OpinionMay 21, 2009


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Three Most Overrated: Hot Starts That Won’t Last

By Daniel Cohen

Last week, I talked about three highly-ranked players that could net good value in a trade because of name recognition, but who aren’t necessarily as good as people think they are. Now, I’ll take a look at three players who are off to a blazing hot start and have people talking, but most likely aren’t going to keep up their current pace. Sell high on these guys:

1) Aaron Hill (Tor, 2B)

In such a shallow position at 2B, it’s hard to justify selling a guy who’s hitting over .340 with 11 dingers. Hill, the seventh highest ranked player in the game to this point, has certainly been a hidden gem thus far in the early going. However, a look at Hill’s BABIP (batting average of balls in play) shows Hill has been riding a wave of good fortune early on. With a BABIP of over .350, Hill’s numbers are sure to see a significant decline as the season goes on; considering he’s a .290 career hitter who’s never hit more than 17 HR in a season, Hill is a shaky commodity to rely on for season-long production. That’s not to say he doesn’t deserve any credit — Hill is making a case for himself as one of the top second basemen in the game — but given his underwhelming career to this point and freakishly good luck early on, now’s a smart time to cash out. Given the fact that Hill went largely undrafted on draft day, take this opportunity to try to sell him to a team who drafted early-season slow starters Alexei Ramirez, Dan Uggla, Mike Aviles, or Howie Kendrick for a stud pitcher. Recently traded up front for Cole Hamels, CC Sabathia and Brandon Webb, Hill can net great dividends. However, if you don’t have another decent option at 2B at the ready, you may want to hold and ride him out. But don’t expect the current pace to last much longer — he’s no Ian Kinsler yet.

2) Jason Bartlett (TB, SS)

Bartlett has been even luckier than Hill in the early going. Sporting a zesty .380-5-22-12 line, Bartlett has contributed to every fantasy category in a huge way. However, the wheel of fortune is turning for Bartlett, who is headed for an inevitable decline. With a miraculous BABIP hovering in the .400 stratosphere, Bartlett appears to be headed for a crash back to his early career average of .285. Never the power hitter, Bartlett has yet to swat more than five HRs in a season, so take the early power as an Ichiro-like fluke. If you can net an underachieving Furcal, Alexei Ramirez, or even a Jimmy Rollins (featured last week as an overrated name player, but still a much better long-term option than Barlett), give yourself a pat on the back and cash out. This early streaker’s Cinderella ride is almost over.

3) Zack Greinke (KC, SP)

Seeing Zack Greinke’s name on an overrated players list may cause temporary jaw paralysis, heart attacks, or “Blasphemy!” cries heard across the world, but it won’t help him maintain his pace for a season that would shatter 129-year-old historical records. Andy Behrens over at Yahoo said it better than I can, but the gist is that while certainly nobody will blame you for holding onto the best pitcher in baseball having a break-out season, he can help you out in other areas and maybe net you a first-round hitting talent while his ERA remains a microscopic 0.60. He’s better than Cliff Lee last year, but contrary to popular belief, he’s not the Messiah. Greinke’s value is inflated right now, and if your pitching is good enough without him, try to net a Ryan Braun or underachieving Grady Sizemore for the long-term boost.

 
Daniel entered the world of fantasy baseball last year and has been obsessed since. His hero is Brandon Funston of the famous Yahoo! Big Board. Go Cubs!
 
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