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Sunday 17th Dec 2017

We tell fantasy baseball owners not to even look at the standings until May. We tell them not to overreact when one of their key players gets off to an ice cold start to the season. The advice part is easy. The more challenging part for us fantasy industry people is to practice what we preach. I look at the standings every day in April, but avoiding the temptation to overreact has gotten easier with experience. After all, this is my 16th full season of playing this game based upon a game. By now, I should know better. At one time, I surely would have been freaking out about the early performance of the following players who I own in at least one league. Not anymore.

Chris Archer - The 17 strikeouts in 10 innings are nice, but Archer's late-season fade last year seems to have carried over into 2016. Command has been an issue and he's simply throwing way too many pitches per inning. But I'm not concerned yet. Fatigue could explain Archer's September struggles last season, and the schedule hasn't been kind to him so far this year as he has faced the Blue Jays and Orioles, two of the top offenses in the American League. The bad news is that he's scheduled to pitch against both teams again within the next few weeks, but perhaps by then he will have figured things out, and Tampa Bay's schedule will be less AL East heavy in May.

Justin Upton - This is a little surprising as Upton has historically been a fast starter. Not this year, as he's 4-for-19 with no homers, no RBIs, one run scored and eight strikeouts over his first four games as a Tiger. But Upton is a notoriously streaky player and if this 4-for-19 stretch came in the middle of June, we wouldn't even notice it. For Rotisserie owners, the end of season stat line is what matters, and in that respect, Upton is about as consistent as they come.

Curtis Granderson - Expecting a repeat of his 2015 season might be expecting too much from Granderson, but fantasy owners of the Mets outfielder can't be too pleased with what they have seen thus far, one hit in 13 at-bats. Relax. Granderson is another streaky hitter, and this sample size is minuscule. Expect 20-plus homers and 85-plus runs and you won't be disappointed.

Miguel Sano - After launching 18 homers to go along with 52 RBIs and 46 runs scored in his 80-game rookie campaign last year, Sano carried a hefty price tag in drafts this spring. Through four games, that hefty price tag has produced no homers, no RBIs, no runs scored and seven strikeouts. The high strikeout rate is here to stay, but owners won't care about the strikeouts if they come along with 30-plus homers, and Sano's minor league numbers indicate that he's unlikely to be a batting average drain. Don't even think about selling low.

Pedro Alvarez - Alvarez was my guy this year. Immediately following his signing with the Orioles, I made the decision to draft him in as many leagues as possible, fully convinced that he can be the 2016 version of the 2014 Nelson Cruz, joining Baltimore on a one-year deal and taking full advantage of a cozy home ballpark. Maybe the batting average wouldn't be pretty, but Alvarez hit a combined 66 home runs from 2012-2013 and tallied 27 homers last year in what was considered a down season. Drafting Pedro for seven bucks in Mixed Auction Tout Wars was one of my best purchases. Or so I thought. Through four games, Alvarez is hitless, and I'm starting to wonder why the Pirates were so quick to release him over the winter.

At one time, I surely would have been freaking out about the early performance of Alvarez.

But now?

OK, I'm kind of freaking out.

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