Last week I introduced, or should I say reintroduced a means to attack pitching in a snake draft. Today we're going to embellish that a bit then later in the week we'll discuss how to defeat the math.

By way of review, this process involves tiering pitchers by ERA and setting a target ERA for your staff. A sample path to land on that ERA was offered along with the rounds you'd have to draft each pitcher based on current average draft position. 

What follows will be several more road maps that result in the same ERA. We'll use the same 3.36-3.38 ERA necessary to garner 11 or 12 points in last season's National Fantasy Baseball Championship Main Event. Each pathway will come with a narrative which is basically a typical draft strategy.

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 Round1 to 22 to 45 to 1011 to 1415 to 2122+4 to 78 to 1213+

A: This is the same pathway we looked at last week. I wanted to include it again to point out a neat little trick with the method which in essence validates its applicability. draft strategy begins with taking one of the top pitchers. It doesn't have to be Clayton Kershaw as either Felix Hernandez or Stephen Strasburg will also get you the foundation in ratios you need. However, it does require backing him up with another starter taken in the first ten rounds, This pathway opted for two middle tier closers.

B. Here's the little trick just referenced. Note the string of starting pitchers is the same but instead of taking a pair of middle tier closers, this method takes a top tier and a third tier option. That is, anywhere on the path, if there's a spot where two pitchers are selected, you can take one the set before and one the set after and you'll end up in the same place. This helps when plotting out multiple road maps.

C. This is B, except you don't pick two SP4s but instead an SP3 and SP5. Again, find a spot where you need two arms and split it into one before and one after and magically, the target ERA is the same. Well, not so magically, that's the beauty (and validation) of the process.

D. Here you're still investing in an elite arm but waiting on closers. Everyone feels closers are simply sources of saves but this exercise really serves to demonstrate their ratios have an impact. In order to attain the objective 11 or 12 points and really wait on saves, you need two starters in the first four rounds but at least you can pound hitting the next six or seven picks.

E. OK, maybe you don't want to expend a first or second round pick on a starter but you still want to really wait on saves. No problem. You'll just have to hope you can get two SP2 in rounds three and four. Then, you'll need to pound on pitching in 11 to 14. It can be done, so long as you don't get burned by early runs on arms.

F. Now let's wait as long as we can on drafting our first starter. You can wait until at least the fifth so long as you sneak in two top closers as well. This is a strategy I have used with a decent amount of success, though it failed me miserably in last year's mixed LABR draft.

G. Here we're really pushing our starters by only taking one in the first ten rounds, along with a pair of top closers. The catch is five arms are needed with only four rounds to get them. This is a harbinger for what we'll discuss later in the week. Your ranks probably don't match the market ADP. You need to read the draft and decide someone you rank as SP4 will be available after round 14.

H. Just another alternative using the dual top-closer plan. If you look closely, it's really just taking the five SP4 and bringing that to three, adding a pair or SP3 and SP5. Math is neat.

I. I know, never pay for saves so the above handful of strings are off the table. With a pair of middle closers you'll need four starters in the first ten rounds, but at least you have your first two or three picks to snag hitters.

J. We'll wrap up these road maps by illustrating the influence of a closer on ERA by replicating the previous string expect instead of two second tier stopper, one is elite. The difference in ERA is only 0.03 which may not seem like much, but depending where you are situated in the standings, it can be worth a point, sometimes two. Keep in mind WHIP often dovetails with ERA so the same advantage could be realized in WHIP as well.

As was alluded to with G, things are not as straightforward as they may appear. There are ways to defeat the math, most notably differing expectations so you're drafting pitchers you favor more than the market to gain the edge. Another way if to target a worse ERA and make up for it with more offense. These and other topics will be broached later in the week.