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Saturday, April 7, 2007

Buying and Selling Fantasy Pitchers

The first couple of weeks of the season are very similar to the last couple of weeks leading up to the season. Most fantasy baseball players have their teams set and are unwilling to trade players until they've seen something out of them. Two weeks of play will only sway the judgements of the most amateur of players. But since there's little else to talk about, at least for another week or two, we'll go over some players who may be good candidates to Sell High on or Buy Low on.

If you can stick to this principle - Buy Low and Sell High - and never do the opposite unless it is absolutely necessary, you should be in good shape througout the year. Even if I love a player, if he is getting lucky I will have no objections to trading him for a better player who is getting unlucky. Don't be afraid to make these kinds of trades. Let's take a look at a few pitchers who fit one of these bills.

Buy Low
Johan Santana, Chris Carpenter, Brandon Webb - Three of the top pitchers in the game ran into some rocks coming out of the gates. Don't fear; these guys will bounce back. If for whatever reason their owners are panicking, take advantage of it. Check my Starting Pitcher Rankings; player projections rarely change over the first couple of weeks.

Ben Sheets - Great first start, ugly second start. As long as he stays healthy Sheets should be one of the best in the game.

Scott Kazmir - Struck out 5 in 5 IP, but also walked 4. This explains his 9.00 ERA, but expect his BBs to go down as the year progresses.

Felix Hernandez - Why is a guy with 12 Ks and a 0.00 ERA in 8 IP listed under buy low? Because as I've said numerous times over the past few months, Felix is a serious threat to Johan Santana for the AL Cy Young. If you can still get him for his draft day value, do it now.

Mike Mussina - Good pitcher, bad first start. He's getting older, but he still should be a Top 15 pitcher this year. Too many walks his first time out, but that should improve. If it doesn't, hope he gets lucky and look to sell.

Sell High
Justin Verlander - Will take a big step back from last year. A 0.00 ERA in his first start may lead some to believe he will improve. Don't fall for it. Trade him if he's on your team.

John Lackey - Not as bad as Verlander, but not worth his draft day value. Also got a 0.00 ERA so far in addition to a Win, trade Lackey for a real Top 10 Starting Pitcher before you lose the opportunity to.

Dontrelle Willis - Cool nickname, overrated player because of it. He may be exciting to watch, but he's not as good as the hype suggests. With a Win and a 1.50 ERA so far, capitalize on his perceived value.

Jason Schmidt - Another guy whose hype doesn't match his performance. Even his surface numbers didn't look great the past couple of years. Dump him.

Tom Glavine - As a Mets fan I love Glavine, but he's not a good Fantasy pitcher. Sell him while you can.

Don't Buy Low
Carlos Zambrano - I went over him yesterday. He had a rough first outing. 5 BBs in 5 IP is not a good sign for a guy who needs improved command to succeed this year. It's still early though. I just wouldn't touch this guy. If you own him, wait until he has a couple of solid outings and trade him. You may not even need to wait if your league owners realize that one bad start is nothing to worry about (unless you're savvy and realize that Carlos Zambrano isn't that great to begin with).

Chris Young -Another guy I've expressed my disdain for. Perhaps a 4.76 ERA and a 1.59 WHIP isn't super terrible, but Young is a guy you should definately stay away from unless he's your 4th or 5th SP in a deep league.

Don't Sell High
Jake Peavy - Another guy I've touted as a fantastic fantasy pitcher. He pitched well in his first start. Don't expect this change as long as he's healthy.

Felix Hernandez - I realize he was also listed under Buy Low, but King Felix is for real. Make sure he is on all of your teams if at all possible.

Cole Hamels - Another young guy who shouldn't be underestimated. While his ERA will not remain at 0.00 the entire season, expect Hamels to be a Top 12 pitcher.

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