Written by Tony Meale
Published: 22 April 2009
As Mr. Leshanski pointed out in a recent column
, it’s far too early to panic if a particular player – or even your whole team – is underperforming. Of course, this is no time to be resting on your laurels, either.
I received a text message from a buddy of mine the other morning. “This is complete fantasy domination,” he wrote. There’s nothing wrong with a little good-natured ribbing between friends, and after all, this particular crony was leading my league in a landslide and had the rest of us shaking in a straightjacket.
Don't panic - but be alert!
Of course, the season was only eight games old, and frankly, where you are in the standings at that point in the year means nothing. Some people say it means at least something, but with more than 90 percent of the season yet to be played, I disagree. (I don’t think any owner should seriously analyze his or her team’s strengths or weaknesses until at least 25 percent of the season – roughly 40 games – have been played, but that’s just me).
But when it comes to trading in fantasy baseball – and with just about everything else in life – the key to success is selling high and buying low. Sell the guys who are over-performing while they still are, and buy the guys who will likely turn it around but whom owners have already given up on. Just about any fantasy baseball website right now has a list of guys who fall into each category. Most of these players were likely mid-late round draft picks or acquired through free agency.
That’s all fine and dandy, but what about fantasy studs who were taken in the first two or three rounds of a draft? As I’ve said before, no player in any fantasy sport should ever be off the trading block. Allow me to offer two names – Ian Kinsler and Evan Longoria.
In the average draft, neither of these players made it past the second round – and for some, maybe even in the first. Thus far, each one was more than lived up to the billing; through play on April 19, Kinsler is hitting .460 with four homers, 14 RBI, 13 runs scored and six stolen bases while Longoria is .391/5/12/8/1.
It might seem crazy to shop a top pick who is off to an incredible start, but that’s exactly what I’m advising. Kinsler, for example, will not play the entire season. In his first three years in the show, he’s played between 120-130 games. Here’s a general rule of thumb: until a player proves he can play a full season in the bigs, assume he won’t. Why not dump Kinsler on someone before he gets hurt? Besides, you’re asking price for the Texas two-bagger will never be higher than it is right now.
The same can be said for Longoria, another fantasy stud off to an insane campaign in ’09. The Tampa Bay third-baseman is one of the promising young stars in baseball, but he’s still only 23 and has less than a full year of MLB experience under his belt. Just because you’re a can’t-miss player doesn’t mean there won’t be any bumps on the road to stardom. It isn’t out of the question that Longoria could go through some short – and not so short – slumps this year.
Don’t get me wrong: If you have Kinsler, Longoria or another guy playing out of his mind, I’m not saying you have to trade him. I’m just saying test the waters. You never know where it’ll carry you.