Fantasy Baseball: 10 Latest 'Buy Low' Fantasy Trade Options
Fireworks and home run derbies: two signs that we've officially reached that point in the summer when a bad start for your fantasy team could turn into a bad season.
But just because the real life teams are about to take a break, it doesn't mean you have to.
While everyone is gushing about the unexpected emergence of R.A. Dickey or the preternatural ascent of Mike Trout, you can turn your season around by turning your attention to a bunch of guys who will mostly be far from Kansas City on July 10.
10. Lance Lynn
When they say a guy hits a wall, it's usually a metaphor. But with Lance Lynn, you get the sense that he literally smacked into a physical wall a few weeks back.
While everyone was waiting for Adam Wainwright to remember he's supposed to be a superstar, his teammate Lynn was a first-half hero. Lynn jumped out to an 8-1 record with 60 Ks through the end of May—impressive enough to win the sophomore his first spot on the NL All-Star team.
But then came June. Lynn was 2-3 during the month and the 21 runs he's allowed are more than he gave up in the previous two and a half months combined.
Everyone was essentially waiting for the bottom to drop out on his crazy start, and his downhill trend makes him more affordable than he's been all year. Lynn might not be the ace he appeared to be, but he's nowhere near as bad as he seems right now, either.
9. J.J. Hardy
Remember a few days back when the Angels center fielder Mike Trout literally flew 64 feet in the air and robbed a home run from someone? That was supposed to be J.J. Hardy's home run. And he really could've used it.
Hardy was an outright beast of a shortstop in May, hitting .314 with seven homers and 18 RBI. But he was far less ferocious in June, hitting .193 with two home runs and eight RBI. When Trout stole that dinger, he helped steal away much of Hardy's short-term fantasy appeal, too. But if you're looking at the long-term, that catch could have been a gift to anyone starting some other sketchy shortstop.
Hardy won't ever win a batting title, but he's perhaps the pre-eminent power hitter at his position. He had just as many homers as Troy Tulowitzki last season (30), and while Tulo is shelved indefinitely, Hardy is still on pace for 25 even with one of the lowest home run percentages of his career.
Get him before he inevitably goes on another month-long power surge.
8. Anibal Sanchez
There was a seven-week stretch earlier this season when Anibal Sanchez scored at least 20 fantasy points every week except one. Those were the good times. Then during two of the ensuing three weeks, he put up one and negative 10. Those were the bad times.
But the real Anibal Sanchez is pretty close to the one from the good times.
He got off to an expectedly efficient start this season, posting a 2.57 ERA through the first two months, and although he's just 4-6, that's partly thanks to the stammering Marlins offense.
His peripherals are pretty much right where they were last year, and he finished then just 8-9 but with a 3.67 ERA and 1.28 WHIP.
Sure, he's not the boom or bust candidate Josh Johnson might be, but Sanchez comes with a little less bust probability.
7. Dan Uggla
Nobody counts on Dan Uggla for consistency. Nobody should, at least.
During the 2011 season with consistent at-bats across the board, Uggla was almost unworthy of owning some months (he hit .160 with two homers that May), then went on a 33-game hitting streak that culminated in August (when he hit .340 with 10 homers).
He's been pretty much the same this year, hitting .265 in May and .160 in June.
You may not be able to count on Uggla on any given day (or any given month), but he's as safe a bet as any second baseman to compile impressive stats over the course of the season. He hasn't hit fewer than 30 home runs since 2006—his rookie season during which he hit 27. Considering he's going yard only once every 25 at bats as opposed to his average of 19, and his BB:K ratio is the best it's been since 2009, there's reason to believe things won't be this Uggla all year.
6. Jon Lester
But, much like all the other underachievers in Boston, Lester has seemingly been an unlucky product of his surroundings.
Despite the fact that he's sporting his career-best walk rate (2.4 per game), he's also sporting his near-worst strike out rate (seven per game). At some point this summer, all those numbers are going to start to fall more in line with where Lester usually is—and that will leave you with a guy who still has at least five more wins in him and who is all but assured to approach 200 Ks.
5. Carlos Quentin
Carlos Quentin has been easy to forget about this season.
He kicked it off on the DL and didn't make his first appearance until the end of May. He promptly hit three home runs in his first three games, but became far more human in June, hitting .269 with four homers all month.
But like so many who dare venture into PETCO Park, Quentin is prone to getting lost in its cavernous expanse. He's got just two home runs there as opposed to five anywhere else, and his average is .130 points worse.
Even on his good days, Quentin is nearly as dangerous to your team average as Adam Dunn. But he still managed 24 home runs in only 118 games last season and 21 in only 99 two years before that.
4. Carl Crawford
Is it time yet?
Optimistic owners have been hinging their hopes on the eventual return of Carl Crawford all season, and that's without really knowing if Crawford will ever return to his Rays ways. A fantasy first-rounder and 60-steal threat not that long ago, he was like a completely different player during his first season in Boston. His 18 stolen bases were easily the fewest he's grabbed since his rookie season, and .255 sure felt a lot less fun than .300 used to.
But Crawford is finally playing in the minors and bound to take back his full-time job after the All-Star break. Is he worth anything? It's hard to say. He hit only .214 against rookie league pitching, but that's after complete inactivity for months.
While Michael Bourn has basically taken over for the old Crawford, the basement on the current Crawford could still net you 10 homers and 10 steals. But you're not buying low on him for his basement. You're buying low on him for his ceiling—which he's always capable of blowing away.
3. Dan Haren
It hasn't been easy for Dan Haren this year. His mediocre 6-7 record doesn't even fully reflect just how mediocre he's been.
His 4.95 ERA and 1.41 WHIP are well above his career averages of 3.64 and 1.18, and his mediocre 6-8 record doesn't even fully reflect just how mediocre he's been. He's had two weeks where he put up near 40 fantasy points, five where he only managed about 10 and six where you would have been better off not starting anyone at all. And although he's got three wins in his last four starts, Haren still allowed at least four runs in each thanks to multiple homers.
Still, this sort of cold spell is a normal occurrence for Haren. Some months he fans only 20 guys and allows four to six home runs. Other months he fans 40 and is near untouchable. Use his recent C- outings to get his second half filled with B+ (or better) ones.
2. B.J. Upton
The key to not being driven insane by B.J. Upton is in recognizing who he really is.
Yes, he was long-touted as the supposed second coming of Alfonso Soriano (the Yankees second base version). But Upton is looking less and less like he'll ever be much more than a base stealer with a little bit of power. While his name instantly conjures up expectations of underachievement, Upton is still a lot better than he's been this year.
It's always a struggle for him to hit even .250, but his six home runs and 14 stolen bases are nowhere near encouraging. Still, Upton is a streaky play, and while he hasn't scored more than 15 fantasy points at any point during the past six weeks, he had three with 25-plus in the weeks before that.
On his current pace, Upton would approach 12 homers and 28 steals at the season's end. But he could still easily bring you something more like 20 and 40.
1. Cliff Lee
There's a universe where Cliff Lee somehow finds himself winless days before the All-Star break. And, crazily, that's the universe we live in.
At this point, it's safe to say the lefty won't be in the same stratosphere as his stats from last season. There's no way he can approach 17 wins in just three months of work, and although his 89 Ks aren't awful, they still put him on pace to come up 60 short of last season's 238.
Is it possible that a perennial Cy Young candidate can suddenly forget how to pitch? Tim Lincecum probably has an opinion. But if you're in search of a possible elite starter for the second half at bargain basement prices, look no further than Lee.