardinals’ order to start the season, which means less runs scored. Instead I spent the money on Robinson Cano. Cano gets on base and should get plenty of RBI opportunities in a revamped Mariners’ offense. And at $24, he’s $8 less than Jose Altuve.

Who’s at short?

As tempting as it was to pay up for Troy Tulowitzki for $27, I decided to go cheap at shortstop. With most of the top shortstops at double-digit pricing, Xander Bogaerts jumped out at me for just $5. He bats in a very good Red Sox offense and should get plenty of chances to drive in runs.

Not wanting to spend too much on MI, I took Starlin Castro for a $9 – very fair price.

Who’s on third?

Third base had plenty of value. Will Middlebrooks for $1 was pretty tempting, but I’m not sure how many at-bats he’ll see to start the season. Nolan Arenado had a fair price of $10, but I wanted more power and RBI potential. The player that had a nice combination of value, upside and a great ballpark was Chris Davis for $11. He’ll fill the hot corner.

With my infield full of value picks, I decided to load up on an elite outfield. Not a bad idea since you need five of them.

Because he’s the best player in baseball – well he is – I decide to pay up for Mike Trout with a price tag of $41. Bryce Harper is a fantastic price at $15 so that was a no-brainer. My third outfielder was more of a fun pick. I really have no idea what to expect to start the season, but if there is a player that can rival Mike Trout’s 40-HR, 40-SB potential it’s George Springer. I’ll pay $20 for the excitement. Getting back to value, I was shocked to see Adam Jones for only $13! He bats in a great lineup and in the heart of the order. This guy is an All-Star and he’s $13? That’s $7 cheaper than Jason Heyward, Billy Hamilton and Corey Dickerson! To finish off my outfield I snagged Jorge Soler for the cheap price of $8. That’s a bargain when compared to players like Steven Souza who is priced at $16 – by the way, that’s more than Adam Jones, too.

To fill my starting spot at utility I bought Avisail Garcia for $4.

Now that my starting lineup was set I moved on to pitching.

Because starting pitching could potentially dominate three out of four pitching categories, I decided to go heavy here. I also wanted to target top of the rotation pitchers, as they will see more starts during the first month of the season.

For this format, you need nine pitchers.

Clayton Kershaw is the best money can buy – I’ll gladly pay up for his $40 price tag. At $27, Max Scherzer is an elite pitcher at a fair price. He should dominate in the month of April. Taijuan Walker had a great spring so for $1 he was a lock to own. Not a huge fan of Clay Buchholz but he starts the season against the Phillies. I don’t love his remaining schedule, as he has to battle the AL East, but for $2 I’ll buy anything – anything!

2015 Fantasy Rankings & Tiers
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Four pitchers down, five to go.

Michael Wacha had a solid price of $8, but he likely won’t get many starts in April as he’s slated as the #4 starter. Instead I’ll take Trevor Bauer for $2. He’ll start against the Astros, White Sox twice, then the Royals. Plus, I kinda gotta feelin’ about him this year. Another good value was Michael Pineda at $6. He starts the season against the Jays and Orioles, but finishes against the Rays and Mets.

Masahiro Tanaka’s arm might fall off this year, but with a $12 price tag, coupled with a fairly soft schedule and the ability to pitch like a true ace, I’ll take him for the first month of the season.

That’s seven starting pitchers, leaving me with room for a couple relievers to fill the last two slots in my starting lineup.

I can’t trust relievers early in the season so I tried to go as cheap as possible here. Steve Cishek cost $10 and might get 10 saves during the month April. Have you seen the Marlins’ schedule? Dreamy. To that end, I spent $7 on Mat Latos for that exact reason. I now have just one closer, so to ensure I have another on my roster I spent $4 on Addison Reed as my first reserve player. It’s a fair price for a category that is hard to predict.

My starting roster:

  • C – Nick Hundley, $1
  • C – Travis D’Arnaud, $4
  • 1B – Brandon Belt, $9
  • 2B – Robinson Cano, $26
  • 3B – Chris Davis, $11
  • SS – Xander Bogaerts, $5
  • MI – Paul Goldschmidt, $34
  • CI – Avisail Garcia, $4
  • OF – Mike Trout, $41
  • OF – Bryce Harper, $15
  • OF – Adam Jones, $13
  • OF – Jorge Soler, $8
  • OF – Odubel Herrera, $1
  • P – Clayton Kershaw, $40
  • P – Max Scherzer, $27
  • P – Clay Buchholz, $2
  • P – Masahiro Tanaka, 12
  • P – Michael Pineda, $6
  • P – Taijuan Walker, $1
  • P – Mat Latos, $7
  • P – Trevor Bauer, $2
  • P – Steve Cishek, $10

Reserves:

  • Addison Reed, $4
  • Kendall Graveman, $1
  • Shane Greene, $1
  • Archie Bradley, $1
  • Daniel Norris, $1
  • Micah Johnson, $1
  • Jonathan Schoop, $1
  • Ryan Rua, $1
  • Michael Taylor, $1

Well, that’s my squad for my first ever Shandler Park league. I look forward to seeing how it plays out.

Charles Lentz

Charles Lentz has been playing Fantasy Sports for close to 15 years. His idea of a perfect office would consist of a comfy leather seat, sports on multiple televisions, a squat rack, some dumbbells and a loaded refrigerator -- and, oh yeah, two laptops. One of his biggest goals in Fantasy is to compete at LABR or Tout Wars. He lives in New York City, but is originally from THE Front Royal, Virginia.

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