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Two Lessons for Next Season

The fantasy baseball season is officially over. Whether you won your league or stopped playing weeks ago, there’s a lot to take away from the past season. While wounds are still fresh for some of you, it’s always important to reflect on your fantasy team. Knowing where you went wrong, or what went right can help you formulate a winning strategy in future seasons. As you look back on your team, here are a few things to keep in mind for next season.

Have confidence in your draft picks.

This one seems obvious, but it’s actually pretty tough to follow. Every year, there are a couple of mid or late round picks that get off to poor starts and are dropped just weeks after the draft. Immediately after they are cut, it seems, these players go on a tear and wind up as some of the more valuable fantasy players. Last season, it was Michael Morse. And this season, a solid case can be made for Paul Goldschmidt. By season’s end, the original owner of those players is kicking themselves for letting them go.

That doesn’t have to happen. Assuming that you’ve done your research, and put together a solid list of sleepers, you need to stay confident in your guys. If you believed in their talents enough to invest a draft pick in them, you shouldn’t be willing to cut bait with a guy after only a few weeks. Hell, sometimes it takes a month for a guy to get going. Now, obviously, injuries are a part of fantasy sports, and they could force you to give up on a guy too early. But if you can help it, try and stick with your guys for a month at the very least.

Mike Trout and Bryce Harper are the exception, not the rule.

There’s usually a ton of risk involved with drafting rookie or top prospects in fantasy leagues. But with the success of Trout and Harper, there’s a chance that owners will be far more confident in selecting the next crop of rookies much earlier than usual. That means guys like Dylan Bundy, Manny Machado and Jurickson Profar are likely to cost quite a bit next season. While Bundy, Machado and Profar are highly regarded prospects, it’s pretty rare for those guys to come up and perform as well as Trout or Harper. In most leagues, Trout had an outside chance at being the most valuable player, and he missed the first month of the season. That’s just not likely to happen again.

Now, there are some rookies that are able to come up and play well immediately, but even the best prospects are far from a sure thing. It look Jay Bruce and Phil Hughes years before they finally reached fantasy relevance. Owners that invested in Jeremy Hermida are still waiting for a breakout. On the other hand, Jason Heyward and Buster Posey immediately produced. While there’s some upside in young guys, there’s also a fair amount of risk. Harper and Trout succeeded because they were considered two of the best prospects of all time. Same with Stephen Strasburg. Bundy, Machado and Profar are going to top a lot of prospect lists this summer, but all three of them carry more risk than Trout or Harper. That’s not to say they aren’t worth a decent draft pick, but don’t go overboard because rookies looked good this year.