We love fantasy baseball podcasts. We love them in all shapes and sizes. They give us hours of entertainment and information. And the work that people do producing them is a labor of love. We are nothing but thankful for that.
But we also listen to them to make us better, more competitive fantasy baseball managers. We all want to win our leagues, and the content on these podcasts can be an important tool for us to use. In this spirit – and mostly for fun – we created MAPPS: The Five Tools of Fantasy Baseball Podcasts. When you’re listening to your next fantasy baseball pod, consider what sort of scouting grade you would give them on these five tools.
Just like with baseball players, fantasy baseball podcasts can be graded on each of the five MAPPS podcast tools on a 20-80 scale: 20-30 is well below average, 40 is below average, 50 is average, 60 is above average and 70-80 is well above average.
Most podcasts possess some average to above-average tools, but few are even average at all five tools. Remember, a podcast with five tools rated 50 (average) is an All-Star podcast that must be listened to regularly. An overall grade of 65 or better is for an impact podcast that has Hall of Fame potential.
Management – An overwhelming amount of energy in the fantasy baseball world is dedicated to the draft, and for good reason. Draft Day is the most important day of the year. But a strong draft guarantees you little in terms of season-long contention. Setting a lineup, picking up free agents, and making the right trades are at the core of managing your team effectively throughout the season. Podcasts that rate highly in this tool are those that effectively identify two-start pitchers, track lineup trends, scour the waiver wire for talent, and provide the listener with the knowledge and tools to get the edge over his or her opponents.
Analytics – We’ve never had more access to baseball data than we do now. Fangraphs, Baseball Savant and others provide free access for any fan to understand and analyze the game from a myriad of data points. Simply put, if you’re producing a podcast, and you’re not using the information available to inform your fantasy baseball analysis, you’re doing it wrong. However, if you’re mis-applying these analytics, you’re doing more harm than good. Almost as important as accurate analysis is the ability to explain it to your listener. If you are speaking exclusively in acronyms and numbers, you may think you sound super-smart, but your listeners are suffering. Analytics are the power tool of podcast grades. Without a high grade here, you’re more of a punch and judy pod.
Personality – The hit tool of fantasy baseball podcasts. If you can’t hit, you won’t stick in the big leagues long-term. And if you don’t have personality on your pod, your audience will be limited and unlikely to grow. Even if you are a fantasy baseball genius sharing all of your secrets, it’s hard to listen to a boring podcast regularly. To be clear, just like not all contact is good contact, not all personality is good either. False bravado and weak gimmicks are a sore substitute for the line drives of positive energy and authentic camaraderie among hosts and guests.
Prospects – If you want to be a true five-tool podcast, you need to cover prospects effectively. Dynasty leagues are increasing in popularity. But this content isn’t just for dynasty leagues anymore. Prospects make a difference every year in every type of fantasy league in existence. And as keeper and dynasty league formats continue to grow, the depth of prospect knowledge needed to compete in fantasy grows every year as well. Podcasts who inform and educate their listeners about the future of baseball are elevated to the elite level.
Strategy – Every fantasy baseball podcast ever recorded will discuss players and their values because they are the heart of the content. But even the most accurate player projections won’t help you win your league if you don’t know how to apply that knowledge strategically. Unfortunately, strategy is among the rarest tools in fantasy podcasts. It is a difficult medium to master because of the diversity of formats in fantasy. Podcasts who excel in this area are able to take a profound knowledge of the player pool and explain how to apply it in the multitude of formats – roto, points, head-to-head, keeper, dynasty, league-only, shallow, deep, etc. – that their listeners play in.
We hope this tool helps add to the enjoyment of your favorite podcasts, and may inspire you to make some suggestions to those hosts you follow closely.