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Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire Advice: Patience is an Underrated Virtue

16 April 2011 No Comment

Normally I dive right into recommending specific waiver wire pickups, but based on the drastic trends so early in the season, I have to provide some big picture fantasy advice.

With just over two weeks in the books, some unsuspecting players have emerged on to the fantasy radar, while others have already been scooped up, despite a shaky track record.  But before you replace a consistent veteran with the latest fad, please consider a few things.

With 162 regular season games, fantasy baseball is about patience. Many of the individual surprises to start the 2011 Major League Baseball season can be attributed to hot starts or temporary droughts.

Some may remember the bandwagon-jumping in 2009 when Emilio Bonifacio stole three bases and scored four times in the Florida Marlins’ season opener.  Fantasy owners rushed to snatch Bonifacio from the waiver wire, hoping to make him their everyday third basemen.  Two weeks into the season, Bonifacio was batting .436, scored 12 runs and had 4 stolen bases.  Despite the amazing start, he finished the season with unimpressive stats: AVG-.252, R-72, RBI-27, SB-21

Basically, if you had held on to Bonifacio, he would have been a one-category player (SB). The moral of the story is to avoid extrapolating each player’s stats so early in the season, especially if it means dropping a consistent veteran.

This year’s Bonifacio could be Willie Bloomquist.  The fact that 2/3 of fantasy players now own Bloomquist in Yahoo leagues suggests that they are expecting either a breakout year from the utility player, or are just riding Willie’s temporary hot streak. Bloomquist has played over 100 games in just two of his ten years in Major League Baseball.  But some would have called Jose Bautista a mere utility player last year, and 54 home runs later, he became a 2010 fantasy beast.  In Bloomquist’s case, it is tough to dismiss his six steals and .349 average over the first two weeks of the season.

Personally, my current fantasy team is full of extremes at the moment.  In my league’s draft, I was fortunate to grab Hanley Ramirez with the 3rd pick, yet he currently ranks at the bottom of my positional roster (664th in Yahoo standard leagues). Hanley has been one of the most consistent players over the past four years.  His terrible start is a perfect example of how even the best of the best can go through weeks of mediocrity.  I expect Han-Ram to go on a tear very soon.

On the other extreme, I selected Gio Gonzalez 131st overall, and after three starts, he has accumulated 2 wins, 14 strikeouts and an ERA of 0.47.  Although I think Gio has a lot of potential, I do not expect him to carry my team in the pitching categories for the entire season.  I am ecstatic with his torrid start, but understand that it is a very long season.

With all that being said, there are a lot of young players with the potential for a breakout year and could be the difference in your fantasy success this season.  If I had to choose, I would rather take a chance on a player with a limited track record like Johnathan Herrara than on a utility veteran like Bloomquist because of the upside factor.  But remember not to give up on an established veteran just because he is slow out of the gates.

Written by Win My Fantasy League Senior Writer Justin Hasan (J-Has)

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