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Baseball Hacks by Joseph Adler

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Draft Your Fantasy Team

Outsmart your fellow fantasy league owners and pick the best fantasy team you can.

Fantasy baseball is a lot like gambling: you have to be a little lucky to win. But it’s a lot more like a poker game than a slot machine: smart players are more likely to win. This hack includes some ideas on how to be smart about drafting your team.

The Basics

You’ve probably noticed that I’m a modern baseball fan: I like sabermetric measurements such as OBP, slugging average, and range factor; and I don’t like figures such as batting average, runs batted in, and errors. If you really want to understand the professional game and pick the winners, modern formulas work best. But if you want to win your fantasy league, they’re not the best approach.

Most fantasy leagues score players by ranking them in a few categories or scoring them based on their performance in a few measurements. (See “Start or Join a Fantasy League” [Hack #72] for more information on how to score and rank fantasy teams.) These games are usually based on traditional measurements, like average, runs batted in, and stolen bases for batters; and wins, saves, and ERA for pitchers. In real games, the number of stolen bases and attempts matters (see “Measure Base Running Through EqBR” [Hack #52] ), but in 4 x 4 Rotisserie leagues, only the number of stolen bases matters.

Here are a few simple tips on picking fantasy players.

Pick a closer.

Many baseball writers think managers should try to use their best relief pitchers ...

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