Post Draft Strategies

By R. Gregory Scalf

Well, the drafts are done and it is time to sit back and relax and watch the statistics pile up, correct? Wrong. Many owners do just that -- just watch the stats after those long and brutal drafts. They are so happy it is over that they throw away all their stuff, and forget about research in favor of Baseball Tonight.

After the draft, during the month of April, there are a few things you should do to compliment your draft efforts. Below are key issues in your year-long plan to be a contender.

1. Evaluate your team

Statistical software programs can give you an idea of where you are strong and where you need to improve. If you don't have a stat program, then calculate the projected dollar values (or statistics) of the teams in your league. This will also give you an idea of how your team stacks up against the competition. Take this information and use it in the early part of the season. If the research says you are to contend, and your team is at the bottom do not despair. They should come around.

However, if it predicts you to be at the bottom and you are currently at the top, you may need to start tinkering. Your team is probably overachieving and will come back to earth soon. Usually the league standings don't start to really take shape until the sixth to eighth week, so the current standings could be misleading. Regardless of the method you use, constantly reevaluate and use the information to make smart decisions with your team.

2. Always look to improve your team.

Generally, trading is not recommended in the first month of the season, but if you get an offer you can't refuse, you have to take it. Otherwise, there are several things you can do to improve your team in the early part of the season.

First you can see if anybody in the league is impatient. Propose trades of your overachievers for opponents underachievers. Several players are off to slow starts so look to trade with those that are not willing to stick with their good players.

Continuously scan the waiver wire as well. You may find a player released that is better than one of your late round selections or that currently reside on your reserve squad. This often happens in April when a player starts the season on the DL, get replaced by a good player, then gets activated. Watch the performance of free agents and select them to better your team. Many times a possible closer goes undrafted and is available as well. However, you have to hunt the box scores and research the web to stay one step ahead of the competition.

3. Finally - Roster Management

Every successful team takes time to keep the roster current and with the best available players. Looking to have pitcher in the line-up that has two starts in the current week is one example. Knowing when your players go on the DL and replacing quickly is another. Sometimes knowing when not to replace a player, in the event that they could hurt your batting average or ERA, is important too. More often than you think, no replacement is better than a bad one if nothing decent is available. A DL'ed pitcher will never give you a bad inning of work. Also, one must know which of his opponents has injuries so as to know who the competition is for the better free agents.

4. Summary

The bottom line is that you can't relax once your draft is done. Know your team so you don't panic and make poor moves if you start off slowly. Strive to improve your team all the time and manage your roster on an on-going basis. Don't miss out on a chance at a good pick-up due to laziness or procrastination. It is fun watching all the highlights on TV, but you need to put more than that on your Fantasy "To Do List" if you plan to contend.

R. Gregory Scalf is a former division I baseball player and associate scout for the Kansas City Royals. He currently is the webmaster at Fantasy Baseball Central and the assistant webmaster at John Mosey's Fantasy Baseball Home Page.

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