So, the fantasy football season is over. After 15 years of playing fantasy football, I took this year off because 2020. Most of my experience with fantasy sports is mainly with fantasy football. This year, I’m going to try something new. I am venturing into fantasy baseball.
Baseball is my favorite sport. I’m a die-hard Baltimore Orioles fan (Orioles Magic!), and yes, I am excited for Adley Rauchman to become what Matt Wieters should have been. After reading Moneyball in the early 2000’s, I was totally on board with what advanced stats could tell you about what value players can provide. However, this is not real life, this is fantasy.
A Brief History of Fantasy Baseball
Fantasy baseball has existed in a few different forms since the 1960’s. (tabletop baseball, computer games, etc.). In the early 1980’s it took its current form in Rotisserie Baseball. In the beginning, Rotisserie Baseball used 4 stats to score hitters and pitchers. Batting Average, Home Runs, RBI’s, and Stolen Bases for hitters, and ERA, Wins, Saves, and WHIP for pitchers. Leagues have evolved over the years to include more stats, but stats off the back of a baseball card are still largely the stats that are used. The game, of course has gone from being analog, checking the newspaper every day, tallying up the points yourself, to digital, creating a team on a sports website, and letting the computer keep score.
What am I expecting this year?
I’m expecting playing fantasy baseball to be a bit different from fantasy football. A football team only plays once a week. (Please don’t give me semantics about the Thursday and Monday night games, you know what I mean.) Baseball plays almost every day. This structural difference between baseball and football means that head-to-head leagues would be logistically difficult. So, most fantasy baseball leagues will rank teams based on point total. So, even though I’m more used to constructing a line up for a head-to-head matchup, I think I should be able to adapt to building a line up build for a marathon as opposed to a sprint.
There are also a number of things that I am interested in finding out this year. Will predictive stats like xwOBA or xFIP be useful. How good will preseason projections be? Should I just draft Mike Trout and call it a day? Is Wander Franco or Nate Pearson worth drafting? (I’m guessing Franco doesn’t get called up this year, but Pearson already has Big League experience.) What kind of fantasy player will Shohei Ohtani be? (I’m genuinely curious about this one.) Can I do a bullpen day or an opener? Can I do a Waxahachie swap?
So, over the course of the season, I’m going to share my experience as a first-time fantasy baseball player, but a long-time baseball fan. I’m also going to discuss methods that I use to evaluate players, and draft strategy before the fantasy season starts, and players to pick up and drop as the season continues. Hold on to something, it’s going to be a wild ride!
Keep up with Danny's Fantasy Baseball journey and his other articles here!
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