The following players shouldn’t necessarily be moved or picked up, but are mentioned because they are performing above or below their career norms. Each player is owned in at least 50 percent of ESPN leagues.
Carlos Lee , OF, Astros: Lee has averaged a home run for every 20 at-bats in his career. He has zero home runs, fewer than burly bashers Dexter Fowler, John Bowker, and Angel Pagan, and just five RBI's in 82 at bats this season.
Lee went 2 for 4 last Sunday and if history holds true, he’ll snap out of his slump before long. May through July are Lee’s best months in terms of power and RBI. Snag him on the cheap before he starts doing some yard work and be sure to mention his current .198/0/6/.492 OPS as ammo in your persuasive argument.
Gordon Beckham , 2B, White Sox: Beckham is currently one of the worst second basemen, statistically, in the American League. His .211/1/4/.576 OPS line hurts owners while his BABIP is nearly 30 points below the .290 league average. Beckham hasn’t had any prolonged slump, he has at least one hit in 14 out of the White Sox 22 games this year, and he hasn’t gone hitless for more than two nights in-a-row.
His power outage is a bit more severe, however, as his only home run came on April 11th. He’s also averaged just one double per week. According to fangraphs, Beckham has hit only 10 line drives this season, an indication that he’s not getting good wood on the ball right now. He will turn this around shortly, and you’ll want him on your side when he does.
Zack Greinke, SP, Royals: One year ago, Greinke was the pitcher du jour in the American League. He won the AL Cy Young and led the league in WHIP and ERA, and was second in strikeouts. Oh, what a difference a year makes. He’s winless on the season despite being among the league leaders in four categories—Ks, WHIP, IP, and ERA. Those three losses also place him among the league leaders, which is why you might want to target him now.
The Royals offense offers little-to-no run support for Mr.Greinke—3.0 runs per game—and their bullpen hasn’t done him any favors, either. Ask around to see if anyone’s panicking. You might work something out.
Marlon Byrd , OF, Cubs: The Byrd is the word. How can you argue? He ranks in the Top 10 in four offensive categories—batting average, slugging percentage, RBI, and OPS—and has at least one hit in nine of his last 10 games. So, what’s the problem? Well, nothing really, unless you consider he’s pretty lucky right now (.377 BABIP – 50 points higher than his career average) and his season line (.351) is 69 points higher than his career average.
Cubs’ manager Lou Piniella recently stated that he’ll continue to rotate his four outfielders in order to give them all adequate rest. Byrd will be sitting once per week if not twice. It could be time to ask around and see if anyone’s interested.
Alex Gonzalez, SS, Blue Jays: If you’ve had him on your roster for awhile, congratulations. You’re smarter than the rest of us, or at least less skeptical. He’s rewarded you with a .276/8/21/.921 OPS line from a position where decent stats can be hard to come by. He makes the list because he’s given you all he’s got, Captain! Well, almost.
He last played at least 130 games in 2005, so it’s just a matter of time before he gets injured. He's a lifetime .248 hitter and he’s never surpassed .800 OPS for a season (he currently has a .921 OPS). And, to add insult to injury, his K/BB ratio is an unholy 8.67/1. It’s been a nice run with Mr. Gonzalez, but there’s nowhere to go but down.
Dallas Braden , SP, A’s: Braden’s hot start has gotten him noticed, as he's now owned in over 60 percent of ESPN leagues. Not bad for a guy whose ADP was around 200. His line is nice—3-1, 4.20 ERA, 1.10 WHIP—but there are cracks in the armor. His home/road splits are, um, bad: He’s 2-0 at home with a 2.25 ERA and a 5.33/1 K/BB; He’s 1-1 on the road with an 8.10 ERA and a 0.75/1 K/BB. His BAA at home is .188; His BAA on the road is .310.
Oh sure, you could argue that his stats on the road are largely the result of an atrocious start against Tampa Bay and you’d be right to do so. However, it’s May now, by far Braden’s worst statistical month not ending in –ber (2-5, 5.47 ERA, .306 BAA) and his current BABIP of .251 will soon normalize. Hasta la vista, Braden.
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