Fantasy Baseball Tumbling Dice: Timing Is Everything

by Lawr Michaels, on May 7, 2013 @ 10:30:00 PDT


One of the things that makes throwback leagues fun, hard, and intriguing is not just who to draft, but how long to hang on to said commodity.

For the uninitiated, a throwback league is simply that: a league that drafts from scratch each season, allowing no keepers from year to year.

New York Mets C John Buck
Time to pass the Buck

Since there is no chance for rebuilding in a throwback contest, moves have to be weighed carefully in the context of both immediate need, and potential need in however many months are spread over the remaining course of the season.

It also means that though May might be early to make moves -- such as trading -- in any format, in a throwback league, swapping for what you need when you anticipate needing it is not always a bad thing.

That is because if you have surplus, take advantage so that you can try not to fall too far behind in any particular category.

So, as in baseball on the diamond, timing is everything. So, the question remains, when is the right time to make a trade? Well, obviously that depends upon your assessment as an owner and GM, but, there are some general rules I like to follow when I am working the trade angle in my throwback leagues.

So, for hopefully your edification, here are a few that will hopefully be helpful to you.

  1. Don't be afraid to sell low for low. Let's see. You have Gio Gonzalez, and your pitching is pretty solid, but you could use another bat. This is the perfect time to swap Gonzalez for an underperforming stick. I mean, what better way for two owners to mitigate their frustration on underperforming players?
  2. Let go once stat baseline achieved. I always use baseline projected outcomes for each slot on my rosters. And, I generally prefer cheap catchers. So, if I got John Buck for a buck, and targeted him for five homers over the course of the season, he has hit that goal. Swap him while his value is high. Make sure, however, that you have someone to plug in who can achieve any Runs/RBI projections you may have, but those should be both modest and achievable bearing in mind how much season is left.
  3. Try to maintain some versatility backup in case the swap fails. Well, I always like versatility anyway, meaning players like Matt Carpenter are the best as they can plug in almost anywhere, and fill a hole. But, as you trade and/or fill gaps, try always to get as many players as you can who qualify at as many spots as possible. That just adds to your ability to adjust your roster and move forward, and ideally up.
  4. Wait as long as possible without waiting too long. This is the toughest. As it is, and as noted in Example 1 above, I do indeed have Gonzalez in NL LABR, and I also have the best pitching, despite him. I also have Tony Cingrani to replace Gio so I am deep there. But, I can use a bat. However, I also fear the DL, or another pitcher losing it. Anyway, it boils down to that "timing is everything" idea. You want to move, but, you cannot wait too long or the stats you seek may be either elusive or not enough push to get you into the hunt.
  5. Don't look back. I sort of addressed this last week in my piece on second-guessing. But, whatever you do, chalk it up to trying to make the best move you could at the time. Sometimes those moves work, and sometimes not, but don't be afraid to pull the trigger. And, don't be afraid to make a bold move. Those are the make-or-break ones most of the time, but it is pretty difficult to win without them.

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About Lawr Michaels,

Lawr Michaels has been a player in the fantasy baseball industry since he began writing for John Benson in 1993. He has written for STATS, Inc, was the first fantasy columnist for CBS Sportsline, and has appeared in numerous journals and on websites. In 1996, he founded CREATiVESPORTS, a staple for serious fantasy players, which he merged into Mastersball in 2010.

Over the years, Lawr has participated in a wide variety of playing formats and won numerous titles, including AL Tout Wars crowns in 2001 and 2009. Along with his Mastersball duties, Lawr works for as a statistician. Fantasy Baseball

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