Saturday, March 14, 2009

Fantasy Baseball Draft Day Strategy

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Tomorrow is the big day - draft time for the Tao of Stieb's Roto-Hoedown League. Earlier this week, the almighty Tao offered his advice for draft day which has inspired my to also share a few of my personal strategies when it comes to fake managing a baseball team.

1.) Don't let emotions get in the way

It's easy to develop a soft spot for certain players (Scott Richmond), but don't let your emotions cloud your judgement. Stick to the plan - if the next available player to draft is Matt Holliday, don't be tempted to reach for Frank Thomas just because he helped you win the World Series in MLB2K7.

2.) Don't show up for draft day

This is a very risky move that could prove to be very beneficial, or detrimental to the success of your Fantasy Baseball team. In leagues with 10 teams or less, I often find that letting the pre-rankings work their magic pretty well. Being absent for draft day also ties in with tip #1, not letting emotions get in the way. By letting a cold, calculating computer do the work, the human element is not fooled into making emotionally-based draft decisions.

3.) Saves, Shmaves

Just like the real deal, I find that saves are one of the most overrated statistics in baseball and it's fantasy counterpart. Not only that, but the closer is one of the most revolving-door positions in baseball. One week you're the closer, the next week you're sweeping up sunflower seeds in the dugout. I find it's best to stick with the consistent, dependable closers that you know will have their job at the end of the season (ex. Mariano Rivera, K-Rod, Joe Nathan). If one of your closers goes down during the season, don't panic. Last season I freaked out when Billy Wagner had to undergo Tommy John surgery, which forced me to panic and trade C.C. Sabathia to get George Sherrill and Vladamir Guerrero. We all know who won that trade, and it certainly wasn't me.

4.) Lightning probably won't strike twice

The prime example of this is Cliff Lee. He had an incredible season last year, but what are the odds that he puts up similar results this year? Probably not very good. Luckily, Cliff Lee is ranked pretty low at 91 by Yahoo, so you can probably afford to take a chance on him. Another player to avoid in this situation is A.J. Burnett. After posting many career highs last season, he is almost doomed to land on the DL at some point this year.

5.) Sophomore slump

This tip also ties in with #4, lightning probably not striking twice. Considering that Evan Longoria didn't even start Opening Day on the Rays roster and he missed 25 games due to injury, I think that 14 is a very high position for Yahoo to place him. I'm not saying that Longoria won't have a great year, I just don't think that it will be as incredible as everyone thinks. If you want a recent example of a sophomore slump, just look at Troy Tulowitzki. He went from a .291 average with 24 HR and 99 RBI's in 2007, to a .263 average with 8 HR's and 46 RBI's in 2008. Tulo missed 59 games, but still ... he's one 3rd round pitch I wish I could've gotten back.

6.) By all means, have fun!

After all, remember it's just a game. At the end of the season, you are no better or worse a person if you finish first or last place in the league. If money is involved, then it's okay to become obsessed and over-analyze statistics and trends. Of course, the best part about finishing at the top of your fantasy baseball league is bragging rights. Be prepared to shell out and take jabs from fellow managers throughout the season, but in the end it's all just good natured fun.

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