Fantasy Baseball

Hot Starters to NOT Trust

If you read my previous column, then you know that I have little to no advice to give on how to use the D.E.N.N.I.S. system (Shout out to all you Always Sunny fans out there). My only chance of demonstrating value is explaining what BABIP means, and why it is so important when deciphering hot starts vs. season long trends. Needless to say, that’s about as far as I get with both the D.E.N.N.I.S. system and with women in general.

What can you expect though? I learned everything I know about women from Coach Bobby Finstock from the original Teen Wolf. The wise coach once told me, “There are three rules that I live by: Never get less than 12 hours sleep; never play cards with a guy who has the same first name as a city; and never get involved with a woman with a tattoo of a dagger on her body. Now you stick to that, and everything else is cream cheese.” I followed those three rules my entire adolescent life, and what did I learn? Surfing on top of a van is not possible, joining the play does not entitle you a dressing room rendezvous with the hottest girl in school, and that hair growth you’re seeing is just puberty.

With that, let’s check out the hot starts in Fantasy Baseball that I just don’t trust. [Editor’s note: It’s doubtful any of these players will crack our Fantasy Baseball Redraft Rankings this season.]


Fantasy Baseball Hot Starters to NOT trust


Carlos Beltran, OF, STL: .285-13-33 28-5

Carlos Beltran is playing like a first-round pick, but an injury will bring him back to the middle rounds any time now.

Carlos Beltran has outplayed Albert Pujols, the high-priced bat he replaced in the Cardinals' lineup, but you'd still pick Pujols over Beltran. Photo Credit: LI Phil

After just over a month, Beltran is more than halfway to last season’s home run total of 22, and 2011 was not exactly a down year for him, but there are warning signs. He is striking out and hitting grounders at higher rates than he did last season. He is striking out at seven-percent more than his career average, and is highly reliant on maintaining his home run power in order to bolster his Fantasy value. Given that his HR/FB ratio is more than double last season’s already-robust mark, while factoring the age and injury concerns, Beltran is looking like one of the best sell-high targets right now. Aim for a #2 SP (top 20ish), and any hitter in the top 25, but happily settle for anything a little less. You will be thanking me when he hits the DL in mid-July.

Ted Lilly, SP, LAD: 5-0, 1.79 ERA, 0.90 WHIP, 28/14 K/BB
Lilly has regression written all over him and I would SELL, SELL, SELL, before it’s too late. Besides the fact that he is 36 years old, he also plays in a fly-ball park, and just happens to be — you guessed it — a fly-ball pitcher. He has a ridiculously low — actually beyond ridiculous — incomprehensibly low BABIP at .189, which means he is extremely lucky. His career BABIP is 70 pts higher, and the league average is a little over 100 pts higher. His current groundball rate is eight-percent higher than his career, which is a strange adjustment for a 36-year-old. Not to mention his miniscule FB-to-HR rate at 3.9, also way below his career marks. All of those are certain to change — and quickly. Lilly’s xFIP says it should be more like a pitcher in the low fours, and that sounds more like the Lilly we’ve come to know.  Can Lilly be a productive Fantasy pitcher this year? Absolutely, but to expect ace numbers like he has put up so far is just a pipe dream. I see 15-7, an ERA in the mid 3’s with a respectable WHIP, but nothing close to what we have now.

Chris Capuano, SP, LAD: 5-1, 2.34 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 45/18 K/BB
Similar to Lilly, Cap’s BABIP is 60 pts lower than his career average, and his LOB (left on base) rate is 85.4 which are clearly unsustainable. Although his ERA is a tidy 2.34, his xFIP says it should really be more like a 4.00. When these numbers normalize you are more likely to see the pitcher that has had ERAs of 5.10, 3.95, and 4.55 the last three years. Sell, if you can, but you likely won’t get much back in return, so ride the wave until the wheels fall off or he gets injured again.

Derek Lowe, SP, CLE: 6-2, 2.15 ERA, 1.41 WHIP, 15/18 K/BB
I believe that wins in Fantasy Baseball are as reliable as touchdowns in Fantasy Football. They can’t be counted on, expected, or even focused on when measuring the true value of a player. Granted, Derek Lowe has been extremely efficient this year, tossing seven straight quality starts, leaving him with an elite 2.15 ERA through 58 2/3 innings. However, his xFIP states that he is really pitching more like that of a pitcher in the mid-4’s. Similar to Capuano, his LOB rate is way above both the league average and his career marks at 83.7 percent, which is just not sustainable throughout the course of the season. The real glaring number I see, though, is his 1.41 WHIP and abysmal 15/18 K/BB ratio, which suggests his ERA has nowhere to go, but up. No one is going to trade for this guy, so enjoy the ride as long as you can, but realize that he is surely going to have some blow-up starts in the near future.


I’ll leave you now with one parting piece of wisdom: The hotter the female is, the crazier she is. The same rings true in Fantasy Baseball — don’t get married (or make a waiver add) before you look under the hood first.

Trust my knowledge … except with women. is a FREE fantasy trade evaluation site created in order to help fantasy sports managers make tough decisions when making trades. Whether it be a trade that you have made or are contemplating making, the TradeDebate nation will examine your trade and vote on what they would do had it been their own team. TradeDebate offers a comprehensive database that tracks every trade, the players who have been traded, and who they are being traded for. With this knowledge fantasy owners can gauge the value of their players worth, and the market in which those players are being traded for. is a place to give and receive free fantasy trade advice and insight so you can have a better chance to win your league!


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