Hello and welcome back to the world of fantasy baseball. Pitchers and catchers start reporting to spring training this week, and you know what that means, now it’s officially (fantasy) baseball season! Whether you’re just starting your research or even if you never stopped, we are going to go over some of the big things that have happened this off season and get you started for 2020. This will be a new series for this season. I will periodically give tips on how to prepare if this is your first season playing, or hopefully help improve your process if you are a veteran. Let’s start slow and go over some basics.
Where To Get Started
Not everyone has the same amount of time to prepare for their drafts. Even if you work crazy hours and have minimal time a day or week to prepare, don’t wait until the last minute of March to prepare! Instead do the exact opposite, start right now and piece by piece prepare. You will be surprised how much information and preparation you can get done in just an hour. I am going to give you three easy steps to slowly prepare for your drafts. That way, when it comes time you will be as ready as someone who spent months preparing.
Make Player Notes
The first thing I would do is become familiar with the players and what positions they are eligible for. FanGraphs has a custom leaderboard where you can filter by position, at bats and many other options. The first thing I would do is filter by each position with the statistics that count towards your fantasy league and any other stats you want to help look into players. Then set the minimum at bats to zero; this allows anyone who has played at that position, even one time, to pop up on that spreadsheet. Now that you have the spreadsheet on the website, click the download button. This magically converts your spreadsheet to a Microsoft Excel sheet you can take anywhere you want. Repeat all these steps and this can be your database for every player’s stats with no hassle.
After you have all of your spreadsheets ready to go, take some time and look at each player. At the end of the stats add a section for notes about that player. Write a sentence or a few notes to summarize how that player did, or what their outlook for next year can be. These don’t have to be perfect because these are just for you and you can adjust them as you go. This can help you become familiar with players that you’ll want to rank later, or find a player that you did not know did so well last year and leave a note to go back and look at them for more information. I would definitely suggest doing this step in smaller portions and not trying to do it all at once.
Make Rankings Early
One thing I can never understand is the owners who wait until the last minute to make their rankings or the owners that come into draft day without rankings at all. If you want to be competitive, you should have a list in front of you and cross off who has been drafted. Don’t be that owner who tries to draft a player that was taken four rounds earlier. This shows a lack of preparedness on your part and, to be honest, can be really annoying if it keeps happening.
My suggestion is to make your rankings early, or at the very least, have them done by the end of February. They do not need to be your final rankings. As a matter of fact, I would encourage you to continue to research and tinker with them right up until your draft. This way, if news breaks of a trade or injury you can immediately adjust your rankings rather than putting that information in the back of your mind and try to remember weeks later..
If you want an easy way to make your rankings then it’s time to utilize excel. If you download the spreadsheets for each position, you are already halfway there. All you need to do is add a column to the left then start ranking your players.
Start Reading Articles
Some sites have already begun publishing baseball articles, while many others like MLFS considered yesterday the opening day for fantasy baseball. There will be a lot of articles coming out each and every day. While it will be impossible to read every one, try to find one or two to read a day. This can help expand your knowledge of the player pool and the news that comes out every day. You can also use Twitter and Reddit to help manage and find articles or rankings. Writers including myself post their new articles on twitter as soon as they publish to make it easy to find them. Search for keywords like: #fantasybaseball, #baseball2020, #MLB and #roster (just to name a few). The more research you do prior to draft day, the better your odds are for creating a winning team.