I started writing about fantasy baseball 20 years ago, corresponding with Alex Patton. Alex published these arcane email conversations in the last volumes of his annual book, conversations for masochists that Alex to this day blames for killing his publishing venture. Me, I think it was the Internet.
Back then we had all sorts of questions about Rotisserie Baseball, questions that obsessed us and drove us to find answers. Why did we pay more for hitting than pitching, when they each scored an equal number of points? What was the best way to value players? Did the position a player qualified at change his value? What about player projections? How good can they be? And. is it better to dump a category on draft day? How about two?
We discussed these and countless other topics endlessly, attempting to get an edge and win our leagues. I was able to convert my efforts into a series of jobs in the growing fantasy baseball business, publishing articles, projections and magazines that attempted to guide fantasy players looking to improve their play each season. Over the years, at ESPN, briefly at Baseball Prospectus, at MLB.com and in the Fantasy Baseball Guide magazine, I’ve run hundreds of studies, looking at empirical evidence for ways to give the fantasy baseball player a better understanding of how to play.
Yet too often when I read writing about fantasy baseball these days I hear ideas that are presented as fact that are wrong, or ideas that are presented as new that are old. It occurred to me that much of the intellectual underpinning of our fantasy baseball world exist today only in word of mouth. The old paperback books are out of print and were never collected by libraries. The internet may someday be the place to find all those old stories, but finding this material, spread out across a myriad of websites, obscured or orphaned by redesign and premium fees, or scrapped by progress’s relentless move forward, is often impossible. Rotoman’s Guide to Fantasy Baseball is an attempt to put together a fully-tested encyclopedia of wisdom about the fantasy game in one single easily-accessible volume.
I’ll know I’m done when, if you have a question about the game of fantasy baseball, you can find a good answer in the Guide.