Tag Archives: mailbag

Mailbag: Jason Heyward and Joey Gallo

Mailbags are a useful tool for identifying the most pressing topics on the minds of fantasy owners. Receiving questions along the lines of which players to pick up, whose streak will continue, and who to sell high on all contribute to a more reader-oriented blog, where the topics I write about are more relevant to what you, the reader, are interested in.

Questions are always appreciated, and you can feel free to email me any queries you might have at sushi.krox@gmail.com with the subject “SushiOnSports” or simply to comment on one of my posts.

Now that we have the introduction out of the way, let’s discuss a question I recently received from a reader:

is Jason Heyward’s resurgence for real? What’s up with Joey Gallo?
–Noah

To address the first part of Noah’s question, let’s first provide some background. Heyward was drafted in the top 100 picks in most leagues and was expected to provide stolen bases with some power. Through the first third of the season, it looked like his owners had no shot at recouping their original investment, culminating in an article from a couple of weeks ago where I questioned why he was still owned.

I guess Heyward reads this blog because just a couple of days after I wrote that post, he went on an absolute tear. In the two weeks since that article, Heyward has raised his average twenty points, his OBP thirty points, stolen two bases, and racked up four home runs, nine runs, and ten RBIs.

Despite this recent surge, Heyward doesn’t seem to be improving substantially. His BABIP over this time period is a fluky .370 and his walk rate is below his career average (although still higher than this season before this streak). The one positive is his strikeout rate, which is much better during the last two weeks than it’s been during this season and throughout his whole career.

Here’s the problem with reading into this streak at all: it’s been only fifteen games, an extremely small sample size. The only thing that the streak has done is bring his seasonal numbers up to acceptable totals. My advice is to sell, and to sell fast while his stats look good. He’ll continue to steal bases and perhaps knock in a few runs, but Heyward is not going to end up with stats even somewhat similar to what he’s put up over the past couple of weeks.

Next, we’re on to Joey Gallo, whose lightower power is his claim to fame. When he was surprisingly called up to the majors after Adrian Beltre was injured, Gallo was supposed to be a three true outcomes type of hitter, and he’s lived up to that billing. His per-162 games stats are 74 walks, 34 home runs, and a record-shattering 263 strikeouts, beating out Mark Reynolds 2009 season by 40 punchouts.

In regular 5×5 leagues, Gallo is a significant asset, helping in four categories. In OBP leagues, he’s even more valuable. However, in any league that counts strikeouts or any kind of hit other than home runs, then he’ll be less valuable. In 5×5 and OBP leagues, I’d hold onto Gallo, but in any other league, I’d rush to trade him.

Honestly, I would have traded him the second he was called up. People always love rookies because they’ve never failed before, and that’s a tendency that discerning owners can take advantage of. For instance, Kyle Schwarber came up for a week and dominated. If anyone in your league thinks he’s going to be Miguel Cabrera this season with catcher eligibility, then take advantage of that. Another opportunity to use this principle is with Jose Fernandez. Although he’s not a rookie, he hasn’t pitched so far this year so he’s still got a 0.00 ERA. In fact, I own Jose Fernandez in my home league and ever since it came out a couple of weeks ago that he would be making his season debut on July 2nd, I’ve been trying to see if anyone would overpay for him.

Speaking of selling high, remember my Buy-Low, Sell-High article from a few weeks ago about the right way to buy low and sell high? If you haven’t read it yet, it’s useful to read, but there are a couple of young third basemen right now who match the definition I gave of players to sell high on to the letter: Todd Frazier and Nolan Arenado.

Both have been scorching hot recently, particularly Arenado. Frazier’s hit seven home runs in his last eleven games while Arenado’s mashed eight in his last seven. I had the misfortune of playing against Arenado this week when he had more games with multiple homers than games without any. Both players were good before their streaks and seem to have vaulted into the upper echelon of fantasy baseball. Both players are almost certainly not going to continue to be as amazing as they’ve been, even though they’ll still be very good players. If you’re lucky enough to have one of these players, then you have a magnificent sell-high opportunity. Don’t let it pass you by.

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The First Mailbag

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An article that I’ve always wanted to write is a mailbag, in which readers send in questions, comments, or insults, and in my column, I answer them. Of course, I wasn’t able to do that *cue dramatic music* UNTIL NOW!

I got a couple of questions from readers in the past few days, so I’ll answer them now. Here’s the first one:

So Mr Shshi, why don’t you comment on the possibility that teams that have runs of bad seasons have to reduce their ticket prices, at least for the cheapest tickets. Especially if the teams are getting public $$ as tax breaks. Thank you.

This is a good idea, albeit one that needs some alterations and one that has been advocated for before. Runs of bad seasons are OK. Taking a dump on your fans isn’t. The former is normal in the course of rebuilding. The latter is taking it too far.

Let’s tweak the idea a little bit to talk about just an individual season. A season is more than long enough to torture the fans. It shouldn’t be years before the league steps in to prevent a team from tormenting its fans.

Let’s swing through the four major leagues to see if this plan is reasonable and viable.

