Catching the Wave: Fantasy Baseball Catchers for the Second Half of 2012

With the first half of the 2012 season behind us, we’ve seen a lot of disappointments, some surprises and a lot of surprises in regard to fantasy baseball. Let’s look at a few catchers that have caught the attention of fantasy owners in the first half and what we might expect for the rest of the season.

Carlos Santana (CLE)-

The Indians catcher topped many pre-season lists at the position. However, he has woefully under-achieved so far this season. He has a much higher offensive potential than most catchers at the position and his blend of power and patience made him a nice pick coming into the season. With only 5 home runs in the first half, he’ll have to step it up a notch to start justifying his draft position. With at bats coming at first base and DH as well as behind the plate, he is a good bet to pile up the plate appearances (and potential for good counting stats). Expect a big second half.

Carlos Ruiz (PHI)-

Sometimes you can predict a breakout season, sometimes they catch you by surprise. Very few (read: no one) expected Ruiz to be the best-hitting catcher in fantasy at the All Star break. We’ve come to expect a decent average from him since 2010 but the counting stats are a real bonus. With Chase Utley and Ryan Howard back in the Phillies line up, you should expect Ruiz to complete his career year. Add in the fact that he traditionally excels in the second half and Ruiz may very well hold onto the top spot among fantasy catchers in 2012.

Jonathan Lucroy (MIL)-

The Brewers’ backstop was the best hitting catcher in the majors when he went down with a freak off-field injury at the end of May. He should be on a minor league rehab assignment by late July with an eye to return by the beginning of August. Continue to stash him and get him back in your line up when he returns. He has taken the next step in his career progression this season and is capable of adding some real value in fantasy.

J.P. Arencibia (TOR)-

Arencibia has certainly become a consistent offensive player. Low batting average, lots of strikeouts and a home run every 5.2 games. There were some rumblings early in the season that rookie catching phenom Travis D’Arnaud may get the call up at some point this season and challenge Arencibia for playing time. However, with D’Arnaud likely out for the season with a serious knee injury, both playing time and consistent power can be expected from J.P. for the rest of 2012.

Kurt Suzuki (OAK)-

Entering the year, Suzuki was a pretty consistent player who you could rely on for a mediocre batting average (around.250) but with decent, 15 home run ability and the chance to put up RBI when slotted into the middle of the order. With Josh Willingham and Hideki Matsui gone in the off-season, Suzuki had a chance to get back into a run producing role with the Athletics. It hasn’t happened. He has been brutal offensively and has recently lost his starting job to rookie Derek Norris. Even though Norris has had his struggles at the plate recently, expect Suzuki to ride the pines for the majority of the second half. Avoid him.

Catcher is always a tough position for fantasy owners to fill effectively. The second half of 2012 shouldn’t be any different. But there are some players worth noting for sure. Good luck!


How to Have More Success in Daily Fantasy Baseball

When choosing to play daily fantasy sports, you are choosing to commit time and money towards, what is essentially, a hobby. You have to spend money to enter fantasy sports contest in order to win money from them; it is considered gambling in most states. It is up to you to decide how much time you want to commit to playing fantasy sports.

Spending a few minutes everyday may not be enough. Quickly glancing through the slate and just throwing a lineup together will most likely not result in consistent success. Here are some ways to improve your success when playing Daily fantasy baseball.

First, choose hot players for your lineup and avoid cold ones. In sports, momentum is a very real thing and players that are playing well tend to build off each good game they have. Players that perform well for multiple games will often be riding a “hot” streak, you want to target these players. If a player has scored 30 fantasy sports in his 3 of his last 5 games there is a pretty good chance he will play well in the 6th. Likewise, if a player is not performing well game after game, or is “cold”, avoid using this player. In baseball, hot and cold streaks are very prevalent. If a hitter is hitting well consistently, he is probably seeing the baseball really well and are picking it up quickly. The opposite would be if a player is striking out a lot or mis-hitting a lot of balls, he is probably not seeing the ball very well. Always try to find the hitter who are hot for your lineup.

Next, always take advantage of match ups. Taking advantage of good match ups is the most important thing you can do to consistently have success in daily fantasy sports. Having a “good match up” means that a player is projected to have a higher chance of success against an opposing pitcher or vice versa. Your pitcher(s) will always make or break your lineup. If you lock in a pitcher that gets shelled you will have a very small chance of earning any cash in your contests. When considering a pitcher for your lineup always consider the matchup. Target pitchers who are facing a weak offensive team or a team that has been struggling hitting. Even if the pitcher is one of the top pitchers in the league, avoid them if they are facing a good hitting team. A good rule of thumb is to avoid pitchers who are facing the top 5-10 offensive teams in the league. If you come across a good pitcher facing a team who is 20th or worse in hitting they are usually a solid pick. Using both hot players and ones with good match ups will increase your chances of having success in daily fantasy baseball.


