Posted on: February 25, 2008 5:41 pm

First Round Decisions

It's draft time, you're packed in a room with 11 of your buddies (well, 10 and that random guy who somehow keeps getting back into your league), and the draft order has just been announced.  How do you react?  What are you thinking as you find out that you are drafting:

First:  Cool.  This is a simple decision.  You're taking A-Rod and are happy that you'll be getting a leg up on everyone across the 4 main categories.  Unfortunately, you're also gonna be sitting around an awful lot during the draft, as you only get to pick every 22 picks.  There's no sense even thinking about who you want to take second at this point, because it is way ahead of you and who knows what these other jokers are going to do.  Crack a beer and hope that someone makes a stupid pick you can mock.

Second:  Crap.  Decision time.  Pujols has got some injury concerns, Hanley Ramirez lost Cabrera's bat in the lineup, Ryan Howard's batting average seems a bit low to justify taking at this spot, so you go and grab Jose Reyes.  You're loving the fact that you shouldn't have to worry too much about SBs the rest of the way, but now you're saying to yourself that you're gonna have to work on bringing up those power numbers.  You also don't have the luxury of planning for that next pick, as you're not gonna see your next one until 20 more guys drop off the board.  Scrolling down your list, you see that that'll likely drop Carlos Beltran at your feet and you're already wondering if it's a good idea to make your first two picks be Mets.  Begin drinking and bitching.

Third:  You're even more bitter than the guy picking before you.  The same decision is dropped on you, but without the luxury of the Reyes cop out.  You could go either way with this pick, but speed is a luxury that is often easy to trade later in the season, so getting a leg up by grabbing Hanley Ramirez seems like the lesser of two evils.

Fourth:  This guy is either really happy or really nervous.  The Pujols dilemma is firmly dropped into his lap and no one would fault him for taking the big guy at this point, though he could be in line for some big trouble if the injured elbow affects his performance this year.  At this point, you might be thinking of several other more safe picks like Howard, Cabrera or 2B giant Chase Utley...or maybe you're thinking you'll take a big risk and take an SP in Johan Santana.  So what kind of man are you?  You're a gambler of course, otherwise you wouldn't be playing this game.  Take Pujols and hope that 2007 was just an off year.

Fifth:  You're psyched.  You don't have to worry about taking the Pujols gamble thanks to the guy before you, so now it comes down to what you like.  Do you want power?  Take Howard.  Do you want some speed?  Take Rollins.  Do you want some all around talent?  Take Cabrera or Wright.  Or do you want to give yourself a stong position advantage?  Take Chase Utley.  Personally, I would take Wright or Utley...but none of these guys is a wrong pick.  The next four picks are all solid places to be, and you'll get someone decent with your next pick to truly build your team.

Sixth-Eighth:  Much like the 3-4-5 batters in the lineup, this is a great place to be.  You're gonna get a strong first rounder to choose from:  Wright/Utley, Cabrera, or Rollins and you'll be back around to build further soon enough.  If I'm in a fantasy draft, this is personally where I'd like to be.

Ninth:  Now here comes a dilemma.  If he hasn't been taken earlier by that one owner who really likes to take the gamble, now may be the time to grab yourself some Johan Santana.  I'm a firm believer that you shouldn't take pitchers early in a draft, but Santana is the exception to the rule.  If he puts up his typical silly numbers (maybe even better now that he's on a power team in the NL) you may be giving your pitching staff a huge leg up on the competition.  I drafted Santana with the 5th pick in my draft last year and I have a second place trophy and no regrets to show for it.  If he's still here, this would make you the happiest owner in the draft...unless of course he goes the route of all too many SPs in MLB and gets hurt.   I did say, here comes a dilemma.

Tenth-Twelvth:  You're at the bottom of the barrel, left to grab the scraps left behind by the other owners, but this is not necessarily the worst place to be.  You've had some time to drink your first (or second) beer and recognized that the top talent wasn't going to drop to you, but you're gonna get to grab a duo of stars.  This isn't such a bad deal, as you can couple guys like Big Papi and Carl Crawford to give you a nice power-speed combo.  Also, Howard, Holliday and Fielder probably have slipped down to you, and they're nothing to complain about.  Grab your foundation duo and crack that third beer, because next time you pick it's likely gonna be a choice of Lance Berkman or Alex Rios

So, as you can see, no one should be too pissed about their pick, except for those guys that pick just after A-Rod.  But hey, even then things should still work out OK.  The jokers at the end of the draft have already had three beers before their 3rd pick, and you know that's gonna make for some crappy late draft picks.

Here's how I'd personally rank 'em out:  A-Rod, Reyes, Wright, Pujols, Santana, Utley, Ramirez, Rollins, Cabrera, Howard, Holliday, Crawford (then grab Fielder)

Category: MLB
Posted on: February 22, 2008 2:09 pm

The BIGGEST key to Rotisserie Baseball Success

You can do all the research in the world and draft yourself the "best" team out there, even one that all your competitors will agree is tops.  But for some reason, these great drafts don't translate into top 4 finishes and most importantly a share of the money.  If you're perplexed as to why this is happening, perhaps you should look at your maximum innings and maximum game totals versus those people above you. 

In most cases, the owners that consistently finish in the top of your fantasy league aren't the ones with necessarily the best teams, they're the ones who are maximizing the talent that they do have.  Now don't let me mislead you here, you still need a quality bunch of players in order to seek fantasy gold, but if you are only getting 150 games worth of stats out of every position, while your competitors are getting 160-162, you're at a significant disadvantage.  Even a crappy fill-in player should be able to pull in 3-5 runs and/or rbis over those 10-12 games, and if you multiply that by the number of players on your team, you're looking at a pretty sizeable chunk of stats you're missing. 

Don't think it's going to make a difference?  Go check the final standings from your league last year and see what separates each of the teams in these categories.  In most cases, it could be as little as 1-2 runs, so a push of 20-30 runs could earn you vital extra points.  The same holds true for Ks and even Ws for pitchers. 

So, how can you fix this problem and push yourself up from "Draft Wizard" to "Money Winner?"  It's actually pretty simple.  Depending on how many bench spots you have in your league, try to actually grab a few guys who play on a regular basis, even if they're not all that great.  We'll call these the "Mark Teahans" of the fantasy world, and he's probably one of the best guys to have.  The more positions this player is eligible for, the better, as you can plug him in in several locations.  Now, I don't expect you to be checking the pre-game lineups (though some people do) and switching these guys in for late decision scratches, because frankly we all have lives aside from Fantasy Sports.  Don't we?  Anyway, these guys are crucial for filling in on the travel days or when one of your regular player is obviously day-to-day or sick.  If it's a Monday, there shouldn't be anyone on your bench that is involved in an actual game.

He may go 0-4 with no other stats, but he may just as easily go 2-4 with 2 RBI.  The damage he may do to your BA is minimal in comparison to the chance he may actually have a good (or even mediocre) game.  As the season wears on, you'll certainly have that day or three where your starter was expected to play and for some unknown reason, got a night off.  Or maybe you decide to take a trip for the 4th of July and can't get to a computer for four days after your starter pulls a hammy.  Trust me, you're never going to wish you hadn't used these guys.  And even if you do have that iron man player, who actually appears in all 162 games, that's why we have the Utility spot on our rosters...move him there once you reach your MAX.  At least you'll know you got the most stats you could possibly get...and with that a few extra points to pull you closer to victory.

But of course, you need a decent team to begin with...and that's what I'll be blogging about in the next few weeks.



Category: MLB
Tags: Fantasy
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