10 Keys to Remember in Your Fantasy Baseball Keeper League Drafts

Ryan Lester@LestersLegendsSenior Writer IMarch 10, 2014

Aug 14, 2013; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Twins catcher Joe Mauer (7) hits a home run in the tenth inning against the Cleveland Indians at Target Field. The Indians won 9-8 in 12 innings. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports
Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

We are approaching the early stages of the fantasy baseball draft season. Here are some pointers to keep in mind for a successful draft day.

1. Prepare

This shouldn't come as a surprise, but make sure you check 
rankingsupdates and depth charts. Even if you have a busy schedule, make sure you do some prep work. You don't want to be the butt of all the jokes during your draft. Buying a fantasy baseball magazine or an online draft guide are good options for those short on time.

2. Stay Focused

Perhaps this is more suited for fantasy football drafts, but the premise is the same. If you are of legal drinking age, don't let alcohol hinder your drafting ability. Save that for after the draft. Put down your phone. You can text or play Candy Crush after the draft.

3. Decide Your Approach

Are you in rebuilding mode? If so, your wish list should look a lot different than someone that is on the verge of competing for a title. Nothing is worse than also finishing in the middle of the pack. If you need to do a youth movement and pay your dues for a couple of years, don't be afraid to do so.

4. Resist the Run

Stick to your predraft values and don't reach for a player just because there is a run on players at his position. Don't reach for Brian McCann just because Joe Mauer and Carlos Santana just went off the board. Think about what you're passing on by drafting by position and not by value.

5. Don't Be Afraid to Draft Teammates

There is no rule against grabbing a bunch of players from the same team. Even in football I don't worry about that rule because the championship round isn't during the bye weeks. That isn't an issue in baseball anyway. Draft best available. If you happen to load up one on team, it's OK.

6. Don't Be Afraid to Punt a Category

There are a couple of categories in 5x5 leagues that offer the ability to punt if you are able to position yourself strongly in the other categories. The two categories that are most likely to be punted are stolen bases and saves. There are players that provide a lot of stolen bases that are overvalued because they don't provide much for the other categories.

Worse, if they hit for a low average, they put you in a hole in that category. If you can fill your team with all-around players, you could end up in the middle of the stolen base category and near the top in average, runs, home runs and RBI.

Outside of the top closers, this is the most unpredictable position in the game. Every year new closers come out of nowhere. If you can solidify your starting pitchers, that may not be a bad route to take. If ERAs and WHIPs are a wash, they can help you in wins and strikeouts rather than just saves.

7. Mock Draft

Practice may not make perfect, but it will give you a feel for where players are being selected. Try different strategies. Go pitching early one time and late the next. See which team is more balanced. Try nabbing an elite catcher like Buster Posey and see if it hurts you elsewhere. See if nabbing a high average hitter like Mauer leaves a void in the power categories. 

8. Focus on Offense First

Having elite pitching is important, but you can put together a more balanced team if you go offense early and use the middle rounds for pitching. An elite pitcher will give you 200 or so innings of work. They can set the table for you, but your batters play 150 or so games. 

9. Choose Your Keepers Wisely

Depending on your league rules you may not want to just keep your top three players. If you are in an auction league, you may want to keep the best bargains. If you lose a pick in the round your player was chosen from, you may want to hold on to one of your late-round gems. 

10. Have Fun

I know you want to win. There's bragging rights and a payday, as to the victor goes the spoils. Don't forget to have fun when you are drafting and throughout the season. Razz the player that finished in last. Come up with a cool fantasy baseball team name. As you get older and busier you have less time to see your friends and leaguemates. As I eluded to earlier, just don't have too much fun.

Also check out LestersLegends.com for additional fantasy baseball advice.