C.C. Sabathia: Should You Start a Slumping Star?
In the many years of playing fantasy sports, everyone of us has come to this question: Should I start my best player, even though he is in a slump? I have found that the usual answer is, Yes. The reasoning behind that is that there is a reason he is a star player, and that is because he puts up good stats, so he can only slump for so long, right? Wrong.
I feel that the if you got a guy like Sabathia on your team who has done nothing but hurt your team in every way, you should bench him until he proves that he is worth starting. So, you miss out on one good start, but missing that single win that he produces or the handful of strikeouts that he gets may put you in a not so great position to win that weeks match-up, but think of the opposite. Sabathia last week got rocked, and ended up with a 20.25 era, 3.25 whip (walks plus hits per inning pitched), with only one strikeout in four innings of work. That, not only hurts your teams chance of winning, it basically ends all hope.
There is however a big difference between a slumping pitcher and a slumping hitter. Hitters go through hot and cold streaks all through the sesason, and if your guy is "o" for his last couple of games, you may start thinking that you want to put him on the bench, but that is a mistake. Starting a hitter that goes 0/4 in a game, will not give as much emotional damage as benching a star who goes 3/4, but more importantly has 2 homers and 5 rbi's. The total stats (homers, runs, rbi's) in offensive categories are seemingly more important than the average stats (average, OBP/OPS), because they are much harder to come by. Pitching stats are just the opposite where the total stats (wins, saves, Ks) being easier to come by than the average stats (era, whip). This is mainly because if one pitcher has one bad game, then your chances of winning era and whip are almost hopeless, while if one of your hitters has a bad game you can rebound in all the other stats. All I am saying is that the Pros of starting a slumping star hitter are much, and I mean much better than starting a slumping star pitcher.
Now, I am not telling you by no means to drop Sabathia or another player that is slumping, and I especially am not telling you to trade Sabathia, unless you are getting another top tier player in return. My advice to you is to have your guy ride the pine for a couple starts until he shows signs of improvement, or if you don't have Sabathia and you see a disgruntled manager in your league with him, make a move. Send him a guy like Brian Bannister, who you may have picked up on waivers after what is still a very hot start. This may hurt your team for a couple of head-to-head games, but at the end of the season, during the fantasy playoffs, you will see the return. Bannister's hot start will be talked about as a lucky stretch, and you will be laughing in the rest of the league's fear of your dominant pitching staff headed by CC Sabathia.
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