Sorry to miss last week fellas; especially those that have been following closely (you have no idea how much I appreciate you! Yes, you!).  I just moved to Southern California from St Louis and boy are my arms tired!  Tired from holding the wheel of a U-Haul for almost 30 hours through the mountains of Colorado and Utah that is.  Beautiful country, lots of sweet scenery to bask in, but having never driven a U-Haul before and going with downhill grades of 7% and higher at night there were more than a few moments of some white knuckle fear; much less scary was driving in LA traffic because if other cars don’t want to get out of the way of a U-Haul then it’s their funeral.  Anyway I’m here, I have beer, I’m looking to walk along the pier, get used to it.  And I’m back to talk some more OPS strategy…

As June begins, it’s time to assess your fantasy team(s).  Where are you in the standings?  What are your team’s strengths and weaknesses?  Are you up in wins or saves or home runs and can trade some of those stats for what you’re lacking?  Where does your team need help? What are you eating for lunch? (Because it smells good.)

I wait until June to really assess my teams because there’s been a month of warm weather, and guys are who you thought they are.  Can Danny Valencia keep it up (I think so), can Adam Duvall keep hitting homers now that everyone’s is finally talking about him? (not unlike me, who was touting him weeks ago), are Mike Trout and Paul Goldschmidt going to perform like the #1 and #2 guys they were drafted as?  Duh, of course they are.

Same with under performing hitters, like Justin Upton, who I think will come around the second I drop him.  Maybe I’ll do that as a gift for all of you fellow Upton owners cause I’m cool like that.

So how do we improve our teams?  Waiver wire first since it’s free but, with hitters especially, it’s more about riding the hot hand and that can burn your team real quick once he cools off.  So the only other option is trading.  Trades are my favorite part about fantasy sports.  But there’s a problem with trading with those that just simply want to “win” the trade.  You both should feel good about the trade and how it helps your team.  Two weeks ago I traded my Chris Archer for his Jason Heyward, and I think I’ll come out ok in the end.  Obviously my trading partner thinks he will come out ok too; that’s why we trade.

“Winning” a trade doesn’t matter unless you win your league.  A few seasons back I traded Miggy for three lesser players I needed to try to win; I didn’t win but at least I went for it (and that one especially burned cause the guy I traded Miggy to won the next year).

Another thing to remember is to KEEP TRADING.  Don’t let one bad trade sour you on trading in the future.  If I did that with that Miggy trade I wouldn’t have pulled the trigger on a my Wade Davis for his Anthony Rizzo deal the next season after Rizzo had a terrible first month and I scooped him up.  Some trades work out, some don’t; just keep trying to improve your team and it’ll all come out fine in the long run.

A great thing to use when trading is look at the Ranks/Player Ratings.  Yahoo and ESPN both provide these; Yahoo uses overall ranks while ESPN uses position ranks and their own Player Rater; I like the rankings better because to most it’s easier to understand.

Using the ranks is how I try to start a trade with a potential partner.  If they know a lot about the game they’ll know that the 90th overall player in the season ranks may have started off hot and cooled, or vice versa.  This especially works if you play in an OPS league on either site, because the rankings don’t change for your league specifications.  So an OPS hitter can look not as good by average league standards or how you can get value for a high average hitter in an OPS league more easily.

Secondly, send trade offers to everyone in your league, especially in non-keepers or leagues you don’t know everyone.  In a long time league you should know who your trade partners are and what they want, but in a newer one who knows?  You don’t unless you throw offers out there.  Include a note telling them what you are looking for and/or why you think this trade benefits both your teams.  The worst trade offers have no reason behind them or that it’s obvious they haven’t looked to see what the offeree needs.

Lastly, trade for what you need.  If you are up 20 points on second place and don’t need to make moves because your team is owning the league, then don’t move anybody unless you are getting really good value. If not, trade to help you win.

So let’s look at a few guys ranked highly (and lowly) to see if there’s any potential value for getting rid of them or trying to attain them in OPS leagues.  (Note: All Rankings and stats as of June 1.  Yahoo rankings are overall; ESPN are by position.)

Look to Move:

Travis Shaw (ranked 57 in Y! Tied for #4 in ESPN at 1B and 3B) – Seven HRs with an .866 OPS?  Yeah his OPS is not staying that high; and it’s already dropped a lot in the past couple weeks.

Jackie Bradley Jr. (Ranked 25 in Y! Tied for #5 OF in ESPN) – I’ve read he’s for real, it’s legit, and thus not sure what you can get for him.  But I don’t buy he’s an almost one OPS guy.  Another Boston guy to move because they can’t stay this hot all season.

