Did you blow your fantasy baseball draft? Or, were you unable to make the draft and had your team selected by "auto-draft?" Don't worry. It's a very long season, and you can erase your early mistakes. Here are a few quick steps to fixing your team.
Everybody always thinks their team is the best. Right after the draft, every manager thinks his or her team is going to win the championship. Now, while it's important to be confident (although, I don't know how important confidence is in fantasy sports because you don't actually control the outcome), you have to realize when your team needs improvement.
In fact, every team can always get better. Even if you have the best team in the league, there is always room for improvement. Never feel content or satisfied. So once you stop calling yourself Billy Beane for putting together an incredible draft, take a step back and truly assess your team.
There's no shame in accepting that you had a bad draft. The foolish part is believing that your team is superior. It's much easier fixing your team before the season starts than half way through the season when you're 15 points out of first place.
An unbalanced team is the most common problem I see with teams after drafts. It's either you loaded up with stud hitters or ace pitchers, but are lacking in the other department.
Using the trade block is the easiest way to resolve this. Say you have Justin Verlander, Chris Sale and James Shields, but you have Ike Davis and Neil Walker at first and second respectively. This is a perfect opportunity to use your surplus of starters to get a better offensive option.
You might not want to lose out on a top-notch starting pitcher, but you'll still have two great players. If you combine those two solid SPs with an improved hitter for your lineup, your team will have gotten much better.
So you don't want to trade or nobody in the league is buying into your proposals? It's not a problem. I've always said, "If you don't have a buyer, just head to the wire."
You might not see the same caliber of players available, but, believe me, they're out there. I can guarantee you that every fantasy league champion last season made a huge waiver wire pickup that was critical. Players like Edwin Encarnacion, R.A. Dickey and Mike Trout are examples from last year.
Who do you pick up? Well, that's the million dollar question. Here are a few players who are flying under the radar to me. If they're available in your league, I would consider adding them.
Jed Lowrie, SS, Oakland A's—45 percent owned in Yahoo!; 40 percent in ESPN
A.J. Griffin, SP, Oakland A's—38 percent owned in Yahoo!; 2 percent in ESPN
Jedd Gyorko, 3B, San Diego Padres—32 percent owned in Yahoo!; 36 percent in ESPN
Chris Carter, 1B, Houston Astros—11 percent owned In Yahoo!; 2 percent in ESPN
Joe Blanton, SP, Los Angeles Angels—4 percent owned in Yahoo!; 1 percent in ESPN
Don't Stash Hitters
If you had to auto-draft, chances are that you're left with multiple players at a position. For some positions this is okay. Keeping extra pitchers will never hurt you, nor will extra first basemen and outfielders.
However, you should never keep additional catchers, second basemen and shortstops in leagues where you only start one each. It makes no sense. Those positions typically provide fewer productive options. Sliding an extra catcher or middle infielder into your utility slot is pointless. It's very likely they are a below-average option for their position, which would make them even worse for UTIL.
If you have Buster Posey and Yadier Molina, then it would be wise to trade one of them, especially if you have a good first baseman. Other teams will pay for a top-five catcher, and you can get a better option for your utility hole.
Panicking is the worst thing you can do. Baseball is a very long season, so you must have patience. I know it's much easier said than done, but you cannot afford to fret about preseason problems.
You especially don't want to worry if you have no depth at outfield and starting pitching. These are the two positions you can improve throughout the season. Every year, an outfielder or starting pitcher will emerge out of nowhere. Let's take a look at some examples from last season.
Mike Trout, Alex Rios, Josh Willingham and Torii Hunter were outfielders who largely outproduced their average draft position expectations. Similarly, R.A. Dickey, Kris Medlen and Chris Sale shook up the fantasy SP rankings with remarkable seasons.
So, even if your best outfielder is Norichika Aoki (I actually really like him, but he's a No. 3 OF) and your best pitcher is Ryan Vogelsong, do not panic. Just pay attention and make sure you're keeping an eye out for those unexpected heroes.
Play for the Future
Obviously, this applies only to dynasty leagues. If you have a lower-tier team in a keeper league, you're probably not going to be relevant this season. I'm in a 14-team keeper league, and let's face it, there are a couple teams that don't have a chance at winning a championship this season.
So, what do you do? Build for the future like MLB teams do. I'll provide an example from a team in my league. He traded for Giancarlo Stanton and picked up Wil Myers before last season ended. He kept both players and then drafted Oscar Taveras this year. Will he be a threat this season? Most likely not. But he can easily turn the tables in the next year or so.