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Early Season Standings Mean Nothing

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Eric O'Flaherty of the Seattle Mariners continued to implode last night when he allowed three earned runs in one-third of an inning. One the season, he is sporting a bloated 20.25 ERA and a 3.00 WHIP in just four innings of work.

Aaron Heilman of the New York Mets had his three consecutive two-earned-runs-allowed appearance. After beginning the year with three scoreless innings, Heilman's sporting a 9.00 ERA and a 2.00 WHIP in six innings of work.

Why do I bring-up two middle relievers who are only rostered in deep AL- and NL-Only leagues? Because they are on my AL- and NL-Only team, and I can't help looking at their crappy stats and thinking how much better I'd be doing in the first 10 days of the season if they weren't on my team.

Take a look at my team stats with both relievers, there stats and my adjusted team totals and tell me their excision from my squad wouldn't make a difference.

AL-Only IP ER H W ERA WHIP
Team 61.33 33 60 17 4.84 1.255
Eric O'Flaherty 4 9 8 4 20.25 3.000
Adj Team 57.33 24 52 13 3.77 1.134
NL-Only IP ER H W ERA WHIP
Team 79.33 28 71 26 3.18 1.223
Aaron Heilman 6 6 6 6 9.00 2.000
Adj Team 73.33 22 65 20 2.7 1.159

Subtracting O'Flaherty drops more than a full run from my team's ERA and drops 12 points from my team WHIP, or improves it by 9.6%. Heilman's "removal" isn't quite as dramatic as my NL team's ERA imrpoves by .48 of a run and my WHIp gets better by 6.4 points or 5.2%.

So I plugged these new values into my current standings to see what would happen to my standings. Surprisingly, O'Flaherty's removal did not change my place in the standings (7th) despite improving my total points by three. Heilman, on the other hand, added five points to my total, but only changed my standings from 5th to 4th.

Is there a lesson here? I think so. Every fantasy player here that early stats do not count and that the standings in their league are too fluid this early in a season to be givin meaning. I know I ascribe to those rules-of-thumb. But what if they're are not a good as one thinks? I would have certainly thought removing my horrible pitcher would give a better picture of my pitching staff, and it did not do that for one of this year's worst relievers to date.

Could early season standings have more stability than anyone realizes?