He's on pace to hit how many home runs?
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Every season, many fantasy owners get carried away with their players who get off to a hot start.

For them, we must explain that Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw will NOT go 36-0 with a 0.00 ERA and hit 36 home runs. Atlanta first baseman Freddie Freeman will NOT bat .750 for the season, the New York Mets' Collin Cowgill will NOT knock in 648 runs and Washington's budding superstar Bryce Harper will NOT hit 324 home runs ... although he might get really, really close.

Fantasy owners must temper their excitement. The baseball season is a marathon, not a sprint. Players will have both hot and cold streaks over the next six months.

However, early in the season is an excellent time for smart fantasy owners to take advantage when another owner puts too much stock in the early action.

Bargains can be had by making a trade offer for a player who has started off poorly.

CC Sabathia will not finish the 2013 season with an ERA of 7.20. Last year not withstanding, the Yankees' ace is a well-known slow starter. In 2011, he was 0-1 after his first four outings. In 2009, he went 1-1 with a 4.81 ERA through four games. In 2008, he was 0-3 with a 13.50 ERA.

Cole Hamels will likely pitch a lot better than he did in Monday night's Philadelphia Phillies loss against the Atlanta Braves - an ugly five inning stint in which he have up seven hits, five runs and three long balls.

But perhaps a relatively low-ball offer, though not an insulting one, will net you one of these aces if he has another mediocre outing or two.

The opposite is also true.

Trading a player who has a hot first week while his fantasy value is at its peak is definitely a winning strategy.

Arizona starter Ian Kennedy pitched very well in defeating St. Louis, going seven innings and striking out eight batters, but Kennedy is not usually a strikeout-an-inning guy and he might be a sell-high candidate.

Jhoulys Chacin gave up just one run over 6 2/3 innings while striking out six, but he'll be pitching half his games in Colorado's thin air. You can market him as the team's ace, and after the first outing, which was on the road in Milwaukee, he might get you something good in return.

Phillies second baseman Chase Utley had a huge game on Monday, coming within a double of the cycle. He had a solid spring and could continue to produce early in the season. Unfortunately, he has bad knees and that isn't going to go away.

Utley hasn't played more than 115 games since the 2009 season and he isn't the same player he was in his prime. Still, his "name" brings many fantasy owners to dream of the old days when he was a 30-home run, 100-RBI, 15-steals guy, and trading him while he's playing well could be a winning move.

In the business world and in fantasy leagues, being prepared to make a bold move is a must. Now is not the time to sit back and daydream. Now is the time to strike.




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

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