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How to Crush your Fantasy Baseball League

By Jared Harris

 

Now that the NBA and NHL seasons are behind us and the NFL is still months away, fantasy baseball is the only thing to get us through the dog days of summer. Fantasy sports leagues are all about bragging rights and I’m here to help you dominate your fantasy baseball league to the point where your buddies will be trying to test you for PEDs.

Fantasy baseball is a much different animal than football. Games are played every day and staying atop your league means keeping on top of the trades, injuries, pitching matchups and all the other crap that impacts your lineup every time your turn around.

I advise getting some help in keeping up with all the madness. Following baseball writers on Twitter is a great resource for getting up-to-the-minute inside information. ESPN’s Buster Olney and Jayson Stark are two good places to start for general baseball news but David Gonos provides a list of baseball Twitter accounts to follow that provide information specific to fantasy leagues.

Another good way of getting your information is with a fantasy baseball app. Instead of scouring the Web to find out if your second baseman has been activated from the 15-day DL, a fantasy app will send that information straight to your phone in real-time.Verizon Wireless breaks down a few helpful fantasy baseball apps including one that provides statistics for every batter vs. pitcher matchup projected to take place for each given day.

Many fantasy baseball players pore over trivial stats such as a player’s batting average against left-handed pitchers named Steve on Tuesdays in June during a crescent moon. But there’s one simple and easy-to-track stat that many fantasy players overlook: the ballpark. This is another way baseball differs from fantasy leagues of other sports. Not all baseball fields are the same size, meaning you have pitcher-friendly parks such as Detroit’s Comerica Park and hitters’ parks like the friendly confines of Wrigley Field.

For example, Miguel Cabrera won baseball’s Triple Crown in 2013. At his home park in Detroit where the left field fence is 345 feet, the right-handed slugger hit a home run once every 15.5 at-bats and had an RBI once every 4.4 at-bats. But at Cleveland’s Progressive Field, where the fence in left field is 20 feet shorter, Cabrera knocked one out once every 7.8 at-bats and drove in a run for every 2.4 at-bats. Use ESPN’s extensive breakdown of situational batting stats to choose your daily lineups wisely.

There’s one other often overlooked statistic. In the story of Moneyball, Oakland A’s General Manager Billy Beane built his team largely around on-base percentage. It worked for him—a book and a Hollywood movie starring Brad Pitt—and it will work for you too. Fantasy leagues reward points for hits, RBIs, stolen bases and runs scored among other things. What do all of those things have in common? Getting on base! On-base percentage provides one comprehensive statistic for almost all fantasy league stats. So when it comes time to make a trade or sign a player from the free agent pool, ask yourself “What Would Billy Beane Do?

These are some basics to get you started but Fantasy Baseball Dugout gives you 50 more tips for winning your fantasy league. Once you do, abide by my final rule for winning: be a total jerk about it. Remember, it’s all about bragging rights.

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