We now know that baseball is officially coming back on July 23rd! While I’m super excited about my favorite sport coming back, it will also be exciting to have fantasy baseball back.
As a four-time fantasy baseball champion on ESPN, I love to help other players out with some helpful tips that can lead your team to a fantasy baseball championship. Below I have three players and strategies that you should use and those that you shouldn’t do.
I follow these strategies every year and they have put me on top in four of the last five years (the one year I didn’t win was when someone had the same strategies as me; I finished second). Let’s start with the players that you should definitely grab in your fantasy baseball draft.
1. Select an outfielder from the Central Division with your first pick.
With the divisions now separated by regions, the central division is going to be very interesting to watch. The reason for picking a central division player is because, geographically speaking, all the teams are closer within the geographic area with the exception of Atlanta. This means that the teams will not have to travel far for every series.
The top outfielder in the central division to pick up with the first pick of your draft has to be Atlanta’s Ronald Acuna Jr. You can make an argument for Milwaukee’s Christian Yelich, but those two players are the top players heading into the short season.
2. The first pitcher that should be drafted is Gerrit Cole.
Gerrit Cole was an animal for Houston last year! Now that he’s with the Yankees, without a doubt a heavy favorite to win the World Series, Cole should live up to higher expectations wearing pinstripes in 2020.
3. Drop and pick up a new player every week during the season.
The reason why a lot of people struggle in fantasy baseball is because they keep the players that they drafted all season long. The players that you draft are the ones that you think will have a great first week. You can draft Bryce Harper who could have a great first week of the season, but then turn out to go 0-for-19 the next week (very unlikely).
Let’s say you pick up Aaron Judge in the second round. One week, he can be a Bronx bomber, but then he becomes a Bronx strikeout the next. One way to see how a player does one week is by looking at the team’s schedule and the player’s batting history against a specific team. If Judge faces the Boston Red Sox, you should pick him up according to his stats against them. If he plays a team he struggles against, like the Tampa Bay Rays, you might want to sit him indefinitely.
1. Do not pick up more than three players from the same team.
One year I was playing against a fantasy player who somehow had an all-Yankee team. Although I really wouldn’t blame him for drafting his favorite team, there is a risk to that: if the Yankees lose, you lose too. If somehow the Yankees fall in a perfect game or no-hitter, you might as well leave your league.
You can have three players from the same team, but make sure they’re all different positions. The only exception to that is one position player and two pitchers (one starter, one relief).
2. Do not pick up too many players from the same division.
With each division now having ten teams, it’s going to be a little difficult to spread out the players that you draft. Most games for every team will be against their original division rivals like Philadelphia vs Washington. I would say drafting more than seven players from one division is too many, unless there are cross-division weeks with unique matchups, like a Dodgers vs Angels or Phillies vs Yankees matchup.
3. Do not draft a pitcher with your first two picks.
There is plenty of time in your draft to pick up a top-notch pitcher. Pitchers try to keep the games scoreless, but the offense scores the runs. With the universal designated hitter finally becoming a thing this year, don’t worry about picking up Gerrit Cole or Jacob DeGrom because they won’t be hitting this year. The first two rounds should be about picking up the best position players. If you select a pitcher in the first two rounds, you already lost.
Just in case you need fantasy help once the season starts, do not panic! We will have weekly fantasy updates throughout the short season to help you lead your team to a fantasy championship. This is just a way to help you get started and to help you avoid mistakes in your draft.
What do you think of these tips? Let us know in the comments below, or message us on Twitter (@TheBullpen12), Instagram (@thebullpen_), or on Facebook. You can also message me on Twitter (@AlexWahlReport) for advice and more helpful tips!
Photo courtesy of Dan Harris/fantasypros.com
Contributor for TheBullpen. 2016 graduate from Lock Haven University with Bachelor of Arts in Communications with a focus in journalism. Sports enthusiast waiting for sports to come back after COVID-19 pandemic.