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September 4, 2013

Sporer Report

Five Tips for the Contender Endgame

by Paul Sporer


Here we are, ladies and gentlemen, in the sixth and final month of the season. As I mentioned in an earlier piece back in August, part of me is really bummed, because that means the season is almost over. Before we know it, the bow will be placed on the 2013 season, no later than Halloween, which will hopefully be a Game Seven win for my Detroit Tigers over the Pittsburgh Pirates (or your favorite NL team… what do I care as long as my Tigers win, right?). Of course, another part of me is excited for the finishes in the leagues where I am in contention.

Hopefully you are in contention in at least one league, if not several. Of course, this month is difficult because things are so different from the other five. The biggest difference is roster expansion which creates a playing time crunch for many players. Your sneaky fringe guys who crushed it in their side of the platoon are losing precious at-bats to hot prospects or ailing stars and semi-stars need to rest up for the MLB playoffs so they are sitting out games or have nothing to play for and thus no reason to push through at 85-90 percent health.

Whether you are contending for win, place, or show, you need razor-sharp focus in this final month, and these tips help you make the best decisions possible in your quest for gold. For the sake of these tips, let’s assume a redraft league because keeper situations make almost all of this moot.

PLAY THE HOT HAND
We are at the point in the season where variance is massive. With a maximum of 25 games left and as few as 22 for some teams, there simply isn’t enough time for players to fall down to or rise up to their water mark, which means you need to be very aggressive. Wade Miley had been brilliant for three months (2.66 ERA in 105 IP) before his destruction at home against Toronto on Tuesday night. Ain’t nobody got time for an inning and two-thirds with five earned allowed, so dump Miley for a Padre who has yet to pitch this week: Eric Stults, Tyson Ross, or Andrew Cashner. I wouldn’t normally overreact like that to one implosion in the face of three great months of work, but time is of the essence.

Nick Franklin is one of my favorite prospects and I’m excited for his long-term potential, but he’s been an abomination at the dish for a month now posting a .111/.216/.211 line since August 1. Assuming you’ve held on this long, dump him Christian Yelich or Trevor Plouffe or even B.J. Upton, whose sense of urgency has started to perk up per usual. He does his best work in September, with an .808 OPS, and he looks ready for another big one, closing August strong and starting the month off right with a .440/.517/.640 line in his last seven games.

Apply this within reason**, though. I don’t care if Paul Goldschmidt is hitting .167 with a .667 OPS in the last week; you aren’t cutting him for Moises Sierra’s .429 average and 1.190 OPS over the same timeframe. Same goes Adam Wainwright after two catastrophic defeats against the Reds. If your superstar fades down the stretch, you deal with it, but you cycle those last 6-10 guys on your roster (depending on your league size and waiver wire quality) like a revolving door these last few weeks.

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<< Previous Article
Fantasy Article Fantasy Fool's Gold: T... (09/04)
<< Previous Column
Fantasy Article Sporer Report: Six Sep... (08/28)
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Fantasy Article Sporer Report: Soft Sc... (09/11)
Next Article >>
Premium Article The Prospectus Hit Lis... (09/04)

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