I am a fantasy baseball junkie. I will admit it. To me, there is nothing that rivals the managing skill needed to win a baseball league, particularly a roto one.
Football? Please! You only have to check your team twice a week. Once on Waiver Wednesday, and once again on Sunday morning. It’s for amateurs. Basketball comes close, with at least one game a day, but your options are limited if you like to play roto or category leagues. That said, it is a very suitable substitute when you need something to get you through the winter. Hockey is the same for those of you in hockey-mad states. It is a suitable subsititute.
Still, nothing compares to baseball.
There are literally dozens of categories you can choose from to customize your league. The options are nearly endless. Due to this, you can find hundreds of baseball leagues, and while most will be similar, it is tough to find a custom league that is exactly the same as another one. So the question I ask is this: why is it then that nearly all of the fantasy stuff you find to read about baseball applies only to standard 5×5 leagues? It’s difficult to even find good info on a basic auction league. Well, this is where I hope to help out.
First, my credentials. It is a necessary evil, I suppose. I have been playing fantasy baseball for about a dozen years now. I have won a few leagues, and try to stay in contention year round. I run three leagues on ESPN, all three of them are deep leagues. I run one 10×10 with a snake draft, one 10×10 with an auction draft, and an auction roto league with 40-man rosters. That’s right — 40. I generally stay away from basic leagues, but I have been stayed in the first league I ever joined, and we are still going strong on our 12th year. That is the only basic team I play. I have six other teams, all in various custom leagues, but none match the shallow waivers of my “MLB 400″ league. I find that the gems I unearth there often can apply to most of my other teams, with the exception of the standard one. So I am here to help. I will let you know what players I like that are widely available that can help you in various deeper leagues.
Here are some hot pickups so far:
J.P. Arencibia, Rangers: Arencibia will get the bulk of the time with Geovany Soto out, and if he performs well in that capacity, could see 15-20 at bats a week even with Soto back. As we saw last year with the Blue Jays, his power is legit. The average? Well, he is a right-handed Adam Dunn.
Kurt Suzuki, Twins: He is the starting catcher with Joe Mauer spending most of his time at 1B/DH. Suzuki drove in three runs in the opener, and he was nearly an All-Star with Oakland a few years back. He is worth a flier as long as he can hold off Josmil Pinto.
Justin Smoak, Mariners: Smoak has come out, well, on fire (sorry, I had to do it). He has two homers and seven RBI in just three games. Will he go the way of Chris Shelton in 2006? Maybe, but there is no reason not to ride the hot streak while it lasts.
Casey McGehee, Marlins: Fresh off of a nice year in Japan, McGehee has five RBI in ten at bats. That’s a pretty good ratio….
Mike Olt, Cubs: Olt was the big piece of the Garza deal, and was once a top-50 prospect. He just hasn’t been given the chance in the majors yet. The Cubs provide his best avenue for playing time. Let’s face it: the Cubbies need all the help they can get. The fact that he should have 3B eligibility in a week or two makes him low-risk/high-reward type player.