Fantasy Baseball: 10 Latest 'Buy Low' Fantasy Trade Options

Tim Karan@timkaranContributor IIMay 28, 2012

Fantasy Baseball: 10 Latest 'Buy Low' Fantasy Trade Options

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    Whether we like it or not, life imitates Storage Wars. And since fantasy baseball imitates life, it's reasonable to conclude that fantasy baseball imitates Storage Wars

    If you come across an auction for an abandoned storage unit filled with things worth far more than you're willing to pay, your best strategy is to pretend everything inside is awful, since it's human nature for other people to convince themselves they want something more once they realize someone else wants it. The same goes for used cars, real estate and potential mates. (Perhaps this explains why I'm still single.)

    Following that logic, the key to buying a fantasy player low is to make an offer for him when his value is at its lowest.

    Guys like who? Glad you asked. Here are 10 players who are under-performing now but are packed to the rafters with potential profit. You've just got to pretend you're not all that interested; otherwise it blows the whole thing.

10. David Ortiz

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    Think of David Ortiz as the Hulk.

    After jumping out to a nearly superhuman start, he was bound to run into a wall. It's just that nobody knew it would be a titanium wall.

    Large Papi is batting just .218 in May after posting .405 in April, and he's managed only two hits in his last 26 at-bats. 

    True, he probably isn't the 45-homer factory he once was. But the real Ortiz isn't this bad either. He's always been essentially two hitters in one—he had two months last season during which he hit .342 or better and two where he hit .267 or worse.

    Grab him at a discount now when he's playing like Mark Ruffalo.

9. Brandon Morrow

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    Well, that's always the risk when you pitch at Arlington Stadium.

    Although Brandon Morrow has been a revelation so far this season, he's coming off the definitive worst start of his career. On Friday against the Rangers, he gave up six runs on five hits and three walks and only recorded two outs before getting the hook.

    Implosions like that have a funny way of turning a 2.63 ERA into a 3.47. That's still nowhere near awful, but it could be enough to pry him away from an owner who wasn't especially sold on Morrow in the first place.

    The ERA still has room to rise to his average of 4.27 and the Jays might only give him six or seven more wins, but he's still all but assured to approach 200 Ks. While he's certainly not a nobody anymore, his value is at its lowest—at least until his next start.

8. Jason Heyward

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    Jason Heyward is not for the faint of heart.

    Touted as the Braves' slugger of the future for much of the recent past, he's been consistently inconsistent. Last year, he was actually a full-blown nightmare with a horrifying .227 batting average and just 14 home runs.

    This season, he was drafted as a top-25 outfielder and jumped out to a solid start: .273 with eight steals through April. But May was far less kind: .210 with one steal.

    Although it might not yet be Heyward's heyday, his upside for this season is still far higher than that of comparable outfielders like Brennan Boesch and Michael Saunders.

    Heyward has also seen the largest decrease in his ground ball rate of any player who hit in the majors last year. It's only a matter of time before a few more of those fly balls find their way into the seats.

7. Chris Young

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    You haven't heard a whole lot about Chris Young lately.

    That's because he underwent shoulder surgery in April and is just 3-for-20 since his mid-May return. Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson even admitted recently that Young might have returned a little too soon.

    But let's put things in perspective: the summer is just about to start.

    Although he might see a little more downtime during the next few weeks, Young was having a fine season (hitting .410 with five home runs through his first 11 games) before his injury. He'll have plenty of chances to pick it back up.

    Obviously, there's always a risk he re-aggravates the shoulder and he'll probably be lucky if he finishes the year above .265, but that's exactly what you should tell the owner who has Young now. Because a 20-20 guy with room for more won't come this cheap again.

6. Roy Halladay

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    If you think it's insane that Roy Halladay is on a 'buy low' list, you're not alone. But you probably also haven't been paying all that much attention to him in 2012.

    Halladay is just 4-5 with 56 Ks in 72.1 innings, and that was before Saturday when he allowed a grand slam to Yadier Molina and was removed after just two innings with shoulder soreness.

    None of those things are all that inspiring.

    But the Phillies swear Halladay isn't injured and that the benching was purely precautionary. His velocity is down and there are rumblings about his sidearm delivery, but as long as Doc is actually healthy (at some point), it's difficult to believe he's suddenly a different guy from the automatic Cy Young contender.

5. Carlos Santana

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    You've got about a week to get Carlos Santana.

    The Tribe placed him on the seven-day concussion DL on Saturday, but there's little indication that the injury will rob him of much more time. 

    Still, it could be the last straw for an impatient Santana owner thinking this is Geovany Soto all over again. 

    There's a good chance Santana was the first or second catcher drafted in your league, and he's only been borderline top 10 at the position with a .245 average and five homers. Last week was especially brutal, too: he was 2-for-17 with just two RBI.

    But Santana is not Soto. He'll still be a top five backstop by season's end. 

4. Tim Lincecum

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    It's getting more and more difficult to believe.

    When Giancarlo Stanton blasted one of Tim Lincecum's pitches 431 feet into the horrendous center-field sculpture at Marlins Park on Friday, it was the culmination of what has been a sad season. Lincecum has only made it through the sixth inning in one of his last five games, and his 6.41 ERA would be bad even if he was Barry Zito.

    But after a putrid start to the year, Lincecum had seemingly gotten back on track. Before Friday, he hadn't given up a home run since April 6, and he's still on pace for 200 Ks.

    Lincecum's name brand is at an all-time low, and it's almost unimaginable that it could go much lower. If you can get him for next to nothing (and it's getting there), he's still worth a roll of the dice.

3. Jay Bruce

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    Yeah, he homered Sunday, but Jay Bruce has been brutal.

    Sure, he's hitting .255 on the season with 11 home runs and 30 RBI. Those are mid-level numbers for an outfielder. But most of that happened prior to May. These days, you'd be hard-pressed to find a full-time player rated lower (Bruce was 2-for-21 last week).

    He did this last year, too. He hit 12 homers in one month, then underwhelmed most of the rest of the time. But keep in mind that he still finished with 32 homers and 97 RBI—upper-level numbers for an outfielder.

    Even with his mediocre May, Bruce is on pace for 38 home runs and 103 RBI. While some are still skeptical, Sunday's production could be the beginning of the end of the slump. If you want him, you probably can't afford to wait and see.

2. Freddie Freeman

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    I seem to recall another baseball player who had trouble seeing, then found the right prescription and eventually helped lead his team past the Yankees into the World Series.

    Of course, that was Ricky "Wild Thing" Vaughn. He was a relief pitcher and fictional. But still, the prognosis for Freddie Freeman is similar.

    He's been day-to-day recently and horrible when he's played (.095 average last week), but Freeman's eye issues aren't all that serious. In fact, the solution is solution. Freeman is looking for contact lens solution that won't dry his eyes (aren't we all), or else he'll start wearing glasses just like Vaughn.

    Either way, it's factoring into his fantasy production, and making his seven homers and 32 RBI seem unimpressive. Don't fall for it. Freeman is a 30-homer, 100-RBI gift. He just looks a little blurry right now.

1. Adrian Gonzalez

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    This is officially your last call on Adrian Gonzalez.

    A consensus first or second-round pick and a pre-season MVP front-runner, he's been scuffling like the rest of the Red Sox. Gonzalez is batting just .269 with four home runs, but one of those just came Sunday. Before that, he had only three RBI in 11 games.

    There's zero chance that trend continues. Okay, maybe a three-percent chance, but it still shouldn't be enough to scare you away.

    He might be closer to a 30-homer hitter than a 40-homer one, but his average is bound to rise along with the rest of his numbers as the Sox head into summer.