Fantasy baseball is not a “set it and forget it” endeavor. You don’t draft a team and send it out into the world without having to constantly tinker with it. You may have three different players play second base for you in any given month while also having a different frontline starter based on that particular week’s matchups. If we listed all the closers that will inevitably be jumping in and out of our rosters we could be here all day.
Setting your lineup is a lot like playing the stock market. You can only ignore the trends for so long until you miss the boat. Whether it be buying, selling, dropping or picking up players, you have to look at all the available information in a timely manner. Being aware of the vital statistics can make a stock or a free agent a must buy or a player on your roster an instant drop.
Sometimes a player is just getting extremely lucky and his statistics are heading for a correction. I am trying to avoid stepping into these bear-traps, but it can be difficult to differentiate between luck and player turning a corner. You may get burned by not checking his BAPIP (batting average on balls in play) or his FB/GB statistics. Luckily, there are so many resources for today’s fantasy GM’s that weren’t available just a few years ago. I can go to a multitude of sites to see all the vital statistics and more while even the free apps from sites like Yahoo break down the basic statistics over time periods. I can notice a player is hot while watching a series on TV, check my phone and see he is hitting .350 this month and then go to any site to see if his power is coming as well.
Too many GM’s treat their lineups like they are mutual funds or pensions. They buy in and either through laziness or ineptitude let them twist in the wind. While they spend their nights catching up on Breaking Bad and old reruns of South Park (Editor’s Note: there is nothing wrong with watching either of these shows), their lineups go through ups and downs not seen since Enron. You offer them a trade and they literally have to check the site to see who is on their roster.
I, on the other hand, tend to be overly attentive, almost to the detriment of my free time (hmmm, maybe that is why I’m only on Season 2 of Breaking Bad). I tend to tinker constantly as I check my lineups key statistics and try and maximize every week in my head to head league. I read every article possible on would-be call-ups so that I can try to solve some of my team’s issues without trying to trade. If I am lagging early in the week in stolen bases I will put Starling Marte or Brett Gardner into my lineup. If I am behind in runs scored, then Matt Carpenter will start at almost any position. Power is tougher to find coming off the bench, but I may have just recently found a few gems.
The fact that my league is position specific for outfield has been a real challenge. Right field has been considerably shallow and I have been forced to play Carpenter or Adrian Gonzalez there while I have Corey Hart stashed on the DL. If I played Gonzalez in RF, then I suffer at first base, and vice-versa. Then along came a Cuban defector named Yasiel Puig. You may have heard of him. He has exploded on the scene and solidified my line-up with his power and speed.
I know what you’re saying – hold your horses buddy. It’s okay to get excited, but let’s not pretend he’s the second coming. But what if he is the next Mike Trout or Bryce Harper? It would be like adding a top 10 pick in the middle of the season for nothing. How can you not get over-excited? I know I am having trouble tempering my excitement and evaluating his current worth.
He could be a blip on the screen of my season or he could be guy to put me over the top. We will all have to wait and see. Many of my colleagues have been saying to sell high as we have all seen players do this before only to crash back down to earth, or worse, to the minors. I even polled a few fantasy gurus to see what Puig was being traded for and names like Bryce Harper and Giancarlo Stanton were mentioned. I would jump at the chance to acquire any of those guys, but that is not what is being offered to me at this point. On the other hand, I am playing the wait and see game. I am doing the old “I came with nothing and I’ll leave with nothing if God will’s it.” I just don’t know if I can live with trading him for a marginal player if he goes on to play at even half of what he is currently showing.
There is a ton of risk with what I am doing as the Dodgers looked to have a full outfield with Carl Crawford, Matt Kemp, and Andre Ethier when the year began. Crawford and Kemp are currently on the DL, and Ethier has struggled for most of the season including getting benched before Puig was called up. I am banking on Puig making it impossible to send him back down with his play on the field. He was signed to a huge free agent contract so he is not one of these rookies whose service time is an issue and he has been setting records with every base hit. He is electrifying a fan base that needed to wake up and probably hasn’t been this excited about a player since Fernandomania was running wild 30 years ago. He also has gone from batting leadoff to batting fourth after only a week. He has already arguably shown more potential in one week in the big leagues then Ethier has in seven years with the Dodgers.
Puig is not the only streaking player who has joined my team recently. Adam Lind’s current form couldn’t be ignored as he hit over .400 over the last month and is even forcing his way into the lineup against lefties. When the Blue Jays were forced to give up the DH in National League parks they decided to play Edwin Encarnacion at third base so that they could play Lind at first base to keep his hot bat in the lineup. I know he probably won’t stay hot for long, but if I can get a productive month out of him then I am ahead of the game. If there was a timeline for my lineup at first base it would read Gonzalez-Carpenter-Loney-and now Lind. It might not be as easy as drafting Prince Fielder and trotting him out week after week, but if I end up winning the title it will be that much sweeter with all the hard work I put in.
This article originally was featured at www.FantasyJudgment.com