Fantasy Baseball for the Newbie

Jamie DruckerContributor IMarch 15, 2010

NEW YORK - APRIL 17:  A view of Yankee Stadium from center field during the New York Yankees game against the Cleveland Indians on April 17, 2009 in the Bronx borough of New York City. Many of the high priced seats behind home plate remained empty during the game.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

So your friends finally convinced you to join a fantasy baseball league? Or you finally decided to put your baseball knowledge to the ultimate test? But where do you begin? Lets break it down. 

Now you’re a general manager, you own the team, you make all the decisions about drafting, trading and acquiring players. Your competing against other owners in the league, they may be your best friends or complete strangers either way their your competition.

Most leagues have a commissioner this is a person who sets the rules at the beginning of the season, determines the scoring, gets owners together for a draft, and disputes any problems or clarifications on rules. 

Once you pick what league your going to be a part of you will participate in a draft or auction where you will determine a set line up. This will happen before the start of the season, usually around spring training time. The number of roster spots may vary but the most common is 23. Normally, 13 position players, 9 pitchers and 1 other “utility” player who can play multiple spots.

Most draft are chosen using a “serpentine” style meaning if you have the first pick of the 1st round you will have the last pick of the 2nd round and then the first pick of the 3rd round and then you just go all the way through the draft back and forth until you have your whole roster. 

Once the season starts you may decide that it would be beneficial to start trading. This is when two owners from the fantasy league trade one player for another. A reason you may want to do this would be if you were really strong in one category like power, maybe you’d trade a slugger to another team who has a speedster, a guy who gets a lot of stolen bases. You want to make a trade that makes the most sense for your team.

Another thing that can help your team is to acquire a free agent. Different leagues will vary on how they handle free agents; your commissioner can help you clarify the rules. But basically a free agent is a player that wasn’t drafted on anyone’s league but is eligible to be picked up. A lot of times rookies will come up during the year or guys will come off injuries. This will give you the chance of picking up a player but will mean you also need to drop a player. 

The way each league scoresmay vary as well but the most common is to have 5 hitting catories: Runs, RBI, stolen bases, batting average and homeruns and then 5 pitching categories: base runners per inning, wins, saves, strike outs and ERASo basically you accumulate points by being in first place in that particular category. The more categories that you place the more points you will acquire improving your standing. 

Sounds time consuming? It can be, but its up to you. You can put very little time but might not do as well. Fantasy Baseball takes more time then fantasy football because there are more games being played, more injuries and a lot more players to know.However the more you put into it the more you will get out of it and whether your playing for money or just for fun nothing can put a price of bragging rights on winning the overall league.