from the GSI.com archives...
The most important day of the fantasy baseball season is the one when you select your team. While it’s a virtual certainty that your team won’t look like it does that first day, the draft or auction is where your team’s foundation is created. However, there are still plenty of opportunities to optimize your performance as the year goes along.
Every week can be crucial to your season, so it’s important to know what’s going on each Monday through Sunday. Always check the coming week’s schedule, since some teams play seven-game slates while others may only play five or six games. And late in the year, rain makeups can even force some teams to play eight games in seven days. Maximizing playing time by shuffling your roster can help those counting stat categories.
Just as critically, you need to know which of your starting pitchers will take the mound twice, and where. A two-start week in Florida and San Diego is nice, while one in Arizona and Colorado can do serious damage to your ERA and WHIP.
This approach also can be applied to your hitters. If you have two roughly equivalent outfielders, playing the one with games in Boston and Texas is certainly better than going with the guy trying to put up big numbers in San Francisco and Los Angeles.
Of course, the way you can make the biggest improvement is through trades. After the first several weeks of the season, you should have a good idea of where your team is strong and where it needs help. Be sure to take into account any unreasonably hot starts, rough spells, or injuries that may be skewing the standings.
Once you’ve figured out your needs, find a potential partner, or partners, to help you out. See if you can give up some of your strength to address your weaknesses. Remember to be reasonable when approaching a fellow owner with a trade offer. Any proposal has to help the other guy as well as yourself. No one wants to deal with the owner offering Ryan Klesko and Shawn Estes for Albert Pujols and Joe Nathan.
No matter how good your team is doing, always look to improve, focusing first and foremost on this season. If you’re in first place on July 4th, don’t stand pat. If another owner is out of the running early, see if you can give him some prospects in exchange for one or two of his good players in the last year of their contracts. It will strengthen you for the stretch run, when the good teams make their push and the bad teams look toward next season. Even if you’re solidly in first place, consider a move like this. Because if you don’t get those good players that are sure to be available, someone chasing you down will, and that nice lead you have could dwindle quickly.
Of course, there’s always the flip side, where everything that can go wrong does. You know, those times when your ace starter goes down with a season-ending injury, your stud hitter is indicted, and your not-so-hot sleeper is sent back to Double-A. When this unfortunately occurs, you first need to decide who you’ll want to keep for the next season. Everyone else should be thrown out there for potential trade. The best bait to dangle is the strong performer in the last year of a contract. He won’t help you this year and he’ll be available next year if you want to try to get him back, so the best thing to do is deal him for a cheap player or two who can help your squad next season. Getting something in return is always better than getting nothing.
Even the best owners can improve, and there should have been at least one or two nuggets of information in this series that everyone was able to take away to make their teams that much stronger.