2014 fantasy baseball tip: Don't write off Best Shape of My Life stories

      February 27, 2014 @ 10:07:49 PDT

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Texas Rangers 1B Prince Fielder
Prince enters kingly situation

And the "Best Shape of My Baseball Life" tales -- those mechanical redesigns of swings and deliveries -- serve a purpose when predicting a player's future. Francisco Liriano was a guinea pig of Pittsburgh Pirates pitching gurus Ray Searage and Jim Benedict, and they brought out the elite form in him. Julio Teheran's revamped delivery prompted his breakthrough in 2013. Trevor Bauer (remember him?) may be next.

There's even merit in "Best Shape of My Mental Life" anecdotes. For instance in recent years, A.J. Burnett, Prince Fielder and others (sadly, unfortunately) were dealing with divorce, which had to be weighing on their play. You hate to peg improvement based on such sad cases, but Burnett's happened in a big way, in combo with the Pirates' work that helped Liriano. Fielder's clearer head should complement his move to Arlington and may make him fantasy's top first baseman.

Such self-improvement ideas won't fix every Average Joe player, and unfortunately, we don't always find root causes of improvement or disappointment until it's too late. But when we have knowledge of changes and used as a component of an otherwise intriguing player profile, they're valuable.

Winning your fantasy baseball league consists of putting together as many pieces of information as possible to infer hidden potential and risk. Break from the crowd and don't be so quick to dismiss BSOML nuggets as a piece of the championship puzzle.

Throughout Spring Training, we'll have plenty more nuggets on such players splashed all over our MLB Hot off the Wire, which is always in the best shape of its fantasy life. Don't miss out.

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About Tim Heaney

Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous outlets, and recognized as a finalist in the Fantasy Sports Writers Association awards. The Boston University alum, who competes in the prestigious LABR and Tout Wars, has won numerous industry leagues in both baseball and football.

He appears frequently, including every Sunday, on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio, as well as every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore.

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