This article is part of our MLB Barometer series.
The end of September is a bittersweet time for fantasy baseball managers. For those fortunate to win their leagues, the joy of celebrating a well-earned championship is often balanced by the realization that there will be no more daily boxscores to pore over until March. Most of us will take some solace in being able to devote our attention full-time to football, yet having games to follow Mondays, Thursdays and Sundays (and sometimes Saturdays) still leaves a void that clouds half the week. Yes, baseball — more than any other fantasy sport — can be a grind, but there's something about tracking daily lineup changes, checking schedules in search of two-start pitchers and keeping an eye on top prospects as they ascend toward the major leagues that other sports cannot match.
It's never too early to begin looking toward fantasy drafts next year. Baseball is an ever-evolving sport, and what is trendy one season isn't always en vogue the next. As a case in point, homers are up 17.5 percent in 2019, and a record 55 players have hit at least 30 round trippers this season. That is a drastic difference from just five years ago, when only 11 players eclipsed 30 homers. In the fantasy world, that leads to all-or-nothing power-dependent players such as Kole Calhoun, Hunter Renfroe and Daniel Vogelbach — each of whom has slugged at least 30 homers but batted less than .240 in 2019 — frequently collecting dust on the waiver wire. The evolution