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It's just past the quarter pole of the 2013 major league baseball season, so now is a good time to place the pace game. Where you aware that the struggling guy you hate really isn't struggling as badly as you thought? Or how about will that guy who has been all over the leader board – is it reasonable to expect his early season pace to continue on for the next 115+ games? We'll explore these thoughts and, hopefully, wake up from a slumber that has you missing some solid performances as well as alerting you to the fact that some of those hot starters you've been riding to a top spot in the standings might just be getting ready for a major slow down.
As we head into the final two scoring periods of the season, fantasy baseball owners have some tough decisions to make. Do you stick with those that got you here or do you try to infuse some new blood into your team and play the hot bat regardless of what type of overall player they may be. Do you continue to start Brandon Phillips who is batting just .191 over his last 50 at-bats or do you switch it up to the red-hot Logan Forsythe who is batting .404 with two home runs, eight RBI and two stolen bases over the last two weeks? It’s not always the recommended choice, but in some cases, it just might behoove you to make an alteration or two.
If you’re still surfing the web here looking for fantasy baseball advice, then you’re probably in the midst of a dogfight with the rest of your league’s contenders and jockeying for position in the standings. Every at-bat, every start, and every relief appearance could mean the difference between winning your league (or at least finishing in a money spot) and falling to sixth place, a usual landing spot for the frustrated and disgruntled at this time of year. So what you have to do now is start thinking short-term. It sounds obvious, but you’d be surprised as to how many people still think in terms of a full-season right now. You don’t care what a player’s year-to-date stats look like and you don’t care how well-balanced a player they are. You need to start looking at the standings and figuring out where you can attain points with the most ease. If only five stolen bases separate you from the team three spots ahead of you, then you need a stolen base guy to grab those points. It doesn’t matter what else he brings to the table. Who cares? Just as long as he’s stealing bases. It’s the same for power, saves, strikeouts, whatever. You need to find guys specific to your needs.
Jim Thome may not have a lick of fantasy value left in him these days, but the guy can still make headlines, can’t he? And the best part about it is that, unlike so many other things going in the sports world these days, it’s for something positive. How sick and tired are you of hearing about this Jerry Sandusky crap? How about some more Roger Clemens steroids articles? So when Thome set the record for most walk-off home runs by a single player, I was genuinely excited for him. The stuff about Jonathan Papelbon blowing the save and then offering Thome $5K to win it for the Phillies was cute and all, but to me, that was much more secondary to watching a guy who, at the age of 41, can still bring the lumber.
So normally, Thursdays aren’t a full slate of games and, like Monday, I should be taking a little quality me time. But with a little time on my hands this afternoon, I thought I’d give you a bonus post here and dole out some accolades for several jobs well done from Thursday night. We’ll forgo the usual fantasy wisdom-filled introduction and cut right to the chase…