4 TEAM STRATEGY: ALL YOU NEED IS JUST A LITTLE PATIENCE
Updated: Feb 19, 2021
Drafting teams in a 4 team league can be very tricky. Of course, your attention jumps to the top, pining over teams like the Dodgers, Yankees, and Padres. My advice in a 4 team league: PATIENCE. If you draft smart, you’ll be in that top tier in no time, ready to make trades to jump on those racing bandwagons. The key is to mix up the draft values and stay out of the $4 level at draft time. With a little luck, your $3 teams will have solid first half of the season, prime for a blockbuster swap. I’m going $3, $3, $2, and $2 in my draft. My $2 teams are darkhorses that may turn into division winners.
SALARY CAP: $10
MIN, HOU, CHI and PHI = $10
$3 Team: Minnesota Twins
The Twins are an absolute steal at $3. They play in the very weak AL Central and look to beat up on the likes of the Tigers and Royals early and often. Alex Colume was a huge off season pick up – a top level reliever who will join the likes of Taylor Rogers and Tyler Duffy in a very strong pen. Their rotation is very top heavy, starting with RHP Kenta Maeda. I expect Maeda to be a top Cy Young candidate in 2021. Jose Berrios is the Twins “1a” starting pitcher – an ace on most clubs.
On the other side of the ball, Minnesota is stacked! Max Kepler should lead off with a lot of power and plenty of glove in RF. I’d expect Luis Arraez to get on base a lot and score a ton of runs. The big bats that follow include Donaldson, Cruz, and Sano. The heart of the Twins order (if they can stay healthy), can challenge any 3-4-5 hitter out there. Basically, this team is built to score a lot of runs. I expect them to run away with the Central and win 90 - 92 wins.
Regular season wins are great, but to win a BWFS League, you need a World Series contender. Unfortunately, the Twins are unlikely to make much noise in the playoffs. I’d look for them to jump in to the $4 tier, then trade them for the Yankees. If you had to pick the winner of Twins/Yankees playoff series, who would you pick? I want those postseason wins, so I’m using the Twins as a step stool to reach New York.
Honorable Mention: Toronto Blue Jays
You can use Toronto the same was as Minnesota and hope for a climb into the $5 tier. I like the Blue Jays a lot, but they’re playing a lot of games against the Rays and Yankees, so I’ll take the Twins in the Central.
$3 Team: Houston Astros
It’s okay to draft teams that you hate, right? I expect the ‘Stros to edge out the Angels to take the AL West this year. Give me about 92 wins for Houston and I’m a happy camper. Similar to the Twins, this is a team I hope to ride for about 60 – 80 games, then trade up.
Three big losses in 2021 are Justin Verlander (Tommy John surgery) and George Springer (Blue Jays). The Astros rotation looks very potent again, featuring Greinke, McCullers and Valdez. I wouldn’t want to face their top three starters in a short playoff series.
On to Houston’s greatest strength: their lineup. Not many teams can boast the talent 1 though 9 like the Astros can. Alex Bregman, Jose Altuve, and Carlos Correa figure to post huge offensive numbers this year. Overall, Houston has depth in their position players, with a great mix of power and contact.
Once the Astros jump up to the $4 tier, I’m hopping off their bandwagon and on the Dodgers or Padres, depending on who’s looking better at that time.
Honorable Mention: Washington Nationals
Don’t count out the 2019 World Series Champions to make another run this year. The Mets have jumped out in front of the NL East this off season, but games are not won during the winter. I’m keeping a close eye on the Nats for a potential trade.
$2 Team: Chicago Cubs
I see the 2021 Cubs as a .500 team, winning around 82 or 83 games. Their lineup is quite good, featuring former NL MVP Kris Bryant and a lot of pop in Anthony Rizzo and Willson Contreras. I’m high on Ian Happ, who had a very productive 2020 season and projects to hit around 30 homers this year. The Cubs should still be able to round the bases and put up high numbers.
The pitching is a different story. Losing Yu Darvish was a major hit and their rotation is going to need some help if they hope to contend in the NL Central. I like Kyle Hendricks at the top – a control pitcher that can get a lot of outs without a lot of velocity. The remaining starting pitchers are a little iffy – and I would expect a lot of short starts from Alec Mills and Zach Davies. Chicago is going to depend on a weak bullpen, too many years removed from their elite performance during their World Series victory in 2016.
I only need Chicago to play above .500 ball to put them in that $3 tier for a trade. That’s where I’m targeting the Nationals or Blue Jays. If I’ve already dealt the Twins or Astros, I’ll hop back on their bandwagon with a Cubs trade.
Honorable Mention: Cleveland Indians
The Tribe’s starting pitchers might throw their whole lineup on their back to help them contend this year. Expect a lot of 2 – 1 games when you’re watching Cleveland this year.
$2 Team: Philadelphia Phillies
Philadelphia is stacked with former All Stars, MVPs, and Cy Young candidates. Some of the Phillies are a year or two past their prime, while a couple of young studs are about to hit their strides. Consider the star power of names like Bryce Harper and Andrew McCutchen. They compliment the phenomenally talented catcher J.T. Realmuto and third baseman Alec Bohm, who is flush with raw talent. I’ll take the Phils lineup against most in the MLB.
Aaron Nola leads the Phillies rotation – a stingy RHP who simply doesn’t let batters reach base and can give the bullpen a break with his long outings. Then there’s the twin Zach Attack of Wheeler and Eflin, making a solid 1-2-3 punch. Unfortunately, Philadelphia’s bullpen is a black hole. They made a bunch of off-season transactions to bolster their pen, but I’m afraid of a lot of blown leads this year.
I truly expect the Phillies to compete for the NL Crown among some of the most dangerous teams in the league. If the Mets trip and fall, Philly might take the division, but they figure to be more of a Wild Card team at about 86 – 88 wins. I’ve got the same strategy for the Phillies as the Cubs – hop on a $3 team when the time is right.
Honorable Mention: Los Angeles Angels
I can see the Angels making some noise in the West in 2021. Definitely another team to keep an eye on if my Phillies or Cubs are faltering. I can make a lateral move to the Angels at $2 and hope for them to get hot.
These four teams are not my end game in the 4 Team League. Each of them presents and opportunity to upgrade mid-season. I run the risk of not drafting an elite team, but my hope is that the Twins and Astros rack up enough wins to tide me over until I can make the leap over to the Dodgers, Yankees, or Padres. Time to call my shot for the end of the season:
1. New York Yankees
2. San Diego Padres
3. New York Mets
4. Minnesota Twins
I think it will take a slow start by the Mets for them to drop down a tier so I can pick them up. But I hope to snag them mid-season for their pennant race. I see myself owning the Twins for two or three stints, using them as a trading chip to grab the Yankees. The Padres are a pipe dream. If I can climb the ladder if with one of my $2 teams, I hope land on San Diego before October. It’s going to take a ton of wheeling and dealing!