Hello everybody, I am glad to be joining the DFN Sports team. I am going to write a new twice-weekly Fantasy Baseball Update. I hope that you will all find it useful and enjoy reading it as much as I do writing it. I would also like to invite questions for your specific team or league that I can add to one of the weekly columns. Anyway, all that said here goes week one.
We are at the point in the season where everybody pretty much knows how their teams stand. You know your team’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as your opponents. So, it is starting to get into the heavy time of year for trading within Fantasy Leagues. Before I give you specific pitchers to focus on for the rest of the year I would like to give a few trading pointers.
Do not make deals that do not help you with your weaknesses. It seems obvious, but many fantasy owners make deals just to make a deal. In order to stay in contention you must only make deals that fill specific needs and help your team.
Do not make a trade simply based on name recognition. Just because somebody offers you a big name player does not mean it is a good deal for you. There are a number of examples this year of big names having down years. You must focus on just the numbers. This idea is probably the hardest one for fantasy owners to grasp and follow.
You must give to get. Trade from strength, trade for weakness, simple as that.
Take quality young players for the long haul at key positions (this is only for keeper leagues). Depending on your league's setup “fire-saleing” is different for each league. However, one tenet remains the same. Make sure you get long-term legitimate young players for top tier talent. If you are going to trade an AROD you must get top tier young talent back (Jay Bruce, Cameron Maybin, etc.).
Now that we have that out of the way here is the first of quite a few player lists I will provide in the coming weeks.
Sleeper Pitchers to Target:
Gil Meche (KC) - I know he has said he would not accept a trade to the Cubs or any other team, but let's be honest, given the opportunity to go to a contender chances are he goes. He should be cheaper in your league because his overall numbers are down (89.2 IP, 4 W, 5.12 ERA, 1.37 WHIP, 79 K). However, his ERA over his last 10 starts is 3.94, and if you take out 2 starts it drops to an even 3.00. No matter how you look at it his ERA is trending downward. A trade to the NL would make him even more valuable, but either way he is one to go get.
Greg Maddux (SD) - The oldest pitcher to grace this list just keeps getting it done. Maddux is not flashy and is helped by a pitchers park that is akin to the Polo Grounds, but Maddux knows how to get guys out. His numbers are nothing short of amazing. At 42 Maddux is sporting the NL’s 12th best ERA at 3.31. His wins have not been as impressive (3–5 in 2008). The Padres offense is anemic with anybody on the mound, for Maddux it is non-existent. Maddux has started 15 games and allowed more than 3 runs in just 3 of them (all losses). The good news, it is doubtful he will finish the year with San Diego, and while his ERA will take a hit his wins will skyrocket.
Chad Billingsley (LAD) - The last pitcher on our list is less under the radar than the other 2, but he also has the most upside. Billingsley (23 years old) is an ace in the making that has struggled at times this year, but this may be your last chance to get him without giving up the farm. He is a dominating righty with 91 K in just 84 innings. He continues to struggle at times with his command but it will come. Billingsley’s ERA stands at a solid 3.54 on the year. He has been coming on strong with 7 of his last 10 starts yielding 2 runs or less, and all 5 of his wins. Billingsley is a true potential Fantasy Ace; so if you have the opportunity to get him, take it.
Chien-Ming Wang’s injury will force the Yankees to get the best available starting pitcher on the market at the trade deadline, probably C.C. Sabathia. Look for the Indians to get more than the Twins did for Johan Santana. Chase Headley was finally called up to the Padres on Tuesday and he will start in left and hit 6th. Look for a high OBP and solid run production, but be wary of a high K-rate. Jesus Flores has won the catching job in Washington over the now healthy Paul LoDuca. Look for a lower OBP but very good run production and power from the 23-year-old catcher. Flores is a player I absolutely love going forward at a very weak offensive position. Jim Edmonds (8-21, HR, 7 RBI) has been red-hot of late and actually may not be a bad play going forward as a 4th or 5th OF. Mike Cameron (6-21, 4 HR, 7 RBI, 2 SB) has also been hot of late following Ned Yost’s moving him down to 6th in the Brewers order. Braves rookie Brandon Jones (10-21, HR, 4 RBI) has done nothing but hit since being called up for what was thought to be a showcase for a trade, but he may now be the Braves permanent LF.