Thursday, April 21, 2011

Slow Starters...What To Do?

Slow starters at every position…What to do?…Ride out the April showers and hope for May Flowers? With nearly 10% of the season in the books we are starting to get a decent sample size of what may be to come for the rest of 2011. The following players were all drafted in my pert league with their draft position shown and league standings next.
All the hitters listed are or were recently below the Mendoza line and now it is time to decide whether to keep them for the rebound in May or have then continue to hurt the owner’s team across the board. No one player will win or lose your league but one player can bring down a category after a prolonged dry spell. There are many other “stars” that could have been placed on this list but the ones listed are ones that are owned universally and drafted in the mid-rounds of most leagues. Yes, some of these players are on Dynasty Teams and I would never expect you to give up on them but for standard non-keeper leagues it time for some tough decisions.
SP Wandy Rodríguez Drafted at 154-Owner’s team is in 12th place. His team is getting clobbered in ERA at the moment and it is not being helped by Wandy’s near touchdown ERA. Wandy has been a notorious slow starter over his career. He has only 4 wins in April over the last four years. If he doesn’t come around after his next 2 starts he is not worth keeping. The damage he has caused will be hard to make up. Remember he plays on the 2nd worst team in baseball. The Wins will be hard to muster. Available Alternative: Randy Wolf only owned in 7% of leagues and is pitching for a contender in a weak Division.
C Matt Wieters  drafted at 119-Owner’s team is in 5th place. His team is near the bottom of the categories in HR, RBI and is in last in AVG. When does the Wieters hype end? Maybe not yet. He has changed his stance and is not lunging into pitches.  Many above average catchers can be had to stream in and out of your line-up every week. Available Alternative: Another hyped Rookie who is currently red hot Wilson Ramos, who is owned in only 6% of leagues.
1B James Loney  drafted at 302-Owner’s team is in 2nd place. He is currently above average in all offensive categories and does not need the light hitting first baseman to stream in at and out at his CI spot. Loney needs to be dropped in all leagues, not even worth a bench spot. Available Alternatives for CI: Mark Trumbo owned in only 4% of leagues. He has much more upside and will be the starting 1B in Halo land for another month.
2B Ben Zobrist  drafted at 136-Owner’s team is in 6th place. His team is well above average in all offensive categories and probably drafted Zobrist for his position flexibility. So far Zobrist is striking out at over a 30% clip. No contact means no production in fantasy terms. I would keep Zobrist on the bench to see if he improves over the near future and maybe he will start to run more. 30 days from now if he is still hovering around the Mendoza line he needs to be scrapped. Available Alternatives: Wilson Valdez is still starting in place of the injured Utley and is only owned in 7% of leagues. Potent offensive around him and he is hitting well over .300 to date.
3B Pedro Alvarez   drafted at 94- Owner’s team is in 7th place. His team is dominating in the offensive categories. He needs pitching help and Alvarez could be great trade bait on name recognition alone. In other leagues, if Pedro is bringing down your team just hold the course. He is still batting clean-up and has high upside at a fairly weak position. If you can muster a great trade there is a few candidates to slip in at 3B. Available Alternatives: Alberto Callaspo in Anaheim has doubled in team ownership this week. He is now owned in 26% of all leagues. 
SS Elvis Andrus  drafted at 95-Owner’s team is currently in 5th place. I have never been a believer in Andrus and the hype. I’m sorry but a starting SS with zilch in HR last season does nothing for me, especially at such a high draft pick. This owner’s team is struggling in the Offensive categories and is last in AVG so far. Might be hard to move this guy because the consensus on this Elvis seems to be polarizing, many think highly and many think garbage. He could packaged in a trade with some pitcher to get a player that can help in a couple of specific categories. Available Alternatives: Wilson Valdez as listed above has 2B and SS eligibility.
OF Mike Stanton   drafted at 60 – Owner’s team currently in 4th place. His team is faring well in the power categories but needs some steals. As long as the power holds and Stanton shows the 50 HR potential he could easily be moved for some speed. As a 5th round pick you have to be a little upset with his production to date.
OF Austin Jackson   drafted at 213 – Owner’s team is currently in 1st place-That would be yours truly. I actually own Jackson in 3 leagues this year and I am ready to kick him to the curb. I thought his contact rate would improve over last year but to no avail. I drafted him for his 100+ Runs and 20+ SB. I do not feel too burned over where I drafted him but really have no use for him more than a bench player.
OF Vernon Wells   drafted at 282 – Owner’s team is in last place. What to say about Wells…Get rid of him anyway possible.
Best Alternatives for OF at this point: Jeff Francoeur won’t last on waivers after this week, get him now. Pat Burrell is always a good source of power and could used in the right situations in daily leagues. Finally, Hideki Matsui is worth owning and playing when Oakland is on the road in hitter friendly parks.
This was originally published last week at Profanatsy Baseball. I made a few tweaks since its first publication but the overall sentiment still stands true. Newly signed Jerry Sands may still be available after a flurry of pick-ups this week.

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