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Roto League Overview & Draft Strategy (2023 Fantasy Baseball)

Roto League Overview & Draft Strategy (2023 Fantasy Baseball)

As the World Baseball Classic rounds out, we need to make sure that our fantasy teams are ready for the draft! Speaking of rotisserie (roto) leagues very vaguely, they are different than points leagues.

A points league is set up like a fantasy football league. You accumulate points and each category is assigned a numerical value before the season begins. The team with the highest number of points wins at the end.

In both roto and points leagues, if it is a head-to-head league, every team is assigned an opponent each week. The victorious teams get a win. The losers get a loss. Playoffs are then decided based on your team’s record.

Roto League Overview & Strategy

Roto leagues are different. In what arguably takes more skill and baseball knowledge, a balanced roster is needed to make a truly dominant team. This is because the categories used hold equal weight. In order to be successful, the team needs to be able to execute in all (or at least most) of these categories.

The categories on offense are Batting Average (AVG), Runs (R), Home Runs (HR), Runs Batted In (RBI) and Stolen Bases (SB). The pitching categories are Wins, ERA, Strikeouts (K), WHIP and Saves (SV). The vast majority of roto leagues are scored in a 5×5 format, which acknowledges that there are five hitting categories and five pitching categories. This shows the importance of balance within the team.

In reading this, your first thoughts may be “how is this hard?” or “how will the matches/seasons all be so close?”, but, in reality, there will be some teams that focus on one thing and not shore up the back end to make sure that they can keep their balance.

For example, some players may be worried that they will get a power hitter who will completely destroy their teams chance at being among the best in the league in average. With that in mind, they delay getting a power hitter until it is too late. That power hitter is not someone who truly puts up big power numbers, but is instead a three-outcome type of player.

While at first glance, the strikeouts not negatively impacting you may add value to players like Joey Gallo or Carlos Santana. However, they can completely deplete a strength while not being elite at hitting the long ball like they once were. A successful team definitely avoids that red flag type of player who can singlehandedly lose a matchup for you by not putting the bat on the ball.

My strategy would be to treat building this team like you are building a real team. How many successful teams have multiple regular starters hitting below .235 in the lineup? How many have nine guys with less than 10 homers at the end of the season?

I also think it is important not to neglect the stolen base category. Some players are athletic and fast but cannot get the reads. As a result, they do not attempt to steal many bases. You need a couple of players who have shown that they can steal on MLB catchers and attempt to do so.

I would also always try to make sure that any player being added to your roster is capable of helping your team in at least two categories. With that, you don’t want the whole roster contributing to the same two categories at the same level.

Beyond our fantasy baseball content, be sure to check out our award-winning slate of Fantasy Baseball Tools as you prepare for your draft this season. From our free mock Draft Simulator – which allows you to mock draft against realistic opponents – to our Draft Assistant – which optimizes your picks with expert advice – we’ve got you covered this fantasy baseball draft season.


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