The View from the Bench

Paul Salomon

It’s an all-star squad with hitters like A-rod, Carlos Lee, Andruw Jones, Scott Rolen and Scott Podsednik. Which is not to mention the “aces up” pitching staff, headed by Chris Carpenter, Mariano Rivera, Mark Buehrle and the red hot Bronson Arroyo.
It’s not that hard to believe, I guess, but the A-town Champs, my fantasy baseball team, have just overtaken first place.
Being the golden boy of fantasy baseball, I suppose I’m in a position to give some aid to those lesser fantasy managers that may be reading. I know you’ve all been waiting for my fantasy article, and your faithful patience has paid off. Here’s what works for No. 1.
First of all, every league is different, and may have different stats counted, but some things remain constant. On the hitting end, you’ll have R, HR, RBI, SB and AVG at least. On the Pitching side you’ll have W, SV, K, ERA and probably WHIP. I’ll let you know what you need to do to maximize your squad’s potential.
You’ve probably already drafted and ruined this for yourself, but that’s ok. In the draft, you should have been looking at your infield. There are enough productive outfielders that you can get a good garden off waivers, and every team will produce at this position.
It’s ok to grab a big name outfielder like Vlad Guerrero, of course, or a Carlos Lee, but if you’ve got a really productive hitter in the infield, especially the middle, you’ll hold it over every other team.
Grab one pure base stealer like Carl Crawford if you can, and hope the other guys will mix some steals in. Podsednik and Brian Roberts rack up SB for me every week.
If you’re in a head-to-head league, then realize AVG is a coin flip week to week. Some guys get hot. Some get cold. If you take care of HR and SB in the draft, the rest will probably follow.
The draft is actually a little overrated. Everyone’s going to get seemingly good players, but some won’t actually be that good. It’s how you handle your players in the season that gets you those extra wins.
Keep an eye on your lineups. Never forget to set them, and make sure you know who’s hot and who’s not. If you have guys competing for positions, feel free to check what pitchers they are facing and how they match up. Some guys crush some pitchers.
The most important thing that you can do is keep your ear to the waiver wire. Big name guys will get dropped when they cool off, and they can be picked back up when they heat back up. What’s most important is that you grab the hot pitchers. Guys like Bronson Arroyo or Greg Maddux will surpass their projections, and you want them.
Get good hitters to fill positions with one or two subs. What you want is tons of pitchers that can rotate in on their day and pile up K, W and SV.
This is the kind of stuff that works for me, and let me tell you, it’s working-first place feels nice. I’ll keep you posted through the season, but for now we are the A-Town Champs and so we shall be.