The opening weeks of the fantasy baseball season can be treacherous to navigate. On one hand, you don’t want to act rashly when dealing with such small samples. On the other, sitting on your hands might mean missing out on some of this season’s breakout performers. It’s a tricky balance to strike. Here are a few tips to help you do just that.
CONSIDER THE SOURCE
When contemplating a new addition to your roster, it’s important to learn as much as you can about the player. Do they have a firm grip on a starting job? Where do they hit in their team’s lineup? Is there an established track record, even just in the minors? There’s a significant difference between a young guy with pedigree getting off to a hot start and a career minor-leaguer doing the same. There are no guarantees, of course, but generally the former is a better bet to continue succeeding long-term.
DIG INTO THE NUMBERS
As sabermetrics (or advanced stats, or whatever term you prefer) have become more widely known and accepted in the sport, the amount of data available has exploded. It can be daunting to sift through it all. You don’t need to be able to calculate the formulas to use the information effectively, though – you just need to be able to put the numbers in context. Some metrics, like strikeout and walk rates, stabilize quickly. Others may take most of the season to become reliable indicators. There are lots of resources that put all of this into plain English and can help you broaden your understanding of how and when to use the numbers without requiring an advanced degree in statistics.
PROCESS MATTERS ALMOST AS MUCH AS RESULTS
Obviously, results are what we’re after. It’s easy to get discouraged with a player, even an established one, when they’re regularly going hitless or giving up runs in bunches. But being able to differentiate between a run of bad luck and legitimate flaws in approach is perhaps the most important skill one can develop as a fantasy owner. If a player isn’t producing but is showing improved plate discipline or making higher-quality contact than in previous seasons, there’s a good chance the results will come soon enough.
KEEP YOUR EMOTIONS IN CHECK
Nobody likes losing or being wrong, but it’s inevitable that you will suffer both fates. At the end of the day, we’re all just guessing, no matter how educated those guesses might be. What’s important is how you react to adversity. Always approach managing your roster with an objective and critical eye – just don’t turn that critical eye on yourself when things don’t go according to plan. More often than not, frustration simply leads to hasty decisions that compound the error.
Kyle Bishop is a lead MLB columnist at RotoBaller.com. His articles and Fantasy Baseball Rankings are your secret weapon for winning fantasy leagues.