Superstition

I had the last pick in the last round of my fantasy baseball draft this year. After two anxiety-inducing hours of crossing off sleeper picks and watching favorite players go by the wayside, I had one last great pick up my sleeve: Zack Cozart. He was gauranteed to be the Reds’ starting shortstop. He was young. He had some power potential. He’d probably be in the top of the order. I took him. “Nice pick,” wrote a friend. Indeed, I thought to myself. A nice pick indeed.

Cozart seemed to validate my pick for the first six games. He shot off to a .455 average and 1.384 OPS with six runs, one homer, and two runs batted in. And then he went silent. Through the rest of April he only knocked in two other runs. His average slipped. The power disappeared. Heck, he struggled just to make contact.

I panicked and dropped him. It was not an easy decision. I like my Reds players (almost as much as I like my home-state Tigers). I like seeing their names on my roster. It feels as if they’re playing for me when they’re out on the field. I feel like it’s a statement of faith to own them. And what’s more, I really needed a shortstop. I’d wasted away those fifth and sixth round picks on other players.

As soon as I let him go, Cozart rebounded. From April 29 to May 8, he had five RBIs, hit two homers, and scored six runs. His average leveled off at .277. Screw it, I thought. I’m back on the Cozart Train! I picked him back up, and how did the young Mr. Cozart reward me? He went 3-for-36 with only one run and one RBI. I responded like the jilted lover I was—I dropped him again.

The rollercoaster ride of Cozart’s offensive production has reached a new peak this week (a streak that coincidentally began just a day after I let him go for the last time). In the past three games, he’s 4-for-11, with three runs, two homers, and two RBIs. Will it continue? Dusty Baker has him back at the top of the order. Maybe he’s levelled off and become the player I hoped he could be. Maybe he’ll do this hot-and-cold number all year. I’m doing my small part to make sure he keeps playing well—I’m leaving him off my team this time.

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