Playing fantasy baseball is fashionable for many reasons. It appeals to not only rad people, such as myself, but also has qualities that attract the nerdiest guy you know from your AP stats class back in high school. People love the stats, and people love trying to predict the future. If they didn’t, then why are psychic hotlines so popular? For me, though, it is not really about the stats. It is all about playing the role of the Fantasy GM.
I am sure that there are others who feel this way. Maybe it is just the fact that I am now a baseball coach/manager, or maybe it is because I can’t stand being drug through the mud for another season as an Astros’ fan. Whatever the reason, I love to play the role of the GM. The best part about being the GM: the trades. Oh, yes.
Trading is maybe the most exciting part of any fantasy season. I love trying to negotiate a deal on a buy low candidate or trying to convince another owner that so-and-so is not really as good as he thinks he is. Or maybe I just want some new blood in the lineup. Regardless, I love trading and think that it is one of the most crucial components to a successful fantasy season.
With the one month mark rapidly approaching, I would like to introduce the first article in a new series I plan on putting out every other week this year. I call it, Trade Bait. It is a list of some players that I would like to acquire, as well as guys I am getting rid of as if they were the plague. I will also start each article off with the list of trades that have gone down in the Denslow Cup before introducing each list.
First Trades of the Year:
- April 6, 2011 — Tits and Giggles receives: Mike Stanton; Quade Steak Burritos receives: Shin-Soo Choo and David Freese
- Tits and Giggles won this trade. In our league, power trumps speed due to how many categories it affects.
- April 25, 2011 — Dingo Teryiaki receives: Dan Uggla; So Fresh ‘n So Sheen Sheen receives: Ben Zobrist
- I am not sure what to think of this trade. My own team was involved and the one that made the proposal. I know I gave up a fourth-rounder for a seventh-rounder, but I just have this gut feeling that by the end of the year, the Zorilla will rank ahead of Uggla at 2B.
Guys I’m going after:
1. Ben Zobrist: Everyone knows what the Zorilla is capable of. But, just in case, here are a few reasons why you need to get him now. His GB/FB rate sits at 1.48 compared to a career average of 1.17. His GB% currently sits 9.5% higher than his career average. His contact rate is 9% lower than any year he has played in the show. He is also currently swinging and missing at pitches in the strike zone at a rate double that of his career average. Regression to the mean suggests that Ben Zobrist will be just fine. Oh yeah, he has two bombs in the last two games.
2. Carl Crawford: Chances are that Crawford’s owner is not willing to sell low; he could be willing to deal him, though. Anything you can bring back for this quality of player, at a price that is even somewhat lower than draft day value, can be considered as a winning the trade. His BABIP is a ridiculously low .194 right now (career BABIP=.329), he is swinging at fewer bad pitches than he normal, and he is hitting good pitches at the same rate as his career numbers would suggest. Crawford will soon catch a few lucky bounces on some batted balls, and then it will be too late to get him for anything cheaper than a first-round pick.
3. Ian Kinsler: What is not to love about the potential of a 25/25 guy? When he starts the season hitting .228, there is immediate potential for a buy low scenario. The Rangers’ second baseman’s BABIP sits at .206, almost 100 points below league average. That alone indicates that Kinsler should have no problem getting back to the .275-.280 hitter that he is.
Guys I’m getting rid of:
1. Lance Berkman: For starters, Berkman can’t possibly have any more value than he does right now. His BABIP sits at an astonishing .370 compared to his lifetime BABIP of .318. He is striking out at a rate almost 10% lower than he normally does, despite swinging at more pitches outside the strike zone than ever before…and did I mention he is 35-years-old? Sure he is hitting behind Albert Pujols and Matt Holliday, but I just see no way that he can keep this pace up for a whole year.
2. Wandy Rodriguez: He plays for my Astros, so you know he will not rack up more than 12 wins. He has a FIP of 4.08. Hitters contact rates on pitches both in and out of the zone are higher than they have ever been against him. Perhaps what is most concerning is that only 48% of all his pitches this season have been in the strike zone. I think Wandy falls below TMR’s famous Wandy line this year. Try selling based on the following stat: 8.8% of all strikes thrown by Wandy are being swung at and missed; the second highest rate in his career.
3. Paul Konerko: Re-read my pre-season projection for Konerko, notice that it is the exact opposite of how he is starting the season, and realize that now is the time to get the largest return on your investment.