Baseball: Ten tips
to a successful draft: #9 and #10|
by: Jamey Codding
|Pg 1 of 2|
Opening Day is Sunday, March 30, meaning it's
time to get ready for your fantasy baseball drafts. Hopefully, Jamey Codding's 10 draft-day tips
will help kick-start your preparation.
Tip #9: Doh! Don't be a Homer
How many times have you seen someone in your draft select a bunch players from one team? Maybe he starts out with, say,
Miquel Tejada, Barry Zito, Eric Chavez and Mark Mulder in the opening rounds, which isn't bad considering
all four players are near the top of their respective positions. But then he continues on this
Oakland trend, getting Erubiel Durazo, Jermaine Dye and Ted Lilly before really screwing up with
Terrence Long, Chris Singleton, Eric Hiljus, Ramon Hernandez and Scott Hatteberg. Before long, everybody else in your league, including you, starts harassing the guy, telling him that,
"Jose Canseco and Walt Weiss are still available, and I don't think
anybody's chosen Carney Lansford yet."
Ah yes, making fun of a homer on draft day can be great fun…unless, of course, you're that homer.
There's a reason guys like this get ridiculed so fiercely during your draft -- everybody knows that being a homer is the quickest way to find the basement in your league. Well, everybody except for the homer. Simply put, a homer is someone who goes out and tries to make his fantasy roster a mirror image of his favorite team, or as close as
humanly possible. Trust me, you don't want to be this guy -- the season-long misery alone would be bad enough, but you've also got to put up with all that heat from your leaguemates during the draft.
But despite my pleas, some of you will go out and reconstruct your favorite teams this year, thinking that if the
Atlanta Braves are this good, why wouldn't a fantasy squad full of Braves also be dominant? Sounds logical enough, right?
Don't be fooled. Most often, the key to winning any fantasy league is consistency, but even the best teams in baseball have a tough time sustaining excellence for an entire year without suffering through one or two dry spells. The
Yankees and A's both won 103 games in 2002, tops in the majors, but they both
still went through a couple rough patches throughout the season. Joe Torre's
team started the year out with a sizzling 7-1 record, but they dropped six
of their next seven games before then losing three-straight to the Mariners in
early May. Oakland, meanwhile, stumbled to an 11-10 early season record and
actually fell six games below .500 after going 10-17 in May, a month that
included two three-game losing streaks and two more four-game skids. In fact,
the A's lost at least three-straight eight different times last year, but a
late-season surge more than made up for those dry stretches in the
Granted, these may not seem like drawn-out slumps for Oakland and, most notably,
the Yankees, but let's remember that we're talking about two teams that shared
baseball's best record. You don't win 103 games without displaying some form of
In total, five teams won at least 98 games in 2002, and a look at those other
three squads paints a more obvious picture:
Atlanta (101-59) was 12-15 through the end of April and couldn't pull
above .500 for good until May 21.
Anaheim (99-63) stood at 6-14 on April 23 after losing 11 of 13 to
Oakland and Seattle. The Angels then suffered through two more four-game losing
streaks and a trio of three-game skids, including a 5-8 stretch to end the
Arizona (98-64) was 4-5 early on after a three-game sweep at the hands
of the mighty Padres. A 10-17 stint from August 27 to September 25 -- which
featured one three-game losing streak, one four-game and another six-game slide
-- nearly cost the D-Backs the division crown.
So what does that all mean? I just wanted to illustrate the typical ups-and-downs even
the game's elite go through during a 162-game schedule -- imagine how ugly it gets in
Tampa Bay and Detroit. Pitchers who've been unbeatable in the past suffer through dead-arm periods, .300 hitters go 2-for-25, top closers blow three-straight save opportunities. This stuff happens, even to the best teams, and when it's going real bad, an entire
clubhouse will under-perform for an extended period of time.
Believe me, you don't want to own the Oakland roster when one of these team-wide slumps occurs. Maybe they score just 12 runs in 10 games, or give up
32 runs in four games (they did that twice last year, believe it or not). These are all annual occurrences in baseball, but they don't have to be annual occurrences on your fantasy team.
Don't be a homer.
Sure, having the leadoff and cleanup hitters from your favorite team can lead to some great days for your fantasy
squad; just make sure you don't get out of hand. As a Boston fan you may love owning
Manny and Nomar this season but if you also have Johnny Damon, Trot Nixon, Todd
Walker and Shea Hillenbrand, your depression will reach new heights when the Sox
lose six-straight or eight of 10 because of their stalled offense -- when you're a homer, "their" stalled offense quickly becomes "your" stalled offense.
Everybody loves coming out of a draft with a few of their favorite players locked up, but having a roster filled with guys from other teams will help you avoid those lengthy, title-threatening nose-dives that every homer suffers through.
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