Thursday, February 14, 2013

Baseball Draft Strategy: hot and cold players

2012 was a crazy year for baseball. Miguel Cabrera got the triple crown and yet he had to fight for the MVP award against rookie Mike Trout. This year a similar fight for the top spot continues in fantasy baseball. Do you take the known commodity in Cabrera or bet on what Trout could do with a full season? (he started the first month of last season in the minors)

It probably won't matter. As long as both guys remain healthy you should have a great start to your draft either way. Round 1 is full of great options. That's why round 1 doesn't matter as much as the rounds that follow.

My plan this year is to consider a couple unique strategies. One such strategy is to draft a guy who usually starts the season hot then trading him for a better player who usually starts the season cold and heats up as the year goes on. Now this isn't easy to predict I'm sure and could be completely wrong, but why not try.

Two great players for this strategy are Adam Jones and Aramis Ramirez. They don't play the same position so it won't be a perfect swap, but Jones usually starts hot and Ramirez usually starts cold. They should hit that sweet spot in May where Jones is a sell-high while Ramirez is a buy-low.

For his career, Ramirez is a .257 hitter in March/April and a .271 hitter in May. Compare that to June and July when he hits .301 and .290 respectively. His home runs go from 41 in May to 69 in August. Compare that to Jones who is a .276 hitter in March/April and a .298 hitter in May. In June and July he has hit .285 and .275 respectively. In May he's hit 21 home runs while in August he's hit only 12.

To really bring the point home, last year Ramirez started the season hitting .214 in March/April while hitting .373 in July. His home runs also went up every month through August. Jones started March/April hitting .333, but in July he hit .264. Jones hit 16 home runs in March-May, and only 16 more the rest of the season. While Ramirez hit 5 homes runs in March-May and 22 more the rest of the season.

Historical performance does not guarantee future performance but let's play out the scenario with last year's numbers. If you had traded Jones for Ramirez at the end of May last year you would have had a player who combined for a batting average of .321 and a home run total of 38. Compare that to Miguel Cabrera's 2012 season of a .330 batting average and 44 home runs, or Mike Trout's .326 batting average and 30 home runs.

Sure this strategy isn't perfect and it might not work, but if it does then you will have a great player while avoiding both player's streaky tendencies.

What are some crazy draft strategies you have used that either worked or failed miserably?

*stats are from


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    1. Thanks for your comment, Nick! I accidentally deleted it. :( But I copied it below.

      Wow, Jimmy! This is really professional. I didn't know what to expect (not knowing much about fantasy baseball), but this strategy sounds rather, um, sound. And you really backed up your argument! On a side note, I really like the part that reads, "Historical performance does not guarantee future performance." It sounds just like the disclaimers on my retirement portfolio statements. :)