Clearing The Bases
Tonight we will continue with another Top 9 list with a look at a few players that have gotten off to a hot start that can’t possibly keep up this pace all season long. For fantasy purposes these are players that you probably selected in the later rounds of your draft and that are paying off handsomely now. You could also define these players as sell high candidates as their value may never be higher than it is right now. Once again these players are listed in no particular order but with the exception of possibly the first name on this list, I would definitely be looking to trade the others for more than what I think they are worth.
- Derek Jeter, New York Yankees: So much for Jeter losing his touch and being on the downside of his career, he’s batting over .400 now, and what is even more impressive is that he is hitting the ball with authority. This doesn’t seem to be a fluke either as Jeter has been up to his old tricks since coming back off the DL last summer. Manager Joe Girardi believes that once the pressure of the 3000th hit passed, Jeter relaxed at the plate, Derek believes it’s because of a mechanical adjustment, doesn’t matter which, he’s become fantasy relevant once again. This all being said, hard to believe he has another MVP season left in him at 37 years of age and this is just the beginning of a long season. I’m not dealing him as even if he does decline he’ll still have plenty of fantasy value for you in that Yankees lineup, and there just aren’t that many shortstops who can hit in fantasy.
- Ian Desmond, Washington Nationals: Coming into Tuesday Desmond is batting close to .300 with a couple of home runs, 7 RBIs, and a SB. Doesn’t seem like much, but if he can hit 12-15 HRs and SBs that has tremendous value especially to someone who believes he can keep it up over a full season. I do not, I’d deal him in a New York minute.
- Chase Headley, San Diego Padres: Who says you can’t hit the long ball at Petco? Certainly not Headley this season as he already has four long balls. His OPS is actually over .1000. Great start for a team that needs any and all the offense it can get. Can he keep this up? No, there just aren’t any good hitters around him to force teams to pitch to him. Outside of Cameron Maybin, is there really another threat in that lineup right now? Maybe Yonder Alonso in time, but that time doesn’t seem to be now. Headley should be able to set his career high in HRs this season (12), but he seems to fit the definition of a sell high player.
- Edwin Encarnacion, Toronto Blue Jays: What has got into Encarnacion so far this season? Four HRs this season puts him on pace to set his career high which was 26 with the Reds in 2008. His 13 RBIs are also on pace to set a career high, not to mention he has already stolen three bases. He’s never stolen more than eight in his career. Right now he’s a monster. Have to believe however that this is just a hot streak and he will come back down to Earth eventually. Still pretty impressive however. He does hit in a strong lineup and in a hitters ballpark. He might be worth holding onto after all.
- Andre Ethier, Los Angeles Dodgers: 2011 was the second straight season that Ethier disappointed fantasy owners both with his play and his inability to stay on the field. Well so far this season he has done a complete 180 as he and Matt Kemp have dominated National League pitching in leading the Dodgers to the best record in the majors. Ethier is hitting for both power and average. This is a contract year for Andre and it would certainly serve his best interests to stay on the field and produce. So far so good, but let’s not forget that so far the Dodgers have played a cake schedule, having already played seven games against San Diego, and three each against Pittsburgh and Houston, be nice to see him keep these numbers up against real pitching.
- Josh Willingham, Minnesota Twins: Target Field may scare many a hitter, but Willingham seems immune as he has five HR. Willingham was brought in as a replacement to Jason Kubel who stated flat out when he left “I can’t hit HRs there anymore”. Josh is capable of hitting 30+ homers but I’m not so sure I’d want to bet on that. If someone was willing to deal me a good player because they need the power, I’d take it. I don’t think Willingham is all of a sudden going to forget how to hit, but I do wonder about the rest of the Twins.
- Yoenis Cespedes, Oakland Athletics: Cespedes has had a rollercoaster first couple of months. First he was rumored to be the next big power hitter coming over from Cuba, then after watching him play in winter ball teams started to shy away as it didn’t look like he could hit a beach ball being thrown up to the plate. Now he is displaying tremendous power as teams are still searching for a way to pitch to him. This brings up my point. Shortly there will be a book on Cespedes that will makes its way around baseball as to what his weaknesses are. Once those weaknesses are exploited, can Cespedes make the necessary adjustments, and even if he can, is there enough offensive support around him to force teams to pitch to him? I think not, away he goes while I can get really good value for him.
- Ivan Nova, New York Yankees: Yeah I know he has won 16 straight decisions (that comes to an end Friday when the Yanks take on the Tigers and Justin Verlander). Nova is the definition of a workhorse pitcher. Going to keep you in games and give you plenty of innings but the ratios won’t be great and he’s not an ace no matter how many games he wins, and if I can get someone to trade for him because they do believe he’s a number one starter, all the better for me.
- Javy Guerra, Los Angeles Dodgers: Guerra was also the benefit of an easy opening schedule for the Dodgers, notching a league leading seven saves so far. The good news, he’s pitching great and won’t have to worry about Kenley Jansen taking over his job anytime soon. The bad news, the competition is going to get tougher which should limit his save chances going forward.
Remember, you can ask me any fantasy questions you like on Twitter, @GeorgeKurtz