The Fantasy Baseball Guide 2012 has been sighted! Touched!

Tout Wars AL 2011 Champion Larry Schechter found this year’s Guide in an unnamed store at lunchtime today, and bought a copy, even though there’s one in the mail to him as we speak.

Larry was perhaps looking for his fun story, “The Gutsiest Trade I’ve Ever Made,” on page 20, about a deal he made last August in Tout Wars with Ron Shandler.

The official release date for the magazine is next week, but it seems that it’s landing on shelves now!

In fact, here’s a shot of it on the Fantasy Baseball rack at Barnes and Noble in Park Slope, Brooklyn! We’re out early, and I couldn’t be happier.

The Fantasy Baseball Guide 2012: Coming February 15th

This year’s guide is at the printer, and should start showing up in stores soon. Here’s the front cover.

Strategies of Champions 2005

Rotoman’s 2nd Annual Regulars League
19 Team, Mixed, 5X5, Draft
By Anthony Beaulieu
Brahma Bulls

Rotoman’s Regulars League consists of dedicated and knowledgeable baseball fans found at askRotoman.com. Over the past 5 years I’ve been a frequent reader and poster on the website. I find it an invaluable source for fantasy sports, which has helped me place at the top in my annual leagues, year after year. Last year I was away during the draft of the first Rotoman’s Regulars Leagues. This year I made myself available so I wouldn’t miss out. This is a highly competitive league, so I knew it was a great opportunity to see what I could do.

Going into it, I knew the draft was going to play a huge part in the outcome of the league. In a 19 team league, you have to draft a decent team to give yourself a shot. But if you draft a good team, your chances of winning increase dramatically. And that’s what I wanted to do. I wanted to give myself the best opportunity to win. Here are some focal points I looked for going into the draft.

• Draft a balanced team.
• Stay clear of injury prone player
• Try and draft only 1-5 hitters.
• Land a horse early.
• Load up on bombers.
• Get a closer on a winning team.
• Draft speed at middle infield late.

This is how I did…

With the 16th pick overall, I got my horse. Johan Santana. I’m guessing he slipped because many believed his 2004 2nd half was a fluke. Not me. I knew he would pile up Ks (238) and provide excellent ratios (ERA under 3, WHIP under 1). His wins were down this year (16), but overall I was pretty pleased. After this pick, I knew I could wait on another SP and move right on into bigtime power hitters.

In a league this big, I figured that if you can get at least 4 hitters who are gonna hit around 30-40 HRs, they will also pick up around 100 RBIs & 100 RUNs. So my next 3 picks were David Ortiz, Carlos Lee & Derrick Lee. Not surprising, Ortiz and D. Lee had MVP caliber years. Combined they netted me: .317 BA, 93 HR, 255 RBI and 239 RUNs. C. Lee had a down year in my opinion, but was still able to hit over 30 HR and 100 RBI. All three of these bombers were huge. (I still wanted one more though, so when Pat Burrell was available in the 9th round, I snatched him. He was good for over 30 HR and 100 RBI…he also hit .281! Excellent. )

After my first 4 picks (Santana, Ortiz, C. Lee and D, Lee), I focused on getting a closer. I didn’t want to punt any categories in a league this big. Luckily for me, other owners were drafting SPs and hitters. So when Izzy was there in the 5th round, I jumped all over it! This is what I wanted, a closer who plays for a winning team. I knew that Izzy was good for at least 30 SVs and he wouldn’t kill me in ERA and WHIP. He ended up with 39 SVs and a 2.14 ERA and a WHIP of 1.19. (I also drafted Percival in the 8th and dropped him for Turnbow once he went down for the year. Turnbow turned out to be one of the best closers in all of baseball. He ended up with 39 SVs and excellent ratios. He also provided 7 Ws and 64Ks.)

Going into the 6th round, I knew I was having an awesome draft. My team was well balanced and I was ready to add more offense. With my next 2 picks I grabbed Damon and Varitek. Batting in the Red Sox potent lineup, I knew these two would score some runs. And they did, combining for 187.

At this point I was looking to fill out my SP. So with the 10th & 11th picks I drafted David Wells and Dontrelle Willis. Wells turned out ok, but Willis was huge. After a monster start, everybody was expecting him to go belly-up. But he never did. He ended the season with an outstanding 22 Ws, 2.63 ERA, 1.13 WHIP and 170 Ks. Paired with Santana, I arguably had the best 2 SP in all of baseball.

Now my focus was on SBs and infield. I’m not a big fan of position scarcity. I’m a firm believer in the best players available approach. In a league this big, I figured I didn’t need studs in the infield, just players who could provide help in 1 or 2 categories. So I waited until the 15th round to draft some speedy infielders. Lugo in the 15th & Womack in the 16th. I was looking for RUNs and SBs with these picks. Lugo had another productive season on the base paths, stealing 39 while scoring 89 runs. Womack’s time as a starter didn’t last, but he provided me with 27 SBs in his soon to be short lived Yankee career.

After the draft I was pretty happy. I knew I had a winning team to start the season and figured I could use the waiver wire to fill any holes if need be. Turnbow was by far the best pickup this year and I was lucky to have him. Other than that, I didn’t really need to make any moves. My team jumped out to a 60 point lead and never looked back. I ended up winning by 19.5 points, but really, it was over from the start. Armo’s SheepRanchers and Riff Raff came within 20 points at times, but couldn’t get any closer. I finished at the top in almost all hitting categories and faired pretty well in the pitching stats.

My team for most of the year was:

HITTING

C) J. Varitek
1B) D. Ortiz
2B) T. Womack / B. Mueller
3B) C. Koskie / E. Hinske
SS) J. Lugo
OF) C. Lee / J. Damon / P. Burrell
UTL) D. Lee
BN) R. Ibanez (never started him once and he had a pretty productive year)

PITCHING

SP) J. Santana / D. Willis / D. Wells / C. Silva / T. Lilly / J. Washburn / E. Santana
RP) J. Isringhausen / D. Turnbow

In the end I realized I won this league during the draft. I knew the draft was gonna be the deciding factor in a league this big. I had a game plan and stuck with it. Sure I had some players with breakout years, but none of them were really a surprise in my opinion. I had a great time this year and look forward to defending my championship next year. And believe me, as long as the league remains this big, I’ll be using the same strategy I did this year.