With a couple of games in the books, maybe your team appears to be slightly under-performing projections or your expectations. Maybe that young bull of a middle infielder everybody was hyping is 0-7 and has not hit a ball out of the infield. Or maybe you spent your top draft pick on a first baseman who has a .150 OPS to this point. Obviously, you know not to panic, but do you know what to start looking around for right now?
Look around you for owners who are attempting to trade down as a knee-jerk reaction to slow starts by some of their players. Obviously, veteran owners know better than overreact in the season’s first week, but some less experienced owners could be tempted into what appears to be a fair trade at the moment. Here are 10 players that just might pique your interest.
- Carlos Marmol – Ignore the 27.00 ERA and 6.000 WHIP coming into the day. Marmol has a reputation for going off the reservation at times, but he usually manages to get back on track. He has averaged 100 strikeouts per 162 games for his career, and he has 5 consecutive seasons of 90+ strikeouts. If someone panics on Marmol, be ready with to make an offer, if you need a 2nd closer.
- Matt Holliday – His .125 average and 2 rbi do not impress, but Holliday will find his stroke eventually. The issue is whether or not you can snag him on the cheap before he finds it again.
- Scott Rolen – Maybe his shoulder issues will catch up to Rolen again this season, but you can count on Rolen to make the necessary adjustments and improve on his .143 average with 0 home runs and 0 rbi.
- Chase Headley – Do not be held off by Headley’s 6 strikeouts in 11 plate appearances. Once he gets it rolling, he can be a .260-.270 hitter with double digit stolen bases. Maybe that won’t crack your starting lineup, but in leagues that carry 6 outfielder positions, he might be a good 5th or 6th slot guy, even though he’s playing 3B this season.
- Aramis Ramirez – Ramirez may not be driving the ball right now, but he will. Once he does start hitting, the Milwaukee lineup should give him plenty of rbi opportunities.
- Hunter Pence – Pence probably could not maintain a slugging percentage of .125, even if he tried. At least, so goes the traditional thinking. Maybe his warmup swings remind you of a hack golfer searching for his ball in the weeds with a pitching wedge, but it works.
- Todd Helton – You simply will not convince me anytime soon that Helton has forgotten how to hit a baseball. Ignore the slow start and consider grabbing him, if you need a corner infielder or have a corner infielder with an injury history.
- Carlos Lee – Despite playing for what appears to be a slowly dismantling Astros team, Lee managed 94 rbi last season, and I see no reason why he cannot get to at least 80-85 this season. Lee’s batting average, slugging, and OPS may vary greatly from year to year, but he has averaged 107 rbi per 162 games during his career.
- Shane Victorino – Just give Victorino time, and he will be hitting .270 and stealing a base every 5 game or so. The object here is to find someone unwilling to wait until he does. When they want to trade down, then there is your opportunity to trade up.
- Freddie Freeman – People already bailing out on Freeman could regret their decisions in a matter of weeks or even just days. This early in the season, guys like Freeman need just a good couple of at-bats to right the ship. Sadly, some owners will not give him the chance.
While I found it tempting to simply pull names at random from a hat, I instead went through Yahoo’s search tool to locate players who had dropped 3 or more points in terms of league ownership. Oddly enough, Roy Halladay was only owned in 97% of all leagues, so that probably provides a good indicator of how many defunct leagues exist already.