Simply put, coupling is the use of two or more players together.
There is a scene in the movie Moneyball that demonstrates this strategy. Billy Beane has just hired Peter Brand and together they are explaining their strategy of how to replace Jason Giambi to their team of scouts and coaches.
They state that the most important thing that Giambi did was “get on base.” He did so at a .477 OBP clip. Then they go on to break down that they plan to “recreate” Giambi’s OBP by combining Giambi with 2 other players that they were losing, and then dividing by 3 to come up with a more reasonably achievable .364 across three new players.
Going into an auction draft I feel that I have much more control over how I build my team as should you. You can decide to go BIG on one guy and skimp on the rest of your team or you can go even across the board. In a snake draft, you have to fall in line to your draft picks. However, you are not a prisoner to your draft pick position in a snake draft. I am willing to reach for guys to build a team that I am comfortable with rather than wait and see what is available round to round.
The key is knowing which players to reach for and when to pass and this goes right along with coupling.
The difference in taking Elvis Andrus in Round 5 or taking Erick Aybar in Round 12 might only be 5-10 runs and 5-10 steals (In our projections you miss out on 7 steals but actually gain 7 runs, not to mention you gain 4 home runs at the cost of some batting AVG).
The real test is who would you draft in Round 5 instead of Andrus? For argument’s sake, let’s say you select Brian McCann, knowing that you can get Aybar in Round 12.
We will now add McCann and Aybar’s stats together: 168-33-137-35-.290
So let’s add Andrus and Arencibia’s stats: 136-30-112-39-.273
Clearly the smart play is to take McCann early and Aybar in the later rounds–really it is not even close. In my opinion Runs and RBIs trump HRs and Steals anyway, but even if you disagree, in this case you gain 32 runs and 25 RBIS with .017 in batting avg. That could just win you your league!
So that’s what I mean by coupling. Familiarize yourself with the idea as you prepare for your drafts.