It has been over a month since you’ve had your fantasy baseball draft. If you are like me, you have given your players ever chance to succeed. This is the time of year that teams start to make roster moves and you should do the same. You probably feel dumb for drafting Carlos Marmol…so make up for it by picking up someone better! This is the first of many weekly columns to help you win your fantasy leagues.
Welcome to “Sweetbob’s Fantasy F*ck, Marry, Kill”…
Before I begin, let’s go over the F/M/K terminology. The guys that I list under “F*ck” are guys that are currently hot and you need to pick them up. “Marry”, are guys that you need to stick with the whole season, even if they are struggling a bit. “Kill”, are guys that need to be dropped for better players in the free agent pool.
3B Pedro Alvarez – Pittsburgh Pirates – 68.1% owned – Fantasy baseball players have waited for Alvarez to produce in the Majors. He looked like he was headed back to the Minors until he started to swing for the fences. Over the last 15 games, he has hit five home runs with a .378 average. This could be just a hot streak, so keep an eye on his batting average…when Alvarez is cold, he’s ice cold.
SS/3B Jed Lowrie – Houston Astros – 71.5% owned – When Houston traded for Lowrie, they didn’t expect this much offense. He has already hit four home runs and is batting .338 on the year. I would expect these numbers to level out throughout the season, but he’s a must-start during this hot streak.
C Carlos Ruiz – Philadelphia Phillies – 47.3% owned – The Phillies needed offense while Ryan Howard and Chase Utley are out and they are getting it from Ruiz. He has averaged an RBI a game over the last 15 games and has nearly batted .400 during that stretch. He shares time with Brian Schneider behind the plate, but he has been batting in the middle of the order when he is in the starting lineup.
OF Gerardo Parra – Arizona Diamondbacks – 55.9% owned – After Chris Young went down with an injury, Parra started getting regular playing time. He has been a good source for steals and batting average. Although he’s in a platoon with A.J. Pollock, he still gets a lot of at-bats. He is a solid start while Young is on the disabled-list.
3B Chris Johnson – Houston Astros – 14.0% owned – After Johnson was called up last season, he ended the year on a high note. He had a slow April, but he returned to form over the last two weeks. He has hit 3 home runs, drove in 14 RBI, and carried a .333 average. This could just be a spike, but he could end up as a player that you’d like to “marry.”
3B Kyle Seager – Seattle Mariners – 6.6% owned – Before this week, the consensus was that Seager would soon end up in a platoon at third-base. In the last 5 games, he has drove in 10 RBI, hit three home runs, and batted over .400. I think he is playing his way into a job as an everyday starter at third. Chone Figgins is the odd man out, but could find at-bats at another position. If you pick Seager up, there is still a slight chance that he will end up sharing time.
OF Tony Campana – Chicago Cubs – 17.0% owned – Campana was interviewed this week and said that if he started every game, he would steal over 100 bases. I believe that he would do that, since he’s only been up two weeks and he has seven steals. You will not get any power from him. You would only be picking up steals and a decent average. He is a AAA demotion risk if the Cubs start making roster moves.
SP Chris Capuano – Los Angeles Dodgers – 62.2% owned – I know, I can’t believe that he made the list either. He has only given up a total of one run in his last three starts. He faces the Rockies next and could string together a few more stellar outings. The most surprising thing is his K/9 is hovering around 9.0.
RP Santiago Casilla – San Francisco Giants – 73.0% owned – When it was announced that Brian Wilson would need Tommy John surgery, most people assumed that Sergio Romo would fill the closer role. The Giants opted to keep Romo in the set-up role and moved Casilla to closer. He’s still available in a lot of leagues and he’s currently the man. It could only be a matter of time before Romo gets a shot, but he’s playing very well.
SP/RP Jeff Smaradzija – Chicago Cubs – 23.7% owned – I’m a Cubs fan and even I’m skeptical if he can keep pitching this well. In his last two starts, he has only given up one run and he’s struck out 16 batters. He may not rack up wins, since Chicago is really bad, but he’ll give you a nice ERA and WHIP.
OF Jason Kubel – Arizona Diamondbacks – 93.8% owned – Kubel was drafted in 100% of leagues, but people are starting to drop him. He started off cold, but he has shown signs that he’s adjusting to National League pitching. He was a model of consistency in Minnesota and he’s going to have a good year batting clean-up in the desert.
SS J.J. Hardy – Baltimore Orioles – 86.5% owned – Hardy already has six home runs this season, but his batting average has been hovering around .200. You knew what you were getting when you drafted Hardy, an extremely streaky player. His power numbers are one of the best at his position. You need to stick it out and you’ll be rewarded in the end.
1B/2B/3B Daniel Murphy – New York Mets– 87.6% owned – Do you see how many positions he is available at? I don’t understand why owners are dropping him. He hasn’t hit for power yet, but he’s worth more because of his position flexibility. He will bat for average and get his share of home runs when it warms up.
OF Alejandro De Aza – Chicago White Sox – 71.8% owned – De Aza has been a surprise for the White Sox, but owners are dropping him because he hasn’t hit a home run in over two weeks. You shouldn’t have expected a ton of power from him, but he’s a valuable outfielder. If your league plays with .OBP, he has walked 13 times in the last 96 at-bats. He is a source for steals and runs, so go add him on your team.
