Don't be Julius Caesar at your fantasy baseball draft

      March 15, 2012 @ 16:19:08 PDT

March Madness starts on its Ides. "Et tu, Brute?" Julius Caesar, etc.

Texas Rangers C Mike Napoli
Et tu, Napoli?

The Shakespearean angle is the most well-known in modern culture, but the Latin term Idus that bred the Ides of March actually meant, literally, the day that divides the month in half. It was typically a day of celebration, not unlike the first days of the Round of 64.

Safe to say Caesar's bracket was busted.

</Literature class, Wikipedia repackaging, historical fiction>

I'll tap into my pessimism and exude the consensus comprehension of the phrase. In fantasy baseball drafts, as in life, it's far too common to ignore signs (or, facts) that forebode misfortune while stubbornly walking into one's demise, a la Caesar.

To (sort of) echo that famous soothsayer: Beware these pitfalls in your fantasy baseball draft.

1. Don't blindly join the value mob.

Groupthink did Caesar in. Similar thoughts will curtail your reign over your draft's flow. Zag when others zig. Even if Brutus comes at you with a dagger.

2. Don't buy elite catchers too soon or for an inflated price, even the ones with outlets for AB in the field.

I'm usually a scarcist, but I don't buy the methodology of paying a premium for the top options for a position that's already designed to play less often than most other fielders.

Santana is the only one I would consider within the first four mixed rounds, but he'd have to fall to the late part of that window for him to enter my mind.

3. Don't write off a pitcher because he gives up too many fly balls.

Wise Guy Baseball's Gene McCaffrey and Baseball HQ's Patrick Davitt - two of my opponents in Tout Wars mixed this year - had an enjoyable and informative discussion on the matter on HQ Radio a few weeks ago.

Looking at lofts allowed in a vacuum will hinder your flexibility in appropriate valuation. Consider the hurler's home park; their track record of success in HR prevention; their percentage of infield flies induced; and their role, as evidenced in today's Bullpen Session. As this pair mentioned, Jered Weaver, one of the poster boys of the topic, has made producing a low HR/FB into a skill.

4. Don't commit to big-name outfielders early and often (or expensively) in mixed leagues.

Seriously. There are so many of them in dual-universe setups, and while, as with any other position, their reliability decreases as you move down your positional cheat sheet, you also realize how many acceptable options you can take a chance on. After a while, the distribution in value output is almost negligible.

It's the easiest position to fill in on the waiver wire, but shouldn't that mean you should get a head start at the scarcer spots coming out of the draft? This is the easiest bat slot to cycle - it optimally plays to the dynamics of the player pool.

Take a look at the quality and quantity of infielders you'd have to scrape for if you go outfield-heavy early in a deep draft. I like Gaby Sanchez and others to take steps forward, but you can't leave the future of your mixed infield in their hands and feel confident about winning.

I've been preaching this for years. I'm not going to stop until my faithful readers and the ghost of Caesar listen.

Add your own in the comments. And watch your back today.

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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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