The key to staying on top is knowing when to walk away. If you’ve ever sat down at a blackjack table and promptly gone up $500, it can be tough walking away and cashing in your chips.
“Just a couple more hands,” you think to yourself.
But one more hand becomes five, becomes fifteen, and before you know it your $500 of profit has dwindled down to $250. At this point you have two options: walk away with your profits or keep chasing the losses. How you handle this situation time after time dictates whether or not you’re a winning blackjack player.
And so it goes with fantasy baseball. These four first-half performers helped you win big in the first half of the season, but now is the time to dump them before you’re back to where you started.
Ryan Roberts, 2B/3B/OF, ARI
Roberts’ 11 homers and 13 steals are nice, and his position eligibility is even nicer, but now is the time to cut him loose. Roberts’ batting average by month has decreased steadily from .313 in April to .244 in May to .218 in June. He also went from having a nearly one-to-one strikeout-to-walk ratio in April and May to a disastrous 21-to-6 strikeout-to-walk ratio in June. He’s been good in his 25 July at-bats, but try to deal Roberts to someone now before his stat line looks utterly replaceable.
Kyle Lohse, SP, STL
Lohse almost had me believing he was Dave Duncan’s latest resurrection, but there was one lingering fact that I couldn’t get past — why did it take until Lohse’s fourth year in St. Louis for the revival to begin? A 4.55 ERA in June and an 8.25 ERA (albeit in just 12 innings) in July have bloated his season ERA to 3.32. That still looks awesome, especially for Lohse, but now is the time to sell him. You’ll get a lot more value for a guy who’s 8-6 with a 3.32 ERA than a guy who’s 8-7 with a 3.54 ERA. If Lohse allows five runs over five innings in his next start, which would be in line with how he’s been pitching recently, that’s exactly what he’ll be.
Jeff Francoeur, OF, KC
Francoeur had seven steal in June, which represents about half of the 15 he has on the season. His .263 average is inflated by a .316 mark in April and he batted just .234 in May and June combined. There’s been talk of the Royals trading Francoeur and they apparently want a “near-ready” starting pitcher in return. If Francoeur gets traded he’ll likely be platooning somewhere (I hope Boston), which means decreased at-bats. Trade or no trade, Francoeur’s value is only going down from here.
Josh Tomlin, SP, CLE
Does someone want to explain to me how Tomlin is 11-4? Somehow he’s gone 5-2 in June and July despite posting ERAs over 5.00 in each month and he’s allowed seven homers in his last five starts after allowing just three in his previous seven starts. Tomlin is a product of the Indians’ great start, or is the Indians’ great start a product of Tomlin’s early pitching? Whatever the case, we’ve reached the end of the road for Tomlin as a full-time fantasy contributor. He has and will continue to be my favorite spot starter during Cleveland’s home games and against favorable opponents, but he’s not someone you should waste a roster spot on for the rest of the season.