Today Baseball and Brews is proud to host special guest columnist out of Cambridge, MA: Aaditya V., who has written an article on helping you implement effective trades in your fantasy league, and reviewed a craft beer from his home state. Take it away, Adi!
Trading Strategies and Squatch
By Aaditya V.
Early on in the season you’re told to be patient while your team’s “statistical anomalies” normalize. But if you’re like me, you lost the season when the draft started. Trading away strategic assets for wins in other categories is the basis of today’s article. I will go over some fantasy baseball trading basics, some strategies to help you get the most bang for your Showalter, and as always, a beer recommendation for you to numb and forget the pain my advice has brought you.
Intro to trading
In the movie Moneyball, Billy Beane, played by Brad Pitt, says “I can’t develop personal relationships with these guys. I gotta be able to trade them, send them down and sometimes cut them.” This mindset is crucial to being able to manage a successful fantasy team. Often times we won’t trade players for sentimental reasons, or in hopes that he will do better after the All-Star break (LOOKING AT YOU EDWIN), or that maybe they’ll get traded to a team in playoff contention (paging Mr. McCutchen).
However, it’s important to take a step back and analyze your team impartially and see where your strengths and weaknesses are. As famous sports writer Peter Golenbock wrote “The last thing you want to do in (fantasy) baseball is finish first in any category. Finishing first means you have miscalculated. It also means that you are wasting production. First in a category is excess. You must trade excess.” With that in mind let’s get started.
League’s Settings and Team Needs
Before even looking at blogs analyzing trade targets, you need to know what your league values. No point in targeting Joey Gallo if your league penalizes you for strike-outs. Always keep in mind your league’s settings when considering potential trades. For example, does your league value wins or quality starts? Or does your team use Batting Average versus On Base Percentage and Slugging? The metrics through which your league calculates stats will change who you target. Traditionally speaking, people target HRs because of the upside the longball provides (Rs, HRs, and RBIs). But if your league uses other stats such as OBP or SLG then look at the formulas below. Seeing what goes into those stats provides a deeper picture of who you should target, and how you should value players.
OBP = (hits + walks + hit-by-pitch)/plate appearances
SLG = (singles + 2(doubles) + 3(triples) + 4(HR))/plate appearances
This segues nicely into the next section which is:
Buy Low/Sell High
For example, take someone like Lucas Duda (1B – NYM). He’s owned in 25% of leagues (ESPN/Yahoo). He’s a career .248 hitter who is currently hitting .274. His OBP is currently .378 but is usually around .345, and his slugging is 142 points above his career average. This is a good sell high candidate, you know that his peripherals are going to regress to career averages at some point, so try to package him with a pitcher to upgrade a position player.
Then look at someone like Miguel Cabrera ( 1B – Det), who is having a tremendous off year. He is owned in 100% of leagues (ESPN/Yahoo). He’s a career .320 hitter who is currently hitting .275. This season his OBP is .381, and is usually around .398, which means he is still getting on base. His slugging is around 128 points below his career average. This is a bad year for Miggy, but his career averages speak to untapped potential, and he’s surrounded by a killer supporting staff, especially with a healthy JD. This a good buy low target. Keep in mind that your players don’t exist in a vacuum: where do they hit in the lineup? Who plays in front of them (RBI opportunities) and who hits behind them (R scored opportunities). The stadium factor can also tip the scales when making decisions: do they play in a bandbox like Yankee Stadium? Coors? Or are they in deadball parks like Petco or AT&T?
Evaluating your Strengths and Weaknesses
When evaluating your team’s strengths and weaknesses it is important to look at it from several different perspectives: A numbers perspective, a stats perspective, and future state perspective.
From a purely numbers perspective do you have too many OF or 1B? Then this might be a strength area that you should trade from. Additionally, if you have too many RP and need a few more QS or wins a week to be competitive, this might be an area of weakness to target. It’s also crucial to consider your trade partner’s strengths and weaknesses. Ideally, if you have an excess of talented OF but your pitching staff needs an upgrade, you would find someone in your league with a glut of good pitching but a thin OF. Match your needs to your trade partners’; the trade should make both of you better off.
