With pitchers and catchers reporting for Spring Training in less than 3 weeks, now is a great time to familiarize yourself with MLB! This will be helpful if you have never played fantasy baseball or just need a refresher for the casual fan or player.
This will be useful for both Season-Long (SL) and DFS.
American League (AL) & National League (NL)
Knowing which teams belong in the AL or NL will be extremely useful and should probably be etched into your memory (for now. There are talks of the DH being introduced in the NL but my guess is that it wouldn't be implemented for the 2016 season). AL teams have the DH (designated hitter) while NL teams don't. AL teams who play in NL ballparks can't use their DH and their pitcher will need to bat in the batting order.
Why is this important? Take David Ortiz for example, DH for the Boston Red Sox. He can be in the lineup as a DH in AL home games but will need to play the field (first base) if he is to have regular at-bats in the lineup. Many DHs don't regularly play the field so drafting one for your SL team will take a little more strategy during the season.
Ballparks and Ballpark Factor
Not all ballparks are built the same. There are hitters' parks, pitchers parks', parks with domes, parks with retractable roofs. If you familiarize yourself with the different ballparks, it will help your lineup construction and roster changes much easier.
Just to name a few
Coors Field (Colorado Rockies)
Rogers Centre (Toronto Blue Jays)
Chase Field (Arizona Diamondbacks)
Camden Yards (Baltimore Orioles)
Great American Ball Park (Cincinnati Reds)
Petco Field (San Diego Padres)
AT&T Park (San Francisco Giants)
Safeco Field (Seattle Mariners)
PNC Park (Pittsburgh Pirates)
Tropicana Field (Tampa Bay Rays)
Do some research on different ballparks. AT&T Park has dimensions in it that can make it great for gap hitters with speed but is overall more of a pitchers' park, short porch in right field at Yankee Stadium makes it favorable for lefties, etc.
Get to Know the Players
For most of your top options for drafts and lineup construction, getting to know the handedness of the player can assist your with making decisions. Believe me when I say, knowing which pitchers and hitters are righty or lefty, will save you time! Don't forget about switch hitters, too. Each and every click you don't need to make because you already know the info, you can use those clicks when researching something else of more value.
This leads to platoons - righty pitcher vs lefty hitter, and vice versa. Same handedness of pitcher and hitter is known as a reverse platoon. Generally, you want the platoon but there are times when a reverse platoon is desirable. Make sure to do your research. Without going too much more into detail on players and their specifics, getting to know their handedness is a start.
You can look up different ADP (average draft position) rankings from different sports outlets. One of my favorites to follow is Tristan H. Cockcroft, ESPN Senior Writer. His current rankings can be found here: Top 25o fantasy baseball rankings for 2016
Don't Be Lazy
Fantasy baseball, whether it's SL or DFS, is the most grueling grind. If you're not willing to put in the work, it will show through your results. I could spend hours on a SL lineup and the same goes for DFS. For myself, I want to get better. You can still get better when you lose because there is so much learning that comes from that. Fair warning: it's a long season. Don't get discouraged (for too long) and keep at it.
I hope you found this information useful :)
To Be Continued...