Ways to improve your roster

Carlos Quentin blasted eight homers and knocked in 24 runs over the past 30 days.
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - The All-Star break is just around the corner, which for fantasy owners means only that we are without "action" for three days. The "vacation" is a good time to take a hard look at your roster and evaluate where you need help and where you are strong.

Once you have truthfully analyzed your team, you can go about trying to improve it. There are basically just two ways to do that - waivers and trades. Actually, there is a third way, but we will discuss that later.

Waivers may seem obvious, but you will be surprised who is on the free agent list. I'm in four baseball leagues, so sometimes it gets confusing as to whether I've checked the waiver list recently. But I decided to check them all today and you will never guess who I found sitting out there - Carlos Quentin.

Quentin is only owned in about 65-percent of all leagues. This is the same guy who blasted eight homers and knocked in 24 runs over the past 30 days. Sure, his batting average was just .298 during that span, but his OPS was 1.022 which should help just about any team. And the best news is that Quentin is a second-half hitter. His career OPS is 81 points higher after the All-Star break than before it (0.886-0.805).

Also available are hot hitters: Gaby Sanchez, Sean Rodriguez and Corey Patterson. There are pitchers available too. Gavin Floyd, Max Scherzer, R.A. Dickey and Jonathon Niese are all owned in less than 60-percent of all leagues.

If you have found an area of need which can't be filled by any of the above players, then it's time to look to your opponents for help. Assuming you have an area of strength with which you can trade talent (and if you don't then you're in big trouble), you can go the deal-making route. Look for an opponent's roster with strength in your weak area and a weakness where you have strength. He'll be the "perfect" trading partner.

If you can't find what you need through trades or pickups, that leaves only one option left. But it's more difficult and time consuming. It requires you to move your current starters in and out of the lineup based on who they are playing. You will have to check the pitching probables and then investigate your hitter's record against that starter. Or check your pitcher's record against a certain team. Sure, sometimes you will miss a big game, but in the long run you should see your batting average and OPS rise and ERA and WHIP sink.

If none of these three methods help your team improve, then the best news I can give you is that the NFL training camps open up in just a few days.

Selected Hitters over the past 30 days
Player Team AB R H HR RBI SB AVE OPS Owned
Carlos Quentin CWS 84 16 25 8 24 0 0.298 1.022 63
Gaby Sanchez FLA 102 16 39 5 17 2 0.382 1.027 33
Sean Rodriguez TB 99 15 31 4 13 6 0.313 0.835 28
Corey Patterson BAL 91 14 31 1 7 11 0.341 0.801 6

Selected Pitchers over the past 30 days
Player Team W L IP ER K ERA WHIP Owned
Gavin Floyd CWS 2 1 45.2 6 37 1.27 0.845 60
Max Scherzer DET 3 1 34.0 8 39 2.12 0.970 45
R.A. Dickey NYM 3 1 33.0 8 26 2.18 1.121 25
Jonathon Niese NYM 4 0 33.2 10 26 2.67 1.009 28

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

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