Easter Sunday was perhaps the most beautiful day of 2008 thus far in Southern California. Rather than spend the day outdoors playing in the sun, I was happily entrenched on the computer and in the books, studying for my upcoming fantasy baseball draft.
Although I got a late start on my study sesh, I pride myself in getting the most out of my resources and using them all efficiently. Standard draft advice aside, here are some strategies I use that have been successful for me:
1. Choose a good fantasy baseball draft magazine
This one is fairly simple. Magazines can definitely help steer you in the right direction, giving you some nice sleeper lists, bust lists, mock drafts (and analysis for the picks), stat projections, and player rankings.
There are tons of different magazines out there, so make sure you find one that has all of these components. Some mags tend to skip on extraneous analysis on say a mock draft, but you can’t go wrong with having more information and another voice pleading their case.
Make sure you select a magazine that is as updated as possible and has reasonable projections. Normally, I select a few players that I already feel strongly about and see how they stack up against the mag’s projections. To gauge how updated the magazine is, be up the offseason moves and see whether or not the involved players are on their respective new teams.
2. Use Baseball Prospectus
Deciphering the stats within Baseball Prospectus can be a fairly daunting task. Luckily for you, I already wrote a blog outlining the most important things for us fantasy nerds to know, and how to use them to your advantage. BP is scary good and tends to be right about a lot of things. Right before the draft, I like to make a list of names I already picked out as potential studs and breakouts out of BP and write their relevant stats as to why I deemed them as such. Just another reference tool to check as I draft.
3. Show up to the draft early
This applies more to online drafts. If you arrive to an in-person draft early, you’re just forced to make awkward small talk and will most likely get suckered into helping the host set up shop. Online however, you can go through the pre-ranked player lists and add all of your sleepers to your draft queue, as well as names you are going for in general. This saves you time during the draft as you don’t have to go through list after list looking for a particular name. Furthermore, if the system happens to lag or you get booted off, you won’t be too adversely affected if the computer has to pick in your absence, as you will at least be getting a player you wanted anyways.
4. Don’t get caught in pre-ranked hype
Every website or magazine you read has their own pre-rankings for players. Many of the rankings are fairly accurate and can more or less gauge when a player should be selected based on popular consensus. However, these pre-rankings can get outdated and fail to account for promotions, demotions, injuries, etc…
Furthermore, its necessary to take matters into your own hands and have your own thoughts about players. When I draft, I already have set prejudices and feelings about certain players. If you do enough of your own research and are convinced that, say, Michael Bourn is gonna break out and steal 50 bases, then dig a little deeper down the pre-ranked list and bump him up. Don’t be afraid to pick players out of the pre-ranked order. Be confident and value players yourself, using pre-rankings only as a gauge.
5. Know and diversify your internet resources
Don’t put all your eggs in one basket by relying solely on the projections of one website where you draft or one magazine that you bought. Look into various sources (ESPN, Yahoo, CBS Sportsline, magazines, etc…) and compare players across the board. Sticking to only one or two sources gets you too caught up in those authors’ thinking. Opening up a new tab in your web browser and loading up another website for a fresh perspective is always a good thing.
Hopefully some of that was helpful to whoever read it. Obviously there are countless other things to keep in mind that magazines and websites devote entire sections to, but those are 5 strategies I use to fine tune and give myself that extra edge. Tune in tomorrow (or hell, maybe later tonight if I’m bored) to see what this draft results this magic yields for yours truly!