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Fantasy Baseball Week Six: Buy Low, Sell High

The following players shouldn’t necessarily be moved or traded for, but are mentioned because they are performing above or below their career norms. Each player is owned in at least 50 percent of ESPN leagues.


Buy Low



Jason Kubel , OF, Minnesta Twins

Kubel isn’t known for his fast starts, and this year is no different. The Minnesota mainstay is hitting .209 with two home runs and 11 RBI, with a .641 OPS.

Kubel has underperformed. He’s had some tough luck so far, his .254 BABIP is about 45 points below the league average, but he still maintains a good eye at the plate (1.29/1 K/BB ratio).


Kubel struggles in April and May. While his statistics look bad right now, they will only improve as the season progresses. Ask around, and see if you can steal him, before Kubel goes on a tear.



Alcides Escobar, SS, Milwaukee Brewers

Escobar has three hits, no home runs, three RBI and a 2/1 K/BB ratio in his last 10 games. His average has plummeted from .284 down to .222. He’s “hitting” .105 in May.

Welcome to your first slump, Alcides. And welcome to your opportunity to snag a good player on the cheap, fantasy manager.


In 38 games last year, Alcides’ stats looked like this: .304/1/11/.346 BABIP. In 27 games this year, his numbers look much worse: .222/1/11/.247 BABIP.

That’s a 99 point difference in BABIP, which is to say he was lucky last year. This year, though, not so much…yet.

Don’t let the numbers discourage you from prying Alcides away on the cheap. He can only improve from here.



Brian McCann, C, Atlanta Braves

This one’s a bit risky, but aren’t all trades?

McCann is having eye troubles right now, specifically with his right eye—the one he didn’t have Lasik surgery on during the offseason. The health issues should help explain his .241/2/9 line right now.

McCann’s fly ball rate (34.4 percent) and line drive rate (15.6 percent) are down while his ground ball rate (50 percent) is up, compared to his career norms. These numbers should balance out over the course of the season, which will eventually bring his power numbers up to where they ought to be.


For what it’s worth, he still has an excellent eye at the plate (1.5/1 BB/K). McCann’s 22 walks rank fifth in the National League while his .401 OPB ranks 11th. You might as well kick the tires to see if anyone’s interested in dealing him.




Sell High


Ty Wigginton, 2B, Orioles

Wigginton is playing out of his gourd. He’s already hit 10 home runs, one short of his season total last year, and he’s halfway to his 2009 RBI tally. Wigginton has managed to do all this in just 28 games. He ranks among the AL leaders in home runs (2nd), OPS (6th), and SLG percentage (4th).


Abort! Abort! Abort! Wigginton’s stats will surely come back down to Earth, especially when Baltimore’s everyday 2B, Brian Roberts, comes off the DL.

Perhaps you can pawn Wigginton off on some unsuspecting owner before Roberts returns, but it sounds like you have some time.



Livan Hernandez, SP, Washington Nationals

Who saw this coming? Hernandez is a shell of his former self, yet he sits at the top of the National League in five different categories: Wins, WHIP, Complete Games, ERA, and Win Percentage. Wow.

Did someone forget to tell him it’s 2010, not 2003?

Hernandez hasn’t had a WHIP under 1.50 since 2005 and his 5.31 average ERA over the past four years is, uh, not that good.


Here are some other numbers to chew on: His .187 BABIP is .123 points below his career average and he’s stranding an astonishing 97.6 percent of base runners—25 percent above his career average.

Well, it was fun while it lasted, eh? Run, don’t walk, to your computer and throw his name out there with the hope that someone bites before he does.


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Fantasy Baseball: Buy Low/Sell High Week Five

The following players shouldn’t necessarily be moved or picked up, but are mentioned because they are performing above or below their career norms. Each player is owned in at least 50 percent of ESPN leagues.   


