For my first post I thought that some general early season advice would be useful for many. It also gives me some content for people to view instead of a welcome that no one cares about or reacts to.
Getting to the point, the first month is arguably the most important time of the season. For Roto leagues the repercussions of your moves will reverberate for the entire season, as opposed to a move made in July that literally carries half the weight. In H2H formats with a playoff it can make moves a little easier to stomach in hopes of building a juggernaut that can win in a 1-2 week matchup at the end of the year.
With that being said, the most important thing to keep in mind during April is to R-E-L-A-X!!! From a Baseball Prospectus article, April is the least predictive month. While we should always be careful not to make too much out of small samples, we should specifically keep this in mind during the first month of the season where season impact is greatest. Relax will be the theme of my advice throughout the course of the first month or so.
So where should we start if we are relaxing? There has to be something to do? I’m gonna walk you guys through my early season thoughts and help set you up for a great year.
Make a Watch List
A watch list is a great way to quickly view all the guys you are interested in without having to sort through the same bullshit every time. My early season watch list is a combination of the guys I was interested in that I didn’t draft and any other fringe players that could earn their way onto my roster. I also went through my own team and decided which positions I was weakest in and added the top FA’s available onto my watch list. Another group to keep in mind are the top relief arms that could slide into a closer role(or set up for holds leagues) with an injury or implosion, or just solid relievers sitting behind an impending blow up (Matt Bush comes to mind).
The final group of players that I add to my watch list are guys I was really high on that I missed out on in the draft. I put these guys on the list so I can monitor them in one spot in the hopes of a slow start or minor injury that I can target in a trade. Remembering these guys gets harder as the weeks pass after the draft. You always need to remember that you liked them for a reason.
Don’t Drop or Trade
This comes with several exceptions such as;
-Another owner drops someone they shouldn’t
-Early buy low / sell high opportunity
-A move that actually improves your team
For the most part you don’t want to do anything knee-jerk. Dropping your last round pick for a guy on a heater or swapping out some streamer quality pitchers isn’t really what I’m talking about. Just don’t bail on your mid round guys after a week long cold streak. That also includes remembering which guys you didn’t want during the draft and avoiding them despite a good start.
An important exception to that would be a hitter/pitcher making changes that show up early. One example could be if you didn’t like Heyward(who does) but he started out hitting well early. You may chalk that up to his reconstructed swing and still be able to buy into him at a discount. Those are the types of early moves I approve of and you should monitor closely.
Pitchers Will Piss You Off
Personally I find the first few weeks of the season a great time to sit my non stud pitchers to see if they will stick around on my team (league dependent). The first week specifically is very tough on pitchers, even the good ones (Hi Tanaka!). The difference between a Dylan Bundy and Michael Pineda will be almost nothing over the course of a full season, so I treat the guys I fill out my pitching staff with like they are on a 10 day contract. This is obviously dependent on your individual league but If I don’t feel confident starting a guy every matchup, he becomes disposable. Of all the positions I tinker with, the back end of my rotation is subject to the most change and I’m always looking to maximize the value of my starts.
The toughest part about trading in the beginning of the season is that, for the most part, we all chose our players over another player. This makes it hard to admit defeat and give up on guys or “overpay” for someone you already passed on a week ago in the draft. The exception to this rule are the guys that missed the draft. They have no artificial allegiance to their guys and may like quite a few on your team, they just weren’t there to draft them. So if you are in the mood for some early trades that is the best place to start.
I think I hit the main topics I wanted to get to but it’s always possible I add to it over the coming weeks. Feel free to comment and leave me some feedback on my first post so I can make this place a little better
Best of Luck