NFL- There are enough things that can go wrong in a season that, even when you’re trying to field a competitive team, you can get screwed by a big injury (think Peyton Manning with the Colts in 2011 when they went 2-14 or RGIII this past year when Washington went 3-13) or by your quarterback suddenly forgetting how to play football (think Matt Schaub with the Texans last year when they went 2-14). As this isn’t a team being purposefully bad, it’s them getting incredibly unlucky. It’s impossible to penalize a team for something outside of their control, so the idea won’t work with the NFL.

NHL- I don’t know as much about the NHL as the other three sports, but there’s a big problem with determining how bad a season is: the shootout point. How can you determine exactly how badly a team screwed over their team when they can earn points for losing?

MLB- MLB is a little more realistic for the idea offered up by the reader. The Astros have willfully destroyed their team over the last few seasons, opting instead to reload through the draft. While it hasn’t been pretty, they’re in good shape for 2015 and beyond with a number of good players on the way. However, in the process, the made their fans pay for horrible team after horrible team. That’s what the reader suggested teams have to pay for. However, other than them, only the Marlins (with the whole stadium and trading away star players fiasco) and Mets (says the depressed Mets fan) have really tormented their fans in the past few years, so there aren’t enough teams to make it a worthwhile proposition in MLB.

NBA- However, in the NBA, there are more than enough teams to make it a good rule change. By my count, seven teams willfully lost games at some point last year (Detroit, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Utah, Boston, Los Angeles, Orlando), one team was planning on losing games but when they won them instead, ended up deciding to go for it (Phoenix), and one team tried to win games but messed up to hilarious degrees (Milwaukee). That’s a lot of teams. Should the Sixers be charging full price for their tickets this year after a 26 game losing streak caused by ravaging their team? I can’t understand how that could possibly be okay to rip off your fans like that.

The problem is that sometimes, stuff happens (and it’s not stuff, but I try to keep it PG around here) and makes you lose games. Milwaukee did its best to win this year but still ended up losing the most games in the league. Should it be penalized for sucking but doing its’ best not to screw over its’ fans? I don’t know, but that’s why, to institute a plan like this, the NBA would need to make a “Don’t Screw Over Your Fans” Committee to decide whether or not a team deserves to be punished. The NBA has committees for almost everything else, so why not this too? Keeping fans interested and committed to their team seems like a worthy goal, and the only way to do that is to take money out of the owners’ pockets by making their ticket prices for the next year after their offense was committed lower. So, yes, dear reader, I think that that’s a great idea and one that the NBA should certainly consider implementing.

The second question I received in the past couple days was from someone who would prefer to remain anonymous, but who has asked me multiple times to write an article about fantasy baseball.  I hope this’ll suffice. Here’s what he said:

What techniques can I use to get a leg up on the competition in my fantasy baseball league?

Now, this is a good question. I’m currently in one fantasy baseball league and I use two methods for improving my team, one common, and one rare: streaming and stacking.

Streaming is often used but I’ll explain it here anyways just so we’re all on the same page. Streaming when one picks up a player (generally a pitcher) for a specific matchup, before dropping them the next day, in order to add another pitcher for another matchup. This allows one to accrue certain stats such as innings pitched, wins, and strikeouts, in order to more easily win your matchup.

The way I generally use streaming is by choosing one pitcher, every day, that I like. I then drop my worst pitcher (or a hitter if I have an extra one) and pick up the new pitcher. Still, I have an imaginary line that I use to help me decide who’s able to be dropped and who I should keep under all circumstances. As an example, you wouldn’t drop Clayton Kershaw to pick up Charlie Morton, would you?

When you have too many good pitchers, it becomes impossible to stream, which is why, in my league, I’ve been trying to trade away good pitchers to create an extra roster spot or two for streaming.

While streaming is almost always used for pitching, stacking is exclusively for hitting.

Stacking is when you have a bunch of hitters from the same team on your team. On my team, I’ve been stacking the Athletics. I have John Jaso, Derek Norris, Brandon Moss, and Josh Donaldson, and I’ve been trying to trade for Coco Crisp and Yoenis Cespedes.   

Why is stacking a good thing to use? Well, let’s say that John Jaso scores a run. Who’s likely to have knocked him in? One of Moss, Donaldson, or Norris! See, the idea behind stacking (which is an idea I came up with by myself) is that it magnifies each individual positive occurrence that happens to a team.

So far, it’s worked very well for me, and hopefully work for you too. The only pitfall is stacking a team like the Mets who are incapable of scoring more than three runs more than once a week. Aside from that, it’s great! Now I’ll be back in a few minutes. I just need to go mourn the Mets of my childhood. *sniffles*

Back! Anyways, so I have a lot more rules and techniques that I utilize to win at fantasy baseball, but a master has to keep his best secrets. Also, most of the people in the league with me are probably reading this, and I kinda want to make sure that I keep in advantage over them so I can win.

If you want to be in the next mailbag, email me at sushi.krox@gmail.com with a question. Make the subject line “SushiOnSports Question” and provide me with a name (or anonymous) and I may answer your question in the next mailbag. Hope you enjoyed!