Evan Gattis, C, Atlanta Braves
With Brian McCann’s return looming—the Braves hope to have him back in early May—Gattis’ role with the club is up in the air. At the least, he’ll be their top pinch-hitter, but it’s hard to see him getting more than a couple starts per week once McCann returns.
Also keep in mind that the 26-year-old is six for his last 38. Even though he’s made all six hits count—three homers, three doubles, seven runs batted in—pitchers could be starting to exploit his weaknesses, which he’ll have an even harder time adjusting to with limited playing time in a few weeks.
Daniel Nava, OF, Boston Red Sox
Keep these numbers in mind. From May 10th through June 24th of last season, Nava had a .969 OPS with two homers, 25 RBI, 15 doubles and 21 walks in 118 at-bats. From June 25th through the end of the regular season, he had a .555 OPS with four homers, eight RBI, six doubles and 16 walks in 149 at-bats.
It was a similar story in his rookie season of 2010, when he posted an .890 OPS through his first 77 at-bats and a .550 OPS over his last 84 at-bats.
So, of course the 30-year-old Nava is red hot again to start the season with a .976 OPS, including four homers, 15 RBI and 10 walks through 18 games. There's no real threat on the roster to take away his regular playing time, either. Just proceed with caution and don’t wait too long before selling at peak value before the inevitable slump.
Jason Heyward, OF, Atlanta Braves
Off to a 7-for-58 start and now on the disabled list after an appendectomy, calling Heyward a "buy low" candidate might be a bit too obvious. That might be true, but he's given his league owners three weeks of frustration and now he'll give them nothing at all for at least a couple more weeks. If you're ever going to get the 23-year-old at a discount, this could be your only chance ... ever.
From May 5th through the end of the regular season in 2012, Heyward had 25 homers, 27 doubles, 71 RBI, 80 runs and 12 stolen bases. I'm not saying he's going to be that good from the time he returns, likely in the first or second week of May, but it shouldn't be a surprise if he is. He's that good. At least inquire on what it will take to acquire him.
Trevor Bauer, SP, Cleveland Indians
Sure, Bauer walked seven hitters in his first start with the Tribe back on April 6th before being sent back to the minors. He also allowed just three earned runs and two hits over five innings, proving he can get big league hitters out. The 22-year-old is also showing what he can do when he throws strikes with three consecutive strong outings in Triple-A since the demotion:
18 IP, 5 ER, 15 H, 6 BB, 24 K
Ideally, he’d stay in the minors until he can show some consistency over a 7-10 start period, but the Indians’ rotation is a mess right now. Brett Myers just landed on the disabled list and Scott Kazmir and Corey Kluber are currently starting. Bauer’s return is imminent and a start could be just around the corner.
Expect some inconsistency, but there will be enough games where he strikes out seven or more and holds his opponent to two runs or less to make it worth the short wait.