Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The Winter Blahs

There's really not that much going on with baseball that I particularly care to comment about at the moment. Yeah, that means I don't care that Roger Clemens and Andy Pettitte aren't as close as we always thought they were. I guess it's a good thing, since nothing that could happen with baseball in January deserves to steal headlines away from something like the Patriots preparing to be the first NFL team ever to go 19-0. But that doesn't mean I don't want something big in baseball to happen that I could spend time talking about here.

The Baseball America Prospect Handbook should be arriving in my mail sometime this week. This will be the third year I've gotten the book, and I get it because it's the perfect resource for baseball junkies like me. Its annual contents include the Top 30 prospects for all teams, scouting reports, organizational projections, draft evaluations, and it usually has good rankings for the year's top draft prospects. Needless to say, I spend hours thumbing through it every year. The Handbook is a terrific tool for fantasy baseball preparations and it's an incredibly useful reference during the season whenever a new young player comes up. Odds are there'll be a scouting report for that player in this book. Anyway, if you love prospects as much as I do I'd highly recommend getting the book, it's $30 and available on the BA website.

I've been getting ready for fantasy season already, everyone should definitely check out Tim Dierkes' rankings over at RotoAuthority. It's the only free resource for rankings that I know of right now, pretty soon Tim is probably going to organize the rankings into his annual Fantasy Guide and he'll sell that over on the website as well. I've been using his Guide for the past couple of years and he typically does a really good job. Be on the lookout for the RotoWorld and RotoTimes draft kits that will be coming out soon as well. I have also been doing some mock drafting on Mock Draft Central recently, they provide an awesome service for fantasy baseball preparation this time of year. The first few mock drafts are free over there, then after a little bit they make you start paying. If you upgrade to premium service you can start your own mock drafts. If you're serious about fantasy you should definitely check it out.

I've got some early thoughts about fantasy as we stand here in mid-January. First off, you really can't got wrong with any players you take in the first two rounds this year. The strategy I've taken with my first couple of mock drafts thus far is to take that big hitter with my first pick (for example, I took Matt Holliday with the 6th overall pick in a draft last Thursday) and then try to snag either Johan Santana or Jake Peavy with my second pick on the way back around (I got Peavy with pick #19). I think Peavy and Santana are pretty close in their overall value but for whatever reason people seem to be undervaluing them this year compared to the other Top 25 fantasy players. You could take either Peavy or Santana between picks 6-12 and be completely justified because of how well they will perform. Santana's value would go up even further if he gets traded to the National League. Also, don't be shy about taking a guy like Brandon Webb with your third pick or Josh Beckett a little bit later. I know they say you can pick up pitching during the season, but snagging at least one sure-fire starter in your first five or six picks will really help you gain stability on your way to a fantasy crown. I've got some thoughts about drafting balanced position players, but I'll save it for another time.

With that, I'll leave you to whatever the hell it was you were doing before you decided to waste a few minutes at my blog. Later.

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