In this edition of Fantasy Spotlight, we’ll talk a little more about patience and shine our blindingly bright beam on a few guys who deserve attention. For some, your team has started off even better than you envisioned, while others consider a new hobby and hair replacement surgery. No matter what your position in the standings, go open up your team page in another window and get ready to do some managing, as we delve into all things fantasy baseball.
The second verse is the same as the first. As we discussed last week, it’s very important not to get too down, or too high, on guys this early in the game. Here’s a prime example of what not to do around this time. As many of you know, little Kaz Matsui has gotten off to a great start, and a friend of mine is lucky enough to have him on his team. Now, this friend is of course very happy that this guy he drafted as something of an unknown is doing so well right off the bat, but he’s also smart enough to realize that he isn’t going to hit .571 all year. This may seem like a fairly obvious conclusion to draw, but you’d be surprised by how many fantasy owners stand on the platform as the logic train passes them by.
So, after that first game of the season when Matsui went 3/3 with a homer and three RBI, this friend of mine finds he’s been offered a trade by one of his league mates. The deal, that was offered to him mind you, is Matsui for Bobby Abreu. Once he composed himself and checked his Hooked on Phonics tapes to make sure he was reading correctly, he accepted the offer and that was that. He knows that one game doesn’t prove anything, and that Matsui is still unproven. Why not trade him while his value is high in the eyes of his league mate for Abreu, a steady performer that he knows will get the job done and post a the very least a 20/20 season with a batting average around .300?
What could this guy have been thinking trading a third or fourth round draft pick for a seventh or eighth round draft pick after just one game, with 161 left to play? Well, he get excited like all too many fantasy owners do. He’d probably been in need of a shortstop and had his eye on Matsui during the spring, and in his mind, going 3/3 with a homer and three RBI in the first game meant Selig would name him regular season MVP by the end of the week. The moral of the story is that doing well/poorly in one game, or even five or ten doesn’t mean a guy will have a great/horrible season. I know it’s tough to watch your second round pick go 0/8 to start the season while the guy that got selected right after hit two homers in his first three at bats, but you must be patient. I must sound like a broken record making such a seemingly obvious point over and over again, but it really is one of the most key aspects of doing well in fantasy sports. So remember, Frankie says relax…and don’t do the “Bands Reunited” performance no matter how much VH1 begs. But that’s a lesson for another time.
New York Yankees
Last week we mentioned Mike Mussina’s ugly outing in Japan and how not to get freaked out by it. Well, he did it again in his second start, and once again I’ll tell you to keep your cool. Moose is sitting on 199 career wins, so getting over that hump and notching number 200 could be playing on his mind a bit. That answer not satisfying you? Still worried that a slow start will ruin him for the entire season? Allow me to warm up the flux capacitor and bring you back to a time when UConn wasn’t the site of Middle Eastern style riots and Tiger Woods could still win a golf tournament. You see, way back in 2001, Moose went 1-3 with a 4.78 ERA in April. He ended up rebounding in a big way and ended the year with 17 wins and a 3.15 ERA (his lowest since ’94).
When you play for the Detroit Tigers, it’s hard to get the publicity of, well, just about any other human being on the face of the planet (before this season that is). When you play for the Tigers and hit .240? You’d get more press working as the personal assistant to the guy who played Steve Urkel. So, allow me to introduce all of you to man who could end up helping you out at third base in 2004. Eric Munson did hit .240 in 2002, but he also went yard 18 times and will only improve in this, his second full season in the majors. The book on Munson is that he usually gets off to a slow start, and then comes on strong later in the summer, but so far so good for the 26 year old. With two homers and five RBI in his first four games, Munson is definitely a guy to keep your eye on, especially if third base is a weak point.
Los Angeles Dodgers
You really can’t talk about slow starts without bringing up the man who perfected this art form, Adrian Beltre. Like clockwork, Beltre will stink throughout the entire first half of the season, then when everyone gives up on him, he emerges from the All-Star break and plays out the rest of the regular season like a guy worthy of a fantasy roster spot. However, this year Adrian must be confused because he’s actually gotten off to somewhat of a fast start in these first few games. If you ask me, this is just another one of his tricks. He’s pulled the same scam on fantasy owners for so many years now that they’ve finally caught on to his game and aren’t drafting him. Don’t let Adrian stay one step ahead of you and watch him carefully. Should he continue to play well, snatch him up, as this could be the season he finally puts it all together and fulfills the potential we’ve all been talking about since he was a teenager.
Corey Patterson is a guy I’ve liked for a few years now. He showed he could get the job done last season, before going down with a knee injury that ended his year prematurely. He’s back now though, and his surgically repaired knee appears to be doing fine. If he can stay healthy all year, and I believe he will, a 30/20 season is very possible. Even coming off the injury, Dusty Baker is giving him the green light to run, which is a good sign that he’s still capable of stealing bases at a pretty steady clip. Since he’s only 24 and still developing, it’s possible the guy in your league that has him sees Patterson as being worth a bit less than he really is. Simply put, if you’re club needs a boost in power and speed, Corey is a guy you should consider trading for.
That’ll do it for this week. Keep in mind, if you have any questions on trades or certain players or what you should eat for lunch next Tuesday, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and your query could end up in a future edition of Fantasy Spotlight.