August 30, 2012
Resident Fantasy Genius
Avoiding the Late-Season Ratio Trap
If your league’s annual trade deadline hasn’t already passed, it’s likely that today or tomorrow will be the last day to make deals. The remainder of my leagues’ deadlines will all pass within the next 48 hours, and I know that I’ll be in contact with almost every owner in the league in that time (if I haven’t already begun talks) to see what they’re looking to acquire, what they’re looking to deal, and how that fits with what I’m trying to do. Today, I wanted to pass along one piece of advice that might be useful to you in your own dealings: be very careful when trying to move the needle on your ratios.
With five of six months very nearly in the books, it will be incredibly difficult to budge most ratios more than a few points. Of course all situations are different and need to be evaluated independently, but this is a general rule that applies to nearly all fantasy teams at this time of year. As a result, while that deal you have on the table for Clayton Kershaw may seem really appealing, it’s important to do your homework and make sure such an acquisition is truly going to have the desired effect.
Let’s run some sample numbers to see what I’m talking about. At this point in the year, a typical fantasy staff might have logged 1000 innings with a 3.60 ERA and 1.23 WHIP (these are the averages from my only mixed league this year, which should be close enough for our purposes today; naturally, your mileage may vary). Now let’s say we want to add Kershaw to the staff. To figure out his impact on the team’s end-of-season ERA and WHIP, we’ll add up three things:
1. The team’s performance to date
2. Kershaw’s rest of season projection
3. The assumption that the team will perform the same as it has been over the final month of the season, multiplied by eight-ninths, since we have to exclude the spot Kershaw will occupy*