The reality of fantasy baseball is that that based off of real life statistics. Players are clearly motivated to win, but how motivated are they when there is no incentive to win? When their real life team is clearly out of the play picture are players really still giving it their all?
We would say with the exception of players in their contract year the motivation to put up big numbers for a job secure superstar on a scrub team is questionable at best. Lets look at a few examples.
2008 September Statistics
Nick Markakias who it over .300 through the year dipped to .290 in September
Hanely Ramirez hit .320 in September of 2008
David Wright hit .340 in September of 2008
Josh Hamilton hit .366 in September of 2008
Without a doubt this is an interesting analysis, it appears that fantasy baseball owners should not fear a September drought from their star players who are out of the real life playoff picture. The fact remains that the professional baseball is still highly competitive and a player can not afford to take off a month because the games are meaningless for his team. In the age of arbitration every statistic counts, taking off meaningless games, or padding your stats in garbage can wind up learning or costing a player big bucks in the long run. While there are no doubt players who slump in September due to normal statistical fluctuations, it is hard to believe that those dips in performance are correlated to a teams post season positioning.