Bad Starts & Broken Hearts (or How I Learned to Stop Worrying About Josh Hamilton)

Angels OF Josh Hamilton, -Bad Starts

There are a lot of folks out there right now who would like to give Josh Hamilton (and Stephen Strasburg, and Matt Kemp, and Justin Verlander, etc., etc.,), and other players off to bad starts, a piece of their mind. We drafted you so high! We expected elite numbers all the time, forever, without exception!

Folks – when you draft elite players (see Malkin, Evgeni in a different context) you run a huge risk. The risk, of course, is that you are dazzled by past results and that those results are not going to be duplicated.

Fair enough. There is a range of players – the sort who get drafted in the first three rounds – whom, if you draft them, become essentially untradeable if they flop. What I mean is this: If you drafted Hamilton (which I did, and Kemp, too) then you have to assume the possibility that he would either a) start slow or b) fail completely.

High risk, high reward.

Having said that – what do you do NOW?

Angels OF Josh Hamilton, -Bad Starts

Angels OF Josh Hamilton is on pace to hit .221 with 23 homers and just 56 RBI this season.

If you are holding Hamilton, what’s the move? Folks – and this is an iron clad rule – you cannot sell low on your megastar, elite players. If you draft them in Rounds 1-3, you are obligated to ride out the storm. This is my philosophy – and there are others who would criticize it – but the risks of selling low on a megastar far outweigh the rewards. Sure, if someone offers you Jason Kipnis and Shelby Miller for Hamilton, you do it. But that’s not selling low. Matt Joyce and Jim Henderson for Hamilton is selling low.

With the rules out of the way, here is some advice on how to proceed. I’ve also listed some examples of what I consider trades that are selling low and trades that are selling high – or, as might be the case, acceptable dump trades.

Don’t Trade/Acceptable Deals For Bad Starts


Josh Hamilton, OF, L.A. Angels

The hysteria over the brutal start for Hamilton has made him one of the most traded (and hated) players in Fantasy Baseball this season.

I’ve held on to him; I refuse to sell low. This is an MVP-caliber talent who absolutely will pick it up and produce. He will also strike out 200 times. You simply cannot sell him low. Hang on and hang in. If you drafted him, as with any elite player, you just have to be prepared for a slow start and ride it out.

Selling Low: Any player who is wildly exceeding their career norms. Example: Hamilton for Mark Reynolds or Starling Marte straight up.

Acceptable deal:

a)      Any player ranked between 25-100 who fills a need. Example: Justin Upton.

b)      Any other elite starter who is flagging. Example: Kemp, B.J. Upton, Verlander. Consider your needs.

Matt Kemp, OF, L.A. Dodgers

See Hamilton, Josh. Word for word. Kemp will turn it around. Or he won’t. But you can’t sell off a Top-5 draft pick for peanuts. You drafted him and you have to ride him out. The risk of selling low is too great.

Selling Low: See Hamilton, Josh

Acceptable Deal: See Hamilton, Josh

Also in the don’t trade/acceptable deal category: \ Verlander, Cliff Lee, Yeonis Cespedis, Ryan Zimmerman, Starlin Castro, Billy Butler, Aaron Hill, David Price, Cole Hamels and Jered Weaver.

If you drafted them, you have to stick with them!!

Tomorrow we’ll scan through several other players that are having the exact opposite start to the season. Rather than bad starts, these guys are scorching — even though they shouldn’t be!

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