Yesterday, I mentioned five players off to dreadful starts that you should consider trading while they still have any value. On the flip side, there are several players off to slow starts who will be right back on track within a few weeks and many off to hot starts who will come back down to earth soon enough. Adjust your plans, accordingly.
Here are three players to buy low and three players to sell high on early in the season.
John Buck, C, New York Mets
One of the hottest hitters in baseball, the 32-year-old Buck has five homers in his first 32 at-bats and has multi-hits in four of his first nine games. He’s had successful offensive seasons in the past, including a .281 batting average and 20 homers in 2010 with the Blue Jays, but he’s not going to keep up this pace for very long.
Not only has he struggled the past two seasons, posting a sub-.700 OPS in each year, but Buck’s time as the full-time catcher will last only as long as top prospect Travis d’Arnaud is in the minors.
Taking d’Arnaud’s service time, arbitration and where the Mets will likely be in the standings two months from now into account, it’s a good bet that he’s in the majors and at least getting 50 percent of the starts by late June.
Sell Buck while he’s playing regularly and at his peak, which is now.
Jean Segura, SS, Milwaukee Brewers
In a small sample of 24 at-bats, Segura is making fantasy geeks who drafted him feel pretty good about themselves. But it is just 24 at-bats. Segura, who made the jump from Double-A last season, is still relatively unknown and major league pitchers will eventually have a very detailed book on him.
How the 23-year-old is capable of adjusting will factor into how consistent he will be throughout the season. Another highly-touted young shortstop who made the jump from Double-A last season, Andrelton Simmons had a .751 OPS in 49 games as a rookie in 2012. Off to a 7-for-29 start, it appears pitchers have found some weaknesses that they’re currently exploiting.
Segura will be a fine all-around big leaguer, but it’s hard to find one that doesn’t struggle early on. He will, and you’re going to be happy you traded him when he was 11-for-24.
Barry Zito, LHP, San Francisco Giants
After several mediocre seasons with Giants, the former Cy Young award winner finally returned to form as a pretty decent big league pitcher in 2012. His best months were April (1.67 ERA) and September (3.03 ERA). In between, he was just OK.
The 34-year-old is off to a great start again in 2013 with back-to-back scoreless outings (14 IP, 0 R, 10 H, 4 BB, 8 K). With his limited repertoire, including an 84 MPH fastball, Zito doesn’t have a lot of room for error. The fact that he can shut out a team for seven innings means he had to be almost perfect with location for the entire game.
No pitcher can keep that up for an entire season. Expect a very average Zito for about half of his starts and a pretty good one the other half. Knowing that, it’s probably best to convince someone to acquire him from you now.
Ike Davis, 1B, New York Mets
Maybe some Davis owner in your league doesn’t realize that he was also in a terrible slump to start 2012 before finishing with 32 homers and 90 runs batted in. He did most of his damage in the second half of the season (20 HR, 41 RBI).
Off to a 4-for-31 start this year, he’s still nowhere close to surpassing the length of his slump from 2012. If he figures things out earlier in 2013, though, he’s capable of having an even bigger season and could easily reach the 30-homer plateau once again.
The 26-year-old should have another strong finish, and you won't regret acquiring him when his value was at its lowest. Try to pick him up now before he starts heating up.
Carlos Gomez, OF, Milwaukee Brewers
Regarded as a sleeper throughout the fantasy baseball world this offseason, it’s very possible many owners are frustrated and jumping ship already after Gomez’s 6-for-34 start with no walks and five strikeouts.
The reason I was so high on the 27-year-old wasn’t because I thought he’d avoid any prolonged slumps in 2013. It was because the Brewers don’t really have any capable replacements and would stick with him no matter how bad he looked at the plate.
As long as he remains in the lineup, he’ll start putting up some solid numbers for you across the board and you’ll be very happy you snatched him up after passing on him in the draft despite his preseason hype.
Homer Bailey, RHP , Cincinnati Reds
Bailey has long frustrated his real team and his fantasy owners. He appeared to put it all together, however, at the end of 2012 (1.78 ERA, 55.2 IP, 28 H, 10 BB, 58 K over last eight starts). The 26-year-old also threw two-hit ball over six shutout innings in his 2013 debut.
But after getting rocked in his second start on April 10th, (5 IP, 7 ER, 9 H) the frustrations may have returned. Well, at least for those fantasy owners who are impatient and expect a gem of an outing every time. You know who you are.
The right-hander might not ever have another nine-start span as good as the one that recently ended. It doesn’t matter. He’ll have a clunker every once in awhile, but he’s proved that he can bring his “A” game more often than not. Pick him up before his next start a few games from now and you’ll see what I’m talking about.