e-gus thinks this guy will give you better fantasy value than Angels prospect Mike Trout this season.(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
So I was supposed to write an article this morning, but couldn't log in. Oops.
Yesterday I was watching Baseball IQ on MLB network and the MLB.com fantasy expert couldn't name 1 guy out of the top 20 active stolen base leaders. Really? Your job is fantasy baseball expert for MLB, and after the guy who worked for the Hall of Fame said Juan Pierre you had nothing? Really? That's terrible.
Especially considering they exclusively talk about the 5x5 format, which grossly inflates the real life value of stolen bases. Carl Crawford? Ichiro Suzuki? I made a mental note to ignore everything that guy says ever from here on out.
I have a little bit of down time so I thought I'd run through a quick list of strategies and observations on this upcoming season of fantasy baseball.
First of all, let me start by saying the standard 5x5 league is the worst. There is no way a SB should be as valuable as a home run. I prefer points leagues that count the steal as 1 but also subtract 1 for a CS. Then the solo home run typically gets you 6 points(one for every base, 1 for the run, 1 for the RBI). Much more realistic for my money. I also prefer head to head leagues, because they aren't over at the all-star break like a lot of roto leagues tend to be, particularly the free casual ones on yahoo, cbs or espn. Oh and I hate the mlb.com format. You draft entire pitching staffs as a whole. That's crap.
So my first bit of fantasy advice- know your positional scarcity. I prefer bigger leagues, and the more teams you have, the more important this becomes.
This season third base looks like the weakest position on the surface, but when you consider Hanley Ramirez and Miguel Cabrera are gaining eligibility there as this season gets underway, third base is fairly deep. Especially in those default 10 team leagues. If you miss Jose Bautista or Evan Longoria early, dont be afraid to wait and fill your other needs first. Getting Ryan Zimmerman or Pablo Sandoval 10 rounds later is good value.
Shortstop is always the premium postion. It's the hardest to play defensively and the least likely to give you really good offensive production. If I'm picking first this year, I'm taking Troy Tulowitzki. He is an asset in every category(or at least not a liability, he wont get you a lot of steals) at the weakest position. If I cant get him I'd want a burner like Jose Reyes or Elvis Andrus. If I can't get them either, I'm taking Alexei Ramirez, because I overvalue all White Sox players.
That can be my next point- Know your own weaknesses and tendencies. If you're like me and you want to start 5 Sox players, well that's probably not very smart, BUT at least know you can probably get Jake Peavy in the 15th round or later anywhere but the south side sox leagues.
When doing your homework to build your draft board, look at projections on fangraphs, and look at the average draft postion on whatever platform you are using. All of the fantasy sites have their own default lists that will have a definite impact on who gets drafted where, you can use that to know if you have to move early to get a guy you really want or who you can nab later on because yahoo or whatever it is has him ranked in the 500s. Never let the default list make your picks. Thats how you get Victor Martinez(torn ACL) and Javier Vazquez(likely retired) on your team.
Unless you are in a keeper league, I don't recommend using more than 1 or 2 ROY candidates. Guys like Jesus Montero and Mike Trout are probably going to go much too early this season considering they haven't hit in the show yet. Fangraphs thinks Trout will give you a .279 average with 10 HR and 20 steals. Well do you want that in the 10th round, or do you want the same basic line from Alejandro De Aza with your last pick of the day? You don't get bonus points for nabbing the next big thing.
Ah crap, the kid is up from her nap.
That's my time. You've been a lovely audience.
Be sure to tip your bartenders.
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