Fantasy Baseball Draft & Hold Tips

Last Updated: Mar 25, 2023

Fantasy baseball Draft & Hold leagues involve planning for the future. Instead of making roster changes throughout the year, you need to build a 50-man roster than will last you for an entire season, regardless of injuries or change in circumstance.

Tout Wars is a fantasy baseball expert league widely considered to be among the most prestigious in the industry. It’s a league filled with strong competition, with this year’s Draft & Hold featuring fantasy experts such as Vlad Sedler, James Anderson, and Fred Zinkie.

This year I will again participate in the Tout Wars Draft & Hold. I will be looking to capture my second championship in this format after taking the 2021 crown.

Draft & Hold Fantasy Baseball League Rules

750 players will be drafted in a standard Draft & Hold format.

It is essential to have a deep knowledge of the player pool before jumping into a Draft & Hold league. You must build depth at every position and plan for every scoring category.

There will not be an opportunity to fix a weakness after the draft because there is no waiver wire. Once the draft ends, your roster is set.

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Unlike best ball, you will still set a weekly lineup with Draft & Hold formats. This allows you to not only take advantage of two-start pitchers but also find value in platoon hitters depending on the schedule.

For example, the Tout Wars Mixed Draft & Hold league consists of 15 teams.

The starting roster looks like this:

  • 2 catchers
  • 1 first baseman
  • 1 second baseman
  • 1 third baseman
  • 1 shortstop
  • 1 corner infielder
  • 1 middle infielder
  • 1 utility (any position)
  • 5 outfielders
  • 9 pitchers (need at least two relievers)

The total roster consisted of 50 players, with each team drafting 27 reserves.

The league is unique because it replaces the standard 5×5 category batting average with on-base percentage. This minor change dramatically changes the value of certain players, such as Kyle Schwarber and Brandon Nimmo.

Here are the scoring categories for hitters:

  • On-Base Percentage
  • Runs
  • RBI
  • Home Runs
  • Stolen Bases

Here are the scoring categories for pitchers:

  • Wins
  • Saves
  • ERA
  • WHIP
  • Strikeouts

Fantasy Baseball Draft & Hold League Tips

Here are some general fantasy baseball Draft & Hold tips that you can use for any format.

Know Your Scoring System

Be sure to draft according to your scoring format. For example, in Tout Wars Draft & Hold, we replaced batting average with on-base percentage, which can significantly change the value of many players.

This is why I targeted Max Muncy in the 5th round, which is far earlier than I usually would have. The 32-year has a 124-point spread between his average and OBP in his career.

In a batting average league, Muncy can be a liability at times. However, the Dodgers infielder becomes a dynamic multi-position weapon in an on-base percentage format.

The format also allowed me to find late value in targets such as Carlos Santana.

Build Depth At Every Position

It would be best if you built plenty of roster flexibility in a Draft & Hold league in order to make it through the entire season.

Overall, I prefer to be three or four deep at every position since there is no opportunity to replace injured (or failing) players.

Here is a rough guideline for how many players at each position to target:

  • 27-28 hitters and 22-23 pitchers
  • 14-15 starting pitchers
  • 8-9 relief pitchers
  • 3-4 catchers
  • 7 corner infielders
  • 7 middle infielders
  • 10 outfielders

Be Sure to Draft Saves

This is an area I skimped on this season, which will no doubt come back to haunt me.

There is no waiver wire to speculate on saves. Therefore you need to invest during the draft.

Unfortunately, anyone with a solid hold on a 9th-inning role will be taken relatively early during the draft, so you may need to plan to grab at least one solid closer early.

After that, it is best to be well-prepared with a list of targets for relief pitchers with a path to saves, in addition to a high-strikeout skillset.

Stay Balanced In All Categories

This may seem like a broken record by now, but there is no waiver wire.

If you lean too heavily on one or two players for stolen bases (for example) and they get injured, you are in a tough spot.

Staying well-balanced across your entire roster is essential to prepare for all possible hiccups throughout the long season.

Saves and steals tend to dry up quickly, so plan ahead and cover your bases. Pun intended.

