One of the keys to a successful fantasy season is not just identifying which players are about to catch fire and embark on an impressive hot streak, but your ability as an owner to ride that streak and cut bait when it’s all said and done. All too often, we fall in love with our players, particularly the ones who are massively exceeding our expectations, and we tend to put false hope in numbers that, deep down, we know won’t last. We may hope they last, but we need to be realistic and understand that the law of averages is in play here and what goes up, usually comes back down. Sure, there are always exceptions to the rule, but for every one legitimate breakout, you’re looking at dozens of guys playing over their heads who will eventually see their lofty numbers normalize over time, some shorter than others. Understanding that fact and the ability to simply cut these hot players once they go cold is almost as much an art form as identifying the breakouts before they happen.
If you’ve been reading the articles from fantasy guru Todd Zola, then you know all about the concept of regression and a player’s batting average on balls in play (BABIP). The league average hovers around .300 and the number varies from player to player, but if you look at what a player’s BABIP has been throughout his career, then you can get a general idea as to whether or not he is expected to surge or decline. If a guy has a .310 BABIP for his career and his current rate is at .400, you can reasonably expect him to cool off. If his current rate is at .220, unless there’s something physically wrong with him, you can probably expect him to start heating up.
Now I certainly don’t want to steal Lord Zola’s thunder here so I’m not going to delve too deeply into the regression candidates that he will likely present to you later this week, but what I will say is that if you are sitting with players who are exceeding your expectations…..everyone’s expectations, actually…..then take a good look at their BABIP numbers and see where they stand next to their career BABIP totals. Should you see a significant difference, understand that maybe the hot start is an illusion and once reality sets in, don’t be afraid to either sell high or cut ties altogether.
The worst thing you can do is sit there and hold onto a player who starts to slump while hoping that he’ll bounce back to a level he should never have been playing on to begin with. It’s a fine line to walk, but be both bold and sensible. Always attempt to trade before you cut though as there will always be someone who thinks you’re crazy for ridding yourself of such a hot player. Those who do should be your primary trade targets.
Now let’s take a quick look at some of Tuesday’s highs and lows before the early games start today…
Fantasy Beast of the Day
|Edwin Encarnacion, 1B TOR||2-4, 2 R, 2 HR, 4 RBI|
Affectionately known as E5, Edwin Encarnacion has actually been more of a fantasy beast for the last week. As beautiful as Tuesday’s numbers look, how about the fact that over the last seven games, Encarnacion is batting .346 (9-for-26) with nine runs scored, seven home runs and 12 RBI? Regression candidate? Sure, maybe from these insane numbers, but not to the point where cutting bait at the first sign of a slump is the right course of action. Just ask those who mistakenly dealt him when he had just two home runs through the first 20 games.
Due to time constraints, what with the early starts today, we’re just going to acknowledge. If anyone requires, deeper thought, perhaps I’ll expound at a later time…
|Ryan Raburn, OF CLE||3-4, 3 R, 2 HR, 3 RBI|
|Rickie Weeks, 2B MIL||3-4, 3 R, 2B, HR, 5 RBI, BB|
|Drew Stubbs, OF CLE||3-4, 3 R, HR, RBI, SB|
|Tim Hudson, SP ATL||W, 1.29 ERA, 0.71 WHIP, 6 K|
|Hyun-Jin Ryu, SP LAD||W, 3.00 ERA, 0.83 WHIP, 12 K|
**Special congratulations to Tim Hudson for recordign his 200th career win.
|Mike Napoli, C BOS||0-4, 4 K|
|Michael Saunders, OF SEA||0-5, 3 K|
|Rick Ankiel, OF HOU||0-4, 3 K|
|Roy Halladay, SP PHI||L, 19.64 ERA, 3.00 WHIP, 3 K|
|Edwin Jackson, SP CHC||L, 15.43 ERA, 2.79 WHIP, 6 K|
OK, just a brief pause here….a moment of silence perhaps….for the career of Roy Halladay. These blow-ups aren’t so few and far between anymore.
Shane Victorino, OF BOS – back (day to day)
Jeff Keppinger, 3B CHW – back (day to day)
Jordan Danks, OF CHW – knee (day to day)
Mat Latos, SP CIN – hip (questionable for next start)
Chris Perez, RP CLE – thumb (day to day)
Nick Swisher, OF CLE -- shoulder (day to day)
Troy Tulowitzki, SS COL – shoulder (day to day)
Peter Bourjos, OF LAA – hamstring (15-day DL)
Carl Crawford, OF LAD – hamstring (day to day)
Mark Ellis, 2B LAD – leg (day to day)
Giancarlo Stanton, OF MIA – hamstring/leg (15-day DL)
Alex Gonzalez, 3B MIL – hamstring (day to day)
Kevin Youkilis, 3B NYY – back (15-day DL)
Coco Crisp, OF OAK – hamstring (day to day)
Jed Lowrie, SS, OAK – neck (day to day)
Chris Young, OF OAK – quadriceps (day to day)
Travis Snider, OF PIT – side (day to day)
Neil Walker, 2B PIT – finger (day to day)
A.J. Pierzynski, C TEX – oblique (day to day)
Jayson Werth, OF WAS – ankle/hamstring (day to day)
Howard Bender has been covering fantasy sports for over a decade on a vaiety of web sites. You can find his personal musings on RotobuzzGuy.com and for questions, thoughts or comments, you can follow him on Twitter at @rotobuzzguy or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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