So you want to try fantasy baseball?
by Phil Van der Vossen, for Club LT
The roots of fantasy baseball can be traced back to the 1960s when Jack Kerouac, the legendary American novelist, acted on his own fanciful ideas as a child. Kerouac’s fantasy baseball would later be adopted by New York journalists who would entertain themselves with what was dubbed the Rotisserie League.
By the early 21stcentury, the Internet had changed forever the way we enjoy fantasy baseball and made it easier than ever to enjoy this way of making baseball more entertaining for fans and non-fans.
Whether a novice or simply looking to improve your fantasy baseball prospects a few tips may make it easier to score more points with ease. From following insiders and experts on Twitter to using data to draft better and alter your lineup, there are many options open to you to improve your fantasy chances.
1. Prepare for the draft
The most important moment for a new owner or one looking to improve their fantasy baseball performance is the draft. Having a good draft is the first step in developing a strong position in your league which means getting advice and drafting the right players. There is an abundance of free draft advice and lists published online, so take advantage of the experts and do your research. Either find your favorite, or maybe combine together the projections from multiple sources, but don’t just trust the list from the platform you’re drafting on, as others in your league are probably using that list for their draft.
Club LT’s fantasy sports expert Phil Van der Vossen gives some tips on how to manage your way into a virtual World Series this season.
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2. The season is long.
Playing traditional fantasy baseball is not for the faint of heart as the season is long and can feel as though it is never ending compared to the smash and grab of fantasy football. When looking to make an impact in any league, it is important to not overreact if draft picks do not start the season with a bang. The difference between fantasy football and baseball is 10x when it comes to number of games, and many owners lose interest during the long Summer months. So if you stick with it, leaders of any league can be caught by the end of the season. In most fantasy sports, a poor start to the season means a team is counted out of the action but not in fantasy baseball. Staying active and plugging away is the best option for a strong finish to any season.
The worst part of fantasy baseball is the member of the league who fails to stay active and lets their team go into disrepair with multiple injured or worthless players on their roster. Don’t be that guy! There are always great options available on the waiver wire, so don’t be afraid to pickup and drop players throughout the season. However you also don’t want to give up on proven stars or top prospects too early in the season. Knowing who and when to pickup, and who and when to drop is probably the toughest skill in fantasy baseball. Which is where more advice from experts can help…
4. Use Twitter to get an edge
Unlike fantasy football, baseball is played every day during the season so lineups and depth charts change all the time without warning, and waiting to catch that news on television may be too late. Fantasy baseball owners have undoubtedly benefitted from the age of Twitter which remains a major source of information with most of the best-known experts using the social media platform to provide information to their followers.
Journalists such as Ben Pritchard who writes under the @NaturalSlugger handle is a well-known fantasy writer who offers fantasy advice. Another popular Twitter account to follow for fantasy baseball enthusiasts is @EricMackFantasy, one of the top fantasy writers at Bleacher Report.
5. Keep up with trends and use data.
The last few seasons have seen a series of major changes take place in the MLB as pitching and hitting have changed beyond recognition compared to earlier seasons. Many experts point to 2015 as the starting point for the change in baseball, which means a fantasy owner must learn how to interpret and use as much data as possible. In general, the days of the starting pitcher going deep into games are over and have been replaced by more specialization in all areas of the game. Which means the few dominant starters who do go deep into games are worth more than ever. The best strategy is always changing, so keep up with the trends and data to stay ahead of your league.
About Phil Van der Vossen
Phil Van der Vossen is a sports enthusiast and lifelong Washington Capitals fan who also enjoys cars, travel, and food. He runs the men’s lifestyle site Gunaxin from his office in Baltimore.