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.