Don’t Forget to Adapt

Let’s take a look at the second half performances of two players, and before you move on ask yourself – which player would you prefer?

Player A
Player B
41 games, 157 plate appearances 54 Games, 257 plate appearances
.311/.342/.500, 6 HR, 24 R, 18 RBI, 20 SB .266/.325/.406, 6 HR, 37 R, 24 RBI, 17 SB

Would you be shocked to find out that Player A was Adalberto Mondesi and that Player B was none other than Trea Turner? In all honesty, you shouldn’t really be too surprised. If you haven’t noticed, fantasy writers usually pull out this fun tactic of blind player comparisons when we are trying to make a point about a lower profile player quietly putting up numbers, or a big time star experiencing a slump, but I digress.

These comparisons serve a greater point than just providing a fun guessing game. Often they reveal the biases that have snuck into our subconscious and continue to influence how we think about a player. Mr. Mondesi, for example, is only owned in 55% of Yahoo! leagues (that number would likely be higher had many teams not given up once football season came around) while putting up numbers that rival, and in several cases outpace, those of a popular early draft choice in Trea Turner.

Last week I was looking for a boost in speed to try to keep up in a playoff match-up (one that I lost and am incredibly bitter about) and was able to roster Adalberto, who proceeded to steal 5 bases and swat two home runs for me. Long ago I had filed Mondesi away as a light hitting middle-infielder with some SB base upside. Had I (or anyone in my league) been paying attention to what he was doing we could have enjoyed an extremely productive second half.

In a time where so few players are running it seems strange that more people didn’t take a flyer on Mondesi. His game is far from perfect.  For one thing, his 25.5% K-rate and meager 3.5% walk-rate suggest that he wasn’t paying attention during any “patience is a virtue” speeches. And his .388 BABIP in the second half isn’t sustainable, even for a player of his speed. But we’ve put up with far more annoyances from Billy Hamilton in the past, and often used a premium draft pick for the privilege.

As the season winds down and you raise your digital fantasy trophy in triumph, or smash your real-life bobble-head collection in anger, it’s a good time to look back on some moves you made during the year and reflect on the reasoning behind them. You don’t want to let the Adalberto Mondesi’s of the world slip away because you wrote them off too soon.

Jake Blodgett

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Like most of you I am addicted to fantasy baseball. Since I spend most of my time talking about it, I figured I would write some of my thoughts down. I am a shameless promoter of Mike Trout and an even more shameless Shohei Ohtani apologist.

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