News, Analysis & UpdatesApril 23, 2004

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Selling High

By Arlo Vander

After focusing on Buy Low candidates earlier this week, it’s time to look at the other end of the spectrum: players who are overachieving and might be worth shopping to the other owners in your league.

Don’t wait too long to make offers, however, especially if you plan on targeting players on the Buy Low list. The flashes in the pan won’t stay hot forever, and a number of underachievers have already started turning things around…

Kenny Rogers – SP, Tex: With four starts in the books, Rogers is tied for the league lead in wins, compiling 15 strikeouts and a respectable 1.28 WHIP in the process. Keep in mind, though, that his ERA is 3.96, his career WHIP is 1.40, and he plays in a hitters’ park for a team many expect to finish last in the division. He also turns forty this year.

Lew Ford – OF, Min: Lew Ford has been nothing short of fantastic, hitting .450 with 3 home runs and 15 RBI in 11 games. And Ford certainly has the potential to be a very productive big-leaguer. Two years ago, he was named Minnesota’s Minor League Player of the Year after hitting .311 for New Britain and .332 for Edmonton, and he looked very poised and mature in 34 games with Minnesota last season, as shown by his .978 OPS. The only problem might be playing time: with several Twins regulars slated to return from the DL in the foreseeable future, his at bats might drop. Follow this situation closely; owners not fond of taking risks may want to consider shopping Ford.

Marlon Anderson – 2B, StL: Anderson has shown surprising pop so far, already hitting four home runs and posting an OPS of more than 1.000. Don’t expect this trend to continue, however – his value will depend on his stolen bases, not his round-trippers.

Shawn Estes – SP, Col: Like Kenny Rogers, Estes has also posted three wins, along with an excellent 0.99 WHIP. Don’t be blinded by those early numbers, however; a pitcher moving to Coors Field following a season where his ERA was already over 5.70 isn’t exactly a recipe for success.

Matt Herges – RP, SF: Herges has rewarded his owners with five saves already, but he’s just holding down the fort for Robb Nen. Could Herges be this season’s Tim Worrell, who racked up 38 saves as Nen’s replacement a year ago? Absoltuely, but he could also return to a middle reliever role if Nen returns successfully. Be aware of the risks if you own Herges.

Scott Rolen – 3B, StL: Scott Rolen is a fantastic fantasy asset, but expecting him to continue playing like a triple-crown candidate might be a bit much to ask for. If you have him in your lineup, you probably want him to stay right there, but if you were ever considering trading him, his value will never be higher than it is now.

BJ Ryan – RP, Bal: Ryan hasn’t allowed a run yet this season, limiting opposing hitters to a .171 average and fanning 13 in 9.1 innings. He has also picked up a win and a save, prompting speculation that he might replace Jorge Julio as Baltimore’s closer. For now, however, it appears that Julio’s job is secure. Ryan still has value as a middle reliever, but don’t expect too many more saves unless Julio implodes.

Danny Bautista – OF, Ari: Yes, Bautista is knocking the cover off the ball, but this is a player with a career .733 OPS, a far cry from this April’s lofty 1.142. With regular playing time, he may have fantasy value this year, but don’t look for him to continue this torrid pace.

Henry Blanco – C, Min: For owners looking to plug a hole behind the plate, Blanco has served as a nice fill-in, but he’s playing far over his career .221-average head, and Joe Mauer’s return is getting closer.

Paul Abbott – SP, TB: Abbott has looked extremely sharp so far, particularly in his wins over Chicago and Baltimore. He has the potential to be an effective starter, as evidenced by his 17-win season for Seattle in 2001, but he has also disappointed several times in the past, just when it looked like he had turned the corner. Don’t count on this latest revival to last.

Carlos Guillen – 3B/SS, Det: Guillen has been a nice surprise, hitting .333 (thanks in part to the protection provided by Ivan Rodriguez) with 12 RBI while covering two hard-to-fill positions. Guillen’s career-high average is .276, however, and playing half his games in Detroit isn’t likely to boost his numbers.

Arlo Vander wouldn’t mind if some of his players started overachieving.

Which overachievers are you trying to trade away? And which April surprises do you think can keep it up? Share your tips with the Cafe!

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