Mailbag – How Soon Is Too Soon?
Each Wednesday, I’m going to answer a question from the
comments or my email, so if you have a question (about fantasy baseball or
anything else), let it fly in the comment section below. Here is
this week’s question.
Toby, I have a
question. My problem is that I have no patience. If a guy has a bad couple
weeks, I want to drop him. Every time this happens, some other manager picks
the guy up and naturally he goes on a tear. Of course, I learn from this, and
the next time a guy’s in a slump, I hold onto him. When I do, naturally, he
continues to suck. So, tell me, please,
Toby, how to solve this problem?
Well first of all, I’d like to say welcome to the “my
actions can effect real life sports events” club. I’d like to say we are exclusive, but that’s
a tough claim to make when millions of people feel the same way. Some people have their lucky t-shirt, others
have a spot on the couch they must sit on.
One writer here at MLBlogs eats the same meal each day as long as they
Yankees are winning. Me? My TV is above my fireplace, so I often build
fires and offer sacrifices to the sports gods.
So far it’s been innocuous stuff like newspaper articles about the
opposing team, but I’m thinking of simulating human sacrifice by tossing in vintage
Starting Lineup figures this year.
Second of all, I didn’t know Krod Mandoon was a Mets fan,
but I do know I’m bloody sick of those commercials. When watching “The Daily Show”, I’d rather be
told “size matters” for the 3,000th time by the roided up Bow-flex
guys than see these neverending promos for a show that is so epically bad.
Your question is a great one and it plagues everyone who has
ever picked up the fantasy game (by the way, we need a cool phrase like “laced
up the cleats” or “strapped on a helmet” for fantasy players. I’m going to toss out “cheered for a kicker”
for now, but I need to give this more thought).
If you are overly reactionary, you may have done something last year
like trade Ryan Howard for Jay Bruce, in which case you certainly lost your
league. On the other hand, if you never
make a move, you probably rode Eric Byrnes or Travis Hafner straight into the
Unfortunately, there is no one answer to your
question. When considering whether to
fish or cut bait, you need to weigh the factors below.
deep is the league? Letting a guy
go is much easier when there is plenty of quality on the waiver wire to
replace him (and possibly replace the guy you pick up if he stinks too).
many bench spots do you have? If
you have more than two, I’d consider keeping your star stashed on the
bench for a probationary period of two weeks just to make sure you want to
let him go.
point is it in the season? You
virtually never want to cut a guy in April, as you need a sample size of
at least 100 at-bats (preferably 150-200) to have any shot of making an
type of league is it? In a roto
league, I’m apt to act earlier, as I don’t want to dig myself a hole I can’t
get out of. H2H league’s have no
memory since the stats reset each week, so if a guy can turn it around and
help me win, I’m likely to hold onto him longer.
the player in question have historical stat splits? This might be nerdier than you wanted,
but you should look at the players monthly splits before you let him
go. Some guys actually are
statistically proven slow starters and heat up as the season goes on. If you cut these guys in April, you will
only increase your frustration as they light it up for someone else in
round did you draft the guy in?
This last one isn’t mine, it’s a theory of Cory Schwartz (so you
know it’s better than anything I’ve said) and it’s as close as I’ve heard
to a bright-line rule on the question.
The equation is simple – take the number of weeks in your fantasy
baseball regular season (usually around 26, but shorter in H2H leagues) then
subtract the round in which the player was drafted and that’s how long you
give him before cutting him loose.
So if the player was picked in the 10th round, you would
give him 16 weeks. The theory is
you have to believe in your initial investment and give it a chance to pay
off or you’ll end up hurting your team more often than helping it.
So there you go, five soft factors from me and one real
answer from someone else. Thanks a lot
for the question and good luck this year.
Oh, and if you really can pull an Eddie Mush and jinx current events (and
it’s certainly possible given that you’re a Mets fan), could you please,
please, please cut all of your Nationals?
We could really use a win.