The Injured Return: Risk/Reward
by Eddie Mayrose

Stand outside the draft room of any Fantasy Baseball League and you’ll run into him when it’s all over.  He’s in every league; we all know him.  He’s the guy who selects an All Star team from two years prior but, because of injuries, starts every scouting report with, “If he stays healthy…”

Truth be told, there is room for but one or two comebacks on any successful Fantasy baseball team.  More than that and you’re pushing the odds that are stacked against you.  And, like your buddy who’ll spend the winter telling anyone who’ll listen that, “If my guys hadn’t gotten hurt…” you’ll be at the bottom of your standings. Continue reading »

By Eddie Mayrose
Worrying About Position Scarcity Can Make You Scarce

In the more than twenty years that the Forte Bellino Fantasy Baseball League has been in existence, the most consistently fatal blow to the title chances of any league member has been the obsession with positions where there are just a few elite options and a significant drop to the next tier.  There are some Fantasy players, no matter how often they’ve been burned, that will grab a catcher or middle infielder in the first three rounds regardless of the fact that they have no chance to receive adequate return on such an expensive investment.  If you number yourself among that group, read on and see if you can be convinced that you’re putting yourself behind the eight ball before the season begins.

Now, if you’ve followed the Fantasy Forecast for any length of time, you’ve become familiar with my draft strategies.  The roster grid, outfielders first, avoiding young hurlers whose IP have spiked, etc., have all been detailed on these pages as staples of the Master Batters selection process.  All strategies that, regardless of any opinion regarding their effectiveness, are cloaked in simplicity.  Important to note, as so many well-prepared, astute Fantasy players can’t avoid outsmarting themselves when it comes to forming their rosters. Continue reading »

Who Will Follow Their Lead in 2011?

By Moonlight Graham

It was a banner year for rookies in Major League Baseball as more than a few newcomers not only burst onto the scene in a big way, but turned their teams into contenders. The American League Rookie of the Year, Rangers’ RP Neftali Feliz, set a rookie record for saves and firmed up the Texas bullpen to the tune of a World Series appearance.   He wasn’t the AL’s only impact newbie, as Minnesota’s Danny Valencia filled a void at third base for the champions of the AL Central.   In the National League, Travis Wood performed so well for Cincinnati that even Dusty Baker, notorious for his disdain of rookies, couldn’t keep him out of the rotation. Then there was NL Rookie of the Year, Buster Posey, who was not just the most important player in the lineup for the World Champion Giants, but impacted the Rangers’ championship run by making then San Francisco catcher Bengie Molina Aavilable.  Now, That’s a game changer. Continue reading »

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

by Moonlight Graham

Once upon a time, before the evolution of the internet, Fantasy Baseball information was hard to come by.  News regarding critical issues such as day-to-day injury situations, rookie callups and even trade rumors were rarely current.  Often, it was necessary to directly call the MLB club in question but, even then, it was as likely as not that you’d reach someone that didn’t already frown on the entire concept of Fantasy Baseball.  Which brings me to the kid in Milwaukee.  I  never got his name so, I couldn’t say if he’s still in baseball but, wherever he is, there’s a former, public relations intern of the Brewers that, probably, still curses ole’ Moonlight at the very mention of Dan Plesac.

Sometime in the early nineties, Plesac, the Brew Crew closer, was nursing a bad elbow while a member of Moonlight’s Master Batters.  After a few absences from the daily box scores and no mention of an injury, I placed my first call to the unsuspecting intern.  Surprisingly, he really didn’t seem all that interested in the fact that a tight Saves race might decide my league.  He was equally unsympathetic when I explained that I couldn’t pick up a replacement unless Plesac was disabled by Milwaukee.

So, I asked, “Hey, what’s up with Plesac?”  “Is he going on the DL?”  “Not to my knowledge”, came the reply and thus started a daily correspondence over the course of the next six days.  Exasperated, he finally admitted to me that Plesac was likely out for awhile but, as rosters were about to expand on September 1st, would not go on the DL.  If he’d have only told me that in the first place, I’d have had another relief pitcher and he; an enjoyable week. Continue reading »

by Moonlight Graham

No position has undergone more change over the last decade than the Middle Infield. Long a collection of slap hitting, base stealers and the occasional power guy, it saw drastic change with the emergence of big guns like Alex Rodriguez, Miguel Tejada, Jeff Kent and Barry Larkin.  Even marginal, late round options like Jose Valentin were good for better than 20 HR.

However, retirement, injury and position change have all been factors in depleting the ranks of the Middle Infielders that’ll give you a boost in the power department.  While some do remain, (Hanley Ramirez and Chase Utley will cost you a first rounder), for the most part, many Fantasy Baseball owners will settle for the mid-round options that produce low, double-digit HR’s, a solid BA and a decent number of SB.  The trick is, to find that one player who could break the mold and give you a top tier performance for a second tier price.

Fantasy Stars

-  Unless you’ve got one of the first two picks, you can forget Hanley Ramirez.  After that, Troy Tulowitzki and Jose Reyes top the Shortstop list but neither is a sure thing. Tulo comes off a terrific season but Fantasy Baseball owners still bear the burn marks from his disastrous ’08 season.  New York Mets’ star, Reyes, is not only coming off of a campaign lost to injury but was just cleared to play after a thyroid condition sidelined him for most of camp.  Don’t reach for either.  On the other side of the bag, Utley and Ian KInsler are the cream of the crop but Cincinnati Reds’ second sacker, Brandon Phillips, may be the best value.  He’s a guaranteed 20-20 from a position where that’s rare and he bats cleanup.  Going with that theory, we’d also have to add Robinson Cano of the New York Yankees, as he’s been moved to the five hole of that very potent lineup. Continue reading »

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