Victor Caratini hit .349 this spring for the Chicago Cubs. That didn't move the needle at all on him in terms of getting drafted. However, despite being rostered in less than 1 percent of ESPN leagues, the catcher entered play Sunday in the top 10 in terms of fantasy points earned this season.
Meanwhile, Gary Sanchez hit just .211 this spring for the New York Yankees. Fantasy managers ignored this as well. Still, although he was rostered in upward of 99 percent of ESPN leagues, he entered play Sunday with fewer fantasy points than Caratini -- in three times as many starts.
So, obviously, it would have made perfect sense for fantasy managers to make a roster move here, right? Everybody should have gotten up early Sunday morning and cut Sanchez in favor of Caratini before lineups locked. (Excuse me for a moment, as I rolled my eyes so hard at that statement they popped out of my head and I had to go pick them up off the floor.)
Obviously, the sample sizes at this stage of the game are extremely small -- but because they make up the entirety of a player's statistical identity for the very young season, the outliers appear to be far more glaring than these same streaks would seem to be should they occur in mid-July. Only the biggest of Chicken Littles would have been worrying about Sanchez, and all it took was one game against a hodgepodge of Baltimore Orioles pitchers for a 3-for-6, three-homer, six-RBI afternoon to shoot him all the way up to No. 1 at his position for the season -- and well past Caratini in the process.
In other words, don't panic in fantasy baseball -- especially in weekly head-to-head formats, where attempts to slice the numbers to a paper-thin daily basis will more often than not lead you down the road to disaster. Nobody is suggesting that treating your lineup with a "set it and forget it" philosophy is the wisest course of action, but in terms of roster construction, barring injuries, you drafted these guys for a reason. It's way too early to be pointing fingers and looking to make any drastic overhauls.
Brandon Nimmo has already been dropped in 17.6 percent of the leagues in which he was drafted. Presumably, this is because of his slow start to the season, in the form of a .103 batting average and 17 strikeouts. There are many reasons why this is too soon of a knee-jerk reaction. Just to name one, it's not as though Nimmo hasn't had similar cold streaks in the past. Last season from July 9-24, he hit just .189 with 20 K's. Over his next 20 games, he hit .328 with 13 extra-base hits and 15 runs scored. Hitters tend to have a way of working their issues out.
Nimmo's ADP this season was 181.6. Ian Desmond, on the other hand, saw an ADP of 153.3, so one might assume there were higher expectations on the Colorado Rockies outfielder. Yet, even though an empty roster slot would have earned you more points than Desmond so far this season, thanks to his 15 whiffs and a grand total of negative-6 points, Desmond is still on rosters in 80.3 percent of ESPN leagues (compared to Nimmo's 66.8). This is a guy who hit an anemic .236 last season. Why is there so much more confidence with him? I don't get it.
You know who else has 15 strikeouts so far in 2019? Oakland's Ramon Laureano fits that bill. Yet, even though nine of those strikeouts came in his first four games -- two of which were part of that early Japanese action -- and even though he has hit .364 over his past six starts, with a season-to-date fantasy total that checks in at 22 more points than Desmond, his rostered percentage sits at only 29.9. And, it's not as if those managers who cut Nimmo or Desmond replaced them with Laureano -- that number actually dropped by 0.6 percent over the past week.
Look, baseball is a game full of ebb and flow. There are always going to be players who appear to be on the rise, and perhaps unexpectedly so. While some regression is going to hit eventually, it's certainly possible that Tim Anderson (hitting .560) and Kolten Wong (.433) have both truly taken their offensive games to the next level. It might well be worth jumping on their bandwagons.
Yes, sometimes cutting bait on a struggling player before the bottom completely drops out can ward off preventable damage to your fantasy season. Feeling a bit torn about whether or not to take drastic action with the likes of Yasiel Puig, Josh Donaldson or Buster Posey is normal -- and something to consider addressing. That said, one or two bad weeks isn't always an indication of a 2019 Armageddon.
Recall that Matt Carpenter was hitting just .155 with two homers at the end of April last season. All he did was hit .296 with 33 HRs from May 1 through Sept. 8 before slumping again to close out the year (.147 over his final 19 appearances). Again, ebb and flow. Patience is a virtue. Make like Fonzie. Remain cool.
Starting next Monday, we'll include our top-300 rankings for the remainder of the season in this space, but we're not going to update our preseason ranks until we get just a few more games under everybody's belts. Injuries aside, there's still not enough data in place to make any wild moves in our existing evaluations. We're close, but we'll stand firm for now.
Until then, here's hoping your results will be pointing up this week!