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Total Bases Tell the Story
May 12, 2005

By now, you've probably read enough articles on a buy low, sell high strategy when dealing with your fantasy team.  Unfortunately, everyone else in your league is aware of the strategy, so no one is going to just hand over Mike Lowell to you, and you're not going to be able to trade Mike Sweeney for Todd Helton, just because Sweeney is hot.

Nevertheless, it still helps to know who is performing beyond expectations and who is stuck in the mud, just waiting to climb out.  The Mike Lowell's of 2005 are obvious, but some player's relative performances might slip under the radar.  That is where you can make your move.  In terms of offense, one of the quickest ways to examine a player's fantasy performance is to look up his Total Bases.  It may not be the most accurate statistic for fantasy performance, but it certainly gives a good indication.  More Total Bases likely means a high Average, possibly more Home Runs, and likely more Runs Scored and RBIs because the opportunities will be more than those with lower Total Bases.  Of course, you can take it a step further and divide Total Bases by At Bats or Games to factor in missed time due to injuries, platooning, etc.  Personally, I like the raw number because a hitter with 15 HRs in 50 games is not as valuable to me as a similar hitter with 45 HRs in 150 games.  Health and the lack of a platoon are important factors which should be considered, and Total Bases will expose these issues.

Using some 2005 projections are prorating them to approximately 1/5 of a season, I compared the projected Total Bases to the players' current Total Bases to see who is overperforming, who is in line, and who is underperforming.  Again, take injuries into account before trying to pick up a player simply because he hasn't reached his projections and you feel his is due.  Below is a small sample of the three categories, including some popular names and some that might give you a slight edge on the competition.  Obviously, as the first paragraph suggests, I recommend trying to acquire some of the underperformers, as it is likely they will turn their seasons around at some point.

Overperforming (Trade, or Hold and pray)
OF Willy Taveras - balanced offense with plenty of SBs, sell while he's high
SS Neifi Perez - couple hot weeks boosted his production, dump now!
OF Victor Diaz - more PT than expected, won't get enough value for him
SS Craig Counsell - no power, trade while his value is up
OF Lance Niekro - surprise player, keep and take your chances
OF Jason Dubois - keep, projections were lower than they should be
OF Nook Logan - hold, increased PT will lead to more TBs and SBs
1B Mike Sweeney - trade if you can, his back will act up eventually
2B Brian Roberts - trade to a B. Rob fan, stats can't last forever
2B Mark Grudzielanek - steady, but his production will slow, trade
OF Ryan Klesko - see Mike Sweeney

Right in Line
OF Bobby Abreu
SS Derek Jeter
2B Chase Utley - will improve if he gets more PT
2B Jose Vidro - quiet production as always
OF Carlos Lee - "el caballo" should equal or exceed his numbers so far
OF Miguel Cabrera - the next Vladimir Guerrero?
C Ivan Rodriguez, OF J.D. Drew, C J. Posada, 2B M. Giles, and OF V. Guerrero

Underperforming (Check status, then swoop in)
3B Eric Chavez - little help around him, but he should turn it around soon
3B Aaron Boone - tough call as he struggles recovering from injury
OF Scott Podsednik - the steals are there but little else right now
3B Mike Lowell - bound to turn it around soon
C Miguel Olivo - can't even see the Mendoza line right now
C J.D. Closser - behind the plate for his offense, but it's just been offensive up 'til now
OF Tike Redman - used up all his ML hits last year, not worth the risk