Thursday, May 29, 2008

Living a Lie: Prospective Returns

Living a Lie will be a weekly installment delving into the annals of the world of fantasy sports and will hopefully run until the end of the baseball season

Two of the most added players this week in leagues everywhere, Jay Bruce and Clayton Kershaw, currently have a whopping 3 combined major league games under their belt.

As much as these proud fantasy owners think that they've waiver-wired themselves the next Ryan Braun or Ichiro, history says that you're much more likely to have Angel Berroa on your hands, a decent player, but not someone who's going to be the saving grace of your team.

Book it. Clayton Kershaw will win fewer than 12 games this year while posting an ERA above 4. An optimistic outlook for Jay Bruce is 15-15 with close to 150 K's.

Is that really worth spending your top waiver priority on?

The answer is yes.

The first reason is simple. Fantasy starters don't end up on waivers every day, and if one lands there, snag him.

But this doesn't cover why Clayton Kershaw is undeniably more valuable than, say, A.J. Burnett, someone who is definitely not universally owned, but figures to put up better numbers across the board. (By the way, if AJ Burnett is available in your league, snatch him up. Go. Now.)

The main source of value for the young guns is what they will net you in a trade. In the days after a call-up, everybody is clamoring that the latest call up is the next Pedro or the next George Brett, or whomever. This comparison doesn't usually apply for fantasy owners because their player won't develop into that superstar for another couple years, but the hype is there anyway.

Any sort of hot streak that your prospect goes on will be thought of as them "realizing their potential", while and downturns can be attributed to them "getting acclimated to the Show" or "routine rookie inconsistencies".

It was using this logic that I was able to parlay Justin Upton and Edinson Volquez into Ryan Howard earlier this season and why I am already selling high on Jay Bruce and Clayton Kershaw.

A prospect's value is usually never higher than their first couple weeks, while the mystery still surrounds them so you have to act quickly.

Call ups to watch out for (in order of juiciness):

David Price
Chase Headley
Cameron Maybin
Colby Rasmus
Matt Wieters
Travis Snider