Fantasy baseball prep, 101

A funny thing happened on the way to the 2020 MLB season. On second thought, it wasn’t that funny. I’m referring, of course, to COVID-19, formerly referred to as “2019 novel coronavirus,” which delayed opening day.

This was the virus some analysts thought would kill more than 500,000 people in the U.S. As it turns out, the true death rate could wind up being less than 60,000  – similar to a bad bout of severe seasonal flu. But I digress.

Lord willing, the season will begin sometime in June. For all of us who hit the pause button a month ago, it’s time to dust off our notebooks full of player notes and start looking at player news and also stats.

For those who have already drafted teams (I’ve drafted two), you should review your rosters. Are there any new injuries? Texas Rangers pitcher James Jones tore his patellar tendon tripping over one of his son’s toys at home.

If you drafted Chris Sale of the Boston Red Sox, or Noah Syndergaard of the the New York Mets, you’re now SOL (surely out of luck). They both opted to have Tommy John surgery after the seasoned was postponed on March 12th.

But the delay has helped some players – and teams. Like the New York Yankees. Consider Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton and James Paxton, sidelined with injuries in March and April. Now they may be ready for the new Opening Day.

Whether you drafted your team(s), or not, you should hit the books now and start doing your research. Of course, to be successful in fantasy baseball, you must understand statistics. There are basic and advanced ones to know.

Fantasy Baseball, more than any other sport, makes use of advanced statistics to help  determine a player’s value. Predicting the future performance of a player relies on more than just playing time or quality of teammates.

If you’ve ever been in a Fantasy Baseball league, you have no doubt seen statistics like BABIP, wOPA, xFIP and others being thrown around. For new players, seeing these stats can be overwhelming. There is a learning curve.

In this next installment of this series – fantasy baseball prep 201 – I will pull back the curtain and attempt to enlighten you on the stats that really matter in determining the underlying reasons for baseball players’ production.

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