The 2012 fantasy baseball season has had more than its fair share of busts and under-performers. A handful of usual studs horribly disappointed this season, yet fantasy owners should still hold on to a few of them for the rest of the year.
Now that we've reached the final month of the fantasy season, it's easy to give up on your under-performers. You've held on to them for months, hoping for a turnaround that never came. With only four weeks to go, it's tempting to cut bait.
Don't give up on them just yet—the following season-long underachievers are about to carry your fantasy team down the home stretch.
Colby Rasmus has been nothing short of atrocious at the plate this season. The Blue Jays' CF is even approaching a Jason Bay level of total inadequacy.
Many fans, analysts and fantasy owners were predicting a huge breakthrough campaign from Rasmus. He's talented, hits for power and is an outstanding overall athlete. After hitting .276 with 23 HR at age 24 in 2010, Rasmus was supposed to separate himself as one of the league's better outfielders.
Yet, it just didn't work out that way. After getting traded to Toronto, Rasmus hit .178 in 35 games last season. This season he's batting just .228.
Rasmus' poor play could be accredited to switching leagues or mechanical issues. Both of these problems, however, can be dealt with. He'll get used to the new pitchers and ballparks, and any sort of swing problems are surely in the process of being fixed.
The talent has always been there for Rasmus. It'll only be a matter of games before the streaky Rasmus figures it all out and ends the season strong. He's simply far too talented to squander his entire season.
Josh Beckett was arguably the single greatest beneficiary from any mid-season trade. After a sub-par start to the season, Beckett is about to explode in the final month for both the Dodgers and your fantasy team.
After a trade to the Dodgers, Beckett now plays in the NL West which significantly bolsters his fantasy value. He will face a plethora of weak NL West offenses the rest of the season and no longer has to face a DH.
Expect Beckett to have an AJ Burnett-like breakthrough. Last season on the Yankees, Burnett went 11-11 with a 5.15 ERA. Since joining the Pirates in the NL Central, he's 15-5 with a 3.63 ERA.
After pitching two straight quality starts, expect more exceptional fantasy numbers from Beckett throughout the rest of the season. The league transition is huge for him and his fantasy owners should be thrilled.
Utley has statistically regressed each year since 2008 in almost every category. With a .247 average and 9 HR, Utley's fantasy stock appears to be at an all-time low.
All this aside, now is the time to either pick him up or stick him back in your starting lineup.
Utley's hitting is improving—slowly, but surely. In August, he hit .260, 4 HR, 12 RBI, 15 runs and .381 OBP. These aren't statistics you'd normally expect from Utley, but the season trend is upward nonetheless.
Ryan Howard has also been hitting better and should offer Utley more protection over these next four weeks.
Second base is one of those positions where production is hard to come by. Look no further than Utley, who was viewed as one of the game's best hitters only a few years ago.
Wieters is now having his worst big-league season. He's hitting an abysmal .239, and while 18 HR is certainly adequate, it's not what you'd expect from one of the game's best young talents.
He's also a .258 career hitter (not great, but better than where he is now), enters the prime of his career at 26 and clocks in at 6'5", 230 pounds. With his size and raw talent, Wieters really has nowhere to go but up.
Plus, Wieters plays catcher. Good hitting catchers are always at a premium, and Wieters should fit into that small group by season's end.
If Wieters is somehow a free agent in your league, grab him and enjoy the production. This is likely the last time he'll be considered a mid-tier catcher.
"The Freak" regressed in just about every facet of his game. He most notably lost his legendary command and has looked like a minor-leaguer almost the whole year. He currently sits on a 5.21 EA, 1.46 WHIP and an 8-14 record.
Lincecum is likely the favorite for fantasy Least Valuable Player this year. However, he' already started to turn things around and should be treated like a No. 1 option the rest of the season.
Lincecum has given up three runs or less in six of his last seven starts. He's starting to trust his pitches again and regaining command, which means the fantasy numbers will come.
Although Lincecum's 2012 season will go down as a failure, keep him in your lineup the rest of the season. He's once again set to dominate and lead your team to a title.