The first month of the baseball season is over and so far we have had many surprises.
Fantasy baseball owners hate surprises though...including myself. Who would have thought that the Indians would be leading the MLB in wins with 19 at this point? Who knew that Lance Berkman and Jeff Francoeur would be such early season steals?
The good news is that this is only the first month. Players and teams are on current hot streaks. Talk to me in August and then I will be surprised if Cleveland is in first place or if Lance Berkman is still batting over .375.
Trades do not happen often between online fantasy owners, but they can often be used as a tool to improve your team. It is useless to have five OF capable of being in your lineup each night. Why not trade one to a team that needs an everyday OF and maybe bolster your pitching in the process.
After the first month of the season, here are five players you should look to trade or trade for in order to get the best possible value in return.
Ubaldo Jimenez, P Colorado Rockies: Buy Low
Through four starts last season, Jimenez was 4-0 with a 0.95 ERA. He had over 28 IP and a 25:12 K/BB ratio.
Through four starts this season, Jimenez is 0-2 with a 7.20 ERA. He has only 20 IP and a 20:11 K/BB ratio.
If Ubaldo Jimenez is floating around teams' trade blocks at this time, I would jump on him. He had a breakout 2010 season and put up great numbers, even with a down second-half.
Jimenez has been bothered by a cut on his right thumb. He had to go on the DL early on in April. He also has not had the type of velocity he has grown accustomed to. With conditioning and more starts, Jimenez should get back on track and should find his rhythm and form from 2010.
Jed Lowrie, SS Boston Red Sox: Sell High
Jed Lowrie is the prototypical example of a utility man who is off to a hot start. Lowrie has received more playing time as of late due to his .361 average out of the gate.
With Marco Scutaro struggling mightily, Lowrie has stolen playing time from the 10-year veteran.
Like most relatively no name players who come off great starts, they begin to decline and settle back into their normal roles by June. It has already started for Lowrie.
The past 10 games, he has hit only .270 which does not compare to his overall .361 season average. Over the past 10 games, Lowrie's average has dropped .099 points.
Carl Crawford, OF Boston Red Sox: Buy Low
Another Boston player on this list, but for a different reason, is Carl Crawford.
A lot was expected out of Crawford, who signed a $142 million contract this offseason. He was supposed to be able to come in and produce and score runs for a club that was trying to pass the Yankees in the AL East.
To start, Crawford is hitting .168 with one HR, seven RBI and four SB. Certainly this is not what the Red Sox paid for, but I do not see it continuing.
Crawford, when healthy, is one of the most dynamic hitters in the league. He has a rare combination of both power and contact and he is deadly on the base paths.
He is a career .294 hitter and Crawford is used to getting off to strong starts which does concern me.
However, even with the pressure of a huge contract, Crawford still has to perform and will perform as the season progresses. It is too early on in the season to count out a preseason top 10 pick.
Kyle Farnsworth, RP Tampa Bay Rays: Sell High
For those of you that do not know, Kyle Farnsworth is off to a terrific start in 2011.
Farnsworth, who has not closed regularly since 2005, is five for six on save chances and has an ERA under one so far this season.
The Rays were hoping one of their newcomers could step up and replace Rafael Soriano, who departed to the New York Yankees. Farnsworth has been that guy so far.
Farnsworth has been very sporadic over his career. One year, he will be lights out and the next year there will be not one outing where he is not booed off the field.
I am going to take the odds and say that Farnsworth plays more to his career 4.35 ERA for the rest of the season.
Cliff Lee, SP Philadelphia Phillies: Buy Low
Cliff Lee's triumphant return to the City of Brotherly Love has not gone as planned for the most part. Lee has given up three runs or more in three of his first seven starts so far in 2011.
Lee is another player that has huge expectations placed on him due to the type of contract he signed in the offseason. So far, some may say "what's the deal?"
While Lee's ERA may be a little higher than expected, his other numbers have been right where they always have been. He has a 44:6 K/BB ratio and a WHIP right around his career average. Granted, Lee has been a little wild thus far. He only walked 18 batters in the entire 2010 season.
Lee has become a rock star in Philadelphia with his return and may still be relishing all of that in. Cliff Lee is all about business though. When he toes the rubber, he expects to not get pulled from the game. He will have a good season, much like those of 2009 and 2010.
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