I’m one who favors the “don’t overreact” approach in April. However, there are still some guys that I’d drop now without feeling any guilt. Granted that most of them are deep league plays — you don’t want to outright dump Pedroia just because his wrist is acting up — but when it comes to guys at the end of the draft (or players on your bench), the hook should be pretty quick.
As for the players who are hitting well early, there’s plenty of season left to slow down; see Chris Shelton in 2006. Even so, you might as well grab a guy who’s hot now, use him while he’s playing well, and hope he continues it for the entire season.
Stocks on the Rise
Kevin Slowey – Okay, so he’s not the most amazing pitcher ever, and Miami lacks some basic things like offense and talent. However, Slowey’s had a history of good control, and now that he’s in the Miami rotation, he could be a good 2-start SP for mixed leagues or a nice options for NL-only leagues.
Johnny Cueto – We knew he was good, but we didn’t know he’d be healthy. So far, he’s got a shutout under his belt, and though it’s early, I’m happy to see that at least he’s avoiding the DL in the first month.
Justin Upton – I hope you didn’t sell on him for fifty cents on the dollar. He had a slow start, but after a solid week it’s easy to forgive that. Remember that it’s still early in the season. I’m betting on an improvement over 2013, and any week of solid production improves my optimism.
George Springer – If he wasn’t already stashed on the bench in your redraft leagues, then go get him right now. In fact, it’s probably too late, because almost every league has a prospect-obsessed manager. However, I’m ready to see what this kid can do for a mostly full season. Don’t expect a great BA, but his power and speed could be most helpful in roto leagues.
Josh Donaldson – Don’t panic anymore. He’s getting out of the early season slump, so don’t think that he’s a one-season wonder. His bat will play again in 2014 at a potentially shallow position.
Stocks on the Decline
Dustin Pedroia – It’s good news that he isn’t on the DL yet, but a wrist issue can affect his swing, and what little power he has. I benched him for this week as a precaution, and it may be a good idea to do so next week if you play in weekly lineups and have a 2B replacement.
Carlos Villanueva – It’s not just that he had one poor (okay, awful) performance. It’s also the fact that he is only considered the #5 SP on a team that may well lose 100 games for consecutive seasons. He seems best suited as a long reliever and emergency sub, rather than someone who’s going to net 180+ IP. If the Cubs might remove him from the rotation after one more bad start, I wouldn’t be caught dead with him on my team. Speaking of which, I need to go make a drop right now… Picked him up as a DL replacement in a deep league, just in time for that 9-run stinker.
Josh Reddick – He didn’t start the season well, and he’s already sitting against lefties. The platoon concept may be a great plan for MLB teams, but fantasy managers tend to hate it, especially in weekly lineups. His glory 2012 season is likely a career year, and though he may return decent value as your #5 OF, he’s no longer a #2 or #3 OF, like he was drafted for 2013.
Travis Ishikawa – He’s sitting on days when the platoon favors him. It may be simply that Sanchez is hot right now, but before the season started, I would’ve given a higher projected value for Sanchez anyway. Ishikawa was only a play in deep leagues or NL-only leagues anyway, but he’s one player I’d have no problem with cutting even in April.
Mike Moustakas – He never became the superstar we’d hoped, but he also seemed to have found a decent value set in 2012. But 2013 was a struggle, and a slow start now may have the Royals looking elsewhere, because they want to compete right now, and they have a legitimate shot at the playoffs this season. Of course, maybe he’ll pull an Alex Gordon and take a few more years to become above-average at a different position. Even so, it’s time to drop him from your CI or bench slot.