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After the first couple months of a season, we start to get enough at bats to make informed decisions about how the current season may suggest a change in a player’s future performance from what we previously expected. Or do we? Yes, yes we do. But sometimes people overreact to recent information. Let’s call it recency bias because I think that’s its actual name. However, just because a sample size in the current season is statistically significant doesn’t mean we should ignore a larger sample (the player’s entire career). My preference is to investigate whether there is a reason why a player’s performance may have changed, from both a statistical perspective and due to any reported personal issues (injury, new baby, divorce, etc.). The idea is to see if it tells a story, which admittedly involves some subjectivity, but I think it helps place statistics in their proper context. This helps determine the likelihood that a player will approach their previous numbers or maintain their current performance. This is my long-winded way of saying that I’m looking at some players who have had at least one stretch of a drastic change from their expectations in 2014:

Billy Butler had a miserable couple months to begin 2014, then has seemingly turned things around in June. Many have already written off Butler, but I’m willing to give him another chance and believe that he’ll post solid numbers to end the year. Despite only having a .687 OPS to date, I’m expecting at least his .787 OPS from 2013 for the rest of the year.

After exceeding expectations, once Adam LaRoche falls back to Earth he starts getting dropped? I don’t really understand that, but I would buy low (free?) if people think he’s going to fall off a cliff soon. A .270/.340/.460 line should be reasonable for the rest of the season.

J.J. Hardy hasn’t hit a single homer in 2014, which is fairly surprising, even with his injury struggles. I believe he’ll end up hitting a few homers the rest of the way, but I’m questioning whether his April injuries are still causing him issues. His average and OBP are probably a little higher than you’d expect, but even with an improved slugging, last year’s .738 OPS is likely his ceiling.

Adam Lind has been injured and therefore has underperformed recently, but his season line is still .328/.406/.504, which is fantastic. He’s a great buy low (free?) opportunity in my mind because I see his .854 OPS from 2013 as his baseline going forward.

Unlike Lind, I have less faith in Carlos Beltran because it sounds like his nagging pain could be there for the rest of the season, if not longer. His age (old), isn’t helping either. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him fail to top a .750 OPS for the rest of 2014.

You can find Tom Jacks on Twitter @votetomjacks. He spends far too much time praying for the Cubs, planning his next concert, and wondering if there’s an instrument that could ever rival the theremin (there isn’t).

  1. I keep thinking Butler couldn’t have gotten this bad this quickly. But would you rather have Butler over Kendrys Morales? It’s a deep redraft roto league where OPS, AVE, HR, RBI are all categories.

    • Tom Jacks

      Tom Jacks says:
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      @Enrique: Yeah, I’d prefer Butler there.

  2. Spring Blake says:
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    Nice write up dood, lovin’ the ops league attention!

    Deep 16 team h2h redraft

    Thoughts on team in general? Maybe buying segura low?

    Already flipped:
    Cole+tehran+bruce for trout
    Harper for h. bailey
    Mejia+peralta for the white bear

    currently riding a winning streak from 2-6 to 5 and 6, thoughts on tryna shore up 2b/ss?
    maybe giving up anything to try and buy segura?

    C:gattis
    1B e^2
    2b yangervis
    3b donaldson
    ss owings
    of: trout
    of: grandy
    of khrush
    ut: singleton
    bn: arcia

    dl: trumboners
    d: gyorkoff
    dl:wilson (kidnappedbyvenezuelans) / literally always injured Ramos

    sp:kluber
    sp:bailey
    sp: ryu
    sp: gaus
    sp/rp: (stream / stacking scalafini)

    rp:farqs
    rp:familia
    rp:bastardo
    rp: rondon

    bn(until he fixes implosions) frieri
    bn:heaney
    bn: arrietia
    bn: smyly

    top waivers:
    bench bats : JD mart, moose tacos, pearce, ed esc.
    pitchers: guthrie, hahn, c. anderson, jp howell, shae simmons

    • Tom Jacks

      Tom Jacks says:
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      @Spring Blake: Thanks! Love the Trout trade. Him, Donaldson, and Edwin can easily carry a team. I like the idea of shoring up your middle infield with a trade for Segura. If he’s not available or if his price is too high, maybe you could try Jed Lowrie? He’s another good buy low opportunity in OPS leagues.

    • Tom Jacks

      Tom Jacks says:
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      @Spring Blake: Wow, that makes no sense to me.

  3. pull the trigger?? says:
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    5×5 keeper ($260) —
    can only keep FOUR. In first ,(tied). Want to win NOW . I give up Springer $5 Arenando $13 eovaldi $5 —all next years salaries–I get Kipnis Goldschmidt Soria ( all non keepers). Should I ask for more or is that unreasonable looking at this trade.

    • Tom Jacks

      Tom Jacks says:
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      @pull the trigger??: It’s already good, but considering those prices (especially for Springer), it couldn’t hurt to ask for a little more.

  4. pull the trigger?? says:
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    Considering this fine article…here is one for R O Y?
    Grandal or W Castillo in my standard 5×5?

    • pull the trigger?? says:
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      hi tom jacks i think u missed my questions

      • Tom Jacks

        Tom Jacks says:
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        @pull the trigger??: Thanks for following up. For some reason I couldn’t see your first comment until you commented again.

    • Tom Jacks

      Tom Jacks says:
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      @pull the trigger??: They’re close, but I’ll go with Grandal.

