MLB.com Columnist

Fred Zinkie

Fantasy roundtable prepares you to draft

MLB.com experts strategize for daily and season-long fantasy success

Fantasy roundtable prepares you to draft

MLB.com's Fantasy 411 is the most comprehensive resource available for all things fantasy baseball. As draft prep and speculation heated up, four experts -- Fred Zinkie, Zachary Finkelstein, Cory Schwartz and Mike Siano -- discussed their tactics for success. Get comprehensive daily and traditional fantasy coverage at MLB.com/fantasy, and follow @fantasy411 on Twitter.

Tell us about daily fantasy baseball.

Finkelstein: Daily fantasy baseball is perfect for the era in which we live. People want instant success, and daily fantasy affords them that opportunity.

Schwartz: If the regular season is a marathon, daily fantasy baseball is a sprint. It tests different skills, but boils down to getting the best players for the right price.

Siano: Daily leagues provide another outlet for those who are not having the best year in a season-long league.

Do you have advice for contestants for the Beat the Streak grand prize ($5.6 million)?

The game will be available soon at mlb.com/bts from your computer or mobile device.

Zinkie: Start with the pursuit of high-average hitters who are facing mediocre starters in games that are played in hitter-friendly parks.

Finkelstein: Find an elite contact hitter with a platoon advantage that day. Avoid someone who could walk twice rather than tally a hit.

Siano: Put aside time each week to plot your moves and use the resources available at MLB.com to your advantage.

Miggy's solo jack

Do you prefer a "stars-and-scrubs" approach or a balanced roster?

Zinkie: I'm willing to take whatever my opponents leave for me in a draft or auction. My usual plan involves stars and scrubs for my pitching staff and a balanced hitting lineup.

Schwartz: For the most part, I prefer stars and scrubs, but I won't overspend at the top end of my roster.

Siano: If I am targeting a guy, he's not a scrub to me. With that said, my teams sometimes come out top- and bottom-heavy.

Who will be the most surprising breakout player in 2015?

Zinkie: Drew Pomeranz put up outstanding numbers in 69 innings in 2014 and he could be a mixed-league regular if he can stick in the rotation.

Finkelstein: Steven Souza Jr. He was traded to the Rays and could be a 20-homer, 20-steal guy.

Top Prospects: Souza, TB

Schwartz: Kolten Wong was a consistent .300 hitter in the Minors, has repeatedly demonstrated stolen-base ability (25-30) and has developed surprising pop. He could provide a vintage Dustin Pedroia-type season.

Siano: Garrett Richards was great in 2014 before suffering a season-ending injury. He won't be ready for Opening Day, which will lower his draft price. Then he'll pitch through September at a high-strikeout, low-walk clip with win potential.

If Mike Trout isn't the top fantasy player in 2015, who will be?

Zinkie: If Clayton Kershaw can perform for six months in 2015 like he did for five months in 2014, he will have a season for the ages.

Finkelstein: Giancarlo Stanton probably has the most raw power in the game. If I have the second pick in any draft, I'm taking him due to his upside.

Stanton's solo blast to center

Schwartz: Yasiel Puig. He has all of Trout's physical gifts and then some, and has at times converted those skills into comparable results -- just not for a full season. With age, maturity and consistency, Puig could easily take the leap into the elite tier this season.

Describe the worst fantasy baseball trade you've ever made.

Zinkie: In the 2012 mixed League of Alternative Baseball Reality (LABR) league, I foolishly dealt Miguel Cabrera in June for a group that included Martin Prado, Brett Lawrie, Jeremy Hellickson and Daniel Hudson. All four players were either underwhelming or injured in the second half.

Finkelstein: I dealt Ryan Howard for the Brewers' Victor Santos in a 12-team National League-only league in 2005. I needed wins desperately and had read that Howard was coming up for just a few weeks while Jim Thome was on the DL. Well, Thome never came back, Howard won the NL Rookie of the Year Award and Santos earned me zero wins.

Howard's towering solo home run

Schwartz: In my first NL-only keeper league, I acquired a mid-tier starting pitcher named Bryn Smith for a little-known outfield prospect named Larry Walker. Needless to say, that trade stung for several years after.

When making moves, how heavily do you rely on advanced stats vs. instincts

Zinkie: I rely heavily on advanced stats when planning my draft/auction, but weigh instincts when making short-term roster decisions.

Finkelstein: If I can't come up with hard evidence to justify a move, that's a sign that it isn't in my interests.

Schwartz: As a sabermetric thinker, I rely on the numbers. Ultimately, though, we have no control over performance, so a little instinct doesn't hurt, either.

Siano: There has to be some desire to take one guy over another, and often that's gut-driven.

What are some top trade considerations?

Zinkie: The reason that your league-mate will want to make the trade. Trade talks are dead in the water if they don't interest the other owner.

Finkelstein: Early in the season, I tend to prioritize value over need. Later in the season, those flip flop. It's okay to "lose" a deal on overall talent in August or September if it maximizes your chances of gaining ground in certain categories.

Siano: Am I dealing from a strength? How much faith do I have that the player I'm obtaining will meet expectations?

Fred Zinkie is a senior fantasy writer for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @FredZinkieMLB. Zachary Finkelstein is MLB.com's Manager of Fantasy Baseball and Content Initiatives. Follow him on Twitter at @Fantasy411. Cory Schwartz is the VP of Stats for MLB.com and a co-host of the Fantasy 411 podcast. Follow him on Twitter at @schwartzstops. Mike Siano is the VP of Multimedia for MLB.com and founder and co-host of the MLB.com Fantasy 411 podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.