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Fantasy Baseball Draft Strategy: Biggest Mistakes to Avoid on Draft Day

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 10:  Mariano Rivera of the New York Yankees throws out the first pitch prior to Game Three of the American League Division Series against the Baltimore Orioles at Yankee Stadium on October 10, 2012 in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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Adam WellsFeatured ColumnistFebruary 13, 2013

Mistakes in fantasy drafts are so easy to make that an overwhelming majority of people do so without realizing it. Falling into common draft tropes is perfectly understandable, because you think you are doing what is best for your team. 

However, when you follow what the other players are doing, you completely miss out on the opportunities staring you right in the face. 

As your fantasy baseball draft approaches, and you scramble searching for the best advice possible to win your league, here are the most common mistakes made in the draft room that you need to avoid if you want to win a championship. 

 

The First 2 Rounds are About Superstars

It doesn't happen often, but from time to time you will see someone waste one of their first two picks on someone with star potential who struggled all last season before coming on with a strong September performance. 

There are times when you can afford to get cute with your picks, like investing in rookies or young players poised to take the next step. But don't make a mistake right out of the gate. What happens early sets the tone for everything you do later. 

Mike Trout, Miguel Cabrera, Ryan Braun, Justin Verlander, etc. are the only players you should seriously think about in the first two rounds. 

 

Youth Is Better than Experience

One of the biggest shifts in Major League Baseball over the last decade, and one that carries over to fantasy, is the value of young players.

Teams know that they are likely to get better value from a young player who doesn't cost a lot of money than an aging veteran clinging to past glory on a multimillion-dollar, one-year deal. 

That is not to say that all older players aren't worthy of being drafted. David Ortiz and Derek Jeter have certainly proven themselves to be age-defying stars in both reality and the fantasy baseball world. 

However, those two are the exceptions instead of the rule. When faced with the choice between a young, unproven rookie/youngster or an aging star whose skills are in decline but still holds some value, I will always take the chance on the young player. 

Upside is everything in baseball. We hear about ceiling and potential all the time with prospects, so why not keep the trend going when it comes to fantasy baseball? You won't have to invest a high draft pick in the young player, nor will you get burned if he doesn't hit. 

 

Closers are Evil

One of the toughest positions to draft in fantasy baseball is closer because there are so many factors that go into making a valuable closer. The team has to be good enough to get the closer save chances; the closer has to be good enough to convert the opportunities. Closers are volatile by nature, so what are you going to get?

Unless you are getting the likes of Craig Kimbrel of Mariano Rivera (even off ACL surgery), there is no reason to get caught up in drafting a closer early. Roles can and will change throughout the year in the bullpen, so you can find pitchers who will rack up saves on the waiver wire. 

Whenever you hit a point where you think you absolutely need to draft a closer, wait one more round, then do it. Invest in other, more valuable positions that lack depth before you go after closers. 

 

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