Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
The start of the major league baseball season is just a few days away, so here are six basic "rules" to abide by to help make your draft a successful one:
1) Too much paperwork is a bad thing.
Sir Francis Bacon said "knowledge is power," but too much information can be paralyzing. If you are spending too much time sifting through your piles of pre-draft printouts, you will miss out on developing trends.
Read as much as possible before the big day, but when you walk into the room on draft day, don't have more than a couple pages of notes or lists.
2) Avoid over-hyped players.
Every spring training, a couple of players become the darlings of the media and get more attention than their numbers deserve.
In 2012, Toronto's young third baseman, Brett Lawrie, was coming off an excellent 150 at-bat August/September test run in which he batted .293 with nine home runs and 25 RBI with a strong .953 OPS. Lawrie batted .524 in spring training. The media began salivating at what they thought he could do in a full 500 at-bat season and fantasy owners bought into the hype selecting him in the fourth round (2012 Yahoo ADP 45). Lawrie proceeded to lay an egg, batting .273 with 11 homers, 48 RBI, 13 stolen bases and a .729 OPS in 494 at-bats.
Which leads us to talking point No. 3 ...
3) Talking heads are not smarter than you.
While Lawrie was getting attention, Oakland's rookie outfielder Yoenis Cespedes didn't receive nearly as much notice, didn't hit the ball well in spring training and was ignored by most pundits and therefore fantasy owners.
All the 26-year-old, Cuban-born outfielder did was bat .292 with 23 homers, 82 RBI, 16 stolen bases and a stunning .861 OPS. As a 13th-round selection (ADP 152) Cespedes was a "steal."
Don't take the word of the guys with a microphone in their hand, they are no smarter than you, have probably done less research than you and have a different agenda than you.
4) Early picks should carry very little risk.
The first three rounds are not the time to gamble. It's not the time to prove that your "sleeper" is worthy of a top selection, even if he is. The first three rounds are for getting proven top-quality talent. The middle and late rounds are your chance to grab a sleeper who produces at a second- or third- round level as a bargain.
5) Even on a bad team, a closer will get plenty of opportunities - don't overpay for saves.
Over the past three seasons, an "average" team saw 59.5 save opportunities and accumulates 41.2 saves. Last season, the lowly Chicago Cubs (61-101) still had 49 save chances and completed 28 of them. The 55-win Houston Astros had 31 saves.
You can pay the price for Craig Kimbrel (ADP 50) and Aroldis Chapman (67) and probably be happy with the results, but you also could spend a lot less for Greg Holland (150) and Jason Grilli (185) and use the higher picks for another position.
6) Your work doesn't end after you make the final selection.
It's a marathon, not a sprint. Even if you drafted the best team in your league, that doesn't mean you will win the championship. A fantasy baseball season is six months long and a winning owner must keep on top of things throughout the season. Injuries, hot/cold streaks, position changes and mid- season call-ups can all change the dynamics of a league. Smart league owners must stay on top of every new development.
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