Fantasy Baseball Fabulous Foursome: Why You Should Buy Hosmer, Wainwright & More
The “Fabulous Foursome” is a new column here at Rotoprofessor that we are going to run once a week focusing on four players fantasy owners should be looking to acquire for various reasons (for example, a new closer, prospect on the verge of a recall, buy-low candidates, etc.).
Let’s take a look at who you should be targeting this week:
1) Eric Hosmer—Kansas City Royals—First Baseman
He was impressive in his rookie season (.293, 19 HR, 78 RBI, 66 R, 11 SB in 523 AB). That’s what makes his early season struggles so surprising. Would anyone have expected him to open the year hitting a measly .174 over his first 144 AB?
Yes, he’s added 5 HR, 18 RBI and 16 R, but it’s not hard to imagine owners in your league not being willing to overlook the pathetic average that is staring them in the face. You know some people will equate this to a sophomore slump, which could provide you with an opportunity to cash in.
Granted, Hosmer is not hitting the ball with as much authority as he did in 2011 (15.2 percent vs. 18.7 percent), which is a little bit concerning. However, that drop-off should not equate to a complete collapse in production. He has the ability to hit for a much higher average and, sooner or later, things would indicate that he’s going to get there:
- He is continuing to make great contact, with an 11.5 percent strikeout rate
- When he puts the ball in play, he has had awful luck with a .165 BABIP (the worst number among players with at least 100 plate appearances)
Does anyone really think that he’s going to continue to be this bad? It’s hard to imagine. The Royals have begun moving him around the lineup a little bit in order to get him going, but you know once he starts to hit he’ll settle right back into the middle.
Could the Royals opt to send the 22-year old back to Triple-A to try and snap out of this struggle? It’s possible, but don’t let that deter you. If other people are talking about that, his value is only going to fall a little bit more. And, the fact is, a stop in the minors could easily help him get things back on track.
Now is the perfect time to try and get him at a discount from another owner. The luck is going to turn around and you may not get a better opportunity to acquire him. Remember, he is the same player who hit .293 in 2011 and .312 for his minor league career. Stay patient.
2) Jerry Sands—Los Angeles Dodgers—Outfielder/First Baseman
Even before the Dodgers lost Matt Kemp to the 15-day disabled list, one could argue that they needed offensive help at first base (in place of James Loney) or in the outfield (in place of Bobby Abreu/Tony Gwynn Jr. who are seeing time due to Juan Rivera being on the DL).
So, the fact that they are giving Sands an opportunity should not surprise anyone. Also, if he hits during this current audition, it shouldn’t surprise anyone if he sticks around in the everyday lineup.
Over Sands’ minor league career (1,421 AB) he’s hit .284 with 100 HR and 300 RBI. The power has really been burgeoning in recent years:
- 35 HR in 2010 (between Single & Double-A)
- 33 HR in 2011 (between Triple-A & the Majors)
The fact that he’s shown power at every level helps to stop the complaint that he’s a product of the Pacific Coast League (he has 36 HR in 506 AB at Triple-A). The fact is, Sands showed his power potential when he got a shot to play with the Dodgers in 2011. Yes, he had just 4 HR, but he also added 15 doubles in 198 AB.
He may strikeout a decent amount (20.5 percent over his minor league career), but it shouldn’t be a crippling number. Just assume that he’s going to hit in the .260ish range and you shouldn’t be disappointed.
Even with that concern, how often can you find a player with his type of power potential on the waiver wire in the middle of May? The Dodgers certainly didn’t call him up to sit on the bench, so look for him to be in the lineup regularly until Kemp returns. If he hits, he’s going to be there much longer than that. Now is the perfect time to try and cash in.
3) Adam Wainwright—St. Louis Cardinals—Starting Pitcher
Wainwright has struggled after missing the entire 2011 season. To an extent it’s not surprising, though I think we all were willing to stomach a few bumps. Is anyone willing to deal with a 5.77 ERA and 1.53 WHIP? Probably not, though you should because there are plenty of reasons to do so.
First off, most pitchers struggle with control in their first year back. For Wainwright his “struggles” have been a 3.30 BB/9 (and the first time he walked more than two in a game was in his start on 5/12). Nothing not to like there.
Next, you have to love the fact that he’s still generating groundballs. In fact, his current 55.6% groundball rate is a career high.
He’s also striking batters out at a career best rate, with an 8.24 K/9. That’s right where he was prior to the injury.
So, with these factors working in his favor, how are his numbers so bad? It’s just bad luck. Look at these three key numbers:
- .341 BABIP
- 63.6% strand rate
- 21.9% HR/FB
It’s a near lock that he improves on all three and, with the other numbers working in his favor, there should be plenty of optimism. He was awful in his last few outings and now may be the best chance you have to capitalize on your league mates frustrations. See if you can get him now, as there should be significantly better days ahead.
4) Frank Francisco—New York Mets—Relief Pitcher
Really? Considering his struggles and the instability at the position, is he really a player you want to try and acquire?
Actually, the answer is yes.
Mets manager Terry Collins has come out and said that he wants to keep Francisco in the closer’s role, because he doesn’t want to disrupt the rest of the bullpen. Obviously, if he blows his next save in spectacular fashion that could change, but for now his job is safe.
However, does your league mate believe Francisco is on the verge of coughing up the job? That could lead to him giving him up at a discount, just so he gets something for him before his value becomes nil. If his trade value is down and you are in need of saves, now is the perfect time to strike.
I am not about to say that Francisco is going to stay in the job all year long. At this point, that would actually surprise me. However, he is a closer now and the indication is that he is going to remain there. That gives him value, especially if you can get him at a discount.
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