We’re gearing up for the biggest draft weekend of the 2023 fantasy baseball season. Here are some last-second swing thoughts to help you prepare.
• You know your league and your draft context better than any outsider ever could. Your local knowledge and gut feeling should supersede any advice an outsider can give you.
• I want my early offensive picks, all else being equal, to be tied to plus attacks. Generally this isn’t a problem, but this could be a reason to draft Mookie Betts over Bobby Witt Jr. or, say, Pete Alonso or Austin Riley over Rafael Devers.
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• I was a fantasy gamer and analyst for the entire Coors Field cheat code experience. It’s less of a cheat code this year because this is the worst Colorado lineup in a while. And don’t forget the hangover these bats usually get on the road when they suddenly have to get used to breaking inclines again after biting again.
• If I don’t get a big discount, I probably won’t become injury optimistic. I won’t be the Tyler Glasnow or Bryce Harper type. You have to draw that line yourself. In my experience someone usually wants to pick such players with a wildly optimistic streak.
• If your format requires only one catcher, you should not need to select any of the vanity catchers. You can find someone outside of the top 5 who has a strong case for being in the top 5. Tyler Stephenson is my favorite angle for this, but there are a few others.
• Save-Striation may feel like an emotional tax, but it actually means we need fewer saves during the season to be competitive. Also, keep in mind that the more competitive your league, the more you want some kind of backup base in the draft. If your league is looser and likely to check out midseason, it’s safe to assume you’ll dominate the waiver wire, but I wouldn’t make that assumption in a competitive league.
• Stolen bases are expected to skyrocket, meaning you’ll need more of them than usual. Rather than later attacking specialists of a category, I prefer a worker bee approach where most of my players check off the category.
• I don’t know how many offenses will increase with the new rules (especially the postponement provisions), but some kind of upsurge is to be expected. We always want to target pitchers who rack up strikeouts and miss hitters, but that’s probably more important this year than it has been in recent seasons. (if you don’t believe me Take his word for it; Ron banged the drum this spring.)
• In most of my lower leagues, it makes sense to target a few players who qualify from multiple positions. With that in mind, it allows me to play almost positionless fantasy, especially when injuries crop up and I’m able to activate the best player available, regardless of their position. Two particular players that fit this theme: Giants’ Thairo Estrada and Cardinals’ Brendan Donovan.
• The ethos of the legendary TV series “The Wire” was: All the Pieces Matter. That’s how I see the smaller MLB teams in a mixed league; Some teams are more important than others, but you need to check the regular players in all 30 cities. Yes, the Nationals, Pirates, Tigers and even the Athletics will feature some fantasy paraphernalia this year. Every box score counts. Every starter counts.
We did some work to identify possible targets in each team: NL East | NL headquarters | NL West | At least | AL headquarters | AL West.
• Offensive ADPs tend to crystallize and coalesce, while pitching ADPs generally tend to have more variance. Because of this, in the middle round, your pitcher picks will be surprisingly friendly to your cheat sheet, but your hitter picks may not be.
• Knowing where the buried treasure is, aka the non-top 200, top 300 and top 400 players that interest you. Some managers like to tweak their applet before draft, but I prefer to look at what my opponents are so I know which players are most important. Instead, I opened up a separate file (or even a piece of scrap paper) with some of my favorite late-lap targets. Know which positions you are likely to be good at attacking with the lowest possible buy-in.
[2023 Fantasy Baseball Rankings: C | 1B | 2B | 3B | SS | OF | SP | RP]
• Everyone’s motivation is different, but often the first year after a major contract in a new city is the wrong time to invest colton and the wolf manwho have played this card to their advantage for years). Xander Bogaerts is probably the biggest stay-away if you follow this thread; he will also miss Fenway Park terribly.
• Most, if not all, late-stage decisions should be about the upside, about what can go right. And hopefully most of these stories will be published soon. We want the bottom 10-25% of our squad to be fluent. Although we want to make our best guesses today, guesses will always be more valuable during the season because there is more information then.