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RotoBaller's Nick Mariano Wins Fantasy Baseball Accuracy Competition

So far, 2019 has been a very good year for guys named Mariano. Legendary New York Yankees reliever Mariano Rivera became the first unanimous Major League Baseball Hall of Famer in January.

In March, Nick Mariano of RotoBaller, originally of Sleepy Hollow, New York, was announced as the No. 1 Most Accurate Ranker for Fantasy Baseball by FantasyPros, based on his 2018 ranks.

“I love the link between me and him so much,” Nick Mariano said of Rivera. “Now I live in Boston, right near Fenway Park. My fiancée and her family are big Boston Red Sox fans, and my autographed picture of him was the only thing I was allowed to bring with me from my Yankee collectibles. The picture has a banner that reads ‘Thank You Mariano.’”


Big Pick Nick

In 2019, RotoBaller readers will be able to say “Thank You Mariano” also, as they will be able to access Nick’s award-winning rankings as part of the Fantasy Baseball Draft Kit, where much of his articles and analysis will also be found. Mariano is still basking in the excitement of finding out he was the best ranker in the industry, but his immediate hope is that his new ranks will help RotoBaller readers win their own leagues.

“I hope my rankings really give others a chance to stand out in their leagues,” he said. “ I hope it helps people buy into what we are doing at RotoBaller. And I hope the readers step up and challenge me with questions. That’s where some of my calls come from, I will be having a discussion with friends and then realize I need to make a change on something.”

The 28-year-old Mariano has been with RotoBaller since 2015, and this has been the highlight of his tenure so far. His Draft Accuracy Rankings finished ahead of well-known industry figures Adam Ronis (No. 2), Scott Pianowski (4) and annual ranking powerhouse Jake Ciely (10).

“It’s awesome to be included in company with those guys because I grew up reading their work,” Mariano said. “I had been a fan of Adam and Jake’s work, and now they were following me back on Twitter and congratulating me on the finish.”

When the news broke of his No. 1 Accuracy status on social media, Mariano said he was helping his grandmother on her computer. He didn’t see the avalanche of Twitter notifications right away, but then one of his friends sent him a Direct Message. “I thought he was playing a prank,” Mariano said.

Once he confirmed the truth, Mariano needed to take a quick break from helping his grandmother.

“Grandma, I need to take some time to jump up and down now,” he told her.


The Secret Sauce

Becoming a No. 1 ranker is a family affair of sorts for Mariano. He credits his fiancée, Maddie, with helping him to compile the ranks in an orderly fashion and keeping his head on straight.

“She is a Project Manager and a sorceress with Google Sheets so she really helps me a lot with the 'secret sauce'. She's helped me find new ways to digest and organize my info,” he said.

Using his new formula and vast fantasy experience, Nick started finding rankings success in 2017. He was announced as the ninth best Accuracy Ranker for Fantasy Football in 2017, and finished 11th in 2018.

“I wish I had an answer,” Mariano said when asked what is the primary key to his recent success. “I think my background in Behavioral Economics and Econometrics may have something to do with it. I think having that balance of a qualitative and quantitative background with a big splash of game theory, rather than just focusing on the numbers, may be one of the more significant advantages.”


Nick's Big Picks

Mariano said he has a timer to help him stop waffling for too long on particular player decisions. Last year, putting Kyle Freeland 40 spots above of the Expert Consensus Rankings, and Kirby Yates 44 slots higher were two of the boldest forecasts he is proud of.

“You always have to be looking at Vegas win totals and team environment,” he said. “So I knew with Yates that at the trade deadline, he was a talent to target for saves. As for the Rockies, Nick began his RotoBaller career as a Colorado team correspondent and was very familiar with their up-and-coming players. This led him to tout Trevor Story as a sleeper before the 2016 season and keying in on 2018's pitching breakouts.

“I had particularly kept tabs on Freeland and German Marquez,” he said. “ I felt Freeland had the command to overcome Coors Field, and then he started elevating his fastball and challenging hitters with gusto and the results came.”

A year later, Mariano is still in awe as he considers the coincidental timing of his honor coming early in the same year when another guy named Mariano, singularly featured on his wall, etched his name in history.

“Wow, he gets in the Hall of Fame and I’m the No. 1 ranker,” he said. “I am still on Cloud Nine. I'd always wondered what it would feel like to be at the top and now I get it. And now it's time to do it again.”

If you want to be at the top of your league in September and share in that feeling, use promo code NICK at checkout to claim your 2019 RotoBaller Fantasy Baseball Draft Kit and get access to Nick Mariano’s latest rankings today!

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