Monday, March 26, 2012

T-Rex in the Lost World also known as Fantasy Baseball

As Rock Bottom finishes its third month, I've realized how difficult it is to get guest bloggers! So here's T-Rex once again with every piece of advice you could ever need in drafting your perfect fantasy baseball roster.  With just over a week until opening night, you could use some help Bottom Dwellers.
Go Braves...

You're a wizard Harry...
"The weather is getting warmer, the plant-themed spring leagues are kicking up, and that one guy you know is trying to convince you that it is the Cubs’ year this year. We all know that means it is one of the most important times of the year in all of sports: time for your Fantasy Baseball draft. Whether it is to assert your superiority over your coworkers, show your cousins that they are still stupid, or swindle your old college buddies out of their hard earned paychecks, the draft is a critical component to winning your league. My role is to help pull back that curtain of uncertainty and here are some things to keep in mind on draft day.

1)      For you amateurs, know your scoring. It changes the value of players. A standard head to head league places higher value on pitchers than a standard roto league (so if you’re in roto, don’t reach for pitchers). The former also increases the value of consistent players who have full time starting jobs, since you need them week in and week out to win you that week. In addition, standard head to head leagues usually place more emphasis on high OBP guys because of the total bases category, so love you Logan Morrisons and Nick Swishers, people.

2)      Don’t draft for a name. If you’re still riding the A-Rod or Jeter train, you’re in for a rude awakening. Same goes for Ichiro, Nelson Cruz, and Kevin Youkilis. Age and injury risks abound! Usually, if you’re smart, you can hold off and draft a guy a couple of rounds later who can produce as good or better. Another name to watch out for? Strasburg. He’ll be super productive, but he also has an innings limit. Let that be someone else’s late season headache.

3)      Know who is awesome? Craig Kimbrel. He’s a young stud closer with great stuff and job security. Know who I won’t be drafting? Craig Kimbrel. No way in hell am I drafting a closer at the point he’s going. Saves (and closers) are an unpredictable bunch. You will find Saves on the waiver wire, you will find it from unlikely sources. Some of the same is true of steals, but Michael Bourn is still a great pick.

4)      If you’re an idiot, you think all positions are equal. Alas, each year, some positions have more good players than others. Catcher, traditionally a shallow position, is pretty deep this year. Outfield is unusually shallow. 3B seems to get shallower all the time, especially thanks to David Wright. 1B and SP still looking deep. What does this mean for you? Mind the talent gap. Troy Tulowitzki is high value because he’s so much better than every other SS option, but Brian McCann is not as high because the value of other available catchers (such as the various Monteros) make drafting him early no longer a necessity.

5)      A lot of people play fantasy with a strong attraction to the sleeper. In fact, they get so caught up in it that they reach for sleepers. Please, don’t be that guy. The whole point is that his value is that you can get him below his performance point. But hell if they aren’t fun. This year’s high end treasure is Brett Lawrie, middle round seems to be Emilio Bonifacio and Dee Gordon, and late round gems Dexter Fowler and Cameron Maybin. People will reach for them. You, my smart friend, shouldn’t.

6)      I have trouble not being biased when it comes to busts, so forgive me, but it is also because the most popular names are overhyped. I know what you’re waiting for me to say. The bust is someone you have to see who is either trending downward, had a great year from luck (hello, BABIP!) or both. I’m not going to say it, by the way. Jered Weaver saw some luck last year, as did, Carl Crawford scares me with his wrist injury and strong downward trend, and you can stop falling for the temptation of B.J. Upton. Oh fine, I’ll say it, just don’t even bother drafting A-Rod.

7)      Home field advantage is very real in baseball what with different parks and all, so who goes wear is a big deal. Edison Volquez’s move to San Diego could pay dividends because it’s a pitcher’s park, while Mat Latos left that haven but for a place where he’d get the run support to nab some wins. Meanwhile, the Marlins have made a ton of changes, with benefits for Hanley and Reyes, but I think it will be to the detriment of Heath Bell.

8)      Earlier, I mentioned seeing trends. What do you with a guy who strongly bucks the trend? Adam Dunn went from a premier hitter to a cataclysm of a season. Carl Crawford was a first rounder not so long ago, and last year was seen in some free agent pools. Chone Figgins has gone from an elite consistent leadoff guy to a complete joke. Who can rebound? Not Dunn or Crawford, and while I want to believe Figgins (and Ichiro) will, they won’t. Josh Johnson can, with new run support and plenty of rest, as can Jason Heyward and his boundless talent, having worked on a new swing all offseason.

9)      I’d like to end with the guys I’m looking to snag in my drafts. I know you’re here for the names.
  • Early Rounds: Mat Latos, Josh Johnson, Pablo Sandoval, Brett Lawrie, Starlin Castro, Michael Bourn, C.J. Wilson
  • Middle Rounds: Eric Hosmer, Howie Kendrick, Alex Avila, Ian Kennedy (if he falls), Jason Heywad, Doug Fister, Desmond Jennings, Andre Ethier
  • Late Rounds: Dexter Fowler, Alejandro De Aza, Daniel Murphy, Mike Leake, Huston Street, Brandon League, Russell Martin, Yadier Molina, Lucas Duda, Mark Trumbo, Gaby Sanchez

10) It’s a numbers game, so don’t be afraid to play. Have an SP slot you can’t find the right guy for? Stream it (last year, whoever was playing the Padres, Mariners, or Astros was a shoe in). Have an extra position player spot? Grab the hot hand. Sell high on guys your friends like and value a guy’s numbers over a guy’s coverage. In the end, that’s all you’ll need.

Go forth and dominate."