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Buying Chris Davis, Bullying Houston And Samardzija’s Mane Issues

BUYING HIGH ON CHRIS DAVIS

There’s a winner and loser in every trade. Yes, another ground breaking insight from Pat Mayo. But it never stops the doomed party from making deals. Even if one side is getting straight up rooked, they plunge their mouse over the accept button and click with the utmost authority, genuinely thinking it’s a great move for their squad. It’s not until the second after that buyer’s remorse sets in.

Most of us can identify the better end of any deal, but strangely, appearing to lose a trade at first glance is sometimes the best way to get value. It’s a difficult and advanced strategy to employ – it takes some balls, and sometimes an incredible amount of blind faith – but if you’re determined to give yourself the steepest of in-season edges, manipulating your leaguemates’ emotions against them is peerless. Take their preconceived notions and throw it back in their faces. It’s not a method for neophytes, or even the semi-rational. If streaming is strategy 101, understanding the concept of “Buying High” is a prereq for grad school.

Normally in life, “buying high” isn’t the greatest plan. It’s how you end up with an overflow of Doritos, Dr. Peeper and three different types of Dunkaroos clogging up your pantry. In Fantasy, though, it’s a viable tool for cementing your spot atop the standings summit. So, what is it? Let’s use Chris Davis, and his historically hot start, as a test case.

Not really.

Currently, the O’s first baseman – and outfielder in some formats – is far and away fairytale baseball’s premier player, although, his pace of 100000000 HRs and 546738263498 RBI may be rather unsustainable. Everyone knows that, though. Because of this, Davis has emerged as the season’s first big “sell high” candidate. Every Chris Davis owner in the world is looking to ship the slugger off to some sucker who moronically believes he’ll persist as a Top 10 option all season. Problem is, no one, anywhere, is that stupid. I’m sure the Davis owner in your league has proposed the hilariously lopsided “Davis for [insert your best player here]” deal.

Understandably, no one’s taking the bait.

But as the days roll by and Davis starts piling up the 0-for-4, 3 K performances, they’ll slowly be willing to give him up for 25-percent of the current sticker price. All because Davis has been branded a “sell high”. Not trading him seems like a failure on their part, even though they didn’t maximize his worth, they cling to this bizarre notion that any return validates the move. In the financial world this is how crazy, and now likely poor, people think. In Fantasy baseball, it’s just the standard train of thought. People get so attached to labels they simply evade amending their emotions regardless of the facts. Even the smartest owners in your league fall victim to this specious logic.

When evaluating a trade you have to reset the season stats. Whatever a player has accomplished before finalizing a deal is irrelevant to your team, projecting forward is the key. The consensus on Davis is, after he cools down, he’s simply going to revert back into the pop fly producing, strikeout factory we’ve watched since he first debuted with Texas in 2008. Essentially, Mark Reynolds 2.0. That’s nonsense. Davis was a hyped prospect breaking into the league and seeing him finally discover his stroke at 27 shouldn’t be a shock. In Davis I believe. So now the question becomes, what is the least I can give up to acquire his services?

Since Sunday, I’ve seen Davis swapped one-for-one in three separate leagues, with Ben Zobrist, Carlos Beltran or Eric Hosmer going back in return. I can speak to the circumstances of each because I acquired Davis in all three trades.

Admittedly, giving up Zobrist was probably too much. His positional flexibility makes him worth more than his actual stat line, but I needed a corner infielder with power and I’m oozing middle infield depth, so it seemed logical. Instantly, my inbox irrupted with disparaging e-mails asking me what it’s like to get a lobotomy, openly questioning my mental health. But these sorts of risks are necessary to truly gain an advantage.

Now, Zobrist is on the high end of players I feel are Davis’ Fantasy equal. In reality, I probably should have waited until he cooled a little and offered up a lesser talent, like Hosmer. Sure, he’s off to a semi-terrific start and certainly has the potential to eclipse Davis as a Fantasy asset; I just feel like Hosmer is more name than production. And you’d be stunned how desperately people want to trade for a guy that carries the elusive “upside” tag. And Beltran? Well, that was just lucky. Someone in that league must still think the 2004 championship is up for grabs.