1B Mark Trumbo – Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim – 69.4% owned – I can understand why people have dropped Trumbo, the Angels’ lineup is crowded. They have Kendrys Morales, Albert Pujols, and Trumbo all sharing time at first-base. It helps that the Angels are working Morales back slowly and putting Trumbo in left field. He’s getting at-bats, but he’s getting left off the lineup card often. I expect the Angels to make a trade to free up playing time or send Trumbo to a better situation. Hold on to him, he is going to put up solid numbers. Keep in mind, he will soon be eligible to roster as an outfielder.
2B Neil Walker – Pittsburgh Pirates – 67.8% owned – Walker is sitting at one home run this year, but his average is at .287. By the end of the year, he’ll have around 12-15 home runs and with an average near .300. He will help you get a little pop from the position and help in the runs category once Andrew McCutchen finds his power.
SP Josh Johnson – Miami Marlins – 93.0% owned – He has been roughed up this year and Ozzie Guillen openly questioned his health. He has had health issues in the past and has been on the disabled list more than any other ace. I would stick it out with Johnson and leave him on your bench for his next start. I don’t think you can drop a guy this early that you’ve picked to be your ace. If his next two starts look iffy, start looking for a possible replacement or trade.
SP Mat Latos – Cincinnati Reds – 88.4% owned – He went from the spacious PNC Park to a little-league park in Cincinnati. Two out of his last three starts have been shutouts, so he’s getting there. Latos is a guy that you drafted high, so stick with him. He faces the Cubs, Pirates, and Astros a lot this year, so he’ll rack up the strikeouts.
SP Edwin Jackson – Washington Nationals – 58.9% owned – He hasn’t been very consistent this year, but he’s good for a K/9 rate around 9.0. Washington is a good team this year and Jackson will get his fair share of wins. He could be a guy that is always there when you rotate starting pitchers, but he should be rostered.
RP Matt Capps – Minnesota Twins – 90.6% owned – No one is excited to have him on their team, but he helps win fantasy league championships. A few people probably dropped Capps, who is a entrenched closer, for a shot at a guy who may not have the closing job for the Yankees (Soriano/Robertson). You know who is getting the save in Minnesota.
SS Erick Aybar – Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim – 63.8% owned – People are finally starting to drop Aybar, a player who was drafted a few rounds too high. I have never been pro-Aybar, since I’ve always found a shortstop that was better than him on the waiver wire. If J.J. Hardy or Alexi Casilla are available in your league, drop Aybar and go with one of those players.
1B/DH Justin Morneau – Minnesota Twins – 55.8% owned – I really hate what has happened to him. Morneau has struggled with concussion issues and now he is having wrist problems. In baseball, it is one of the worst injuries to have and takes the longest to heal. Your bat speed and power are severely compromised with a wrist injury. I would drop him and pick up Bryan LaHair or Alex Presley.
C Geovany Soto – Chicago Cubs – 25.6% owned – People are slowly dropping Soto, since he was near 100% ownership post-draft. He has been splitting time with two other catchers (Wellington Castillo/Steve Clevenger). One of them will emerge as a better fantasy catcher than Soto. He hasn’t hit for power or average in three seasons and has all but completely faded away in Chicago.
SS Alexei Ramirez – Chicago White Sox – 81.2% owned – Ramirez is a slow-starter and most owners are aware of this. You drafted him for power, steals, and eventually, average. He is batting below .200 and hasn’t shown much power yet. I am not seeing a spark and if he keeps this up, the White Sox will not be afraid of pulling him out of the lineup.
2B/3B Ryan Roberts – Arizona Diamondbacks – 40.4% owned – I had such high hopes for Roberts in 2012. I picked him up last season and he helped me win a league. He had a slow start and Cody Ransom has taken over third-base. Ransom doesn’t have much of a glove, but he has always been able to hit. Roberts isn’t getting enough at-bats to justify a roster spot.
OF Jeff Francoeur – Kansas City Royals – 47.8% owned – He had a great 2011 season, but historically, he doesn’t string together good seasons in back-to-back years. Francoeur was drafted fairly high, but being able to pick up a player with higher upside (Bryce Harper or Mike Trout) is the smart play. He is not contributing to any roto category.
OF Alfonso Soriano – Chicago Cubs – 37.7% owned – I really don’t know why I have to tell people that they should drop Soriano, but you have to drop Soriano. He is literally collecting dust and rotting in the left field. I can’t explain how he accumulated a stolen base, but I’m guessing that the pitcher must have rolled the ball to home. His skills have diminished greatly and he is barely a borderline start in an NL-only league.
SP Ubaldo Jimenez – Cleveland Indians – 80.0% owned – In 2010, he was lighting up the league with his masterful pitching performances. He has fallen back to Earth and has averaged over six walks per nine innings in 2012. His control is what made him dominant in Colorado. I don’t see him being a permanently rostered pitcher and barely deserves a spot-start.
Clay Buchholz – Boston Red Sox – 45.6% owned – He has started six games and has allowed at least five runs in each game. Buchholz should thank his offense for his 3-1 record, because he doesn’t deserve it. His ERA (9.09) and WHIP (2.02) are astronomical, plus his strikeouts are down (20 in 32 innings). Can the Red Sox put him on the disabled-list and list his injury as “broken curveball”?
SP Max Scherzer – Detroit Tigers – 58.3% owned – If you desperately need strikeouts, hold onto him…but your ERA and WHIP will take a nasty hit. Detroit has a few arms in the Minors waiting for their debut and if Scherzer continues to struggle with command, he is a candidate to get replaced or bumped. I would rather roster a pitcher like Ross Detwiler, Jason Hammel, or Jake Westbrook in the short-term.