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Wednesday 24th May 2017

When it comes to fantasy baseball, April is a funny month. Sure, there’s the excitement of a brand new season where the feat of winning a league title is a realistic goal for every owner. But, for those of us who often assume the role of advice givers, April can be pretty annoying, as we need to constantly remind people that the sample size is small. This year, for example, Edwin Encarnacion was a popular early-season topic of discussion thanks to his grand total of two home runs in April. As it turned out, those who remained patient with the Blue Jays first baseman reaped the rewards of a 16-homer month of May. On the other hand, some were ready to hand over breakout player of the year honors to Chris Colabello, but after tallying three home runs and 27 RBI in April, he has since collected a combined three homers and 12 RBI. Anyway, as the season goes on, the peaks and valleys become less noticeable, hidden within the year to date stat line. I make a conscious effort to pay attention to the split stats of my players in an effort to determine whether I should hold, drop or shop. But there are always some statistics that surprise me. Here’s a sampling from my Mixed Auction Tout Wars team.

Chris Carter is batting .300 with nine homers and 23 RBI through 20 games in August

I knew that Carter is in the midst of a hot streak, but I didn’t realize he was this hot. At one point earlier in the year, I was so frustrated with my $10 Tout Wars investment that I benched him for a couple weeks. But after missing out on a few homers, I ultimately decided to plug him back into my lineup for the duration, and it’s worked out quite well. With Carter, you simply have to accept the bad with the good. He’s basically a younger version of Adam Dunn with just as much power potential but perhaps a lower OBP ceiling. Carter says he’s made some adjustments to his swing, so maybe the new approach will enable him to avoid a prolonged cold spell down the stretch.

Torii Hunter is hitting .211 with no homers and only three RBI in August

Hunter made an immediate impact on my squad after I acquired him via trade during the All-Star break, slugging two homers and driving in seven across his first five contests. Things have gone south in a hurry, however, and now the skeptics can talk all they want about how the 39-year-old is nearing the end of the road. But the fact remains that on the whole, Hunter is putting together yet another productive season. He’s always been a streaky hitter, even in his prime. I’m not concerned.

Addison Reed has converted all eight of his save chances since the All-Star break while registering a 2.13 ERA and 0.95 WHIP

Outside of the ten home runs allowed in 50 1/3 innings, Reed’s stat line looks fine, but owning the Diamondbacks stopper this year has been anything but comforting. Even when he does get the job done, he always seems to make things interesting, and I can’t even begin to count the number of times Manager Kirk Gibson has assured the media that Reed is still his closer. At this point, I don’t think Gibson will need to do any more assuring. Reed hasn’t blown a save chance since early July, and after holding onto Brad Ziegler for more than two months as Reed insurance, I finally dropped him earlier this week.

Wade Miley holds a 4.60 ERA and 1.58 WHIP through seven starts in the second half

Miley is a guy who I was targeting on draft day as an underrated back end of the rotation starter. The good news for him this year is that he’s striking out batters at a career-high rate. The bad news is that his ERA and WHIP are mediocre at best. To be fair, the second half ERA is skewed by a disastrous 4 2/3 IP, 10 ER outing against the Royals earlier this month, but it would also be unfair to ignore that meltdown. Despite the overall inconsistency though, Miley has been consistently strong on the road, posting a 2.65 ERA and 1.22 WHIP in his 14 starts away from Chase Field. So at the very least, he’s proving to be a viable matchups play, and someone who still deserves a spot on most mixed league rosters.

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