All my life, I've been fascinated by numbers, especially baseball statistics. Just like the written word, stats spin their own baseball tales, and as I grew up increasingly mesmerized by our great game, it was the numbers that had me most captivated.
Even as I began my career an art student, baseball always lurked beneath. For more than 10 years, I told myself that "when I grew up," I'd be a cartoonist, but I think I always knew deep down I was meant to write about baseball.
During the 1996 season, at a time when I was working lengthy hours to complete my senior-year portfolio, I always had a separate computer screen open to an early version of ESPN's game tracker, to keep up with the games.
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2016 fantasy baseball draft kit
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When Jim Leyritz hit that game-tying home run in Game 4 of the World Series, at what had to be approaching midnight on the East Coast, I was in disbelief. I had to refresh my computer page perhaps a dozen times in order to confirm the report wasn't in error; needless to say, I hope there weren't any members of the cleaning staff around at the time a friend of mine and I were screaming in joy at the top of our lungs up and down the corridors of the building that housed the computer lab. I packed up my things, risking not finishing my work the following morning, to race home and catch the end of the game.
After college, my first job in the graphic design field was with a series of sports preview magazines; even then it was clear that baseball had me hooked. In fact, it was a baseball layout that I created in college -- a championship poster for the 1996 New York Yankees, including all sorts of statistics from that World Series -- that was one of the attention-grabbing pieces that helped land me the job.
A year later, when those same magazines sought a fantasy baseball columnist with a limited budget with which to do so, I volunteered.
Eighteen years later, I'm still spinning tales with statistics, and loving every minute.
You'll read many statistical facts from me on these pages, and hear many more on our Fantasy Focus Baseball podcast. These numbers come from a winter's worth of extensive player research, contained in a notebook I keep for hundreds -- nearly thousands -- of players annually. They help me drive my opinions on players, and today, it's time to share some of the best with you.
Some of these might sway your opinion, too, while others might not. After all, we can spin whatever tale we want with numbers, good or bad, and sometimes, the numbers themselves serve nothing more than to greater inform you about a particular player. Most of these drove my opinions in a certain direction, but I'm sharing them today to afford you the chance to make your own decisions.
But this season, I'm taking a different approach with my "Facts to Know" column. As numbers tell tales, so do the facts below. You'll find that, just as with any story, each fact has a natural bridge to the next, be it teammates, common statistics, trade partners or any of several other common bonds. All 30 teams are represented.
Read More Here: Need-to-know facts for the 2016 fantasy baseball season - MLB