It's easy to look at fantasy sports and say it's merely a lucky roll of the dice that brings success. After all, most draft their ball club based on rankings drawn up by ESPN or Yahoo. However, if you take a closer look, the usual perennial winners in fantasy baseball leagues are the ones who've done their research. While getting Miguel Cabrera or Justin Verlander in their prime seasons in the first round with give you a slight boost up on the competition's top players, the real game changes are the role players.
Where do those role players come from? The minor leagues. And if you're dedicated enough, you might just be able to find the next MVP before he's elevated to top round status.
Obviously here, the prime example is Mike Trout of last season. Trout got the call up early in the year and never looked back. He finished second in the MVP voting, won AL rookie of the year, was put on the All-star team, and won a Silver Slugger award all in the first season. You could make a case that he would have won MVP any other year had it not been for Miguel Cabrera getting the triple crown in who knows how long. Trout hit .326, slugged 30 HR's and 83 RBI's, stole 49 bases, and crossed home plate 129 times, all in his first major league season.
Many asked who was Mike Trout when he first burst onto the scene last year. How could someone so unknown be this good? The fact was, and is, though, he wasn't unknown to baseball, just to the fans. Trout had been at the top of prospect lists for a few years, and his talents were apparent to many who avidly follow the minor leagues. So, instead of passing on Trout early on the waiver wire because he'd only been hot for less then 10 games, the minor league junkies were falling over each other to pick him up before he was a popular pick-up.
Was this a one time occurrence? Certainly not. Of the top 20 in batting average at this early part of the season, four of these players were top prospects just last season. Jean Segura, Starling Marte, Manny Machado, and Jose Altuve. Further down the list are names like Bryce Harper, Lorenzo Cain, Paul Goldschmidt, and Jed Lowrie.
And it doesn't just stop on the offense. In the top 12 for ERA, Matt Harvey, Shelby Miller, Pat Corbin, and Matt Moore were all elite prospects heading into this season.
|Harvey has dominated hitters this season.|
Nolan Arenado - 3B - COL
Jedd Gyorko - 3B - SD
Anthony Rendon - 3B - WAS
Oswaldo Arcia - OF - MIN
Trevor Bauer - SP - CLE
Julio Teheran - SP - ATL
Wily Peralta - SP - MIL
Jose Fernandez - SP - MIA
Tony Cingrani - SP - CIN
Don't wait for the ESPN column to add the newest hot pickups. Get them early, and enjoy the benefits.