Every year, fantasy baseball owners plan their draft with plenty of research, scouting the farm systems and doing several mock drafts. Owners draft players based on value and position needs. If it’s in the early rounds, you can wait to draft a catcher and get some late-round value. The biggest thing to keep an eye out for when drafting your team is position eligibility.
On most fantasy websites, position eligibility is gained by playing 20 games at a certain position in the previous season. It can also be gained by playing 10 games in the current season. Some leagues have custom rules that players only need to play five games in the current season to gain eligibility.
There is always value in drafting players with multiple position eligibility. However, there are a considerable amount of players who are losing one eligible position. Some of note are Mike Napoli will no longer be a catcher, Billy Butler will be solely a designated hitter, Hanley Ramirez can no longer be slotted at third base.
On the other hand, there are players who may add a position during the 2014 season. Jonathan Lucroy played six games at first base. If he plays 10 (or five based on your league) games at first, he will qualify. Daniel Murphy played seven games at first. These players could have deep sleeper value if they can gain second-position eligibility.
Finally, there are those players with multiple-position eligibility already. These players aren’t top-20 players, but definitely worth drafting in the middle rounds. Martin Prado and Matt Carpenter are both eligible to play at second and third base. These types of players can provide great flexibility throughout the season. If your second baseman gets hurt, you can flop Prado or Carpenter to second and pick up a third baseman from the waiver wire or vice versa.
Position eligibility is very important when drafting your team. You need to know your league’s rules about in-season eligibility, whether it’s zero, five or 10 games. It allows you to draft two top-10 players at one certain position without reaching down the depth chart for a sub-par player at another position.