In a first for this basketball site, we’re turning our attention to baseball. The fantasy seasons overlap nicely and I am more of an “expert” on the diamond than the hardwood. As a successful high school coach and the first blogger to be granted MLB press credentials (back in 2004) I’ve made countless friendships within the industry. Knowing current and former scouts, players, coaches, managers, GMs and other “insiders” doesn’t provide any particular fantasy advantages, but there’s another important source of valuable information and insight.
Many of my best friends in baseball are prominent in the statistical analysis community. Robert Dudek is an author whose innovative ideas got the attention of progressive front offices a decade ago. His picks are included alongside mine in this space, and we both hope they help you win some money.
How to Play
If you like the 8-man, $100,000 Salary Cap game for hoops, you will love DraftStreet’s hardball version. Daily contests feature a 12-man roster — nine hitters and three pitchers. Weekly leagues are also available; those add a second Utility spot for hitters and three extra pitching spots for a total of 16 players.
Real baseball is all about pitching, and so is this game. With two SP spots and one P, every owner faces a critical roster decision — go with three starters, or try to guess right on a closer.
That’s where economics comes in. You can’t afford to spend as much on bats if you use three SP, because aces with a favorable matchup cost twice as much as even an all-star hitter.
It’s free to join DraftStreet and they have free leagues to help you learn the rules. Once you’re ready to start winning, make a deposit and choose your level of play, anywhere from $2 on up to $420 entry fees. Scoring categories and point values are at the bottom of this article. Click here to sign up.
Best Bets (Pitchers)
Doug Fister ($11,014) is Robert’s top choice: “A groundballer who strikes out a fair number, a notch below the best AL starters. Good chance to score a W today as the Tigers’ offense should be rejuvenated by the home opener crowd.”
Josh Johnson ($10,703) makes his American League debut in Toronto and the only Red Sox hitter familiar with his stuff is Shane Victorino ($7,488) — the pitcher usually has an edge in such circumstances.
Best Bets (Hitters)
Ride the hot hand, says our resident sabermetric guru. Orioles 1B Chris Davis is “still cheap” at $7,356 and has another favorable matchup tonight.
Robert also likes Yoenis Cespedes ($8,796) after watching him make an out on Opening Day. “Yes, an out. Felix Hernandez threw a nasty slider down and in that most hitters would have missed by six inches. Yoenis, one of the quickest bats around, put it into play with authority.”
Live Longshots (Hitters)
There are several ways to go here. One is rock-bottom price with a chance at productivity, like Angels C Chris Iannetta ($3,676) who hit an impressive HR on Opening Day.
Another approach is a star player whose price drops to an “irresistible” level. For example, it’s worth gambling on a breakout game from veteran 3B Adrian Beltre ($6,161) against a lefty in a hitter’s park.
Robert is considering Astros 2B Jose Altuve ($5,990) despite the weak surrounding lineup. “He puts the ball in play, can steal bases and gets maximum PA by leading off.”