Ball Street: The Roto Exchange – Dings and Decline Edition

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I really feel like some of my fantasy teams have been in a holding pattern for weeks. I’ve lost some key players due to short-term injuries, but unfortunately there’s usually more than one essential player on the DL. In one league I have my top two SP on the DL at the same time, so I’m taking losses in my weekly H2H pitching categories. In another league, I am suffering just enough injuries across the board to sap my ability to score more than middling points, so any time I face a hot team in a week, it’s a loss. At least I have one team doing well, and it’s partly due to the players I list in the “Rise” section.

 

Stocks on the Rise

Wilson Ramos – I’ve been waiting for him to be healthy in one of my leagues, but luckily I’ve had Navarro as a good injured reserve. Ramos still has the ability to net 10+ HR this year with a BA well above the catcher average. He’s always had an issue with health, so let’s hope that this April DL stint is his only major loss of time… But have a backup plan just in case.

Alexei Ramirez – I’m betting that your leagues were like mine this draft season. Alexei suddenly lost all power in 2013, but he did steal a ton of bases. Even so, most owners shunned him, citing either the lack of power or his inconsistency. Now, he’s got a few HR to go with his SB, and he’s always had a nice BA due to good contact rates. I wouldn’t bet on a career high in HR (and especially not in SB), but he’s proving that he’s still worthy of a top-10 SS label.

Matt Wieters – He seems to almost be pulling an Alex Gordon: tease us with potential, decline for a while, and then surge back to above-average production. Yes, his BABIP is high, so his average will come back to earth, but it likely won’t be such a handicap as it’s been in the past two years. He does have power, as three consecutive years of 20 HR shows, and if he doesn’t miss much time with his arm issue (he’s likely to DH through the injury), he may have a shot at the 30 HR mark. In redraft leagues, he likely came cheap in the draft, so reap the rewards.

Alex Cobb – He’s nearing his MLB return, and I can’t wait. The kid has been flying under the radar since last season, though the sleeper hype this offseason prompted more managers to buy into him before their drafts. I expect a strong season from Cobb whenever he’s healthy.

Leonys Martin – He’s off to a nice start, though the average may fall a bit after this BABIP regresses. Even so, he’s been moved up in the lineup to second, and if he continues doing what he does best — putting the ball in play, beating out grounders, and stealing bases — his run total should also benefit at the top of the Rangers lineup.

 

Stocks on the Decline

Jay Bruce – Obviously missing up to a month due to knee surgery is bad enough, but his numbers have been below expectations to boot. Could his struggles partly be related to the injury? Sure. He’s also displayed a low BABIP for him, likely due to a career-high GB%. Again, possibly his swing is affected, and he’s making worse contact and hitting more balls into the ground. He may bounce back after he’s healthy, but his current value for redraft is very low, and managers who owns him likely isn’t going to get offered a price they like.

Matt Cain – He’s officially on the DL now, and even if he doesn’t miss a lot of time, the trends are still heading in the wrong direction for the former ace. His BB/9 and K/9 are currently on a three-year trend in the wrong direction. The only positive is that he’s inducing a career best GB%, which helps mitigate some of the damage now that he’s not as effective as his peak. He’s a horrible sell candidate right now, no matter the format. In redraft, he’s not healthy and not pitching like expected. In keeper leagues, especially salary leagues, odds are his price tag is far too high to justify any kind of return value, other than a salary dump.

Abraham Almonte – For leagues with 4+ OF slots, I’d pegged him as a long-shot super-sleeper before the season started. It would’ve been a nice story. As it is, he’s been demoted, and my gamble has likely failed. He may still have the ability to hit 10 HR and steal 15 bases, but without the ability to make good contact or take a walk, those stats are going to come in the minors, not in the MLB.

Allen Craig – I know I just touted him as a buy-low candidate in the last issue, but that’s looking at the season as a whole. For the short term, if Matheny is going to keep sitting him and claiming he’s “not right,” then the loss of playing time can definitely affect his value in weekly lineup leagues. With his propensity for DL stints on top of randomly being benched right now, he’s a dangerous play, but maybe that makes him an even better buy-low guy if you’re looking to the second half.

Jimmy Rollins – He’s been on a career decline, with dropping BA and HR. Now he’s hurt his groin, which could affect the strongest skill he has left, his SB total. If this heals quickly, it may not be a big deal. But if the groin issue starts to linger, then it gets much harder to expect above 15 SB for the season, and given that he may not hit more than 10 HR, he’s clearly not someone you want to run with if you’re chasing a pennant this year.

Kevin Jebens

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Fantasy baseball player since 2000; winning leagues ranging from 12-team H2H to 18-team experts 5x5. Has written for various baseball blogs, including the 2013 Bleed Cubbie Blue Annual.