Ryan Braun (ranked 41 in Y! Tied for #5 OF in ESPN) – He’s still enough of a name to get value from but if you own him he isn’t playing every day do to nagging injuries and getting old.  Eventually the bottom is going to drop out.  I’ve never understood that one, about the bottom dropping out.  Is it in reference to that carnival ride where you spin around so fast the bottom literally falls out?  I puked on that the first time and never went back.  Truthfully I also puked on the octopus ride at a church fair when I was ten, so I just don’t go to theme parks or ride roller coasters.  I don’t feel I’ve missed anything.

Aledmys Diaz (ranked 62 in Y! #8 SS in ESPN) – In a keeper, you obviously keep him.  In a yearly league more than likely you already had a decent SS and can slide that guy back in.  Is he going to cool as the summer heats up?  Yep. Is he going to have an OPS over .900 at the end of the year?  Nope.

Eric Hosmer (ranked 31 in Y! #1 1B in ESPN) – Maybe he’s figured it out, but I think he’s a 22 homer guy that has 10 so far.  12 more over four months?  He’s not the #1 1B and you and I both know it.  Let someone else enjoy his cool haircut and name value while it’s at its peak (like his hair!).

Look to get:

Steven Souza Jr. (210 in Y! #43 OF in ESPN) – He’s an OPS dream, and now his average is up too.  He plays everyday, has two 3-hit games in his last ten and nine homers thus far.  I bet he finishes with more than Hosmer.

Michael Saunders (159 in Y! #42 OF in ESPN) – These rankings are a joke but are so low as he recently came back off of an injury; I liked him a lot last year before he stepped on a sprinkler (who left that out for him to hurt himself on? I demand answers!)  He’s a Canadian playing in Canada, eh?  It’s aboot time you go get him.

Nelson Cruz (43 in Y! #17 in ESPN) – I love me some Nelson Cruz.  #17 in ESPN?  Go get him in ESPN leagues at least as he’s heating up like he does.  Just be ready to weather an injury; maybe grab his teammate Leonys Martin (who I really like too) once he’s off the DL, which he should be when eligible.

Trevor Story (23 in Y! #5 SS in ESPN) – I think he can be acquired now that he’s cooled a bit.  I still like him a lot to keep hitting homers and helping us OPS leaguers.

Aaron Judge (Unranked) – He’s not up yet, but what are the Yankees waiting for?  For Brett Gardner to continue to suck? For ARod and Beltran and Tex to continue to eat up DH appearances?  C’mon Cashman, do the right thing.  The Yankees are the one team that shouldn’t care about starting his arbitration clock.  Those of us in OPS leagues have been salivating over him for a while, and now is the time, if you have the roster space, to grab him up.  Better to be early to a party than late so you can be home early and get a good night’s sleep because you have things to do tomorrow.

That’s it for me.  I’ll be around to answer questions as I watch the time fly, to live and die in L.A., where every day we try to fatten our pockets, like Tupac told me I should.

 

  1. MJP says:
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    Can you rank Rodon, Walker, Kennedy, Lackey, Gio, and Liriano

    • Phil B.

      Phil B. says:
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      @MJP: Lackey, Rodon, Kennedy, Gio(he may be hurt though, getting roughed up in 2 of last 3 is a bad sign), Liriano (can’t control his stuff this year), Walker. Good luck!

  2. Pope says:
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    Phil,

    Great stuff man, thank you. Glad your move went smoothly. I just drove a U-Haul (towing a truck on a trailer) from Utah to Ohio, so I feel your pain.

    This is the first thing I thought of after I read your intro:

    • Phil B.

      Phil B. says:
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      @Pope: Me too! My wife and I kept bringing that up the whole time. The Utah mountains I was not expecting. I got through Colorado and was like, smooth sailing from here, and then a bunch more mountains.

  3. Ralph Lifshitz

    Ralph Lifshitz says:
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    Judge is hitting .221/.285/.372, I’m starting to think he’s a washout and I was beating the drum hard for him the last few years. I hope I’m wrong, but I feel the Yankees don’t think much of him. In 438 AAA at bats, which is a few weeks short of a full year he was called up 6/22/15, he’s hitting .226/.300/.372 with 15 homers and 54 RBI’s. The good: his BB% is 9.3%. The Bad: His K% is 27% his ISO is only .146. The ISO is really troubling for a guy who’s been described as having Stanton-esque power.

    My two cents.

    • Phil B.

      Phil B. says:
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      @Ralph Lifshitz: I see your points for sure, and I’ve held him in keepers because of that upside potential as I wonder if just because he’s a big dude he gets the Stanton comps. The main reason I like him this season is because I can see the Yanks calling him up soon, and maybe he catches lighting in a bottle until the league figures him out after his first go round. Outside of that fact, I’m with you after digging deeper, especially the lack of homers.

      I thought about amending and going with Willson Contreras because he’s doing well; I’m just really unsure if he get called up. But its the Cubs, and I dropped Schwarber early on last year cause I thought there was no way he was coming up so soon last season.

      • Ralph Lifshitz

        Ralph Lifshitz says:
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        @Phil B.: Yeah I think Contreras is up soon. He’s added power to the swing and is an OBP monster. His catching is better than Schwarber’s was, and you know Montero is getting hurt sooner rather than later.

