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Friday 19th Jan 2018

If you are like me, you are much closer to the conclusion of your spring draft season than the start. In fact, in my case, my first draft was way back in early November, and for that league, the XFL, or Xperts Fantasy League, we have already held our second, auxiliary draft. I am down to just one local league draft remaining.

At this point, it is natural to be focused on your remaining drafts, or if they are complete, to enjoy the pleasant distractions that the early spring weather is offering in many parts of the country - but please, do not lose focus now.

You spent days and weeks readying for your drafts. You have your teams – and are likely pleased with them. Well, you shouldn’t be.

Now is not the time to sit back. Instead, take the initiative to sit down and carefully and objectively analyze the roster you assembled on draft day. Do it – right now!

OK, where are its strengths and weaknesses? What positions do you need to address? Be honest, please!

Do not only consider the obvious needs – starters who are opening the season on the disabled list. Also evaluate your reserves. Do you have someone to slot into the infield in the case of an injury, for example?

Keep an eye on the timing of announcements by MLB clubs of players actually being placed on the disabled list. The moves can be made at any time, even retroactively, but not all teams act at the same time. Some may wait until their own opening day. And of course, your stats provider cannot and will not reflect such a move until it is actually made.

Most leagues have some kind of disabled list. Maybe yours has only a spot or two or perhaps your leagues are like Tout Wars, with an unlimited DL. Either way, you should establish a plan to backfill those spots immediately.

For example, take my National League Tout roster. I bought into the Jaime Garcia optimism for $4 and also took Homer Bailey for $12, knowing full well I would not get an opening day start from the latter.

The Cardinals placed Garcia on the DL this past week, while the Reds are still waiting to officially make the moves they have already announced, including Bailey. So, Garcia can also move to the Tout DL and a replacement can be added but Bailey may take up a roster spot for another week.

Why this is important is the real reason I am writing this story. You should already know when your league’s first waiver period begins, but if you don’t, stop reading this right now, go and find out. I will still be here. I promise.

No matter when your draft was held, MLB teams have since made changes that either impact your fantasy roster directly or created opportunity for you to secure additional upside players for your squad.

Now is the time to strike to fill those roster gaps you have identified, because if you don’t, someone else in your league surely will.

Perhaps you are short of speed. Likely when you drafted, no one in your league had even heard of Odubel Herrera. Now the rookie has become the starting centerfielder in Philadelphia with a chance for 20+ steals.

Players undrafted in many leagues are receiving the opportunity to join major league rotations, too. Take St. Louis, where there had been a spirited three-way battle for one rotation spot as recently as a week ago. Garcia’s injury and the decision to send impressive prospect Marco Gonzales to Triple-A has since completely cleared the way for Carlos Martinez’ starting berth.

Or take Arizona, where veteran Trevor Cahill was dealt away to Atlanta to create a rotation spot for top prospect Archie Bradley.

These are just a few examples that quickly come to mind from literally dozens of late-breaking situations that have come to pass across MLB in the last few days.

Yet, I understand that not everyone has the time to keep up on all these moves. Here is a tip on how to check quickly for up-to-date information on who has jobs and who doesn’t.

The folks at rosterresource.com, formerly MLB Depth Charts, maintain a handy grid of starters, bench players, rotations and relief corps for all 30 teams, as well as which players appear to be DL-bound.

A quick scan of that grid can help you quickly identify new names, who should become possible acquisition targets.

Remember, now is the time to act. Maintain that momentum from your draft. Be aggressive. Make the moves to try to close your gaps in your very first transaction period and good luck this season!

Brian Walton was the 2009 National League Tout Wars champion, scoring the most points in the league’s 17-year history. He also holds the all-time NL Tout single-season records for wins and saves. His work can also be found daily at TheCardinalNation.com and thecardinalnationblog.com. Follow Brian on Twitter.


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