One of the biggest clichés you hear from the fantasy baseball community is that the season is a marathon, not a sprint. Usually, those words are used to assuage panicky owners who freak out over early injuries or a slow start. They find themselves on the cusp of trading away Chris Sale for Luke Weaver.
But here, in the early part of May, those words should provide encouragement to those who have been victimized by the injury bug and slow starts and find themselves near the bottom of their league standings. Brace yourselves for an upswing, because you have five months of baseball left and help is on the way.
First, understand that at this point in the season, you are never out of it. One strong month of production can vault you to the top of the standings in a variety of categories in your roto league or help you crush your opponents each week in a head-to-head format.
The sample size of data is small enough to witness large swings in both rate categories such as batting average and ERA, and the counting stats such as home runs and strikeouts. If you’ve been dealing with injuries early on and trying to patch things up off the waiver wire, just think about what happens when your injured stars begin to play.
The perfect example of how your patience and perseverance in April will pay off is in the return of Oakland A’s first baseman Matt Olson. He might need a couple of weeks to build up his strength, but he is a 25-year-old, 30-homer bat just waiting to break out. A month’s worth of his power is likely to demolish almost every other first baseman in the AL. Besides Joey Gallo and Jose Abreu, who else has more power potential than Olson? Luke Voit? Edwin Encarnacion? They both have their merits, but scrub away the April numbers and match them up homer for homer between now and October, and watch how Olson dominates.
Owners of Rangers second baseman Rougned Odor are going through something similar. He has fallen behind the power pace due to an injury, but how many power-hitting second basemen are there? If he’s returning to your lineup, just like with Olson, you’re adding a power bat to your squad that no one else is going to be able to touch.
In this era of the juiced ball, there are enough role players out there who may not have produced at the level of Cody Bellinger or Alex Bregman, but have done enough just to keep you afloat. It may not look like it right now, but once that influx of talent returns to your lineup, the climb up in the standings should be swift. Time is on your side in a marathon, so don’t give up too quickly.
Howard Bender is the VP of operations and head of content at FantasyAlarm.com. Follow him on Twitter @rotobuzzguy and catch him on the award-winning “Fantasy Alarm Radio Show” on the SiriusXM fantasy sports channel weekdays from 4-6 p.m. Go to FantasyAlarm.com for all your fantasy sports advice, MLB lineups and weather updates.