April 11, 2005
Your fantasy baseball draft is over, the first week of the season has been completed, and you now realize you are dreadfully short in the saves department. It's too early to trade away your talent, but you don't want to find yourself chasing several categories so early in the season.
If this situation is a familiar one for you, it's time to reassess your team and figure out how you are going to acquire the category you need without sacrificing your team.
If saves is the issue, be patient and try to pick up any "closers in waiting," because in this day and age, only a handful of closers are guaranteed to have their job the next week after they blow a couple saves in a row. If you are not trading for a Billy Wagner type (heck, even Gagne is injured and Rivera is struggling), don't bother giving up any talent. Saves are a single category, and any player you give up is likely to help you in more than one category.
Falling behind in stolen bases? If you are just having a bad week because your opponent has Omar Vizquel and his 4 stolen bases already, relax and let time catch up. If your roster really is thin on speedsters, however, think about trading a 30+ HR potential outfielder for a player capable of a 20/20 season. That doesn't mean that the player has accomplished that feat before, just that the potential is there. And in the case of stolen bases, the younger the better - once the "Sammy Sosas" sign a large contract, they stop running.
For instance, taking a flyer on a player like rookie Jeremy Reed might fare you better than trying to stick with a Jeromy Burnitz type player. This late in his career, Burnitz has limited upside (35 HRs with little help elsewhere) while Reed COULD hit 20-30 HRs, steal 15-30 bases, and hit for a higher average. Better yet, if Reed starts out hot, you could trade him while he is overvalued and acquire someone more consistent (perhaps a Jacque Jones type player). Do NOT mortgage the farm trying to trade for Carl Crawford. If you valued him that much one week ago, you would have drafted him.
ERA, WHIP, and BA are categories that require many more innings before it's panic time. Look at the projections for your roster, and if your players are underperforming early, just sit back until the law of averages catches up.
Wins and Runs are two categories hard to predict because of their large dependence on the rest of the team (does a pitcher have enough offense to win games? does a leadoff hitter have players behind him to drive in runs?), so it's not easy to "trade for" wins or runs. In the long run, good pitchers will win games and good hitters will score runs, so worry about the larger picture and not about one week's worth of stats.
The other cumulative stats (RBI, HR, and K) offer more consistency across the player pool. It is unlikely that a soft tossing pitcher will suddenly rack up 250 strikeouts this year, and the same goes for power hitters (especially in a "juice" free league). If you have a few of these power players, hang on to them; you will need them to survive in fantasy baseball. Don't trade away higher draft picks than what you are acquiring so early in the year - 10 games shouldn't change the future value of a player unless unforeseen injuries or less playing time has become a factor.