Leave that Pujols alone.

I’ll be the first to admit it: King Albert is a darn good ballplayer. He hits for power, he’s relatively young—although, at age 27, obviously on the down slope of his career—and he’s a consistent fantasy MVP for the past few years. But drafting Pujols isn’t going to prove anything to anyone. There’s no risk. No panache. Nothing that’ll knock the rest of the league on their asses, scramble their brains, and make them think, “Does this guy know something I don’t?” From that uncertainty will come respect. And, if Jesus has taught us anything, it’s respect that leads to fear. Uncontrollable, all-encompassing fear.

Trust not the butchers of Minnesota.

The similarities between Johan Santana and last year’s Rookie of the Half-Year Francisco Liriano are striking. They’re both left-handed, they both have gaudy strikeout numbers, and they started out in the bullpen before breaking out as dominant starters. Oh, yeah, and they both pitch for the Back Alley Hatchet Surgeons that make up the Twins’ training staff. I mean, we all saw what happened to Liriano’s arm last year. There’s no need risking your high draft spot on someone like Santana, who’s playing for a team that’s medically inept. Play it safe and use that first-rounder on a consistent force. Someone like Kyle Lohse.

No one will make fun of you
for drafting minor league players.

It shows foresight and a willingness to gamble. Well played, insightful opposing owner!

Injury History? Schminjury History!

While we’ve already established a distrust of the Minnesota training staff—while you’re avoiding Santana, you better steer clear of Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau as well—there’s no reason to throw that “injury-prone” label around to just anyone. Take Cubs Mark Prior and Kerry Wood, for example. After all the games they’ve missed, the duo are well rested for a strong 2007. Don’t be shocked if they tie for the league lead in innings pitched. A smart owner wouldn’t let them escape the top 30 picks in the draft. Pedro Martinez, either.

Why not give your
significant other a few picks?

Ignore their claims of “I know nothing about baseball” and “Please, leave me alone.” Giving them a few draft picks here and there to do as they please with will pay dividends immediately by promoting a sense of closeness and trust, two of the most important aspects of any relationship. And, really, isn’t the relationship you’re currently in plenty more important than any stupid fantasy league? And don’t stop there. Let them handle a few in-season moves. Getting a fresh perspective is always valuable.

Jeromy Burnitz will be the
Comeback Player of the Year.

The most important part of any draft is locating an undervalued sleeper and snatching him up before the other owners get their feisty little paws on him. This year, there’s no better example of a sleeper than Jeromy Burnitz. Not only does he play the outfield, a position with less depth than my ex-wife’s bank account—am I right, fellas?—but he also has a proven track record, hitting 37 home runs as recently as 2004. In that pitcher’s haven that is Coors Field, no less! And, as Roger Clemens has proven, even Burnitz’s “claim” that he’s “retired” means nothing. Don’t let him escape the fifth round.

You can never have enough middle relievers.

As sure as Steve Trachsel will win this year’s Cy Young—you’d be wise to get him early; he did get 15 wins last year, after all—you’ll also see a number of middle relievers lay claim to their team’s closer role by midseason. Thus, I recommend entirely skipping closers at all, focusing your efforts on drafting these unheralded workhorses of the game instead. In fact, if your entire pitching staff were made of middle relievers, I wouldn’t laugh at you. I’d see you as the forward-thinking trailblazer you really are.

Give me the benefit of the doubt
when it comes to trades.

There may a point in the upcoming season where I’ll offer you a trade that seems to favor me a bit. You’re going to have to trust my fantasy-baseball authority when it comes to these. After all, as this column’s heading attests, I am an expert.