Fantasy Baseball: Reengineer Your Year

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Before you can look at player rankings, it is important to examine the overall strategy you employed in the previous season. Rankings are essential, but, without a strategy, you could be left wanting at year-end.

You can always tell a good post because the title will rhyme. To reengineer means to take something apart, in this case your fantasy team's year, and seeing how it works. For my money, reengineering is the place to start in your preparation for next season. What went well? What did not go as planned? And most importantly, why?

In no particular order, let's start at the beginning; your preseason rankings. I do my own, and I do them in stages. The first thing I do is to calculate the three year average for each player, and then look for a discernible trend. At the same time, without any statistics at all, my dad and I (mostly my dad, but this is my post, so I am going to pretend I helped with this part) rank the players. We then compare the two lists. If something seems amiss, we look deeper, if not we are good. We take into account playing time, injury history, and anything else that rears its ugly head. This year we will add underlying stats to that list. I'll let you know how that goes.

Next we place the players in tiers. Statistically, and otherwise, you should be indifferent to players in a tier. If you have Matt Cain and Gio Gonzalez in the same tier, it should not make a difference which of these starters you draft. How did you do so far? Did those rankings and tiers hold up during the season? If not, why? Fluke injuries? Not much you can do about those? Did you ignore certain facts or allow bias to creep into your process? Admit it and resolve to not let it happen again. Or you can just continue and live with it. Hey, they're your rankings.

Next, how was your draft? Did you wait too long on pitching? Not long enough? How did your closer strategy work out for you? (After this year, how did anyone's closer strategy work out?). Did position scarcity play a part or did you take the best player available? I'm a best available drafter, myself. There are times when this coincides with position scarcity, such as this year when I took Tulo in the first round, with the sixth pick, but that is really just coincidence. Again, at each stage, what worked; what didn't; and why?

Finally, how was your in-season management? Mine needs some improvement, but I need to take a closer look at this before I can improve. I gave up on Wade Miley too early and passed on Tyler Colvin and Norichika Aoki early on the waiver wire. I'll get back to you on these. Also, I panicked and wasted a lot of FAAB when I lost Werth and Tulo to injuries, early in the year. That really cost me, down the stretch.

How do you put all this together? First, answer the questions above, honestly. Second, take a look at the rankings, preferably those you had a hand in assembling, and put those players into tiers. Third, decide on a draft strategy. You should map out the first several rounds. How many is several? At least until you plan take your third pitcher. Finally, post-draft, put some players on a watch list and start thinking about future moves.

Try the reengineering strategy and let me know how it goes. In the mean time, over the next several posts, I will take you through the rankings process (mine, that is) and you can decide for yourself whether it has merit. See you soon.

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