Second half strategies

By R. Gregory Scalf

Fantasy and rotisserie owners should be evaluatingtheir clubs all season in an attempt to better their team for a stretch run orfor next season. As the All-Star break is the trade deadline in many leagues,owners will be looking for that extra edge going to the trading tables. Thereare several strategies and philosophies that one could follow in preparing andplanning for the second half.

First of all, try to evaluate the first halfstatistics.

Second Half Statistical Leaders

For those of you that believe in history repeatingitself, you can look at first half, second half numbers. When looking at theseason as a whole, some players play better at certain times of the yearcompared to others. There are varying reasons for this. A change in scenery bytrade is one example. Another example is the fact that many players from theDeep South or Latin America do not play well in cool weather. Statisticallyspeaking, most players see their performance drop as the season goes along. Thewear and tear for 162 games through the dog days of August and bumps andbruises causes the average player to decline. One would expect to see a playerdecline as they tire compared to starting fresh where many players have greatApril starts. And remember, players that were injured, minor league call-ups orsend downs don't have that kind of information.

Also beware of the free agents that could move tonew teams in new leagues -- something to be of concern if you are in a keeperleague. Some think that players in a contract year put up better stats as well.

Again, the above examples are for yourconsideration. How you use them depends on your thinking and which theories youbelieve in. There are also many variables that can impact a performance thatthe numbers do not reveal. A player that had an excellent second half last yearmight be struggling this year because of injury, personal problems, etc. Willit continue into the second half or will he come on in the second half with thestress of the situation now out of his mind? Some players falter from thestress of being on the trading block, while media might affect others. Thebottom line is that you cannot go by stats alone. As an owner you must try touse the above info and apply it to present situations in"guestimating" the expected outcomes in the second half.

Other Tips

The above info leaves you to decide based on yourthoughts about the info. Below are a few suggestions when planning for yoursecond half in your league.

Keep in mind the situation of the team of the player youare trading for.

Teams that are in a wild card race will keep their bestplayers in the line-up. Those not in a race will be inclined to sit veteransdown the stretch and watch the prospects play. This is also true of dominant teamsthat have a lead so big they can and will rest star players in September oreven sooner.

If playing for next year, gamble a little bit.

Trade off those high priced players and take a chance on lowdollar players, especially setup men for closers that are in a contract year.Other players in the same bullpens should be considered as well. Minor leaguerson the verge of regular jobs next year are also considerations.

Be aware of out-of-contention teams dumping contracts.

They will be traded (rented) for the stretch drive, possiblyout of the league. Be careful trading for them and then losing them if yourleague does not have a contingency rule.

Finally, you have probably heard this before, but tradefairly.

An owner that takes advantage of an inexperienced onedevelops a reputation that gets around the league. While it may pay dividendsin the short run, it will likely cost you in the long.

Good Luck in the second half.

R. Gregory Scalf is aformer division I baseball player and associate scout for the Kansas CityRoyals. He currently is the webmaster at Fantasy Baseball Central and theassistant webmaster at John Mosey's Fantasy baseball Home Page.



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