What Was That Noise?

I do chats for several fantasy baseball websites and, even though it's only the end of May, I'm surprised how many times I have been asked, "this guy is off to a terrible start - should I drop him?"

Ninety-nine percent of the time, my answer is "no".  The other one percent I say "yes" because the guy shouldn't have been on a fantasy roster in the first place.

We're just finishing up the second of six months of the season.  There are still two thirds of the season left.  There is very little damage thus far that can't be remedied with a strong performance the rest of the way.  Will your starter with an ERA near 6.00 end up winning the Cy Young award?  Probably not.  But if Carlos Silva can win 5 games in two months while allowing almost 14 baserunners per game, imagine how many a good pitcher can win in four months.  If Lyle Overbay can drive in 40 in the first two months on a team that has the 8th worst on base percentage in the majors, is there any doubt that some of the RBI underachievers on the good offensive teams will start producing?

Twenty-one of the twenty-three players I started with this season in AL Tout are underachieving in one way or another.  That's 91% of the team.  I don't think anyone on earth is more disappointed, aggravated, annoyed and altogether fed up with the poor performance of their fantasy baseball team than I am with my Tout team.  You wouldn't have expected a pitching staff with Johan Santana, Raphael Soriano, Kelvim Escobar, Jon Lieber and Ugueth Urbina to have an ERA pushing 5.00 and a WHIP near 1.500, but that's what I have.  Only Victor Martinez and Matt Lawton are performing at a higher level than expected. 

Is that frustrating?  Absolutely.  Is it tiresome and irritating to watch so many players utterly fail so outrageously often?  Oh yeah!  But is it time to panic with any of them?  No.  But I have occasionally wondered what it sounds like when the boat you're on hits an iceberg.  Joking, of course.  I'm not any more worried about my team now than I was on Opening Day because I know I drafted players with talent and opportunity.  It'd just make my life a little more enjoyable if they showed it more often.

Panic is always a bad idea.  And regardless of whether your team is doing well or not, unless someone offered you Miguel Tejada in exchange for Brandon Inge, you should only now begin entertaining trade offers.  My rule of thumb is that it takes about 2 months of the season to see whether hot starts or cold starts are part of a trend or simply a streak.  It's time to start listening to trade offers for players, but the idea of dropping any decent player at this point is solely an invitation to watch them excel on someone else's team for the rest of the season.  Dumping them in a trade for far less value than what they were perceived for at the beginning of the season is also a bad idea. 

The value you entered the season with is the value you should be shopping with for any player that isn't meeting expectation, because in all likelihood, that's the value they will have over the next 4 months.  That's th reason they were valued that way in the first place.  There just aren't too many cases where it's advisable to take a steep discount on a player who's falling short of his projection.  In fact, the only time I can think of is if he's injured or on the DL and not due back for a month or two. 

As badly as my Tout team is doing, I know I drafted a pretty good squad.  If you came away from your draft with the same feeling but are in the same situation I am, there's no reason to feel like you have to make a move right now.  This is a good month to make trades, but it's probably not a good idea to do any you wouldn't have entertained on Opening Day.  Otherwise, that sinking feeling you have right now might stay with you the rest of the year.