Sunday, May 25, 2008

A Tale of 2 Teams

Its half way through the last day of the week and my USA Rangers are losing to Avid Hunters 219 to 285 in the Clemente Conference.  Meanwhile the New York Yankees just picked up their 5th straight win.  The USA Rangers started off fast and now were fading to a .500 record at the conclusion of this week.  The MLB Yankees started off slow and are cruising to a .500 record.  Both teams have had key injuries, yet were going in opposite directions.  

So what is the deal here?  Always the aggressive owner, I am always looking at my players and doing everything I can to make my teams better.  Its not uncommon for me to make nearly 70 plus transactions over the course of the season through trades, waivers and free agency.  However, before I make a move, I look at each player and try to determine if they are a keep or drop.  And so... this week I was looking at my roster and began to notice a common thread developing.  Being a lifelong Yankee fan, I noticed a similar, but opposite thread running through the Yankee lineup.  

What did I learn?  Well, simply put there is a significant difference in statistical output between April and May among or key offensive players.  Huh?  Let's take a deeper look without getting too sabermatic.  

Here are the numbers for key offensive players on the USA Rangers for April and May...

APRIL         MAY

Granderson .375 .531 3 doubles .217 .241 1 double
Sizemore .289 .402 2 HR .232 .232 5 HR
Weeks .208 .333 3 HR .222 .340 4 HR
Hunter .317 .367 4 HR .253 .325 2 HR
Cabrera M .299 .370 5 HR .200 .250 1 HR
Reynolds .255 .343 7 HR .209 .293 1 HR

For the six players above, they are currently averaging a drop of 0.069 points in their batting averages.  OBP is worse at a negative average drop of 0.111.  HR's with exception of Sizemore all dropped.  The six players above hit 21 HR's in April, in May that number dropped to 13, a difference of 7 HR's.  The best player in May so far is Hunter who is hitting a cool .253 with 2 homeruns.   As for Granderson, the secret behind the number of doubles is the fact he missed most of April and despite playing all of May to date, as accumulated just 1 lousy double.  

Now lets look at some key MLB Yankee players 


Abreu .269 .319 4 doubles .329 .398 7 2B
Jeter .277 .303 0 HR .300 .378 2 HR
Giambi .164 .315 5 HR 3 2B .333 .478 4 HR 5 2B
Cano .151 .211 2 HR 3 2B .352 .395 2 HR 7 2B
A-Rod .289 .343 4 HR .333 .417 2 HR 

Essentially, as the weather warmed up, so did the Yankees.  The Yankee five are as a group averaging nearly 0.100 points better in the batting average and a nice 0.115 average increase in OBP.  The Yankee five had 11 HR's in April vs 10 in May.  That is not even counting the fact that A-Rod played 23 games in April vs only 6 to date in May.  More importantly, look at the doubles.  When I listed doubles in both graphs it was due to the fact there was a difference of at least 2 or more doubles.  

In the USA Rangers case, the only mentioning was Granderson who is hitting 2 fewer doubles despite more games.  In the Yankees case, Abreu is hitting three more doubles, Giambi 2 more and Cano 4 more.  So not only have the Yankee 5 increase their batting averages and on base percentages, but they are hitting more homeruns and even more importantly, hitting far more doubles.

Its amazing how in two months of play, teams in real life and in fantasy can have a Dr. Jeckle Mr. Hyde complex.  The challenge in fantasy, is trying to determine where your team is going as we head into June.  This is make it or break it time.  Even if your team sucks right now and your in last place, you still have a chance to make a run for the playoffs.  

The question you face is... which team is your real team.  The team you saw in April or the team playing in May.  For the MLB Yankees, the team were seeing in May is the true Yankee team.  For the GDR USA Rangers, its hard to tell.  The players are there, but unlike real life, they do not play as a cohesive unit where they can feed off each other.   As a result, this is where research and understanding your players come into play.  For example, I know Sizemore's May is not realistic of his overall season production.  Cabrera's sudden drop in May, highlights he is not a .300 ave and 5 hr a month player on average.  Neither is he a .200 ave or 1 hr either.  So I can expect some growth in numbers.  Weeks, however, is another case.  Sure he improved, but from .208 to 222 in average?  That's like saying the Nationals won two games in a row and are now somehow improved.  Fact is, looking at Weeks history, other than still picking up a few HR's, I can't really expect him to make any drastic improvements.  Thus, he is a player I can target for putting on the trade market.  

A Tale of 2 Teams, its a pain for any owner, fantasy or real.  The real challenge is, knowing which team is the one you can expect for the remainder of the year and whether or not you need to make a move.

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