You do not need to win every category in your league to win. Your goal is to create a balanced team who can reach 3rd or 4th place in each category. Jeff reinforced this idea using his past experiences, while Michael shared his success from a mock draft using projections. The winners in his 12 team leagues averaged 98 points, which varied from 96 to 101. I can also attest to the accuracy of his data by comparing it to my own. The winners of my previous leagues in the same format averaged 97 points, which varied from 85 to 110. If you strive beyond third place, then you may be wasting your picks or resources.
For example, a team led the saves category in one of my league's last season with 168 while the team behind them only had 120. That effectively means they had one more closer than necessary. You could make the argument that perhaps their goal was to pad their ERA and WHIP categories with relief pitchers, though I can assure you they failed in both categories. Their offense was middle of the road and their pitching was poor aside from saves. If this team in question had not allocated their draft picks poorly by acquiring an overabundance of closers so early in the draft, then perhaps they would have fared better in the league.
Both writers predicted an alleged goal for a winning team in a league of the format they covered. They admit their provided information may not be useful unless you participate in their league type, though Jeff claims he has a solution and offers individual player averages:
"The reason the individual numbers are so important is you can simply take the number of roster spots you have for both hitters and pitchers and multiply that by the averages here to get the totals you need to strive for. Obviously if you are in a deeper league (in terms of teams or roster spots) the averages would be slightly less and if your in a league with less than 12 teams or fewer roster spots they'll be slightly higher.
"Once you have your total stats needed, either using the overall numbers above or by modifying the averages to fit your league, you need to create a simple spreadsheet. As you're drafting your team fill in the projections for each player. As you start adding up the totals you can quickly identify gaps so you're not scrambling near the end of your draft."
The following table compares the average statistics gathered from several of my mock drafts from ESPN and my Yahoo fantasy baseball leagues from the past two seasons. Our supposed statistical goals at third and fourth place are emboldened.
The standard rotisserie league format is quite different when you compare an ESPN mock draft to a Yahoo fantasy league even though they may both use a 12 team format. Yahoo drafts 23 players for 10 hitting positions, 8 pitchers, and 5 bench holders; while ESPN is a little deeper with 25 players drafted for 13 hitting positions, 9 pitchers, and 3 bench holders.
The target data I provided above was calculated simply by using the opposite of Jeff's calculation. The ESPN data was divided by their available hitting and pitching positions (rather than multiplying), likewise with Yahoo, while disregarding the bench.
ESPN's projection system is slightly skewed because it includes your draft picks on the bench whose statistics should not be included in a true league. This explains the variance from Jeff's estimate, otherwise I can agree his data is quite accurate and a great starting point when you prepare before your draft day.
You can find this information and much more when you use the ClubHouseGM 2012 Fantasy Baseball Draft Kit.
I recommend checking it out.