With June quickly fading into July, some fantasy enthusiasts are already starting to think about football.
However, there’s still time — but not much! — to fix your Rotisserie baseball team.
Rotisserie is a purer statistical measure of Major League Baseball. It takes into account the season-long grind the real players have to face.
In head-to-head leagues — where all statistics zero out at the end of each week — it all comes down to a couple of weeks at the end of the season to decide the champion. If you don’t have a hot hitter or pitcher at the end of September, you don’t win.
Light-hitting Andrelton Simmons of Atlanta could wind up being more valuable than Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera. And while that is exactly what sometimes happens in the real-life World Series, there’s a big difference from that stage and the final two weeks of the regular season.
Also, star players don’t take a day off for Game 5 of the World Series as they will in the last week or two of September. Basically, lineups don’t matter. It all boils down to two weeks of fluke.
Rotisserie leagues require owners to manage their teams for the long haul. It’s perfect for those die-hard Atlanta Braves fans who enjoyed every Greg Maddux cut fastball softly grazing the black of the plate from April to September, year after year — even though they also had to endure far too many of those offerings grazing the outfield bleachers or denting the fences in October.
While not everybody is a Braves’ fan, Rotisserie is still the purists’ game. The biggest knock on the season-long accumulation of statistics is the championship race could be decided in the middle of the summer. However, if the league has solid owners and people didn’t panic in May, there is still time to make a move in the standings.
In fact, any team that runs away to a big lead in Rotisserie and stands pat will fall back to the pack almost every time. That’s because major-league players who have great first-half efforts rarely duplicate them in the second half. And if a Rotisserie owner has a whole team of guys having better-than-expected first-half performances, there will be a market correction that brings the team back to the rest of the league.
For example, Chris Davis is not going to reach his current pace of 58 homers, 148 RBIs and a batting average of .337. Granted, the Baltimore Orioles’ slugger is at the age (27) where players tend to break out with their best season. So believing in a batting average of .290 (22 points above his career mark) is understandable, but banking on 50 homers doesn’t seem reasonable in the non-steroid age. It’s more likely Davis will finish closer to 40 homers with about 105 RBIs.
Davis is an extreme example, but the key to winning Rotisserie is being better than other teams from roster spots 13 to 25. Anybody who follows baseball enough to play fantasy sports can put together half a roster of solid players, especially in leagues with eight to 10 teams.
But the cream rises to the top based on the second half of the roster.
Just about any team is looking for power, so here’s a look at some “fixes” for the rest of the season. These are players who are struggling in the power categories and might be available in a trade:
Andrew McCutchen, Pittsburgh — There’s evidence he isn’t a power hitter, 16 in 570 at-bats in 2010, and evidence he is, 31 last year. But his career low OPS (.796) suggests a turnaround is coming soon.
Pace: 15 HR. Projection: 26.
Prince Fielder, Detroit — Consistent career stats usually don’t lie. Fielder will hit at least 30 homers this year, so there are plenty of big flies to come.
Pace: 27 HR. Projection: 35.
Josh Hamilton, Angels — Yes, he’s in a major season-long funk. But Hamilton just has too much talent and power, and with Albert Pujols claiming recently to have rediscovered his bat speed, Hamilton should begin to thrive with less pressure to produce.
Pace: 22 HR, 54 RBI. Projection: 31 HR, 97 RBI.
Billy Butler, Kansas City — There’s no way it can be this bad. This guy is a career .298 hitter who hit 29 bombs last year. Butler will probably never be a consistent 30-homer guy, but he’s no 11-homer wimp, either.
Pace: 11 HR, 90 RBIs. Projection: 22 homers, 108 RBIs.
Wil Myers, Tampa Bay — Admittedly this is a gamble because he’s completely unproven. But when comparisons are made to Giancarlo Stanton’s swing and power potential, discerning ears perk up.
Pace: 0 HR, 4 RBIs. Projection: 14 HR, 45 RBIs.
Hanley Ramirez, Los Angeles Dodgers — Health has been in the biggest issue, but he’s capable of big power numbers as far as middle infielders go — especially if the Dodgers keep batting him in the heart of the order.
Pace: 4 HR, 16 RBIs. Projection: 15 HR, 55 RBIs.
Here’s a list of 10 guys to avoid in terms of power for the second half of the season:
1. Adam Dunn (the batting average is too brutal)
2. Josh Willingham (too banged up)
3. Curtis Granderson (can’t stay healthy)
4. Domonic Brown (not enough body of work to buy into his current 19 homers)
5. Dan Uggla (see Adam Dunn)
6. Paul Konerko (washed up?)
7. Justin Upton (April power brought May/June outage)
8. Troy Tulowitzki (see Curtis Granderson)
9. Ryan Howard (simply not the same player after injury)
10. Freddie Freeman (too content to go the opposite way for a single).