Here are the 80th-percentile category targets from last season for standard 5×5 categories:

  • Runs – 971
  • HRs – 266
  • RBI – 948
  • SBs -125
  • AVG – .255
  • Wins – 89
  • Strikeouts – 125
  • ERA – 3.397
  • WHIP – 1.142
  • Saves – 63

Fantasy Baseball Draft & Hold Results

I wanted to build a well-balanced roster with an eye on securing power because I tend to leave the draft room a bit light in this category.

This, by the way, is a crucial piece of advice for any fantasy player. Know yourself and review your mistakes.

In addition to targeting hitters who contribute across the boards, I secured home runs by drafting players such as Vladimir Guerrero Jr, Max Muncy, Matt Chapman, and Joc Pederson.

Regarding speed, I naturally focus on acquiring hitters that provide a bit of speed throughout the draft. That said, Randy Arozarena and Jake McCarthy will do much of the heavy lifting for me.

Take a look at my Tout Wars roster to see how it developed:

Tout Wars Draft & Hold Roster

CWillson ContrerasSTL
CTravis d'ArnaudATL
CJacob StallingsMIA
1BVladimir Guerrero Jr.TOR
1B/OFHarold RamirezTB
1BCarlos SantanaPIT
1BJesus AguilarMIA
2B/3BMax MuncyLAD
2BJorge PolancoMIN
2B/3B/SSLuis UriasMIL
2B/3BAbraham ToroMIL
3BMatt ChapmanTOR
3B/SSKyle FarmerMIN
SSNico HoernerCHC
SSNick AhmedARI
SSRonny MauricioNYM
OFRandy ArozarenaTB
OFJake McCarthyARI
OFJoc PedersonSF
OFMasataka YoshidaBOS
OFLane ThomasWAS
OFEdward OlivaresKC
OFKyle StowersBAL
OFTyrone TaylorMIL
UTMark VientosNYM
SPAaron NolaPHI
SPKevin GausmanTOR
SPSonny GrayMIN
SPAlex WoodSF
SPDomingo GermanNYY
SPRyan PepiotLAD
SPDrew SmylyCHC
SPLuke WeaverCIN
SPSimeon Woods-RichardsonTOR
RPFelix BautistaBAL
RPJorge LopezMIN
RPReynaldo LopezCWS
RPSeth LugoSD
RPBrad BoxbergerCHC
RPMychal GivensBAL
RPAlex VesiaLAD
RPTrevor RosenthalDET
RPTanner ScottMIA
RPTrevor WilliamsWAS

I took a pair of aces to anchor my pitching staff early in Aaron Nola and Kevin Gausman. This allowed me to focus on my offense early in the draft before returning to bolster my starting pitcher depth.

The strategy worked out beautifully because I was able to secure one of my favorite targets, Joe Ryan, as my SP3.

Overall I love the balance of my team, outside of saves. However, I did grab some of my preferred targets later in the draft, such as Reynaldo Lopez, A.J. Minter, and Brad Boxberger, who should provide value.

Fantasy Baseball Draft & Hold Strategies

Adjust to Your Leaguemates

750 players are going to be taken during a Draft & Hold, and this will require patience.

Pay attention to what other teams are doing around you, especially if you are near the turn. This will allow you to shape your strategy based on the likely needs of your opponents.

For example: If you desperately need a catcher, but every team after you is already set at that position, grab a closer they may prefer and take your catcher on the return trip.

Punting closers

Mostly every team will suffer injuries during the season, many of which will involve closers.

While spending a ton of draft capital securing multiple closers with a current role may seem enticing, it may be wiser to invest in other areas.

Instead, select at least one closer you are happy with, along with a second mid-tier option. You can then let the draft “come to you" and take value as it is presented. Perhaps another option will fall into your lap.

However, this strategy involves being prepared with a strong list of speculative adds later in the draft with a high-strikeout skill set.


Matt Williams

Matt Williams is the Lead MLB Editor for The Game Day, formerly of The Athletic and NBC Sports. Matt is the former host of the Turn Two Podcast and champion of both Tout Wars and the Kings Classic fantasy expert leagues. He has been nominated for an FSWA award and is known for his analytical breakdown threads on Twitter.

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