This list is outstanding. I think one of the keys to winning IS to have very good pitching, and then a well rounded offense. In other words, a 3-stud pitching staff is much more influential to your place in the standings than 3 stud batters would be.
I'm not totally saying ignore rookies, but be really selective about it. The fantasy baseball world seems to have a new the "next big stud" every week. If you look though at most veteran studs today, nearly all of them didn't start out as studs. Some were practically nobodies their first few years in the show. But as a general rule, there's a learning curve to becoming a stud in the show, and the last few lessons take place in the show, not while in the minors.
The thing is, it's a question of time. 9 of the 10 "next big thing" either doesn't pan out or they take a year or more to really develop. There's such a HUGE chasm between the minors and the show when it comes to the talent level that I don't place huge importance on a guy in the minors who's raking mediocre pitching or dealing against mediocre hitters. Shutting out a team full of 20 year olds is easy, facing Jeter with 2 guys on base and no outs is hard.
I also don't totally buy into a new call ups that start hot... lots of times, it's due in large part to the fact that the show hasn't figured out his weakness or tendencies yet.
Generally, I'd rather spend what limited research time I have looking for that 2nd or 3rd year player that's taking his game to the next level. Guys like Ortiz, Utley, Alex Rios....
In the last five years, I've jumped on four rookies, Miggy Cagrera, Carl Crawford, King Felix, and just recently Kendry Morales. Cabrera and Crawford have definitely paid off and I expect them to get even better, I think King Felix will eventually be a stud, and since I had a slot open up and he was on the wire, I jumped on Morales. If he doesn't pan out it doesn't cost me anything.
Cabrera, I jumped on when he was hitting in the show at 19. When a 19 year old can hack it in the show and doesn't even choke in a world series, I'll move heaven and earth to grab those guys. Crawford because of (A) his speed and (B) his age. King Felix, like Cabrera, because of his age... Pitching decent late last year at 19 is just mind-blowing. He's having some rough starts, but he's racking up Ks, so I think he's just missing his location occassionally, something that's fixable in time. The potential upside in the years to come is worth nursing him on my pine for now. Morales was cheap and he's raked in his first week, so I took a flyer.
But these are the exceptions, I don't trade a cold veteran stud for next week's Cole Hamel.
Another thing is, I try to tune out the hype of all the so called experts... I do listen to what veteran players and coaches say. I heard Lou Pinella say Crawford would win a few batting titles before he's done. When guys who really know the game (i.e. played it) predict greatness, my ears perk up.
I also rarely trade... my last trade was two years ago. I gave up A-Rod to a Yanks fan for Pujols. Believe it or not, at the time, everybody thought the other guy was getting the better deal, and in many ways, they were right. The hitting stats were about equal but because (A) A-Rod also stole bases, and (B) 3rd base was a slimmer talent pool than first base, it was a bit of a "short term" win for him.
But I was making a bet on two things (1) the age difference... A-Rod was in his prime years, while Pujols was just a pup. Needless to say, the pup is now a BIG DOG. and (2) I noticed that Pujols stats, though limited, were not just great, but, year-to-year, were virtually identical, and that told me that this was a guy who had good mental focus, and wasn't (a) prone to bad cold streaks, and (b) was likely to improve over time because of his focus.
Overall a pretty solid list. Just a couple comments:
For Rule #3, I wouldn't say never trade away the best player in the deal in a keeper league. There are times where it might be right, like when you're upgrading your overall keeper squad. If you need to round out your keepers and get a marginal downgrade at a position while upgrading your other keeper spot significantly, it can be worth it. For example, if you traded away Tejada and Lackey for Jeter and Halladay, the best player in the deal is Tejada, but the best keeper package is the latter. If you were going to have to keep both Tejada and Lackey, I would make this trade. Generally try to get the best player in the deal, but there are plenty of times you can trade him away. Otherwise, how would trades involving studs be done in fantasy leagues at all?
For Rule #9, I personally always have a solid staff, but the great majority of managers would say that the key is to build offense because pitching is both more unpredictable (relative to hitting) and also easier to replace via the FA pool.
a major thing that people really dont get is in roto leagues a player like adam dunn isnt a stud.. just because he puts up big flashy numbers doesent mean hes going to help your team.. the guy murders a teams average, stay away from a player like him..
and starting pitching isnt really that important.. always go for the position players when drafting.. a la C 2B SS 3B.. the positions that are harder to find good players at. then work the rest.. but pitching is so easy because there are so many good spot starters to just pick up, and so many switching of closers.. no need to focus on something that can change at any minute why do you think only one starting pitcher is a first rounder? hitters do a lot more for your team.. take for instance 2 players that were drafted at the same time coming into the season
jason bay- helps in BA, HR, RBI, RUNS, SB
jake peavy- helps in ERA, WHIP, K'S (and a little wins)
even if peavy helped in wins thats only 4 cats.. a hitter like bay helps you across the board
so remember, hitters are much more valuable then pitchers, especially infield position players