I hope you had a nice Thanksgiving weekend. I worked. I'm working on a huge project for this blog that I think you will enjoy very much. I also worked at my day/night job. So it didn't seem like much of a holiday to me. But with December having finally arrived (or having already arrived - depending on your perception) it is time to get serious about preparing for the 2010 season. To kick things off I'm going to talk about ten resources that I believe that every serious fantasy owner will find invaluable.
2010 Baseball Forecaster
- BaseballHQ.com has become the standard to which all fantasy sites must compare themselves. They revolutionized fantasy analysis before sabermetrics became so popular. The Forecaster is the annual guide that includes projections for major leaguers and minor leaguers, strategy ideas, advanced pitcher evaluations, and thought-provoking articles that will leave you pondering new ways to think about baseball players and the ways they perform. This is a must have for every serious owner.
Baseball America 2010 Prospect Handbook
- Many owners in leagues without farm systems think that they can do without books like this. Perhaps they can, but not if they truly want to be the best at what they do. BA's Prospect Handbook is (as it says in the subtitle) the comprehensive guide to baseball's rising stars from the definitive source on prospects. No one does it better. There are plenty of prospect websites and publications that do good work but in my opinion they work best as compliments to this handbook. It includes organization reports on every major league team, and scouting reports on the top 30 prospects in every organization. In serious fantasy leagues you need to know not only who today's players are but who tomorrow's stars will be. I use it almost everyday of the season. I would be lost without it.
Baseball Prospectus 2010
- When you are really playing Advanced Fantasy Baseball, it is essential that you have a deep understanding of all the major league teams and how and why they do the things they do. Nothing you can buy will increase your understanding as this gigantic book will. I have the Prospectus, the Forcaster, and the Prospect Handbook next to me as I research players, write my articles, and answer e-mails. The Prospectus has long reports on every team as well as scouting reports on all the major leaguers and most of the minor leaguers worth mentioning. It is the size of a phonebook but you'll read it in a week or so. Every page is filled with knowledge and a sense of humor that makes this one of my favorites reads of the year.
The RotoJunkie.com Message Board - This site is where some of the best fantasy players on the planet go to hang out and share their thoughts. Many experts visit these pages and offer their opinions on what's going on in baseball and the fantasy sports industry. Further, members (it is entirely free by the way) can post their rosters and receive keeper advice, trade advice, and opinions on players 24 hours a day. You can find me there posting as Bigjonempire.
FanGraphs.com - When I want to understand a player's performance this is where I go. You will find all the basic stats, advanced stats, batted ball stats, defensive stats, plate discipline stats, pitch type stats, and good looking graphs for almost everything. But that is just part of it. You also find the same stats for teams and sortable lists and stats for every minor league as well as the major leagues. On top of all this valuable information are two blogs that have become regular reads for me - the Fangraphs Blog, and the RotoGraphs Blog. I do not always agree with their analysis but the thought process is always interesting and worth reading. This is a great community for those into advanced statistics or trying to learn more about them. I am on this site daily.
Fantasy Pros 911 - If you are anything like me, you could not possibly read enough fantasy articles. Fantasy Pros 911 covers every fantasy sport year round. They have a large roster of professional writers including Lenny Melnick one of the original (and still the greatest) fantasy experts. Lenny's podcasts are a must listen, every morning. I recently realized just how much I was missing by being just a casual listener. learn from my mistake and make Fantasy Pros 911 one of your regular stops.
ProjectProspect.com - This site is the perfect compliment to your prospect guide and it is entirely free. This site has a group of writers who are not only obsessed with prospects but also into fantasy baseball. They publish prospect rankings year round. They have an invaluable youtube.com channel where you can see video of the prospects you are researching. They get access to the players and interview them for bits of news on the injuries and mechanical adjustments that just does not often find its way into the mainstream media. Check out this site and their great forum everyday and you will find it incredibly easy to keep up with the happenings in minor league baseball.
Baseball Team Blogs - It is nearly impossible for a person with a job and a family (that they care about being with) to follow the nitty gritty of every team in the kind of detail that we would like. So why not let the people who are most obsessed with their favorite teams do most of the work for you? Obviously not every team blog is created equal. Some blogs have clearly risen above the others and you can find links to many of them in the sidebar of this blog's main page. Some of my favorite blogs are The Newberg Report (Rangers), USS Mariner, Drunk Jays Fans, Let's Go Tribe, and Only Baseball Matters (Giants). Look for the blogs that post regularly and that seem to understand the organization as a whole, rather than obsessing over a particular player or two. If I could only have one resource on this list I'd pick the blogs. Every site in my sidebar is worth checking out.
MLB Depth Charts - It can be impossible to keep up with team rosters, especially during Spring Training (when it happens to be most important). This is why I like having someone do it for me. The guys at MLB Depth Charts have a knack for keeping the rosters for every Major League team in order.
Rotoworld.com's Player News - I am not a fan of their analysis (especially in the news blurbs) but the actual news blurbs themselves are invaluable. There is no better site for tracking the injuries, the transactions, and the events both major and minor that have an impact on our fantasy seasons. Checking in everyday is well worth it.