A categorical approach might be one where you look at it from a team stats perspective. For example, if your scoring categories are R, HR, RBI, SB, OBP, and SLG, it would be worthwhile to look at your team compared to others and see where you rank in a certain category. You might think your team is having a solid year at the dish, but a quick look at your league stats could show you that you’re second-to-last in On Base Percentage, meaning it’s time to go after someone like Votto. It also lets you see what your league-mates and potential trade partners are lacking. Have an excess of good pitching? Find the guy in your league with the worst team ERA, I guarantee he’s hurting for a solid pitcher. This allows you to gauge other team’s needs, making it more likely that that team will respond positively to your trades.
Future State Perspective
Lastly, if you are one of the chose few that had a good draft or who the waiver gods have blessed favorably, then take a look at your team and imagine a future state: what if one of your SP goes down on the 10 day DL? Is the waiver wire deep enough? Do you have some pieces that you could trade a way for a better ranked player? No-one can predict injuries, but its always a good idea to shore up any potential future pain points.
Fantasy Impact (Trade Targets)
Using the advice above we want to target players that are under-performing but have really high career stats; these are players that are in a slump but could break out at any time.
Buy Low Guys:
Season Stats: H/AB 47/220 R: 27 HR: 12 RBI: 27 SB: 3 OBP: .290 SLG: .432
Last 30 Day Stats: H/AB: 20/106 R: 10 HR: 4 RBI: 6 SB: 1 BA: OBP: .232 SLG: .368
A career .279 hitter who is only hitting .218 this season. Based on his 2017 ADP, I’m sure most most managers are none too pleased with Machado’s lack of scoring. With both shortstop and 3B eligibility and with proven power he’s a pretty good buy low guy.
Season Stats: H/AB 44/160 R: 17 HR: 5 RBI: 26 SB: 0 OBP: .381 SLG: .431
Last 30 Day Stats: H/AB: 23/83 R: 8 HR: 1 RBI: 14 SB: 0 OBP: .402 SLG: .398
Season Stats: H/AB 27/103 R: 19 HR: 7 RBI: 19 SB: 4 OBP: .350 SLG: .524
Last 30 Day Stats: H/AB: 2/15 R: 2 HR: 0 RBI: 1 SB: 0 OBP: .235 SLG: .200
Braun’s career slash line is a stellar .303/.366/.544. However, in addition to landing on the DL, Braun is slashing a measly .262/.350/.524. An owner desperate for temporary power may be willing to part with him. Braun only has a few days left on the DL. Get him while he’s cold!
Sell High Guys:
Season Stats: H/AB: 61/204 R: 35 HR: 16 RBI: 51 SB: 1 OBP: .368 SLG: .564
Last 30 Stats: H/AB: 25/92 R: 15 HR: 5 RBI: 24 SB: 1 OBP: .356 SLG: .446
The 33 year old Mark is having a renaissance year. A career .237 hitter, he is currently slashing .305. Since coming to Denver in 2016 Mark has become a new player. While he’s out producing most 1st basemen, he might be a good target to sell high. Any injury, might be a prolonged absence due to his age. He could be a good package for top tier pitching.
Season Stats: H/AB: 46/140 R: 31 HR: 8 RBI: 31 SB: 7 OBP: .439 SLG: .579
Last 30 Stats: H/AB: 23/72 R: 12 HR: 2 RBI: 16 SB: 2 OBP: .420 SLG: .500
This season has been truely wonky. Hicks who usually hits .234 and was god awful in his first season with the Twins (2013) has been come a mainstay in the Yankees line up.
Season Stats: H/AB: 69/207 R: 30 HR: 9 RBI: 39 SB: 1 OBP: .371 SLG: .549
Last 30 Stats: H/AB: 31/98 R: 12 HR: 4 RBI: 15 SB: 1 OBP: .350 SLG: .551
You could probably safely say that most of the White Sox’s offensive production has come from this man. With an ADP of 198 is also safe to bet most people who have him rostered picked him up of the waiver wire. Furthermore, he has picked up hits in eight of his last 10 games and is slashing a healthy .332/.371/.549 with 10 homers and 42 RBI across 226 at-bats.
Today’s “I just got burned on a trade” beer is a very strong Imperial Stout from Harpoon Brewery out of Boston, Massachusetts. At a whopping 18% ABV, this beer is like drinking straight liquor, which will help drown the sorrows of yet another “re-building year”.
This Imperial Espresso Stout has a dark color with a strong quarter inch of caramel colored head. The taste is mixture of cherry and chocolate, reminiscent of a time when you felt good about your fantasy team (a time before the season started).
The beer has an almost syrupy texture and a nice warming feeling going down, which pairs nicely with the dark foreboding of having traded away your best player.