Mike Trout, Bryce Harper, Will Middlebrooks, among others have come up and sparkled in their first taste of the big leagues. However, most of these kids flounder in their first trek up to The Show. Just go through the laundry list last year – Anthony Rizzo, Lonnie Chisenhall, Domonic Brown, Brandon Belt, Travis Snider, and so many more. Lots of hype, not much punch. While your opponents are hunting everywhere for these guys they are dropping under productive veterans that are due for a correction. Some of these guys truly are land mines, but take enough good gambles and you’ll strike gold. Just ask those who snatched up Alfonso Soriano, Dayan Viciedo, Alex Rios, Dexter Fowler, among others last month. Sometimes the ticket is right in front of you. I’m going to highlight 5 players who were universally drafted and now have an ownership % under 50.
Mark Reynolds – He is going to strike out a ton and in so doing will hit for a poor average. However, he is not the 3 home run hitter he has been to date. In fact, he has made improvements in many facets of the game behind the numbers. He is never going to run like he did in that magical 2009 season, but he is not an 8.6% HR/FB pitcher. With an increased LD%, a decreased GB%, an improved SwgStrk %, and a correction with his HR rate and you’re looking at a guy that should hit more than 20 home runs the rest of the way.
Russell Martin – He has not been hitting like his owners would hope, but he has been getting on base which will keep him in the lineup until he finds his stroke. With the home run happy home stadium and loaded lineup he will be a top 10 catcher in the 2nd half. 8 home runs being a disappointment to open the first two months is very encouraging.
Colby Rasmus – The correction has already began as he has gone deep 3 times since June 1 while raising his average from .227 to .248. He was recently moved to the top of the order to shake things up and is taking advantage of the opportunity. It looks like the light has finally turned on so a 12 HR 8 SB second half at the top of the order is in the cards.
Carl Crawford – I am as concerned about his wrist and elbows as anyone, but if he can play 5 days per week he will be a 2nd half asset as his ailments don’t effect his best skill – his wheels. As long as he can stay on the field he will be running and you can’t find anyone on waivers with 1/2 of his upside. Need speed? He’s your guy.
Doug Fister – Bothered all 1st half by an abdominal injury he is set to return this week and in the little time he has been on the mound this season has looked every bit of the dominant pitcher from the 2nd half of 2011. He was rushed back from the injury last time, he is healthy this time and ready to go on a run.
So, let the others pick up their Wil Myers, Trevor Bauer, Danny Hultzen, and Travis D’Arnaud. Those aren’t the meal tickets, the gems above are.