        • Phil B.

          Phil B. says:
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          @Ralph Lifshitz: Good deal. Just added him in my home league keeper. Thanks Ralph!

  4. John says:
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    Hi,

    I have Braun on my team; OF is pretty solid, MI not so much. Is Braun for Rendon and Samardzjia a fair return?

    Thanks and have a nice wknd!

    • Phil B.

      Phil B. says:
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      @John: I don’t like Rendon too much but he is on the upswing with 2 hit games in 4 of his last 7 games, but only 1 homer. Shark has been surprisingly much better than I thought (although a clunker in ATL his last start doesn’t help). I think Braun is better held in that deal. Enjoy the weekend as well!

  5. Prague says:
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    Love the thread, Phil – keep ’em coming! I play in a 6×6 with OPS and Holds. Would love to get your thoughts on a big trade I just pulled:

    Give: Marte, Beltre, Smyly, and Miller
    Got: Springer, Tanaka, Hill, and Maeda

    • Phil B.

      Phil B. says:
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      @Prague: Thanks! I can dig it, Springer is better than Marte (if only slightly, and in OPS substantially). I’m always a fan of getting the best player in the deal. I assume you have a good 3B and are decent on holds and need SPs, which fits well. How’s your team look now?

      • Prague says:
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        @Phil B.:

        I’m really happy with it! No surprise there. I think it’s a lot more well-rounded now:

        C – Molina
        1B – Rizzo
        2B – Murphy
        SS – Lindor
        3B – Bryant
        OFs – Stanton, Braun (I believe), and Springer
        UTILs – Maybin, Rajai Davis
        Bench Bats – JUpton, Arcia, Hundley

        SPs – Kluber, Cole, Matz, Tanaka, Hill
        RPs – Rondon, Betances, Casilla, Strop
        Bench Arms – Maeda, Iwakuma, Chen, Tomlin
        DL Arms – Romo, Minor, Bailey

        Gonna miss the ol’ Yankees double Hold. But yes, I love Springer, still have Bryant, and lead the league in Holds.

        • Phil B.

          Phil B. says:
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          @Prague: The Yankees figured out the Royals back 3, just the rotation and the hitting is missing. But when they win, both guys get holds, so there’s that. I like your team, especially your bench arms and now SPs to take you through. Hitting good mix of speed and power, if Stanton would ever get healthy enough to start hitting homers. It seems like he peaked this season hitting a bomb off Kershaw and hasn’t done much since. I almost thought of making him a sell, and still may do so.

  6. Matt says:
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    Man, Duvall is such the man. Been considering trying to flip him for last few weeks as his OBP is such crap (we have OBP as a category) , but resisted as I have several high-OBP guys to cover him there (rizzo, zobrist, gregory polanco, villar (so far), jose bautista etc)….and, man, is that power legit (plus we have slug% as another category so he’s quite the help there). I’ve moved on from considering a deal.

    ZIPS, Steamer have him with 20,21 more HR respectively. Assuming health, ~25 more is a possibly with those projections—that’d put him with 39 HR this year. Insane.

    No question, just my opportunity to express the happiness that Duvall has brought me as a fantasy owner.

    • Phil B.

      Phil B. says:
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      @Matt: Duvall has been some OPS gold, he’s the definition of slugger. I grabbed him everywhere I could, but in my home league missed out on him and went with Leonys, who of course got hurt immediately. I see Duvall, if I can be as lazy with a comp as possible, as a young Bruce. Bruce struck out a few percentage points lower during his peak and walked a few percentage points more, but the 25 or so homer power and 5 or so steals are what we should expect out of Duvall for the next few seasons I’d wager (and maybe even a couple low 30s HR seasons) Enjoy the rest of the weekend Matt!

  7. Aubrey Plaza's Pillow says:
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    espn’s player rater, unlike in yahoo, DOES in fact take your league’s specific stats into account (absolutely ridiculous that a site wouldn’t have that as part of it’s player rater for EACH league)

    • Aubrey Plaza's Pillow says:
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      @Aubrey Plaza’s Pillow: check with Ralph, Judge was been pretty awful in minors yet again.

      • Phil B.

        Phil B. says:
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        @Aubrey Plaza’s Pillow: ah, good to know about the player rater for ESPN; I’ll note that on future articles, thanks!

        You can see above Ralph and my discussion on Judge in the comments; I think he’s right to be very skeptical, as am I but… my thoughts on him rely on a few things breaking his way; 1. the Yankees calling him up as they continue to suck and now Tex is down. 2. Him taking the league by storm in his first go-round (which he wouldn’t be the first, and certainly not the last, guy to catch fire in his first month), and 3. that the power may be there in Yankee stadium. It’s speculation for OPS leaguers, but isn’t that what this game is about when it comes to prospecting?

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