Summer—when the birds are out, love is in the air, and big stars start to heat up those bats.
For some reason, some guys just don't come out of spring hibernation as fast as other players do.
But the time is now for fantasy owners to pounce on these guys, before they start to wake up and smell that sweet honey of success.
These nine players, although they may be playing marginally at the moment, all flourish during the summer months. They should be traded for, or added as soon as possible, to get the best value:
First base: Paul Konerko
This guy is a consistently slow starter, and is batting a measly .217 so far this season. But with Ozzie Guillen lighting a fire underneath the White Sox feet, this guy is bound to ratchet up his stats soon.
Over his career, Konerko is a .225 hitter in May and a .304 hitter in June. Something about the warmer weather does it for him—and should do it for you too.
This guy is the ultimate buy-low candidate right now at first base, and most likely he's a free agent in your league anyways because of the numbers he's putting up right now.
Now, I know that just stating that he hits 80 points higher in one month than another month isn't going to do if for you. But let me throw some more info at you. Through July and August this guy also hits mid-.290s—and in the lineup that he's in, .290 will get him a lot of RBI and runs.
Second Base: Robinson Cano
I know it's a small sample size, but this guy, currently hitting .227 with four homers, hits .317 and .351 in June and July, respectively! This guy's home run and RBI total only goes up the later the season gets.
Cano plays his best in the second half, hitting 50 points higher after the All-Star break. So if you're having 2B issues and you're in line for a playoff spot in your league, stick this guy in and reap the benefits
Third Base: Miguel Cabrera
This guy normally isn't a slow starter, so he doesn't really fit on this list, but due to his slow start in Detroit—and because there weren't any other ownable third basemen that stunk in the early months—I'm sticking him in.
Miguel will eventually turn it around, and I really think that whoever owns him in your league would be willing to part with him for a hot hitter right now. He's getting used to a new stadium and hitting in a new lineup. By playoff time, he'll be more than making up for his slow start—and you will be laughing all the way to a championship because all you had to give up to get him was a case of beer and Mark Reynolds.
Shortstop: Khalil Greene
Blegh. He stinks in the beginning and only gets a little better as the season goes on. Still not worth owning to me. Cut your hair, doofus.
*SIDEBAR* While I'm talking about guys that get hot during the summer, I guess I could spare some time to talk about one guy that gets colder.
Alex Rios is a bum. Come playoff time, if you have him you'll have A) pulled your hair out watching him hit .220 down the stretch, B) have had him on your bench so long you'll be wondering who else you could have used that third round draft pick on (the correct answer is Lance Berkman, for all of you keeping score at home), and C) you won't be in the playoffs because this guy's tumbled the last two months just like you did on the leader board.
Yes, I did have him on my team last year—and yes, I did lose a few clumps of hair in the latter part of August watching my team fall from second to fif th in the standings.
Outfield: Vladimir Guerrero
Go get him, he won't be hitting in the .260s much longer.
I personally don't like the guy, but his situation is a lot like Paul Konerko's. He'll be heating up soon, so get him while he's cool
Ken Griffey Jr.
I'm digging a little deep here, but Ken will most likely soon be in an American League ballpark, allowing him to forget about the days of sore hammys and fly balls. He can focus all of his time on that beautiful swing that some men constantly dream about *sigh*.
Hitting 600 will also allow him to focus more on getting base hits rather than the long ball.
Pitcher: Johan Santana
The guy is an animal. But he turns into a mutant in the summer months.
The first two months of the season have always been Johan's worst months. But now that those months are behind us, it's all butter from here.
If you've got a hot pitcher right now, such as Shaun Marcum or Cliff Lee, try to make a deal for Santana—because by the end of the season, Santana's numbers will be better than either Marcum or Lee.
I'm not going to pummel you with a bunch of numbers to prove this. I'm only going to give you one: 0.74. That is the difference between Johan's pre All-Star break ERA and his post All-Star break ERA. Almost a full run per nine innings of work.
Somethings also telling me that playing in New York will magnify that difference, so I would run out and try to buy low on him. That's funny just typing it: "buy low on Santana"—but in reality, right now is the best time to try it.