How to Discover What Is the Best Fantasy Football Site

Fantasy football has boomed in popularity over the last decade and has developed into one of America’s – and the worlds – new favourite pastimes. The accessibility of the Internet, means that now, more than ever, a whole host of people from various demographics are signing up, drafting players, picking their weekly line ups, all while keeping one eye firmly fixed on the holy grail – a league championship win.

It doesn’t matter if it’s for financial prizes or simply for bragging rights, the allure of beating your buddies and taking out the coveted championship is strong. So strong, in fact, it has players from all walks of life searching high and low for any tips, advice or insight that may give them an edge on the competition.

One of the most common questions I’m asked (having been a fantasy football fanatic for years now,) is, ‘What is the best fantasy football site?’ Everyone is looking for a leg up on their competition so while I’m not going to recommend any specific site in particular (just yet… ) I thought I’d offer my expert insight into what I believe goes into making a fantasy football advice/information site the best in its class.

Real Time Updates – Any fantasy football information or news site worth its salt will update their news pages often – daily, if not hourly in most cases. You can spot a lazy site that’s just leaching off others when an injury report comes through so late that even your grandmother had heard about it.

Player Tracker Tools – If the only statistics a site offers you are the general numbers you can find anywhere online then you know that the site you’re on isn’t the best. If you’re going to beat your competition all year-long you’ll need to look at the players in ways that others couldn’t even dream of. You’ll need to know their strengths and weaknesses backwards.

Confident Trade Advice – I emphasise ‘confident’ because few sites will offer you advice firmly and tell you it’s reliable and to trust it. Most will hedge their bets and cover their butts, telling you what they think before making it very clear that it all comes down to your choice and that they’re not responsible if the trade doesn’t work out. I love confidence. I trust in people who trust in themselves. Find a site willing to back their advice and you’ve found yourself a gem!
In summary, the answer to the question, ‘What is the best fantasy football site?’ is this: the site that offers Draft Projections, Player Tracker Tools, Customised Line-Up Advice, Hot Waiver Wire Notifications and Unparalleled Injury Reports.

If you can find a site that has all that, bookmark it immediately and don’t tell another soul that you’ve found it as it will likely be the key to you taking home a championship this year!

I won’t mention the site I’ve used for years now as I’m not looking to hand over the secrets to my back-to-back league championships to competitors in my leagues. If you’re interested though, I have mentioned the site I visit once or twice before on my blog, so if you care to pop on by you may be able to figure out where I get all of my secrets from.


Baseball Is The Ultimate Fantasy Sport

friends watching football on TV

No other sport utilizes statistics the same way baseball does. The reason for this is unclear: perhaps it’s the slower pace of the game which gives more deliberation to every play, or maybe it’s just the way statistics are gathered by the teams themselves. Maybe it’s something else entirely. But for whatever reason, baseball fans have a preponderance of data to mine when predicting the outcomes of games. With this in mind, there are a few reasons why baseball is the quintessential sports fantasy game.

When you want to show that you are a die-hard fan because you know your sport inside out, it’s a bigger statement when your sports is necessarily more complicated. Being able to predict the happenings of a machine with many moving parts is a greater accomplishment than making an accurate prediction of something less complicated. Baseball has an undeniably greater wealth of statistics to mine. There are numbers on everything imaginable, and even partially on what’s unimaginable. The question becomes, what do you do with these numbers?

Here is where the sports gut comes into play. If everyone has access to the same statistics, to gain the edge on everybody you must know which statistics are important, which are not, which can be dismissed altogether, and which numbers are undervalued. This is the key behind the movie Moneyball, about the manager of a baseball franchise with a smaller budget than the competition, and in order to beat the teams with more money he has to look at the same statistics from another perspective altogether. This forces him to be resourceful, and think outside the box. Sports fans can do this in their fantasy leagues. After spending years watching baseball, there’s a certain intuition concerning the sport that’s acquired, and it’s this sense of the game that has to direct the statistics.

When the sports gut and the cold, hard numbers interact, that’s top level fantasy league thinking! In a way, this is what makes fantasy leagues so special: it cannot be won by having either a pure instinct for the sport, or an accountant’s ability to crunch numbers. Both must be used together. Die-hard sports fans must also do their homework, because they are competing against fans just as passionate as they are, but who also put the time in to go over the numbers. In this way, fantasy sports require not just heart, but the brains behind the game, too.

No other sport emphasizes statistics the way baseball does, and even the casual fan will be exposed to more numbers than casual fans of hockey or soccer. They’re shared freely by baseball announcers who have them at the tip of their tongues, and more devoted fans are the same. It’s this heightened emphasis on the statistic that gives baseball a privileged place in sports fantasy leagues, as winning bets on this sport requires a formidable knowledge from a wider pool than any other sport. Winning takes passion and homework.