This article will highlight three players you should keep even though they are struggling, three potential sleepers you should add to your watch list and three guys who are struggling and may not turn it around any time soon. So here goes, Keepers, Sleepers and Busts after week one of the season!
These are the players who are performing below expectations to this point, but that I think are worth hanging on to as better days are ahead. This list was a little tough to put together this week as you shouldn’t be dropping many players or trading them below value this early in the season, but here are my thoughts.
Alex Rios – With the White Sox offense clicking on all cylinders early, it’s tough being a Rios owner, since he’s hasn’t joined the party just yet. I think their offense will be strong all year and with him hitting right in the middle of it, I think he’s due for a turnaround (especially when we get into the warmer months).
Shin-Soo Choo – Choo is another player whose team is scoring a bunch of runs while he’s struggling out of the gate. It has to be tough seeing the recent Indians box scores only to find out that Choo went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts. It’s early, but be patient; my guess is he’ll still get to 20/20 this year while having a chance for more.
Red Sox Hitters – The whole team is playing poorly (hence their 0-6 start to the season). I’m not sold that their starting pitching will be strong enough to finish first in the AL East, but their offense will score runs and its only a matter of time before guys like Youklis, Pedroia, Crawford, etc. are raking up the stats we all anticipated.
Here you’ll find players that may still be available in your league that have gotten off to a hot start, which I think they can keep up. Remember, you’re not dropping your top guys for the ’sleeper’. Some will tail off, but some will be type of players who help owners win championships.
Alex Gordon – I think I’ve had Gordon in the Sleeper section before (nobody’s perfect), but this could be the year he finally delivers and makes his fantasy owners happy. The main reason I feel this way is that it’s the first year he’s not on my squad, so he’ll probably win the MVP. He’s hitting in the three-hole for an improved Royals offense (not saying much), and he’s always had the talent but just hasn’t been able to fulfill it at the major league level. I think he does this year.
Drew Stubbs – He’s had the power and speed combination for a couple years now, but we’ve never been guaranteed full time at-bats. I don’t think that is an issue anymore as Stubbs in entrenched atop the Reds lineup. Last year, he hit 22 HRs and stole 30 bases. Those numbers are attainable again, with some upside from there. I also think he can improve his .255 average, though his current .305 is probably asking too much.
Russell Martin – I debated which category to put him in, as you might be able to deal him to a Yankee fan who thinks he going to win the MVP. However, I decided to leave him in the sleeper section. Just two years ago Martin was mentioned in the same breath as guys like McCann, Martinez, etc. and at the very least he was a surefire top-five catcher. Injuries and ineffectiveness pushed him off draft boards and onto the waiver wire in most standard leagues. I think he can return to the days of being a top 5-10 catcher. The injury was a hip injury and he’s already stolen two bags, which means he’s probably over it. There is some risk, but if he’s on the waiver wire or available cheap, I’d buy.
See what you can get, as these players won’t keep up their current pace all year.
Derek Jeter – He may not quite fit the definition above (he may keep up this pace all year), but I still think he is a bust/sell at this point. I thought he was done last year, then I read a handful of articles that convinced me he would have a bounce back year. I don’t know what I was thinking (and thank God I didn’t draft him). He’s old and his stats have been declining recently (except for a 2009 that came out of nowhere). I don’t think he’s a top-five SS anymore and I’d try to sell him for something while you still can.
Alfonso Soriano – Could he have another couple weeks of top flight stats? Sure. Will he suddenly start playing like he’s a real 34 (instead of a ‘Latin’ 34)? I highly doubt it. If you drafted him, take advantage of this hot start and try to sell high, and if he’s still available on the waiver wire, there’s a reason – nobody else believes he’ll keep this up either.
Raul Ibanez – MVP candidate in his age 39 season? I doubt it. He’s a decent enough roster filler, but he only hit 16 HRs last year in 561 at-bats. I don’t think a line of 70/20/75/5/.275 is out of the question, but how many other OFers will have similar or better stats? I’d take advantage of the hot start and see if one of the other owners in your league is buying into his resurgence.
Jeffrey Furtah is one of a growing number of fantasy experts who write for the Cafe. You can catch up with Jeffrey in the Cafe's forums where he posts under the name of Captain Furtah or check out his blog at bleachergm.blogspot.com.
Want to write for the Cafe? Check out the Cafe's Pencil & Paper section!