Early Fantasy Season Buys and Sells

Joe KleiberCorrespondent IApril 8, 2009

It's only three days into the 2009 MLB season and we've already seen fantasy owners panicking over early struggles and going crazy over the hot-start players.

Making early moves on your draft picks is not a good idea after just three games. You drafted these players for a reason, so a few bad games here and there should not influence early decisions.

But that doesn't mean you should avoid looking at early results.

The best players to target early are young players you know have some great potential and are off to good starts. If you're one of the lucky owners to see others dropping solid players early, then here is a list of players to add, drop and avoid.


First, players you should buy:


Ubaldo Jimenez

If he is still a free agent in your league, pounce on him quickly. His strikeout potential is through the roof and last night, he looked dominant against a solid Arizona lineup.

The best part of last night's start? Three walks compared to eight strikeouts. That kind of control can jump-start Jimenez into the upper tier. Don't even think about it, add him right away.


Josh Johnson

Somehow owners have forgotten about Johnson since he only pitched in 14 games last year and was coming off surgery.

Last night, Johnson showed us what he's capable of. Sure, it was against a weak Nationals lineup, but you still have to like the early results: eight strikeouts and no walks.

If he's somehow available, grab him now before it's too late. I'd even consider trading for him, because this Marlins team looks like it's going to contend in 2009.


Wandy Rodriguez

Rodriguez has been inconsistent so far in his career, but when he's on he looks like a rising stud.

Last night, against a dangerous Cubs lineup, he threw six solid innings, giving up just four hits,one earned run, and had four strikeouts with just three walks.

Those are the kind of numbers that show he can make the jump in the rankings. The one flaw about him is his struggles on the road.

Last year, he posted a 4.34 ERA on the road. If he can overcome last year's issues, look out. Grab him now.


Adam Jones

This rising star is off to a hot start already. He raked three hits, including a triple, along with two RBI and two walks against the vaunted Yankees pitchers.

Jones looked great in spring training and looks like he's carried it over to the regular season. If he's somehow available, get him.


Brandon Morrow

Morrow looked like he was going to be a dominant closer until last night, when he gave up three runs and three walks in 2/3 of an inning.

He may still have control problems, but if some owner panicked and dropped him after this brutal outing, don't hesitate to grab him. He is going to be a top 10 closer by the end of the year.


Rickie Weeks

Weeks has teased us before with his potential, but now he looks like a totally different player. He was very patient at the plate yesterday, with one walk, two hits including a double, and added a stolen base for good measure.

The Brewers lineup is going to rake and if Weeks stays at the lead-off spot all year and can stay patient at the plate, watch out.

If you're second baseman is not Ian Kinsler, Chase Utley, or Brandon Phillips, get Weeks and drop a player you don't need.


Chris Iannetta and Ian Stewart

Iannetta has already homered and is a rising star. He will finish as a top-five catcher by the end of the season.

Stewart got a surprising start Monday and will get much more playing time this year. He will be outfield-eligible once he plays enough games there, and has loads of potential.


Francisco Liriano

He had a rusty start Monday night against a weak Seattle lineup, but this is the time to buy low on him before he starts blowing people away.


Here are the players you should sell:


Chipper Jones

His stock is high right now after his fast start. but you know he won't stay healthy all year. See what you can get for him before he gets hurt.


Justin Verlander

I don't know what to think of this guy after he got shelled Monday night. Two years ago, he was a Cy Young candidate.

Now, he wouldn't even sniff that award. See what you can get for him if another owner thinks he'll turn it around.


Emilio Bonifacio

Bonifacio had a career day on Monday, but he won't keep it up all year.

Sure, he has speed and hits lead-off for an improved Marlins lineup, but it's doubtful he'll finish anywhere near the top 10 in second baseman.


Brandon Lyon

He had his chance to compete for the closer's job last night and got shelled for three runs and the loss for the Tigers. I wouldn't touch him right now.

The fact that he struggled so much last year also comes into play.


Jason Motte

It looked like he had nailed down the closer's job after having a great spring, then he gave up four runs in his first save opportunity on Monday.

Tony La Russa doesn't trust young closers, so expect Ryan Franklin to get the next save opportunity.


Kevin Millwood

Millwood looked like his old self on Monday shutting down the Indians, but do not expect that to continue. He's in a hitter's park and will give up his share of runs.


Troy Glaus

He won't even be back before the All-Star break, and unless you can stash him on your DL, he's not worth it.


Nick Swisher

He won't get enough at-bats in the Yankees lineup unless somebody gets injured. Leave him as a free agent.


Bronson Arroyo

He had a horrid spring and is battling carpal tunnel syndrome. Stay away from him, unless he starts to turn it around and gets healthy.


These are guys you want to hold onto:


Chris Ray

He didn't look good on Monday night, but he is still likely to take over for George Sherrill as Baltimore's closer.


Elijah Dukes

Just because he did not start Monday doesn't mean he's strictly on the bench. He is still likely to have a solid season, especially with a guy like Austin Kearns as his competition.


Manny Corpas

I think Huston Street will get traded at mid-season and Corpas has the stuff to take over again.


Players to keep an eye on:


Hank Blalock

There were rumors of him platooning with Andruw Jones at DH, but Blalock is in a contract year and already homered on Monday night.

He's eligible at first and third base, so I'd keep an eye on him or pick him up.


Clay Buchholz

If Brad Penny struggles or gets hurt, Buchholz is the first guy that will get a shot. He had a nice spring and has plenty of potential.


Philip Hughes

When—not if, but when—A.J. Burnett gets hurt, Hughes is the guy that will take over. Like Buchholz, he has great potential.


Adam Lind

Lind had a monster game on Monday when he drove in six runs. He also has potential and is a good post-hype candidate to have a solid year.


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