How/When do you decide to pick up a free agent and dump a slumping player vs. letting the player ride out his slump? Same question applies when you’re making daily roster adjustments swapping a bench guy for a guy you play daily.
Eric, from Puckett’s Pond
This is certainly a question I might answer differently depending on the situation, league, players involved, etc. There is no exact science for knowing when to cut a guy loose or when to nab a hot player from the wire. However, there are some things I look at that help me decide and for this question I’ll answer by talking about streaming.
First, let’s define “streaming” as it is a term we in “the biz” refer to a lot. Streaming refers to the practice of adding and dropping players often in order to maximize counting statistics. It is primarily used for pitchers to get the greatest possible number of starts.
I am never a fan of “streaming” hitters, as it much more of a crap shoot unless you are able and willing to do a TON of research! A smarter way to approach maximizing your hitting stats is to roster one or two bench hitters that play multiple positions so you can get them in your lineup when other guys are not playing.
Let’s use three examples. When dealing with slumping guys such as Kevin Youkilis, Gaby Sanchez or Alexei Ramirez it gets a little tempting when guys like Chase Headley, Adam Laroach, and Rafael Furcal who play their same positions, are hitting well, and are just sitting in free agency.
- I am on the same page as Dixon when it comes to trusting more established guys to break out of a slump. A guy like Youkilis will average out at some point and if I am in a Roto style league I would be crazy to drop him before getting some of the good stats I can trust to be there by season’s end.
- When a guy like Gaby Sanchez is slumping, has been moved from his more productive 4 or 5 spot in the lineup AND isn’t all that established as a surefire hitter, I wouldn’t feel the slightest bit hesitant for dropping him for Adam Laroach, who is a guy who rolls in bursts.
- Then we have the Alexei Ramirez types, who when healthy and playing well is a streaky player, but when he is ailing and playing poorly he is a cancer to a lineup. I for one wouldn’t draft him to begin with, and certainly would be quick to trust a Furcal type player to have a little left in the tank for one more solid fantasy season!
On to pitchers. Streaming pitchers has become a real hot topic in fantasy baseball it seems. There are 3 factions forming, 1) the streamers 2) the anti-streamers and the 3) “what’s streaming?”ers.
I for one am all for streaming. It is a strategy that is not perfect and can be stopped or limited with simple innings or starts caps. But if your league allows it a strategy that can cheaply maximize your roster. Sorry anti-streamers.
When it comes to streaming in pitchers it is as important to know when to drop a guy as it is to know when to pick a guy up. All leagues that I have played in have a column showing ownership % of players. This is a column that should help you to evaluate the value of guys at your disposal. Right now people may still be adding and dropping Kyle Lohse at will, however he seems to be garnering more and more respect and his ownership is nearing 100%. Don’t be that guy that drops him now and loses him to someone willing to roster him for the long term.
When a guy reaches 100% ownership it is time to couple him with another guy, find a trade partner, and upgrade a position. Especially if it is before June and the rookies haven’t come up yet, because they gee you whole new crop of arms to stream!