Looking ahead: THT Fantasy in the offseason

While the major league season is still riding out a crescendo that began in mid-September and has yet to break, much of the fantasy baseball world is in hibernation. Even a devout fantasy baseball player is prone to checking out for a bit once the regular season ends to cleanse the palate and recharge the batteries. But, when you’re ready to dedicate yourself to fantasy baseball once again, trust that the THT Fantasy staff will be here.

The offseason actually lends itself to the exploration of some interesting and important fantasy baseball topics. During the season, I feel somewhat compelled to center my columns on some measure of actionable advice to my readers, but the offseason allows for exploration of statistical models, pontification on league construction, and more traditional activities such as forecasting.

So, let me just take a bit of time to let everybody know what we have in store for the offseason, including some new features.

THT Fantasy Chats
Last week, you may have noticed a grey box on the main and Fantasy home pages, promoting a live chat via Coveritlive. THT Fantasy chats are the brainchild of new staff writer Nick Fleder. The plan is to hold live chats every other Sunday* at 7:00 p.m. Eastern. Various THT Fantasy writers will be available to discuss your fantasy questions. We love interacting with the readers, and look at this as just another way to be an accessible resource for fellow fantasy diehards.

The next chat is scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 23. I hope you’ll join me as I try to stoically discuss fantasy baseball like a professional while I’m really violently throwing items around my house and cursing some bottom-feeding defense for blowing a three-team-teaser.

Hardball Times will also be hosting non-fantasy chats, so keep your eye out for those too.

Keeper Doctor
With the proliferation of keeper leagues, roster questions don’t cease after game No. 162. Luckily, Jonathan Halket, the in-season Roster Doctor, is expanding his practice to include some offseason work—even though “keeper” doesn’t even remotely rhyme with “doctor.” So, please continue to send your offseason roster-related dilemmas to the keeper doctor at rosterdoctor AT gmail DOT com. Keep in mind the following suggested guidelines for submissions:

Emails in simple text with players’ full names properly spelled are much more likely to get responses. Also be sure to include your league’s player pool (mixed, AL-only, NL-only), number of teams, scoring format (roto, head-to-head, points, etc.), categories, and any other pertinent information.

Offseason Closer Watch
One way to get a leg up on your competition is to correctly anticipate closer decisions and acquisitions before they happen. That is why it is important to keep a pulse on offseason reliever moves and the overall complexion of the many bullpens that are in offseason flux each year. Nabbing a middle reliever prior to a role change can be invaluable. Paul Singman will continue to update the “Closer Watch” with a speculative eye toward next year and make periodic updates reflecting educated guesses on yet-to-be-decided closer gigs.

Content, content, and more content
In addition, expect plenty of value non-branded work over the next few months.

Josh Shepardson, who recently turned in a fabulous update of our Top 100 Fantasy Prospects feature, will continue his immersion in the youth, not by Occupying Wall Street, but by going in-depth on specific prospects of interest.

Michael Stein’s Fantasy Judgment series will explore important and unique instances in his long tenure as a league commissioner and discuss how precedents and rules get formed in fantasy leagues.

Jeff Gross will continue to contribute his own brand of commentary and statistical analysis throughout the offseason, exploring a variety of topics from projections to the importance of league constitutions, as well as manning @THTFantasy on Twitter.

Dave Shovein will take you through preparations for high stakes, high volume fantasy league tournaments.

Josh Smolow’s Fluke Watch will continue to analyze some of the game’s more enigmatic performers and give insight into who we should avoid in 2012, as well as whom we should bid on with confidence.

Newcomer Nick Fleder,and THT prognosticator extraordinaire, Ben Pritchett will continue to contribute on a variety of timely and perennially relevant issues. Brad Johnson is known to drop in as well.

Mental Health and the CBA
A particular bit of language in the latest CBA could have negative consequences for some players.

Yeah, I’m still here too. I plan to contribute my often misplaced and experimental pseudo-philosophical, sociology-based, wannabe economist musings. But, I’ll also be working on some long term projects that shall remain secret as long as I continue my half of the bribe and draft Julian Assange’s fantasy teams for him.

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