Studying Fantasy Baseball Player Feeds a Key Part of Draft Success

John ZaktanskyCorrespondent IFebruary 27, 2010

LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 22:  Alfonso Soriano #12 of the Chicago Cubs bats against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on August 22, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. The Dodgers defeated the Cubs 2-0.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

If you can’t spot the sucker at your in-person fantasy baseball draft before Albert Pujols comes off the board, then you are the sucker.

You know the type.

It’s that guy sitting by himself, frantically trying to digest every last word of his dog-eared and tattered fantasy baseball magazine before he’s on the clock. He’s hyperventilating over whether to take Hanley Ramirez or Alex Rodriguez with the second overall pick. You almost feel bad for him.

These type of fantasy managers are the last-minute crammers, and they unfortunately grab the easiest thing on the way out the door to study on the way to the draft … their outdated fantasy baseball magazine.

Now I’m not saying that these magazines are bad — I own two myself — but to be successful on draft day, you need to crunch more information than Fanball’s cheat sheets galore publication.

You need to watch player feeds, know what is going on during a day-to-day basis. There are several sites out there with solid player feeds. I personally check the most often, and as a service for our ninja nation, I’ll be updating our minions on some of the most notable player updates as they happen. Here are a few from this past week that caught my eye:

On Monday, news from the Chicago Sun Times was not good for former fantasy uber-stud Alfonso Soriano . He admitted that his surgically repaired knee is maybe “maybe 80 percent or 85 percent.” With just over a month until the season kicks off, I’d be hoping for better things from Soriano.

Perhaps the most disturbing comment, however, was when he mentioned that he isn’t feeling 100 percent mentally, either. Again, it’s early, but don’t expect a whole lot out of Soriano in your respective leagues…not that he was a high pick anyway.

A perennial injury punching bag, Josh Hamilton can be downright awesome when healthy. However, we all know he struggles to do that, which makes news earlier this week involving an injury during practice all that more ironic and disappointing. He suffered a shoulder contusion while diving for a ball. The injury itself isn’t serious at all, but an early signal of things to come for Hamilton?

It is ways too early to know where ultimate pitching prospect Stephen Strasburg will start the season. Smart money has him starting in the minors, but he’s been wowing the critics so far this early preseason. He was 4-1 with a 4.29 ERA in the Arizona Fall League and if he turns enough heads in exhibition games, Strasburg could still conceivably start the season with the Nationals big league team. Watch the situation closely heading into your respective drafts.

Many Yankee fans were stunned and disgusted when news broke earlier this week that Chan Ho Park will be playing in pinstripes this season. I wasn’t one of them. I’m sure most of them were concerned that Park would find his way into the rotation and his inconsistent ways would doom the Yankees every fifth day. Park did post a dismal 7.29 ERA over seven starts in 2009.

However, rest assured that the Yankees will be using Park in middle relief, where he could provide some really cheap value for the Yanks. He had a 2.52 ERA and a 52/16 strike-per-walk ration in 38 relief appearances in 2009. With a powerful Yankee lineup behind him, Park could provide some middle-relief fantasy value, too, including a cheap source of holds…especially since he’ll likely still be eligible at the starting pitcher position, too.

Jair Jurrjens , nursing a sore shoulder currently, is a sleeper candidate for many this preseason. It is encouraging to hear that he has been “begging” to get on the mound and pitch and is on a mission to take the next step as a starting pitcher. Make sure you stash him away in your respective drafts.

The New York Daily News reports that Jose Reyes has been in great shape so far this preseason after an injury-riddled 2009 played havoc with his overall value. According to reports, Reyes said, “It’s better than I expected. I expected to be careful. I was running with no problem. Everything—a straight single, a base hit to right field, double, score from second and a sacrifice fly.” Reyes could provide some value if he falls far enough in your draft and is able to bounce back to his previous first-round production.

For more on this topic, check out the original post here . For all your hard-hitting fantasy baseball and football advice, commentary, discussion and debate, check out