Season too short for slumping bats to be in your fantasy lineup


Danger! You were told to expect it, but still you made your descent down the cold, granite steps. The 2020 MLB season is barely a week old and you are already feeling the burn of positive COVID tests, quarantined players and, worst of all, no more promises of a 60-game season. As a result, your fantasy baseball season became that much more difficult.

With the temporary shutdown of the Marlins, the postponements, or even possible cancellation of the Yankees-Phillies series and now a positive test looming in the Cardinals’ clubhouse, there is an ominous feeling the fantasy team that stays the healthiest will be the one atop the standings come season’s end.

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Unfortunately, you cannot predict health. As a fantasy player, your reaction should be to acquire as many quality at-bats as you can.

In a normal season, we may have looked at names such as JaCoby Jones, Teoscar Hernandez, Shed Long and Kyle Lewis, and scoffed at the hot start. This year, they could be our fantasy saviors.

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Heading into the weekend, each has played every game for their respective team and each is hitting for power, average and even kicking in some speed. These are the players you want on your roster right now. They are accumulating at-bats, and though yes, they may start to fade statistically over time, they are producing at a strong level and vaulting fantasy teams to the top of the standings.

Contrarily, Edwin Encarnacion has just 19 at-bats and is hitting .105, and Andrew Benintendi is batting a woeful .095 with almost no statistical contribution. Elite players off to a cold start deserve a little more leash before you pull the plug. But when you’re looking at Josh Bell batting .174 or Jonathan Villar in a clubhouse of COVID, you need to jettison them off your roster in lieu of anyone who is actually playing and performing.

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Edwin Encarnacion
Edwin EncarnacionGetty Images

Bad stats are, cumulatively, just as detrimental to your team as good stats are beneficial. They may even be more damaging at this point in time.

Maybe it hasn’t hit you yet. Your team may be healthy and performing well. But don’t get too comfortable. Tough cuts are difficult enough in a 162-game season, so though you may hate yourself for dropping an arm or bat who you normally would afford additional time to turn things around, those days are gone. Don’t take another step. It’s time to make your move.

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Howard Bender is the VP of operations and head of content at Fantasy-Alarm.com. Follow him on Twitter @rotobuzzguy and catch him on the award-winning “Fantasy Alarm Radio Show” on the SiriusXM fantasy sports channel weekdays from 6-8 p.m. Go to FantasyAlarm.com for all your fantasy baseball advice.

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