“It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it!”
How many of you in the crowd have heard this one before? I know, we all have and most of the time it’s said in a loud angry tone with the occasional flying object accompanied with it. But while you’re sitting their ducking and dodging like you’ve been coached by Patches O’Houlihan I bet you’re not usually thinking of the argument in context of your fantasy baseball team are you? But the truth is… often times… they have a point and a point that I want you to pay attention to when managing your fantasy baseball team. In this day and age, with the proliferation of all the different media avenues, we have a tremendous amount of information at our hands on almost a minute-by-minute basis. With all this information at our hands sometimes we become so dependent on finding the best way to get our hands on it that when we have the information we don’t know how to analyze it. I know what you’re thinking: “Isn’t that what I’m paying you guys for?!?!?” Indeed it is! So let’s focus on trying to decode what some managers have been saying this season and check on what the end result has been.
Rockies Manager Clint Hurdle on whether Manny Corpas is still his closer: “I’ll talk to the player first. I need to think things through, talk to the people I need to talk to, have a conversation, and when we make a decision we’ll let you guys know right away.”
Result: The next afternoon Brian Fuentes was anointed closer.
Analysis: The first thing I want you to notice here is Hurdle’s very first sentence “I’ll talk to the player first”. If a change wasn’t going to be made why would Hurdle need to talk to the player? Also harnessing his inner-most Bill Parcells, Hurdle references Corpas as “the player”, this indicates a level of frustration with Corpas’ performance that also would’ve suggested a move was imminent. More than anything Hurdle’s response looks like that of a manager who simply hadn’t had a chance to share his decision with the players before the media got to him. While the end result of this statement was “we’ll wait till tomorrow to know if there is a change”, analyzing the way Hurdle was wording things would’ve allowed the astute owner to make the move on Fuentes 12 hours earlier.
Diamondbacks GM Josh Byrnes on Max Scherzer: “There's a little more short-term urgency than there has been. We're optimistic that he can be a quality major-league starter and probably prefer that that's the focus at this point."
Result: After a single electric relief appearance Scherzer was moved into the rotation.
Analysis: Byrnes says it plain and clear in the 2nd sentence that the Diamondbacks would prefer Scherzer’s focus to be on starting, but there’s more short-term urgency in another area. Once that void was filled, Scherzer would move back to his original focus. This one didn’t require too much in-depth analysis, but those concerned about Scherzer’s long-term role (even with Doug Davis coming back eventually) should’ve had some confidence in the Diamondbacks long-term plans.
Cubs Manager Lou Pineilla on his CF situation: "I'm going to play whoever I think can help win baseball games for us"
Result: First day with Alfonso Soriano back, Reed Johnson starts vs. a RH pitcher in CF
Analysis: “The guy that can help us win baseball games” is manager-speak for VETERAN. I’d expect to see a lot of Reed Johnson in the lineup going forward.
As the saying goes, hindsight IS 20-20. However if you really pay attention to the series of quotes coming from managers you’ll have a better chance at deciphering the long-term plan of the players involved. The more you listen and the more you pay attention the better you’ll be able to anticipate a manager or a front-office’s decision for handling players, especially young players. As we enter May, prospects begin to play a bigger role in fantasy and deciphering which of those prospects to pick up is one of the easiest ways to distinguish yourself from your competition. While we make a concerted effort to analyze not only the player’s talents but the player’s opportunity, paying attention to the way a manager is handling their current young talent can be indicative of how they’ll handle future young talent. So going forward, take a look at not only what managers and front office people are saying, but how they’re saying it and how they’re handling their talent. The ability to decipher a manager’s intentions before the information becomes “official” will give you extra time in beating your competition to the wire or trade desk.