Sunday, May 31, 2009

FDH Fantasy Newsletter: Volume II, Issue XXII

Welcome to our 38th edition of the FDH Fantasy Newsletter, as we continue to bring you weekly fantasy sports updates in addition to our usual content on In case you missed it, here are the previous issues: Volume I, Issue I (September 4, 2008), Volume I, Issue II (September 13, 2008), Volume I, Issue III (September 19, 2008), Volume I, Issue IV (September 27, 2008), Volume I, Issue V (October 4, 2008), Volume I, Issue VI (October 11, 2008), Volume I, Issue VII (October 18, 2008), Volume I, Issue VIII (October 25, 2008), Volume I, Issue IX (November 1, 2008), Volume I, Issue X (November 8, 2008), Volume I, Issue XI (November 15, 2008), Volume I, Issue XII (November 21, 2008), Volume 1, Issue XIII (November 30, 2008), Volume 1, Issue XIV (December 7, 2008), Volume I, Issue XV (December 14, 2008), Volume I, Issue XVI (December 20, 2008), Volume I, Issue XVII (December 28, 2008), Volume II, Issue I (January 3, 2009), Volume II, Issue II (January 11, 2009), Volume II, Issue III (January 20, 2009), Volume II, Issue IV (January 24, 2009), Volume II, Issue V (January 29, 2009), Volume II, Issue VI (February 8, 2009), Volume II, Issue VII (February 17, 2009), Volume II, Issue VIII (February 23, 2009), Volume II, Issue IX (February 28, 2009), Volume II, Issue X (March 8, 2009), Volume II, Issue XI (March 15, 2009), Volume II, Issue XII (March 21, 2009), Volume II, Issue XIII (March 31, 2009), Volume II, Issue XIV (April 4, 2009), Volume II, Issue XV (April 11, 2009), Volume II, Issue XVI (April 18, 2009), Volume II, Issue XVII (April 26, 2009), Volume II, Issue XVIII (May 2, 2009), Volume II, Issue XIX (May 10, 2009), Volume II, Issue XX (May 16, 2009), Volume II, Issue XXI (May 25, 2009).

In this week's issue, we bring you:

^ Fantasy Baseball Buy Low
^ Fantasy Baseball Sell High
^ Fantasy Baseball Sell High Case Study

Fantasy Baseball Buy Low

^ Jon Lester: As with any pitcher, it’s important to discern if arm problems lie at the root of a lack of success. There is absolutely no indication that this is the case with Lester, who has had a disproportionate lack of luck thus far. These factors generally even out over time, at least to some extent.

^ Magglio Ordonez: He’s making decent contact, especially as of late. With that being the case, there’s no reason to believe that his power will continue to fall off as dramatically as it has.

^ Matt Holliday: We’ll keep him on our “Buy Low” list until his production increases appreciably, not least of which because his numbers are playing into absurd stereotypes about the extent of the “Coors to Oaktown” difference. When you keep in mind that the As are almost certain to move him in his walk year since they are out of contention – and the good chance that he will be moving to a friendlier park – there is no reason other than superstition not to want a piece of him right now.

^ James Loney: This is another repeat participant on our list. Again, though, since he is almost certain to hit at least 13-15 home runs this year – at the very least – the longer he lingers in the low single digits, the more dramatic his progression to the mean will be.

^ Jimmy Rollins: Already showing some very belated signs of life, there is ample reason to believe that this superstar in his prime is once again ready to live up to his potential.

Fantasy Baseball Sell High

^ Kendry Morales: While he had previously been given scant chances in SoCal, there is no indication whatsoever in the time since he has migrated to America that power numbers such as these should be regarded as for real.

^ Joe Mauer: He is absolutely killing the ball, albeit in a small sample size since he wasn’t healthy for the first few weeks of the season. In a sense, he is additionally the mirror image of Holliday, who was vastly underrated this year because of overreactions about ballpark effects. Mauer is perennially overrated because owners always either assume that THIS will be the year that his power materializes or (more likely) the underrate the extent to which power is THE key separator at catcher (not batting average). If you own Mauer, you have an outstanding chance to feed into the false impressions about him.

^ Russell Branyan: He is quite the tease, putting together stretches like this one every few years. If you own him, you should take your profit immediately.

^ Raul Ibanez: He is riding the biggest hot streak of his life and is due for the inevitable regression to the mean. Think about this: he’s in his first year in a new league. He’s not even done with the adjustment period yet.

Fantasy Baseball Sell High Case Study

We first used this analogy two years ago when Jorge Posada was enjoying a ridiculous first half en route to his career season. In the perfect “Sell High” fantasy trade, you not only help your own team by leveraging great value for your departing player, you also hurt the opposing team by passing on to them a rapidly depreciating asset. We half-kiddingly cited the precedent of the Germans sending Lenin to Moscow in a boxcar to destroy the czar’s regime from within during World War I; ideally, the player’s inevitable regression to the mean will hurt the team acquiring the player, thus hurting their chances of blocking your path to the title.

Right now, we’ll tell you why Raul Ibanez represents another such opportunity for his owners.

Through games of May 30, he had smacked a flabbergasting 17 HR in 178 AB. A full 9.6% of his AB ended up as round-trippers, signifying the hot streak to end all hot streaks. That is more than 2 ½ times his career pace.

Now, since Ibanez became a full-time player in 2002, he has averaged 576 AB in a season. What’s his career average for HR in a season? 22.


OK, what’s his previous career high? 33.

Let’s back up a second. If he only reaches the career average of 22 this year – granted, a correction that seems pretty unlikely right now – he will average a “tidy” 1.3% of his AB resulting in HR, assuming he notches his career average of 576 AB. What if he reaches 33 HR? That would mean 4.0% of his remaining AB ending up in HR.

To put that last number in perspective, the years since 2002 have seen 3.8% of his AB result in HR. So for him to match his career HR high within a typical AB range, he would merely have to approximate the Raul Ibanez of 2002-2008.

If you dangle him right now, do you think that that is the Ibanez that your fellow owners think that they’ll be acquiring? We don’t think so either.

Granted, if this is a true career year for Ibanez, he is likely to continue to surpass his career HR pace, but that is a definite gamble. Are you sure that he’s more likely to continue to produce than somebody due for a PROGRESSION to the mean like BJ Upton? Remember, the long fantasy baseball season is all about surfing the waves that materialize over the course of a year. Take your profit in Raul Ibanez if the opportunity presents itself, benefit from the assets you receive in return and watch your trading counterpart wonder why the Ibanez from ’02-’08 is back.


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