It has been quoted by the greatest fantasy baseball experts that “one cannot win their fantasy league in the first round, but one can lose it.”
Truthfully, I am not certain who authored these words of wisdom, but many of us attest to their validity. With just over three weeks of the 2014 baseball season behind us, it would be premature to declare anyone a bust, but it’
s imperative to stay alert and ponder “selling high” if you believe your star is doomed. Unfortunately, you may have to bite your lip and fight the urge to sell for the “flavor of the week” as your star may be a belated bloomer and on the cusp of a monster breakout.
Take a dive with me as we review several fantasy studs that were likely drafted in the first two rounds of your league.
Clayton Kershaw has the highest average draft position among pitchers and was taken early in most drafts. Kershaw is yet to start in April, but was scheduled for a rehab start on Friday. On the bright side, Kershaw did throw a gem in March during the Australian series between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks. Unless his back flares up again, there should be minimal concern after Kershaw returns.
Miguel Cabrera has been the most consistent fantasy baseball force over the last decade. With a .250 average, two home runs, and only 13 RBI thus far, Cabrera is not exactly bursting out of the gate this season, but has shown a few signs of turning the corner. Cabrera remains in the top echelon of fantasy baseball; therefore I would not recommend trading Cabrera for any player not named Mike Trout this early in the season.
’s projections for this season were all over the board muddled with optimism over potential and pessimism from injury. Thus far, Harper is batting .272 with one home run and 5 RBI. This start is quite contrary to his two home run opening game last season. To add fuel to the fire, Washington manager Matt Williams removed Harper mid-game last weekend as discipline for his “lack of hustle.” Both Harper and the Nationals have a lot of potential this year, and Harper should continue to be monitored closely.
Although he re-emerged on the fantasy radar in 2012,
Chris Davis was arguably the biggest surprise of 2013. Unfortunately, it is too early to decipher whether Davis has become of one of baseball’s top power hitters or simply a one-hit wonder. With two home runs, a .257 batting average, and 24 strikeouts in 74 at-bats, the patience of Davis’ owners is beginning to thin already this season. Davis crushed nine home runs and batted .348 last April, therefore a decline from 2013 should be expected. With a potent lineup surrounding him and playing in hitter-friendly Camden Yards, Davis should hit at least 35 home runs, but be weary of an average nearer his career numbers, which is around .265.
Many experts expressed their doubts that
Robinson Cano would sustain the same level of performance in Seattle after signing a colossal contract. Although preseason statistics should be taken with a “grain of a salt,” Cano was on a torrid pace this spring. Unfortunately, he began to simmer as the season began and currently sits at .280 with one home run. Although he may not match the numbers of his days with the Yankees, Cano should be a safe bet to earn a comparable line and provide additional value at a middle infield position.
Although each of the players listed above should be monitored, none of which I would recommend selling high at this point. Now, I segue to
Prince Fielder whom owners may take an even closer look. Fielder was expected to post career numbers in Detroit last season, but earned lows in several offensive categories. After 22 games this season, he has managed two home runs while batting .200. Even with a disappointing 2013 campaign, Fielder had a solid April last year. I would recommend selling high on Fielder if you can as it is beginning to appear Fielder is on the decline. A 2014 line of 25 home runs and a .275 average seems probable.
Good luck as we wrap up April!
(Note – statistics include games through Thursday, April 24)