Buy Low

Carlos Lee , OF, Astros: Lee has averaged a home run for every 20 at-bats in his career. He has zero home runs, fewer than burly bashers Dexter Fowler, John Bowker, and Angel Pagan, and just five RBI’s in 82 at bats this season.

Lee went 2 for 4 last Sunday and if history holds true, he’ll snap out of his slump before long.  May through July are Lee’s best months in terms of power and RBI. Snag him on the cheap before he starts doing some yard work and be sure to mention his current .198/0/6/.492 OPS as ammo in your persuasive argument.

Gordon Beckham , 2B, White Sox: Beckham is currently one of the worst second basemen, statistically, in the American League. His .211/1/4/.576 OPS line hurts owners while his BABIP is nearly 30 points below the .290 league average. Beckham hasn’t had any prolonged slump, he has at least one hit in 14 out of the White Sox 22 games this year, and he hasn’t gone hitless for more than two nights in-a-row.

His power outage is a bit more severe, however, as his only home run came on April 11th.  He’s also averaged just one double per week. According to fangraphs, Beckham has hit only 10 line drives this season, an indication that he’s not getting good wood on the ball right now. He will turn this around shortly, and you’ll want him on your side when he does.

Zack Greinke, SP, Royals: One year ago, Greinke was the pitcher du jour in the American League. He won the AL Cy Young and led the league in WHIP and ERA, and was second in strikeouts. Oh, what a difference a year makes. He’s winless on the season despite being among the league leaders in four categories—Ks, WHIP, IP, and ERA. Those three losses also place him among the league leaders, which is why you might want to target him now.

The Royals offense offers little-to-no run support for Mr.Greinke—3.0 runs per game—and their bullpen hasn’t done him any favors, either. Ask around to see if anyone’s panicking.  You might work something out.


Sell High

Marlon Byrd , OF, Cubs: The Byrd is the word. How can you argue? He ranks in the Top 10 in four offensive categories—batting average, slugging percentage, RBI, and OPS—and has at least one hit in nine of his last 10 games. So, what’s the problem? Well, nothing really, unless you consider he’s pretty lucky right now (.377 BABIP – 50 points higher than his career average) and his season line (.351) is 69 points higher than his career average.

Cubs’ manager Lou Piniella recently stated that he’ll continue to rotate his four outfielders in order to give them all adequate rest. Byrd will be sitting once per week if not twice. It could be time to ask around and see if anyone’s interested.

Alex Gonzalez, SS, Blue Jays: If you’ve had him on your roster for awhile, congratulations. You’re smarter than the rest of us, or at least less skeptical. He’s rewarded you with a .276/8/21/.921 OPS line from a position where decent stats can be hard to come by. He makes the list because he’s given you all he’s got, Captain! Well, almost.

He last played at least 130 games in 2005, so it’s just a matter of time before he gets injured. He’s a lifetime .248 hitter and he’s never surpassed .800 OPS for a season (he currently has a .921 OPS). And, to add insult to injury, his K/BB ratio is an unholy 8.67/1. It’s been a nice run with Mr. Gonzalez, but there’s nowhere to go but down.

Dallas Braden , SP, A’s: Braden’s hot start has gotten him noticed, as he’s now owned in over 60 percent of ESPN leagues. Not bad for a guy whose ADP was around 200. His line is nice—3-1, 4.20 ERA, 1.10 WHIP—but there are cracks in the armor. His home/road splits are, um, bad: He’s 2-0 at home with a 2.25 ERA and a 5.33/1 K/BB; He’s 1-1 on the road with an 8.10 ERA and a 0.75/1 K/BB. His BAA at home is .188; His BAA on the road is .310.

Oh sure, you could argue that his stats on the road are largely the result of an atrocious start against Tampa Bay and you’d be right to do so. However, it’s May now, by far Braden’s worst statistical month not ending in –ber (2-5, 5.47 ERA, .306 BAA) and his current BABIP of .251 will soon normalize. Hasta la vista, Braden. 

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