May 14, 2009

Fantasy Baseball: Team Checkpoint 2

We are now 1/6 of the way through the season. Look at the standings of your league. Go ahead, it's still safe. No matter where you are at this point in the season, IT'S NOT TIME TO PANIC.

Approximately 30 games have been played this season. Evan Longoria, though a really great player, will not have 200 RBI this year. Jacoby Ellsbury will not have 100 SB. Lance Berkman, Jimmy Rollins, and BJ Upton will not hit below .200 all season.

Every player has a true talent level, which means this is how they are expected to perform on average based on career arc and past performance.

Slow starts and injuries matter now and should be factored into your projections for any given an extent, excepting extenuating circumstances like a lingering injury. (A-Rod is the prime example of this as are other late starters like John Lackey).

It's time to shed the deadweight on your roster. Deadweight is defined as:
Starting pitchers with 3 or more starts in a row with 7.50+ ERA, >1.4 WHIP, and <2:1 K:BB ratio.
Non-closing relievers with no opportunity on the horizon with >3 ERA, <8.5 K/IP
Corner infielders (1B/3B) with .SLG<.400
Hitters who have no speed and are not catchers that consistently hit 7th or below in the lineup

You didn't know all these facts when the season started. You didn't know everybody's situation on their team. Now that you do, it's time to maximize the stats.

Identify low scoring teams in historically pitcher ballparks (Oakland, Kansas City, San Francisco, San Diego), high scoring teams in historical hitters parks (Texas, Philadelphia, Boston, Colorado), and high scoring teams in general (Yankees, Toronto, Tampa Bay, St. Louis). For open roster spots and replacements of underperforming players, consider their team and place on their real team's roster.

Make trades now! Find someone who has a need due to an injury and exploit it. Find the category which can use the extra little push (R, RBI, SV) and get that player, regardless of his position. Pull off a 2-for-1 or 3 for 2 deal to get a top player (I will have an example of this type of trade this weekend).

And most importantly, be aware of where you are in the standings for each category. Ratio categories (especially WHIP) are extremely volatile still and other categories can be caught up in. If you are ahead, make a deal with a struggling team to enhance one of your strengths.

Cool heads prevail and pay attention, it's still a long season.

Checkpoint 3 is at the 48 game mark.

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