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By the looks of the way things wrapped up on Saturday, there’s going to be plenty of waiver wire action this week. We saw a few players like Bryce Harper, Brandon McCarthy and Huston Street hit the disabled list while others such as Jacoby Ellsbury and Stephen Strasburg remain banged up. For some, this shouldn’t be much of an issue, but for those who got a little over-eager in the beginning and were making it rain at Club Waivers, you’re going to need to be a little more savvy in your ways as the FAAB budget just ain’t what it used to be.
While Sunday is normally a day of rest for most, we fantasy baseball players need to be at our sharpest. The week is wrapping up and the waiver wire is a hotbed of action. We have to go through each team, check playing time situations, pore over injury reports, and see who’s hot and whose cold spell is pushing them closer and closer to bench time. From there, it’s checking next week’s match-ups and, for those in leagues with weekly moves, it’s all about planning the course of attack for the next six or seven days. We’re only two months in and this type of due diligence needs to be followed each and every week. It’s the dedicated ones who rise to the challenge while the casual fan whose interest drifts in and out starts to suffer.
For two straight years, Dee Gordon, son of former All Star reliever Tom Gordon, was listed among Baseball America’s top 50 prospects thanks to a slick glove in the field and blinding speed on the base paths. He got his first taste of the big leagues back in 2011 and over a 56 game span that saw him come to the plate 233 times, Gordon hit .304 with 34 runs scored and 24 stolen bases. But in 2012, when he was given the starting shortstop gig to open the season, Gordon struggled mightily at the plate. Yes, he swiped 32 bases over 87 games, but he also hit just .228 and had a woeful .280 on-base percentage. He was shipped back down to Triple-A and his overall fantasy value took a hit. And when the Dodgers traded for Hanley Ramirez and announced that he would play shortstop in 2013, Gordon became even more of a forgotten man as there was, obviously, no room for him on the big league roster. Well guess what? He’s baaaaaaaaack!
While the month of April gets ready to wrap, fantasy owners should realize that there is still plenty of work to do to get their teams ready for a long and arduous season. The offseason prep work, the draft, and the early-season waiver hunting may be your foundation, but now you have a five-month long process of taking that foundation and building it into a championship. You now have to keep an astute eye on the waiver wire, explore some possible trades that will help your team in the long run, track injuries, and most of all, pay close attention to the daily happenings around MLB. You’ve got full slates of games five days a week with shorties on Mondays and Thursdays. So much can happen over the course of just one day that missing even just one could be the difference between finishing in the money and standing on the outside looking in. Maybe it sounds silly and a bit over-dramatic to some, but just look at yesterday’s action and the potential fantasy impact…
We’re going to keep it short and sweet here as Thursdays tend to be slow days without a full slate of games anyway. But what I wanted to do was throw you a bit of fantasy advice which is more of just a heads up than anything else. While your waiver wire probably looks like it’s been picked clean and that the help available is pretty sparse, things are about to start looking up and your immediate attention will be required.
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.
And here we are at another Sunday morning. Time to look at the news and highlights from Saturday and start thinking about that lineup for next week, including Sunday FAAB claims that likely have to be in at some point today. We’ve got plenty of stuff to cover here, so rather than juts harp on one topic in particular, we’re going to run through yesterday in more of a “stream of consciousness” here and cover as much as we can. There are highlights, lowlights, jobs changing hands and of course, a few key injuries we’re going to have deal with. So let’s get to it…
While remaining patient in fantasy baseball is one of the most difficult things to do, it is also one of the most critical at this time of year. Sitting back and watching underperforming players is ridiculously frustrating, especially if those that aren’t pulling their weight are the ones you were relying on most, and their lack of production has you sitting, if not all the way at the bottom of your standing, at least real close to it. But as we get set to enter the final week of April, your patience with these players is now more important than ever.
Talk to any hardcore numbers guy out there and ask about some of the hot and cold starts to the season and they’ll tell you the exact same thing – small sample size. We’ve got a long way to go before these numbers have any sort of a major effect. With only a small handful of games in the books, an 0-3 start is not the end of the world. There are still 159 games to go, so simmer down, Yankees and Red Sox fans. Austin Jackson is batting .571 while Matt Holliday is hitting just .167? Relax. We’re less than 20 at-bats into a season in which both will see atleast 500 more. It’s easy to get swept up in the excitement as we wrap up the first weekend of baseball, but if there’s one piece of sound fantasy advice you’re given every year, it is to be patient. The fantasy season, like real baseball is a marathon, not a sprint.