So your season is toast
When quitting is a good thing in fantasy baseball
Generally speaking, quitting is not the way to get ahead in life.
Unless it’s a dead-end job or a sour relationship that’s literally ruining your existence, gutting it out is more often that not the right call.
However, with fantasy — and more specifically dynasty — baseball, you can really get ahead of the game by packing it in early.
Lots of things can ruin a fantasy season: injuries, a couple of poor key performers or even just plain bad luck. But the last couple months of a trying year can be especially valuable if you’re involved in a keeper or dynasty league.
While most others are making pushes for the playoffs and overpaying to stack their rosters for the stretch run, savvy managers can take full advantage by shifting their focus to next season and scouting out undervalued players to either pluck off waivers or target for the draft. Depending on your league’s rules, you may be able to stash a few players on the cheap that everyone else is overlooking because they don’t have the roster space. A contending team is usually no place for an underachieving or risky player.
Having dealt with a multitude of injuries all season — and still with a full disabled list including the likes of Clayton Kershaw, Kyle Schwarber and Michael Brantley — I’m near the bottom of the heap and in full blown recon mode. Here are some of the names I’ve been keeping an eye recently or plan to watch over the season’s final month:
Hernan Perez — Milwaukee (62% owned in Yahoo)
I started looking at Perez (30th overall in Yahoo the last 30 days) about a month back when I was searching for injury replacements but never committed to giving him a chance. He’s someone I’ve got a really close eye on based on his power/speed potential. Alex Chamberlain explains in a great piece over at Fangraphs about Perez sharing a similar profile to Starling Marte — it’s well worth checking out if you’re looking to uncover a potential big time sleeper for 2017. He may be too much of a known commodity by the time your draft comes along, however, so if you’re able to stash him now my advice would be to do just that. With the way the Brewers run (see Villar, Jonathan), the 25-year old Perez has 40-steal potential over a full season, an extremely valuable number in an age where cheap steals have become very hard to find.
Travis Jankowski — San Diego (17% owned in Yahoo)
Over the last 30 days, Jankowski is ranked 114th overall in the Yahoo! game and third in steals (12) during that same time frame, behind only Billy Hamilton (19) and Villar (14). He has zero pop — just two homers and 10 RBIs on the season — but appears to be a good source of runs and steals, and his on-base percentage (.380 over the last month) is what you want to see out of someone with wheels like his. Like Perez, Jankowski is just 25 so if his solid showing in the second half is any indication, he could be looking at a starting gig in 2017 and some serious base-stealing opportunities. Pick him up now while you can, or put him on your shortlist for the back end of next year’s draft.
Ivan Nova – Pittsburgh (12% owned in Yahoo)
It’s been a small sample size thus far (just four starts) but Nova appears poised to become Pirates pitching coach Ray Searage’s next reclamation project success. Since joining the Pirates, Nova has put up a 3.20 ERA (3.23 xFIP) and 1.11 WHIP, and has walked just one batter in 25.1 innings with 18 strikeouts. The catch here is the 29-year old becomes a UFA after this season, so his continued tutelage under Searage is not guaranteed beyond October. Nevertheless, look at what a few months in Pittsburgh did for JA Happ, who has looked like a completely different pitcher in the past 13 months even after ditching the Pirates for the Blue Jays last offseason. Nova could be an intriguing late bloomer candidate that likely will come cheap in drafts next year; a prime example of a low risk, high reward type of player that many managers won’t want to take a chance on. But if he turns out like Happ? That’s the type of fantasy gold everyone looks for.