An event that makes me realize baseball season is getting closer is the arrival of fantasy baseball preview magazines on newsstands in mid-January. In reality, these guides are usually not worth purchasing because baseball season is still three months away.
While many of this year’s fantasy baseball magazines mostly fell within the aforementioned stereotype, I was so impressed with this year’s “Sporting News Fantasy Baseball Preview” that I wanted to write a post recommending it. The writers did an excellent job providing solid evaluations and well-reasoned projections based on more than the previous year’s stats, and I liked the cover featuring Albert Pujols and Mitch Kramer from “Dazed and Confused.”
The opening articles provide great tips about fantasy baseball strategy for different types of leagues. My favorite article discussed why teams should not allocate too many resources toward stolen bases. Among other things, the article considers the increasing number of basestealers, and correctly says the chances of a player who steals a large number of bases is more likely to get injured, meaning drafting them too early can prove to be a mistake. Another great article, entitled “False Starts,” discusses the “ex-prospect” theory which we previously discussed and contains a great list of recommended players (David Price, Matt LaPorta, Brett Anderson, Travis Snider).
The player analysis is standard, but provides good insight into each player. Blended in with the analysis are many charts showing valuable “beyond the numbers” statistics that help fantasy leaguers. For example, the charts discuss: (1) well-knows stats like Ryan Howard having many more second-half home runs than any other player in baseball; (2) the game’s most durable players; and (3) a chart focusing on a statistic called “batting average of balls in play.” I also enjoyed the “fantasy debates” where two writers give a point/counter-point discussion on issues such as “Would you rather draft a proven veteran or hot prospect in the late rounds?”
Therefore, if you are a person who will purchase a fantasy baseball magazine, I would highly recommend getting the preview published by the Sporting News.