Monday, March 25, 2013

Fantasy Take: Kyle Lohse Signing

Kyle Lohse finally signed with a team today, and that means he should be off your fantasy team by this weekend.

Look, if he's on your waiver wire, you've got to add him. Unless you found a mega sleeper, he's going to be better than your last-round pick. And if you drafted him in a late round, waiting for the day he would sign, that's a smooth move. But I don't think you should hold on to him.

Call me skeptical, but Lohse has a career ERA of 4.45. And even last year when he was fantastic, he still only had 143 strikeouts. Last year he ranked 35th overall, which is awesome--but to do that, he needed a 2.85 ERA and 16 wins. Not being a strikeout guy, Lohse needs a sparkling ERA to be a fantasy stud, and I'm not sure he gets it in the more hitter-friendly Miller Park.


So here's where a little psychology comes in. Right now, Lohse is the biggest piece of fantasy news that's come out in weeks. Casual fantasy players are probably just skimming the MLB headlines, not scanning spring box scores, so all they've been exposed to is "this guy is injured" and some World Baseball Classic nonsense. So, when they heard the Lohse news, they probably raced to the free agent pool to see if he's available.

Now, if said players got there and found out you beat them to it, they're kicking themselves. "Man, he just got a sweet bargain to kick off the season, he's already got a leg up." Take advantage of those sentiments and shop Lohse around. Talk up the news hook in your trade proposal: "Dude was the #11 SP last year and just got signed...I took a flier on him in my draft but I'm actually pretty happy with my pitching staff so I'm looking to move him."

What it boils down to is this: if Lohse had signed in December, we'd have all viewed him as a regression candidate for 2013, and he really wouldn't have been talked about that much. However, because of all the buzz around his signing so late and being a solid pitcher, some owners are mentally inflating his value. Therefore, I think you should try to trade him and get a return that matches his 2012 value, because I don't think he will match it in 2013.

This probably won't work against more disciplined, seasoned fantasy players, but you can usually identify the more casual players in your league who are more blinded by Lohse's stats and the news of his signing, and I think you should target them for a sweet deal. It isn't often we see a sell-high opportunity in the preseason, but this is a good one. Act quickly to deal Lohse and enjoy the inflated return.

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