Each and every week FFLockerRoom will be here to give you the players that are underachieving or getting unlucky and therefore are buy low candidates as well as those overachieving that you should market for trade! These players will have an impact on most 2014 Fantasy Baseball rosters and transactions can make or break your season. Utilizing this list along with the FFLockerRoom 2014 Fantasy Baseball Rankings will help you in making those all-important lineup or trade decisions for the coming week(s).
Since we are just a few days into the season, this abridged version of the report is designed to give you a taste of what you can expect to see each and every week. With little data to go on, this list will simply be a speculative and perhaps somewhat humorous look at the first two days of action.
Cliff Lee: This might seem like a silly suggestion as Cliff Lee is a stud pitcher that’s highly ranked on everyone’s list. That being said, he did just give up 8 earned on 11 hits in 5 innings while only striking out 1 batter. This world is filled with people who over react to one bad performance so this might be the opportunity to get Lee. You’re not going to steal him but perhaps an Anibal Sanchez and a serviceable hitter and you upgrade your rotation to perhaps have two #1 starters. Lee’s velocity was still there, he was simply missing his spots. Also, we know how favorable Globe Life Park in Arlington can be for hitters. It’s only a slight discount, but it’s one worth considering.
Billy Hamilton: As I stressed above, it’s tough to write this article after two days of action but also as I said in the Lee write-up people are prone to overreacting. Hamilton went 0-for-4 with 4 strikeouts on opening day and that is only going to fuel the fire of those who feel he won’t hit at the major league level. Personally, I’m part of that group. A career .256 hitter in the minor leagues isn’t the track record you’d like to see for a young call up. But, the one thing Hamilton has is speed and he has more of it than anyone else. If you’re a team loaded with power and short on speed, play up the fact that Hamilton can’t hit. Talk about his minor league track record and how he’s a one-trick pony. Perhaps you’d get him at a slight discount. If you realize you’ll get nothing in homers and RBI but need the speed, there’s no better speed component than Hamilton.
Kenley Jansen: How can I have a guy with two saves already on the buy low list? Well a closer with a 2.14 WHIP and two very shaky outings this early in the season can cause an owner to panic. You could potentially trade a lower end closer and a hot bat and upgrade your closer to Jansen. He has a career 2.12 ERA and 0.93 WHIP. He’s a huge strikeout threat and his main competition for the role should his struggles continue, Brian Wilson, was just placed on the disabled list giving Jansen even more rope. He’s still a stud so to get him at a nickel discount is well worth the investment. It’s these little nickels early in the year that add up to s in the end.
Clayton Kershaw: There are many owners, myself included, who are really steamed at this back injury that Kershaw is suffering from. According to reports he’s going to miss 2-3 weeks and that’s quite significant. Three weeks is 21 days and assuming you start every 5th day, that’s 4 starts. A #1 starter is usually slated to make about 32-34 starts so that’s over 10% of your season lost. There are Kershaw owners out there dying for innings, especially in a head to head format. If you’ve done a good job drafting pitching and have enough starters to be able to wait those 2-3 weeks, you’ll never get a better chance to get Kershaw. Again, like with Lee above, you’re not going to steal him but you could potentially trade a starter that might have been ranked 15-25th overall coming into the year, combined with a reasonable outfield bat and get Kershaw. Come May 1st, you’ve got the best pitcher in all of baseball on your staff and you didn’t have to use a 1st or 2nd round pick to get him.
Brad Miller: Don’t get me wrong, I love Miller this season. In fact, according to our rankings on FantasyPros.com I’ve got Miller about 5 slots higher than the consensus. That being said, he’s coming off a game where he hit 2 homers in an 8-3 victory over the Los Angeles Angels. No, he’s not going to hit 162 homers and drive in 243 runs. One game isn’t going to make me stray from my original projection of about a .270 average with mid to potentially upper teens home runs and perhaps about 10-15 stolen bases. Seattle is not a great place to hit, even with the slightly altered dimensions, so Miller is probably more of a gap power hitter for now. Play up the hot start if you can.
Seth Smith: In his career Smith has 74 homers in 2037 at-bats. If you figure around 550 at-bats per season, Smith is basically a 20 homer type of player. The problem is, Smith has never even gotten more than 476 at-bats. So, while he does indeed possess legit power, he won’t play enough to get you where you need. The Padres are dealing with injuries to Cameron Maybin and Carlos Quentin (yeah, not the biggest of surprises) but at some point one or both will make it back (at least until they get hurt again) and that will further sap his playing time. You’re not going to convince someone to give you much for him, but I’d rather get a serviceable middle infielder than have a serviceable outfielder. Or, even though I mentioned Brad Miller as a sell high candidate, at least he has a full-time job so maybe you can add a little nugget to Smith and get Miller. Don’t underestimate how dumb someone else might be. Just make sure your offer isn’t insulting and you have a shot.
Marlon Byrd: I’ve never liked Marlon Byrd. I just don’t like outfielders who lack power AND who don’t have speed. He’s a solid major league player but he’s not an exciting fantasy option. I’m not convinced with his 24 homers and 88 RBI’s from 2013. You just don’t normally see that type of spike from a 36 year old player, especially now with PED’s testing. He’ll turn 37 this summer and while he has a job and therefore opportunity, I’m not looking for a repeat of last season. He’s 4-for-9 so far so play that up combined with his performance last year and see what you can get.
Casey McGehee: One of the most added players thus far McGehee has started 3-for-7 with 5 runs batted in. That won’t last. He’s a 31 year old journeyman who only qualifies at first base in most leagues. With 61 career homers in 1857 at-bats, he’s not going to provide power or production. With Ed Lucas going down, McGehee will see regular time at third base (and gain eligibility in leagues he doesn’t have it) so maybe there’s a sucker out there who simply needs the warm body. Couldn’t hurt to try. Again, as long as your offer isn’t insulting, the only bad thing that can come is a mere rejection.
Thanks for reading this week. As the season progresses and we have more data to analyze, this column will delve deeper into the sabremetric stats to bring you the concise analysis you need in making transactions to win a title.