Whether you play fantasy baseball for fun or for a prize, the most important thing to remember is your draft is a war. You have no friends. There are no allies. And you need to know your opponents inside and out, whether it’s amid the mayhem of an auction or the frustrating order of a snake draft.
To paraphrase Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War”: know thy enemy. I learned that lesson quite early in my fantasy career when my home keeper league capitalized on my primary weakness: I’m a sucker for a power-hitting rookie third baseman.
Over the years, the names have been abundant. Adrian Beltre, Eric Chavez, Troy Glaus and Aramis Ramirez are just a few who come to mind. I was routinely aggressive in dynasty formats, and I would classically overbid or reach a round early in redraft formats.
Though it took my league-mates some time to catch on, by the time someone like Jose Ramirez emerged in 2013, I never stood a chance. Everyone else bid me up or drafted him right in front of me. I was forced to change my methodology, turn the tables on them and let them be the ones to overbid and reach. The past 10 years have been entertaining, to say the least.
But with the emergence of Baltimore’s Gunnar Henderson and the fact that Jordan Walker of the Cardinals qualifies at third base, I’m getting the itch again. Henderson has tremendous raw power, plus-speed and with a full season of at-bats should easily breach the 20-homer barrier with double-digit stolen bases. Walker is a 6-foot-5 behemoth who doesn’t seem to have any holes in his swing, something most big men don’t achieve until after a season or two in the majors.
Henderson should break camp with the Orioles and play both third base and shortstop, giving him the coveted multi-position eligibility. Walker may need a month at Triple-A, but given the weakness of the Cardinals’ outfield, Walker should spend most of the year in the big leagues.
Though this is an itch that needs to be scratched, the league message board is already littered with posts citing my love for Henderson. Based on his ADP and everyone’s statements, I may have to look solely at Walker, which doesn’t bother me, as I believe he is better long-term. But it will be a fight to get him once Henderson is off the board. As I said, the draft is a war, but I’m not leaving the battlefield without at least one of them.
Howard Bender is the head of content at FantasyAlarm.com. Follow him on Twitter @rotobuzzguy and catch him on the award-winning “Fantasy Alarm Radio Show” on the SiriusXM fantasy sports channel weekdays from 6-8 p.m. Go to FantasyAlarm.com for all your fantasy baseball advice.
By: Ny Post