When drafting fantasy baseball players who would you give greatest consideration to?

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Answered by: Mitch, An Expert in the Fantasy Baseball Category
Every fantasy player has their own strategy for developing a team. Some players lean heavily toward power hitters and others want mostly quality pitching. Generally speaking, when drafting fantasy baseball players, it is better to have a diverse team to start with. Who you draft early is greatly dependent upon what number your draft pick is and who has already been drafted by the time your turn comes.

Using various resources, any team owner can find a ranking of players. These rankings are based on past performance and future expectations. As no one has yet figured out how to see into the future, rankings will always be somewhat subjective. I agree with most experts that the best player in the game today is Albert Pujols and urge any manager with the top pick to not hesitate to draft him immediately.

So, you have the number two pick and it's a little harder. You don't know if Alex Rod will put up the MVP numbers he used to or if it would be better to draft Chase Utley with your number two pick. Since it is subjective, in the end you have to go with gut instinct influenced by your research. Ryan Howard, Carl Crawford and a few others are often considered first round picks. Picking in the number two spot, assuming Pujols is already gone, I would go with Ryan Howard. He is still young and leaves no reason to doubt he will maintain his usual high numbers. He also doesn't generally have a subpar batting average to go with his power numbers.

If a manager leans heavily on pitching, then the higher the pick, the more likely he will opt for a top pitcher. If picking fourth or higher I would start looking at that possibility myself. If the absolute top hitters are gone I would consider drafting Roy Halladay or Cliff Lee an imperative move. If picking late enough that both of them are gone I would move onto CC Sabathia. Unfortunately, some managers will pick toward the end. In that case it's likely that all three pitchers are gone as well as the most dependable high scoring hitters. I would seriously consider Joe Mauer at that point. At the very bottom of the order a manager gets two consecutive picks and near the bottom two picks in a short time span. Picking Mauer, an MVP type player is a solid move as no other player at that position would usually perform as well and you have your next pick shortly to go to another power hitter, a great starter or even a top notch closer.

There is one other consideration that must be taken into account while drafting. Is your league head-to-head or roto? In a head-to-head league, it is your team's performance against your opponent's team that counts. Often times, in that kind of league, I seriously consider a very top heavy, pitching team. If you compete in ten categories and can absolutely clean up in the pitching categories, then you only need one or two others out of five to win for the week. It is a strategy that has proven very effective.

All in all, past performance, age and injury history have to be given greatest consideration during all aspects of the draft. For this reason I will continue advocating Pujols as a top pick when drafting fantasy baseball players.

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