AN ANTI-ANTI BULLYING CAMPAIGN

Let me know if this pitcher interests you?

Average Start: 6.2 IP/2.22 ERA/0.93 WHIP/12 K

Solid, right?

That’s the average start for a hurler against the Astros this season.

Badly! It’s an adverb, who taught you grammar? And don’t blame it on lack of space, there are only 138 characters in that tweet.

Sure, the numbers are enhanced by Yu Darvish’s near-perfecto, but weigh that against the outlier offensive explosion on opening night against Derek Holland and we’ll call it even. Houston cannot hit, at all. Or, get on base for that matter. Through seven games they’ve drawn ten walks. It’s pathetic. And if high school movies from the 80s have taught me anything; losers like this are just begging to be taken advantage of. Likely spawned from a deleterious cycle of low self-esteem that began in early childhood. But that’s something for a psychologist to fix later in life, right now, just comply with their demands and start picking on them. Ignore those anti-bullying commercials; the only consequence of Fantasy hectoring is superior results.

For the rest of the week Brandon Maurer, Blake Beavan, Tommy Hanson, Jared Weaver (or potential injury fill-in) and CJ Wilson may as well be Justin Verlander. The best part? Mauer, Beavan and Hanson are more than available to make a cameo on your team for an afternoon. And if Weaver does miss his turn, I don’t care if I’ve ever heard of his replacement; he’s going in my lineup. Forecasting into next week, jump on Tommy Milone, A.J. Griffin and Bartolo Colon now before some other savvy member of your league scoops them up.

Until we reach the climax, where the score crescendos and there’s a close up of the Astros balling up a fist, finally having built up the courage to fight back and land that critical blow; they’re just a bunch of duds that fund your underage drinking habit with their lunch money.

TIME FOR JOE MAUER TO STEP ASIDE

One of my bold predictions for 2013 was that Jeff Samardzija would end up as a Top 10 starting pitcher. Through two starts, you can see the burgeoning roots of my hypothesis – all those damn strikeouts. A 14.49 K/9 in his first 13.2 IP is what we in the analytics community call unsustainable. And, if it’s not, I predict his arm is going to fall off, which I can see being detrimental to his Fantasy value. But he’s at the proper age to take the leap into the elite, and he certainly pitches in the right division to put his advanced skills to good use.

One thing I find supremely encouraging, Samardzija is finally pitching down in the zone. Whether it’s on purpose or a product of the most microscopic of sample sizes, it’s still a positive. Home runs plagued the righty two of the last three years, so a fundamental switch from fly ball to ground ball pitcher is more than welcome. Right now, he’s inducing a Baltimore chop on 69.2% of balls put into play. That number will definitely shrink over more innings, but if he can keep it between 50%-55% as the season progresses, he has a legitimate chance to make my courageous claim come to fruition. I’ll be monitoring the situation.

There’s a bigger issue concerning Samardzija, though.

He, or Colby Rasmus needs to be the new pitchman shilling Head and Shoulders. Sorry, Joe Mauer, but you have a haircut you could set a sundial to. Really, how hard is it to eschew dandruff when you tell the barber to use a number two blade? Unacceptable.

So, who has the premier mane in baseball? I’m leaning #Flowby, but let me know what you think.

NOTE: Jayson Werth and Josh Reddick are disqualified, since their mountain man look requires them to never wash their hair.

BYE BYE BRYCE

Last week, I talked about maximizing Bryce Harper’s trade value. This is exactly how it was supposed to play out.

Now that’s how you properly take advantage of a selling window. Fast forward seven days, and that trade is no longer possible.YA, THAT’S THE BEST PART

Last week Tom McFeeley recommended DVR’ing Mad Men for the first twenty minutes to avoid the commercials. A practice I utilized during the mesmerizing – or boring to certain people, those with an undiagnosed case of ADD – two-hour season premier. But another member of the RX team presented a differing, and frankly awesome sounding opinion on the matter. That’s why we call him the ideas man.

I will put in the disclaimer that you’re only allowed to consume Old Fashioneds for the hour, and you have to make them with the bravado of Don Draper. So stock up on rye and practice your bar hopping.

Also, a special shout out to Stan Rizzo and Harry Crane’s sideburns. You earned it.

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