Fantasy Baseball Early Season Studs: Is It Time to Sell off Jones or Reddick?

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Fantasy Baseball Early Season Studs: Is It Time to Sell off Jones or Reddick?
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With over two months of data, we know who the early season surprises are.  Now, the question facing fantasy owners is if they are going to be able to maintain their production or if now is the right time to cash in on their early success. 

Let’s start taking a look and reaching some decisions.

 

Josh Reddick – Oakland Athletics – Outfielder

Entering play yesterday, Reddick was hitting .269 with 14 HR, 29 RBI, 34 R and 6 SB.  Yes, people thought there was upside for the former Boston Red Sox (the A’s acquired him as part of the Andrew Bailey trade), but no one expected these types of numbers for a player who went at the end of drafts or for $1 in auctions.

Reddick was solid in April, but May was the month where he shined. 

In 98 AB he hit .255 with 10 HR, 18 RBI and 20 R.  While the strikeouts were up (22.2 percent vs. a 14.4 percent mark in April), he also suffered from a .238 BABIP.  That would indicate hope that his average could rise.

However, Reddick was also clearly swinging for the fences with a 53.4 percent fly ball rate and a 25.6 percent HR/FB.  I wouldn’t expect him to be able to maintain the HR/FB (especially playing in that ballpark), and, if he continues to put that many balls in the air, the average is also going to continue to struggle.

He does hit in the middle of the lineup and will continue to get opportunities to produce, so it is hard to recommend selling him right now—especially in keeper leagues.  However, in yearly formats the risk is probably great enough to see what you can get for him. 

Right now he has value thanks to a huge month, but if that power dries up so will his value.  It all depends what you can get, but you may want to get value while you can.  Can we really expect him to replicate his production in May?  He’s likely going to continue to hold value hitting for some power and driving in runs, but it’s hard to imagine it being any higher then it currently is. 

Verdict: Worth shopping in yearly formats

Adam Jones – Baltimore Orioles – Outfielder

Jones is one of the breakout stars of 2012, to say the least.  We have long heard about the potential, but Jones is putting up numbers to match the hype this season.  In his first 221 AB, Jones is hitting .312 with 16 HR, 35 RBI, 39 R and 9 SB.

Coming into the season his career high was 25 HR and 12 SB—both numbers he appears primed to surpass before long. 

Now the question is if he can maintain the production.

On the surface, it’s not impossible.  He’s generating power without swinging for the fences as he has posted just a 34.3 percent fly ball rate (33.5 percent for his career).  Yes, the 25.8 percent HR/FB is likely unrealistic, but he’s proving that he has the ability to be a 30-plus HR threat and could easily hit 20-plus HR the rest of the way (averaging five per month).

He also hasn’t been lucky at the plate, with a .321 BABIP, and has reduced his strikeout rate for the third straight season:

  • 2010 – 19.2 percent
  • 2011 – 18.3 percent
  • 2012 – 17.2 percent

Is his value going to get any higher than it is right now?  Probably not, but that still doesn’t mean that I’d be willing to sell him.  He’s always had speed, so it’s nice to see him putting it to good use.  He should continue to hit close to .300 and, while the power may slow down, he should provide more than enough.  There’s too much upside from the 26-year-old to consider selling him unless you are blown away by an offer.
 

Verdict: Hold him unless you are overwhelmed

 

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