Monday, March 17, 2008
It's Fantasy Baseball Season so it's time to do some Prep Work. Bare in mind that these Preps are as much for me as they are for any other schmuck that happens to read them. If perchance you are in any of my leagues please avoid reading all of this until after our respective drafts. Thanks.
The first thing you must take note of in your given leagues is who qualifies for first base. In my league I have no utility players and thus Ortiz, Sheffield and other DHs qualify as first baseman. This expands the position by a few significant contributors. Else if your league includes utility players, it's often tough to justify drafting a full time DH who will lock up your most flexible roster spot. Another thing to remember, when scanning a first baseman ranking list, is that many of the people on the list will be used at other positions. For instance the Yahoo ranking list includes Victor Martinez, Garret Atkins and others. These two players will almost certainly be used for their respective teams at Catcher and third base. In the end depending on your leagues rules and the number of first baseman your team uses the depth can shrink dramatically.
Ok now that we've laid some ground rules we can go over first baseman. There are arguably 30 players at 1B who could put up 20 home runs. Which means if you wait around for awhile before you draft your first baseman you aren't going to kill your team. The issue is how much risk are you willing to take with your draft pick. Will you wait until near the end of your draft to pick up old vets like Carlos Delgado or Richie Sexson who had very bad 2007 seasons. Or you can take a big risk with young guys like Joey Votto or Conor Jackson hoping that they emerge as solid options.
With that depth being noted, there is a vast portion of mid round guys that should be targeted for risk aversion purposes. Players like Paul Konerko, Todd Helton and Ryan Garko will all go around the same time in the middle rounds. Each will put up very predictable numbers and will be a relative bargain in comparison to Carlos Pena or Adrian Gonzalez who will likely go multiple rounds prior.
The moral of the story is that first base strategy is really a matter of league rules. In most leagues I would argue to wait for your first baseman and pick up players at more scarce positions but just like any other position if the value is there don't look past it.