Fantasy Baseball's Tumbling Dice: Stick It There

by Lawr Michaels, MastersBall.com on April 15, 2014 @ 08:18:37 PDT

 


It seems like it is panic time for fantasy owners with respect to more than half the batters on the planet.

1B Prince Fielder, Texas Rangers
Fielder bound to heat up for Texas

Just looking at the bottom rung of hitters through the first two weeks of the season reads like an All-Star roster and likely has most owners losing sleep, scalp, and maybe even sight of first place.

Well, we are here to soothe and remind you that we are still below 10% of total games played, so the sample size is small. Furthermore -- and more importantly -- the first month of the season does favor pitchers over hitters.

There are a number of reasons for this, but the primary ones are:

  • Timing: First and foremost, it seems to take hitters a little long to really get the timing of their swing down -- not all batters, but remember, a good batter is one who fails 70% of the time. Early on, a 5%-10% swing in that number means Charlie Blackmon leads the world, while Jhonny Peralta trails. Do you really think that will be the case come October?
  • Weather: Much like timing, it is harder to hit when it is cold than when it is warm. If you have ever played any kind of ball and remember that sting in your hands when you make contact in the cold, you know exactly what I mean.
  • Schedule: The schedule the first couple of weeks -- even through April -- is erratic. Set for openers and potential postponements due to that same weather simply does not allow an everyday player to prepare the same way a starter -- who goes every five days -- in the same manner.

What this means is thanks to the weather, the schedule is set to mess with a batter's timing. Meaning it is kind of lose-lose for your hitters till the continent warms up a bit.

Still, if you are concerned, let's reassure you by isolating some of those hitters who are indeed giving you insomnia.

Prince Fielder: OK, he is hitting .149-0-3 going into Monday night. This is a guy who has only missed 13 games since 2006 and over that span has never hit below .261, hit fewer than 25 homers, and has never driven in fewer than 81 runs. Frankie say "relax."

Nick Swisher: A .185-2-7 line is typical for a guy who usually does start as slow as the winter thaw melts. But Swish has never gotten fewer than 522 at-bats since he became a starter in 2005, and over that span he has averaged a .254-28-83 line over 162 games, while posting a .357 OBP and .818 OPS.

Kyle Seager: Maybe copping a couple of hits and an RBI Monday will help the third sacker who entered the week with an anemic .121-0-1 mark. Seager's average is right at .258 over his three seasons (.258 in 2011, .259 in 2012, and .260 in 2013, in fact), and he has averaged .260-21-72 over his past two seasons as a starter.

Carlos Santana: .186-0-1 for a guy who is also trying to adjust to a new position -- cut him some slack. Santana's 162-game mean is .252-23-80. Maybe he will mostly DH, but he will hit.

Pablo Sandoval: The Panda enters the week at .180-2-5, making it look like he has dropped two points of average for every pound he shed during the off-season. Again, over a 162-game average, Pablo has a line of .295-21-88. And Pablo knows the weather never really gets that warm over the summer at AT&T Park anyway. His bat, however, will.

In closing, remember that while it is true players have down seasons, hitters tend to move towards their mean.

More to the point, should you trade or dump a player you drafted in a key spot, or spent double digit dollars on, you are basically telling your league mates that they can have the profits generated after dumping said player.

That is a recipe for disaster, so just hang in there, stock up with sun block, target the day our local team has "cap day," and drink a nice warm glass of milk before you go to sleep.

You can get the Mastersball Player Projections as well as our Top 250 Prospects as part of our Platinum package, with more information at 2013 Mastersball Platinum Package. Mastersball Platinum is the edge that supported four of the top five finishers in the NFBC in 2012. You can get the same insights and analysis that helped Dave Potts with the $100,000 grand prize last year by subscribing to Mastersball at 2013 Mastersball Platinum Package.

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About Lawr Michaels, MastersBall.com

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 MLB.com as a statistician.

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