I want to kick start our new theme at Fantasy Baseball Express with an article about a real strategy that works. I played around with this a bit last year and for me, it was a success. When I say "In with the Old and out with the New", I am talking about the possibility of dumping some young players for veterans who can help your team win. Then again, we are playing Fantasy Baseball to win money, to win a championship. Keeper league or not, if you are in a position to win that championship and that money we should have no hard feelings about letting go of a possible young stud keeper for a sure fire veteran to help you win. Nobody could have expected that Francisco Liriano would get hurt and possibly be out for the rest of the season. Imagine trading Liriano 3 weeks ago for say someone like Grady Sizemore and Greg Maddux as I did in a free yahoo league I play in. My pitching is so strong, I didn't need Liriano. I also did not know he'd get hurt, but lucky me...right? Imagine trading Jon Lester 2 or 3 weeks ago when he was still 5-0 for Greg Maddux who has been pitching lights out. Craig Biggio has been hot, David Wells is back, John Smoltz has also been lights out and racking up K's at the same time. Do you see where I am going with this?
I have been noticing a trend the past few years and maybe its all luck, but rookie players, especially pitchers, can get real streaky. They start hot and will have an ERA under 3 for their first 4 or 5 games and then they'll get ripped up for a few starts....i.e. Lester, Chuck James, Weaver, Sowers (although Sowers has been hot again). What I am saying is that the middle of August is a great time to trade those young studs who are still learning and going through growing pains for veteran studs who are putting it together for the home stretch and are more consistent. Think about this..... We know what Tom Glavine is going to do game after game, do we know what Jared Weaver is going to do? Does Tom Glavine give up 5 runs a game in 2 out of his last 4 starts? Not usually. Its normally the veteran pitchers who have to pitch well to help their teams make the playoffs. What I am saying is that rookie stud pitchers rarely keep up their hot streaks once they are called up. Jared Weavwe started out great and won his first few games before finally hitting a rough patch the last few weeks. Same with Lester and Sowers. Sowers has been super hot lately so he could be an exception as he has had his bumps already. Same with Hamels too. My point here is that if you have an offer of Greg Maddux for James or Hamels, I'd take it. Experienced veteran players are the safer pick. A lot of these rookies and prospects are still learning, unconsistent, and unreliable.
My next thought is the waiver wire. Its time to drop guys like Nick Markakis, Zach Duke, Jason Botts, the guys just wasting away on your roster, and pick up these veterans! Guys like Maddux may still be available. David Wells should also be available now that he is healthy and pitching for Boston. Its the veterans who you can trust now more than anyone. Even guys who have been good all year like Mussina and Tom Glavine. John Smoltz has been a total stud racking up K's and a nice WHIP lately. As for hitting, we are finally seeing Mark Tex hitting the way he should. Also, guys like Craig Biggio, Juan Uribe and Adrian Beltre have been scorthing hot. That's obviously an ugly list, but at the moment, they're hitting! My point here is to try to get these guys thrown in for a trade as an extra since their stock is already extremely low. If not, look add some of these veterans off the waiver wire. If they are helping their team make a championship, they can help you for your fantasy championship too!
The idea here is to shake up your team first. Second, you have to do some studying. Which teams are in the playoff race. Look at the American League with the Yankees, Red Sox, White Sox, Tigers and Twins. In the National League is the Mets, Atlanta, St. Louis and Houston and then the enitre NL West. Then look at those teams and see who has something to prove, especially veterans. Also, keep in mind, most of these players play every day as opposed to young players who often get spelled for a veteran player every once in a while.
This is just a strategy that I look into every August. My picks right now are Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, and David Wells as veteran players who will have a good September. Keep your eye on them. Better yet, try to swindle them in a trade or steal them off the waiver wire.
Fantasy Baseball Express