Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Step 4 -- Don't panic...at least until Memorial Day.

As painful as it is to see your team at the bottom of the standings every day after all the hours you spent prepping for the draft, now is not the time to panic.

I can relate, I'm in four leagues and I currently sit in dead last or near dead last in two leagues (but oddly currently sit atop my two other 15 team leagues). Perhaps, it will ultimately end that way as well, but remember, two weeks is a very small sample in baseball and April is notorious for being a wildcard for many players (in any event it makes me feel better to tell myself that). Many pitchers are still looking to harness that control in meaningful game situations while the majority of hitters are still searching to get into a nice rhythm at the plate

Trading surplus, figuring out who is going to have a breakout year or a down year, and determining where your team ranks in your league are not activities I recommend in April. Lots of things happen in April that won't necessarily repeat themselves throughout the year and if you base your roster decisions on one two-week sample you are likely to be swayed by unreliable information. Look, Willie Bloomquist isn't going to be the top fantasy baseball player and Kevin Correia isn't going win the NL Cy Young...just isn't going to happen. So don't treat them like they are in a trade scenario and don't drop Shin Soo Choo to get Bloomquist just b/c Choo hasn't hit a homer yet.

(a brief digression....)My first fantasy baseball season was 1992. As our family and friends auction draft went on I realized I didn't know enough players to fill out my roster. Fortunately (or unfortunately) I did have a copy of a newspaper article with spring stats. I noticed a Pirates pitcher named Randy Timlin had the best spring ERA of any starting pitcher and I grabbed him for $1. As it turns out, Randy Timlin was not a good pitcher, really in any year EXCEPT, ironically, the first half of 1992 when he went 10-1 with a 3 something ERA. As a result my team led our NL only league in wins at the All Star Break. Sadly, Randy Timlin won 3 games the rest of the year.

This digression is one of a million examples one can make that 1/2 of a baseball season, let alone 1 month of a season, is a very small statistical sample. Crazy things can happen and you shouldn't let less than a third of the baseball season dictate major roster moves. If you did, you would be sure to get rid of Tulowitzki (except this year...wow!) and LaRoche every year, only to watch them rake for another team in the second half of the year. Personally, I really don't pay any attention to where I sit in the standings until Memorial day. It takes time to figure out what you have and need. Plus, injuries happen...you might lead the league by 20 SB on the production of one or two guys, but if one gets hurt or stops hitting, you might not be as strong in the category as you thought.

A fundamental mistake of fantasy losers is they panic when they find themselves at the bottom of the standings in week 1, assume their team sucks, and drop players they normally wouldn't drop. Even worse, they make trades based on the results of the first few weeks allowing more savvy owners to take advantage of them. Trust your pre-draft research. There is nothing wrong with dropping marginal players that aren't getting it done, or are playing less than you expected etc...what we are really talking about here is abandoning players with proven track records. Sure, maybe Felix Hernandez is just going to suck this year, but chances are he gets things on track and ends up closer to his career stats.

If you are in last on Memorial Day, you might want to panic a little...

Monday, April 18, 2011

Deep League Finds at each position

This is my first column on this blog, to date only the great Jim Colling has posted any content and if you are like me you really enjoyed the insight from this multiple fantasy champion.

Now I do not claim to be a master fantasy baseball player or even a good one at that but I do play in some high dollar leagues as well as some very deep leagues.  Currently I am playing in three 15 team leagues and one 11 team league and most of these guys are available or just picked up.   So in this post I plan to highlight one or two guys at each position that may be available or recently added to someone roster.  The idea is to provide you with a possible upgrade at a position you either suffered an injury at or just missed during draft day.

I hope you find this helpful or at least get a good laugh out of it.


Alex Avila would be the easy target here as he has recently produced with HR’s and RBI”s and if he is out there go get him, however I know in all three of my deep leagues he is no longer available.   I am going to recommend Wilson Ramos with the Nats.  Yes, he is in a timeshare with pudge but he is also racking when he plays and batted in the five hole the other night with Zimm and Morse out.  You could do a lot worse and at least this guy won’t kill your avg.    He is especially valuable in 2 catcher and keep league formats.

First Base: 

This very deep position is not as deep once you get through a 15 or 14 team draft with 1B and CI positions.  There are very slim pickings on the wire but I am going to recommend Mark Trumbo from LA Angels.  He is a big guy and mashed in the minors, who knows how long Morales will be out for.

2nd Base:

This is a position that I know I waited on in my draft because I thought a bunch of guys were all the same in the end.  Guys I like that may be available are Chris Getz, a good KC lineup, batting leadoff and steals a lot of bases.  I also like Skip Schumacher, he does nothing great but he will score 60-70 runs, steal 5-10 bases and post a .280 average at the end of the year. 

3rd Base:

This is a tough one, I believe that 3b is the shortest position in baseball this year from a fantasy perspective however if you are in a deep league you may find a guy like Miggy Tejada on the wire and while he is not the same guy he will still hit 15 HR’s and bat .280.   For those of you in a keep league or maybe a very deep league I would recommend Mike Moustakas from the Royals.  I think he will be up around June 5th and be the next big thing.


I already mentioned both of these guys in the 2nd base and 3rd base positions but you could do worse than Miguel Tejada and Wilson Valdez.  If you need steals you may want to take a look at Jack Wilson or Willie Bloomquist if he qualifies in your league.

DH:  One word, Pronk!  T. Hafner seems to finally be healthy and last I saw he was riding a hitting streak.  If he stays healthy he will hit 20/80/270.

OF:  Willie Bloomquist is not supposed to be doing what he is doing but remember he is playing for a bad team and a new manager so if he can stay hot he will find a way to stay in the lineup.  J. Francouer, yes he sucks, but he is still under 30 and seems to be getting regular at bats.

SP:  There are a lot of good pitchers still on the wire in a lot of leagues.  I recently picked up Jeff Francis in a couple of leagues, this guy was a top prospect and before being injured multiple times had some good seasons in Col.  I also like S. Baker if he has been dropped or take a chance on a young guy like Brandon Beachy, a lot of k’s but some risk.