So here we are at the end of April where, for the most part, the hot starts begin to cool off and, with luck, the cold ones begin to heat up. Full-time starters have roughly 80-90 at-bats under their belt and your sample size arguments for why things are the way they are, start to dissipate. That doesn’t mean that all players are leveling off right now – some still have some work to do. Yes, Albert Pujols, I’m looking in your direction. But when you’re sitting there wondering what to do with your guys like Nolan Reimold, Jordan Schafer or Jose Altuve, watching their every move right now is key. They’re all off to hot enough starts that they have some decent trade value, but if they start to go into the tank because they’ve been playing over their head for the past month, your window of opportunity to reap some of the value in a trade will begin to close very rapidly.
The decision to trade a player who is hot right now is always tough. All too often it is hard to let go because you’re nervous that you’re passing up a potential breakout season. But let’s face facts. How many players actually pull that off from out of nowhere? If Altuve wasn’t on your watch-list from the word go, chances are you weren’t expecting a whole lot out of him. Hopefully you studied the numbers, read the news updates and looked at him close enough to help you decide whether or not he was worth drafting, but when you did, were you thinking, “This guy is going to hit .300-plus and swipe me 40-plus bases?” Probably not. And if you weren’t….because you’re an intelligent person who is a realist about his/her players….then believe me, it’s safe to make that trade and grab some value in return.
I’m certainly not saying that these guys don’t have value, because they do. But if you have the opportunity to buy-low on a marquee player who’s got a frustrated owner, then dangling these guys that are playing well right now is definitely the way to go. Baseball is a game of averages and there will be plenty of “regression to the means” happening over the next few weeks. You just want to be sure that you own players whose “means” they are regressing to are still high-quality fantasy numbers.
If you would like to talk trade, use me as a sounding board, etc., my door is always open. Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’d be more than happy to talk them out with you.
As for the highlights…
|Matt Garza, CHC||7.0||1||0||0||1||10||0||0.00||0.29|
Similarly to Sunday, there really wasn’t anyone out there that really grabbed me by the…neck…and stood out, head and shoulders, above the rest. However, these ballplayers need an incentive here…something more than just a World Series championship or MVP trophy to play for. These guys want to be the Fantasy Alarm Fantasy Beast of the Day. They need to be the Fantasy Alarm Beast of the Day. In fact, the pecking order for awards in baseball goes World Series, MVP, Cy Young, Silver Slugger, Gold Glove and then Fantasy Alarm Beast of the Day. No really, I’m not making this up. So when Matt Garza wakes up from his slumber and opens up his laptop, heads immediately over to Fantasy Alarm, he’s going to be one excited camper. And as he should. He just tossed a gem of a game, allowing just one hit and issuing a single walk. And while the Phillies’ offense isn’t what it once was, 10 strikeouts is still huge. Garza and his fantasy owners had to be excited about this one.
|Carlos Gonzalez, OF COL||2-3, 2 R, HR, RBI, 2 BB, 2 SB|
|Joey Votto, 1B CIN||2-3, R, 2B, HR, 4 RBI|
|Edwin Encarnacion, 3B TOR||1-1, 2 R, HR, RBI, 2 BB, SB|
|Todd Helton, 1B COL||1-1, R, HR, 4 RBI, BB|
|David Wright, 3B NYM||2-3, 2 R, 2B, RBI, 3 BB, SB|
Doesn’t seeing a list like this just prove what I said above? Look at the names here. Not a single one would surprise you and that’s really the way it should be. Maybe Edwin Encarnacion isn’t considered “marquee” and Todd Helton is certainly way past his prime, but you expect, at various points in the season to start seeing them up on this list a little more often than seeing someone like Altuve or Schafer. Sure, every now and then we’ll see a random name pop up over here, but if everyone is doing their job properly, then we’re going to start seeing a lot of repeat customers here throughout the season.
|Adrian Gonzalez, 1B BOS||0-4, 3 K|
|Emilio Bonifacio, SS MIA||0-4, 3 K|
|Wellington Castillo, C CHC||0-4, 3 K|
|David Murphy, OF TEX||0-3, 3 K|
|Bruce Chen, SP KC||L, 20.25 ERA, 3.00 WHIP, K|
This list will get to be more of a mix as everyone has themselves a bad day, right, Adrian Gonzalez? The trick is to start noticing when you’ve got repeat customers down here. Once you start seeing someone here with a little too much frequency, then you know it’s time to cut bait. So let’s make a note about Bruce Chen right now. This is his first time in this section this season, but could be appearing here several times over the next month. Not something you look for in a fantasy starter.
Jim Johnson, RP BAL – illness (questionable)
Endy Chavez, OF BAL – abdomen (questionable)
Kevin Youkilis, 3B BOS – back (questionable)
Geovany Soto, C CHC – back (questionable)
Steve Clevenger, C CHC – oblique (15-day DL)
Paul Konerko, 1B CHW – neck (questionable)
Shin-Soo Choo, OF CLE – hamstring (questionable)
Carlos Lee, 1B HOU – ankle (questionable)
Jerry Hairston, 3B LAD – hand (questionable)
Juan Rivera, OF LAD – hamstring (questionable)
Mat Gamel, 3B MIL – shoulder (questionable)
Nick Swisher, OF NYY – hamstring (doubtful)
Carlos Ruiz, C PHI – knee (questionable)
Jim Thome, 1B PHI – back (questionable)
Jeremy Hermida, OF SD – hip (15-day DL)
Josh Hamilton, OF TEX – back (questionable)
Jayson Werth, OF WAS – migraines (questionable)
Daisuke Matsuzaka, SP BOS – on Double-A rehab assignment
Felipe Paulino, SP KC – on Double-A rehab assignment
Andres Torres, OF NYM – expected to be activated from DL April 30
Allen Craig, 3B STL – on Triple-A rehab assignment
***Early game on Monday -- Diamondbacks at Marlins at 12:40pm (ET) -- Get those lineups set!!
Howard Bender has been covering fantasy sports for over ten years on a variety of web sites including his own, The Fantasy Baseball Buzz. You can follow him on Twitter at @rotobuzzguy or email him at email@example.com.
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