The ebb and flow of a long season

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - For the first month of the season, the fantasy talk mainly revolved around Andre Ethier's long hitting streak and slumping outfielders Carl Crawford and Carlos Gonzalez

But it's the end of May and my how things have changed.

Currently it's Crawford who thinks he's hitting a beach ball and Ethier who can't buy a hit.

The Red Sox outfielder, who was batting .155 with one home run and six RBIs at the end of April, is batting .333 for the month of May with three homers and 15 RBIs. In fact, Crawford has nine hits in his last 13 at-bats to raise his season's average to .245.

Gonzalez, a top-five draft choice in the preseason, batted just .228 in April with a single home run. This from a guy who hit 34 home runs last season while batting a league-leading .336 left his fantasy owners in a bind.

However, Gonzalez has begun to rebound, hitting .279 in May with seven home runs and 18 RBIs. With July (career OPS 0.928), August (0.915) and September (0.928) traditionally being his best months statistically, his fantasy owners should have nothing to worry about.

Meanwhile, Ethier's batting average has dropped from .379 on May 6th when he lost his 30-game hitting streak to .311 in three weeks (9-for-56).

Of course, the ebb and flow of a marathon baseball season is nothing new. As a fantasy owner you must be able to withstand slumps without panicking. And you must still be able to realistically evaluate your talent when things are going well.

Which means while Arizona first baseman Juan Miranda is batting .423 with an OPS of 1.462 over the past 10 days, we know the lifetime .262 will not continue at his current pace.

And we also know that eventually Evan Longoria and Matt Holliday will emerge from their current batting slumps.

Because we are sure that good hitters like Longoria and Holliday will turn it around, now is the perfect time to try and acquire them, while their fantasy value is at a low point.

Longoria, usually a fast starter, always seems to stumble in May, but his career numbers say he will improve in each month after that until the end of the season.

And Holliday is normally a slow starter, who's monthly statistics climb to a peak in July, so if you are going to try and trade for the Cardinals' outfielder, do it soon.

With two months behind us and four months still to play, now is not the time to let your mind wander. Now is the time to make the moves necessary to win your fantasy championship.

Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Steve Schwarz at sschwarz@sportsnetwork.com.