Wednesday, March 26, 2008


After watching the catcher from Oakland, Kurt Suzuki, steal his first base in his major league career I thought about the two categories that are always in need during the fantasy season...steals and saves.

If you were unable to draft Jose Reyes, Hanley Ramirez, or Chone Figgins you will need to take a look for base stealers before it's too late. If you don't have a guy on your team that can steal 50+ bags try and get people at every position who steal 5-10 bags a year. What makes a player like Carlos Lee a fantasy stud is the fact he contributes in all categories...10SB's in 2007. A few players in this category that can help with 10-15 steals a year include Russell Martin-C, Alex Rios-RF, Ryan Braun-3B, Alex Gordon-3B, Hunter Pence-OF, and what makes this next person a top 5 pick in any draft Matt Holliday-OF.

After looking over your team, subjectively, make note of how many steals you have and take a look at the waiver wire. Individuals like Juan Pierre, Dave Roberts, and Jerry Owens are one category studs. They do one thing and one thing only, STEAL. So, if you have a deep bench or have absolutely nothing in the steals category, go out and grab one of these individuals.

The second category I mentioned was saves. There is only a limited amount of saves out there and it falls into the hands of one pitcher per game. Take note, EVERY closer in baseball should be drafted because they offer something special and that's saves. Of course, the elite closers, Jonathan Papelbon, Joe Nathan, Trevor Hoffman, and Francisco Rodriguez give you more than saves. Looking at the above and their stats, you will notice they provide a high K's/9 rate. A rate of 9K's/9 and higher is great. The elite closers will help in saves, ERA, K's, WHIP, and the occasional vulture win too. These players, as mentioned in my draft strategy, go for a premium in drafts and you will see these names fall in the first 7 rounds.

As the season progresses make sure to keep an eye on the closer battles throughout the league. Closers come and go so keeping a close eye on all the teams is a great way to pick up a newly crowned closer that might put you over the top for saves. A great example was in the 2006 season where I picked up Jonathan Papelbon straight off the FA list because I kept an eye on the closer situation around the league. This gave me a nice boost in saves and I turned around and traded him for Carlos Lee later in the year.

Which brings me to my next point. As the season progresses and if you were lucky to accumulate tons of saves, make sure to trade and gather players to boost your other categories which you need help in. You want to win your saves category, and every other category by ONE, so if you are leading by 50 at the end of the season but lost the stolen base and HR categories by ONE you just wasted a chance to win your league. EVERY POINT COUNTS.

It is only the second day of the season so don't panic. Remember, it's a long road and there are many storms and bumps along the way, just relax and enjoy the ride. If you need help in a category just look for a value trade or on the FA list. But don't do something stupid just because your players go 0-4 in their first game.

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