The "Slumping" Excuse

When justifying a fantasy baseball trade, I hear the same excuse over and over again. "My player is in a slump" or "This player is really hot right now".

I hate this justification so much.

Fantasy managers look at current production of certain players and base their decisions off of that. And the vast majority of fantasy owners use this basis to justify their trades. But the thing is, when you make a trade, you're only getting the future production of that player. So it doesn't matter if you just received a player who was the best in baseball if that player then goes into a 0-40 slump, it doesn't really matter how that player performed before the trade.

Now this can work to many smart owners advantages. DME is the perfect example of this. In Fantasyland2, his combination of being savvy about future player production and the exploitation of other owner's stupidity of how players have just done makes him pull off some very smart trades. Plus his sheer annoyance.

What's even worse in that players still use this excuse in roto leagues. Roto leagues are probably the best forum to hold onto players and give managers the better ability to let a player slump. In a head-to-head league, I can sort of understand using the slumping excuse because you only get points based off of short term stats. But for roto and points leagues, it doesn't matter how a player does in the short term because all that matters is the final result at the end.

Now I do agree there is a fine line between riding out a players slump and holding onto a shitty player. Sometimes a player flat out sucks and holding onto a guy who you think will do well but ends up sucking turns out to be a bad thing. But at least you're basing the decision upon the long term and not the short term.

And this is the beauty of knowing peripherals. Peripherals tells you why, but the normal fantasy stats is just the what. Now me personally, I don't really know how to really look at batter peripherals, but at least I try. However, I do absolutely look at pitcher peripherals like FIP, HR/9, K/9, K/BB and other stuff when I make decisions. Looking how at many wins a pitcher had in his four starts is not nearly as useful as what that player's FIP and HD/LD% were. I traded for Gil Meche in one league when his ERA was plus five. But I saw that he had one of the best FIPs in baseball. Lo and behold, when I got Meche I so far have gotten three great starts from him and his 11 K performance. Perfect anecdote to show you just can't look on how a player has done but what they WILL DO.

But fantasy owners have made trades using this "slumping" or "hot" excuse. And then they wonder why those trades haven't worked. Another anecdote: DME and another owner made a trade. DME traded away Jerry Hairston Jr and would have gotten Adam Lind. I made a big fuss and that trade never happened. Adam Lind then got hot and hit multiple home runs and Hairston is now in free agency. The excuse the other owner used to trade away Lind: "he's in a slump right".

So please, when you make trades, look at how a player will do in the future and not what he has done for you lately.


David "MVP" Eckstein said...

1) I love exploiting the irrational nature of man
2) I am also incredible irrational sometimes and hold unjustified grudges (Edwin Jackson, Manny Parra, Chone Figgins and now Juan Pierre)
3) The fine line between slump and suck is largely defined by K% and BABIP for hitters and LOB% and xFIP for pitchers

Cubsfan4evr said...

I totally agree with you about stupid managers using that as an excuse that the player is in a slump. Right now Soriano is in a slump, but we know he will come out of it. This is because he always goes in big slumps because he is a streaky player. On the other hand it is always hard to determine if a player is just going to have a down season from all of their averages like Julio Lugo, David Oritz, Lance Berkman, Milton Bradley, among others.