  5. Fantasy Newb says:
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    My Blackmon and Anibal for Shelby and VMart in a keeper league should I accept?

    • Tom Jacks

      Tom Jacks says:
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      @Fantasy Newb: It’s not a long-term benefit to you, but I’d be fine accepting if you’re trying to win this year and are willing to downgrade in pitching for a hitting upgrade.

  6. Swfcdan says:
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    What is going on with Crush man, OBP below .340 now, and is really doing nothing aside from the odd homer. You were the one who said you’d rather have him over Abreu, so I want answers man ;) . Do you think he’ll ever be the 2013 version again, if not what can he realistically settle in as (keeper league owner)? Braun’s been a mess recently too, at least Wright is finally looking like he’s coming around. #AtLast

    • Tom Jacks

      Tom Jacks says:
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      @Swfcdan: Yeah, I would still take him over Abreu. I know Grey said to sell Davis yesterday, but I actually traded for him in a keeper league…

      He’s walking at the highest rate of his career, so I’m not too worried. Part of it looks like a BABIP issue, so I’m expecting him to improve ROS. I don’t know if he’ll be a 1.000 OPS guy ever again like in 2013 (he was aided by a little luck), but he has the skills to produce a .900 OPS and a .350+ OBP..

      • Swfcdan says:
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        @Tom Jacks: I’d take that, heck his OPS is well below .800 right now! Looks like he’s clearly a .250 hitter going forward, last year was a fluke. Don’t care though as long as he starts mashing!

        • Tom Jacks

          Tom Jacks says:
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          @Swfcdan: I agree! Hopefully he turns things around sooner rather than later.

  7. Principal Blackman says:
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    Ever since I said boo about Shin Soo Choo, he has been a open sore oozing pus all over my fantasy team. I guess I should have kept my big puss shut.

    • Tom Jacks

      Tom Jacks says:
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      @Principal Blackman: He’s just being a drama queen. He’ll come around.

  8. Lville Jim says:
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    Need somewhere to vent after the Titanic meltdown of my bullpen across four leagues last night. In two leagues Holland and Jansen combined for 1.2 ip 2 L’s 6 h 5 er 2bb and 1 k. In another Holland and Chapman did me for 1.2 ip 2 L’s Hits don’t count 6 er 4 bb and 1 k. Lastly Jansen, Holland, and Kimbrel got me for 2.2 ip 2 L’s 7 h 7 er 4 bb 4 k. Needless to say it hurts to sit today.

    • Tom Jacks

      Tom Jacks says:
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      @Lville Jim: That’s pretty terrible. Go buy yourself a drink.

  9. Harris says:
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    Do you have any hope for Jason Kipnis?

    • Tom Jacks

      Tom Jacks says:
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      @Harris: I think he’ll start hitting some more homers, but everything else seems fairly in line with his past few seasons.

      • Swfcdan says:
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        @Tom Jacks: Sorry to put in but re Kipnis, what do you see his EOS line finishing as? I’m in a keeper league and considering selling him as im not too sure the powers going to return.

        • Tom Jacks

          Tom Jacks says:
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          @Swfcdan: No problem – I think he’ll maintain his current average and OBP, but he might be able to bring his slugging above .400 by EOS.

  10. Steve says:
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    League with 330 players on rosters. Differences: OBA for hitters; K/BB and QS instead of ERA and Wins for pitchers. Trying to manage categories. If I offer Adam Jones for a pitcher, which would you rather have (or do i have a shot at getting) from a pitching rich team: Kershaw, Price or Strasburg?

    • Steve says:
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      Ok – he has offered David Price. Would you send him P.Sandoval or A.Jones or some combo of Holliday and A.Gordon?

      • Tom Jacks

        Tom Jacks says:
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        @Steve: So you could trade Sandoval/Gordon for Price? Or would it be Sandoval/Jones or Holliday/Gordon? Either way, I’d send the Sandoval package.

  11. Swfcdan says:
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    Lind’s actually just been dropped in my 10 teamer? Like him and his OBP is great, but will he start showing much more power? His power seems to have fallen off a cliff this year.

    • Tom Jacks

      Tom Jacks says:
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      @Swfcdan: Yeah, I think he’ll rebound. I’d definitely take a chance if you don’t have to drop somebody too valuable.

  12. Steve says:
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    League with 330 players on rosters. Differences: OBA for hitters; K/BB and QS instead of ERA and Wins for pitchers. Trying to manage categories. Other owner has offered David Price for hitting. Would you send him P.Sandoval or A.Jones or some combo of Holliday and A.Gordon?

  13. David Niven says:
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    Always like your columns Tom. Thanks again.

    Is it worth going after W. Rosario this year? Other options are Ianetta/Vogt. Would Fowler or Escobar be a fair price?

    • Tom Jacks

      Tom Jacks says:
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      @David Niven: Thanks! I would value Rosario quite a bit in a two catcher league, and over the other catchers you mentioned. Fowler would be a fair offer for him, but it might take a little more.

      • David Niven says:
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        @Tom Jacks: Thanks man, appreciate your time. Have a great Sunday.

        • Tom Jacks

          Tom Jacks says:
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          @David Niven: No problem – you too.

  14. David Niven says:
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    That would be in a 10 team 2 catcher league.

  15. G-OZ says:
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    Hosmer or Butler for the rest of the season, who would you rather have?

    • Tom Jacks

      Tom Jacks says:
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      @G-OZ: Hosmer

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