If you have ever been to a horse race, you know there’s nothing more exciting than listening to the announcer tell you they’re coming down the home stretch. The grandstand is filled with excitement and the anticipation is at its peak. The crowd noise crescendos as the horses cross the finish line, and there’s a cathartic release of emotion as the cheers of excitement and groans of agony fill the air. If only that were the case for the final leg of your fantasy baseball season.
The two weeks remaining in your fantasy baseball season can be the most agonizing and, depending on your place in the standings, feel like an eternity. Every at-bat, every pitch, every inning that goes by becomes this harrowing, nail-biting moment. Did I move up in batting average? If this guy nails down the save, do I gain an extra half-point? Did that strikeout just win me my head-to-head playoff matchup?
But what makes it all the more agonizing is watching players who performed well for you all season, but have now come crashing back down to Earth at the absolute worst time. There was scuttlebutt the Angels were going to shut down Shohei Ohtani from pitching, which would qualify as a letdown if it happens. Though he then threw a bullpen session Friday ahead of an expected start Sunday.
His overall numbers aren’t gaudy (nine wins, 3.32 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, 136 Ks), but you might end up needing to replace him with someone who won’t crush your ratios down the stretch. If it begins to hedge back toward the shutdown direction, it is especially worrisome since his bat has also disappeared in the final month.
At the same time, exhaustion is clearly setting in on the game’s only two-way player. At the end of July, Ohtani was batting .278 with 37 home runs and 72 RBIs. Over the past month and a half, he has hit just .125 with seven homers and just 12 RBIs. It is unclear as to whether removing him from his pitching duties will spark him for the final two weeks, but if not, you may have to give him the boot.
There are other potential tough cuts you may need to make as the season winds down. Rafael Devers has been terrible since the calendar flipped to August and Jose Abreu has all but vanished in September. The ability to make tough cuts toward the end of the season is what makes for a good fantasy manager. No one goes into the year saying they can’t wait for Frank Schwindel and Nicky Lopez to win them a title, but that is exactly what it takes to bring home that championship.
Howard Bender is the VP of operations and head of content at FantasyAlarm.com. Follow him on Twitter @rotobuzzguy and catch him on the award-winning “Fantasy Alarm Radio Show” on the SiriusXM fantasy sports channel weekdays from 6-8 p.m. Go to FantasyAlarm.com for all your fantasy baseball advice.