For at least the past 5 years I have participate in fantasy football, basketball and hockey, and now this year, fantasy baseball. I was always hesitant to take up fantasy baseball because the season was too long and I didn’t know enough about baseball and the players in the minors. I always thought it was too deep to take on. The reality is, there is no reason not to be in fantasy baseball. The season being too long? Not an excuse when you manage a fantasy basketball and hockey league all winter. The fact that I don’t know that much about baseball? Not an excuse, I didn’t know that much about basketball when I joined a league. I know more about hockey now than I did before I joined a fantasy hockey league. The moral of the story, I will learn, I will understand, and I will compete, because I play to win! Although the baseball season is young and there is still plenty of time to learn, I want to share what I have figured out so far.
Only being a week into the season, the first thing I picked up on was how I wanted to structure my roster. With only 5 bench players in the league, I found it was best to use my bench spots on pitching versus position players. My reasoning behind this is simply due to position players playing most days of the week. Each team has a built in off day during the week but that means there is six days that they will be playing. Pitching however is much more spread out through the week. On my roster I have 7 starting pitchers and 6 relief pitchers, 4 of which are closers. I feel that most of the pitchers I have on my roster are worth the roster spots and I am not afraid to stream pitchers as needed throughout the week. More than likely there is a pitcher on the waiver wire worth taking a look at most weeks. It might be that the pitcher is starting to find his rhythm in the season or it is a pitcher who is facing a slumping team. There is always a reason to keep your options open when looking at your roster and looking at guys on the waiver wire.
I knew going in that I would need to grow my baseball IQ. With multiple minor league levels and a fair amount of player movement, particularly later in the season when teams have the ability to call up players in September, a person has a lot of homework to do.
Before actually joining a fantasy baseball league, I did a lot of listening. When the people around me were having a conversation about fantasy baseball, I would listen to the information that they would share about who they thought was worth drafting in the first round, who they thought were busts, and players they thought they could get good value on later in drafts. They would share information about a players career averages and if he has a history of being injury prone or if a player tails off or picks it up after the All-Star Break. Listening to the people around me talk baseball I heard about guys like Lucas Giolito, Alex Reyes and Corey Seager.
When hearing about these guys and the potential they have, I like to look into their career so far. What minor league system are they in? How many years have they been in the minors? When researching topics on these players I would learn more about that prospect and other prospects to remember later this year. Names like Trea Turner, Julio Urias, Joey Gallo and Dansby Swanson. Just by listening a person will learn a lot about the sport and the players on the field. The reality is, you probably know more than you think you do if you listen to the people around you who are already getting in on the fun.
Use what you know
Fantasy baseball is like anything else the more time and effort you put in the more likely you are to succeed. When first getting into fantasy baseball you are not going to know every player on every team, and that’s ok to some degree. Chances are you probably know at least some of the players on every team. Use that information to start and form an idea of how you want your team to be constructed. To further gain ideas reflect on how you manage your other fantasy sports teams, provided you have them. Mock drafts are an easy and helpful way to gain knowledge into what players are going where in the draft. It also gives a person an idea of what kind of depth there may or may not be. At the end of the day there is no team that is perfect-we could always find a spot on the roster that we could upgrade. Don’t be afraid explore trades as an option to acquire players that you want, just don’t give up the rest of your team to get those guys.
Do you have pointers that have helped you? Do you have anything to add to the thoughts above? Please share your thought on what has helped you have fantasy baseball success.