Ryan Howard (1B) | Philadelphia Phillies
Don’t look now, but Ryan Howard is adapting to the warm weather like he does every year around this time. Howard always starts each fantasy baseball season off slow, and then piles up RBIs and home runs in the later months of the season. From the start of June, he raised his batting average from .255 to .276, collecting 11 RBIs in 17 games (as of 6/19). Though he has just one home run during that span, Howard will get better as the season progresses. With Chase Utley coming back shortly, there should be more RBI opportunities in Ryan Howard’s future. Keep in mind that prior to the Achilles injury; he finished the 2011 season with 33 home runs and 116 RBIs. Fantasy owners may be looking to dump the 33 year-old first baseman on another team. Trade for him now and reap the benefits later.
Giancarlo Stanton (OF) | Miami Marlins
While you may have missed the boat on this one, some Giancarlo Stanton owners will be fed up with the young outfielder. When Stanton is in the lineup, he produces. It’s as simple as that. He is potentially the biggest power threat in all of baseball. While Stanton should have more RBIs than his stats have portrayed in the past two years (87 in 2011, 86 in 2012), the Miami Marlins are the worst team in the National League and maybe in all the Major Leagues. Players around him struggle to get on base, resulting in lower RBI totals for Giancarlo Stanton. If you can trade a player that’s currently playing over his head, or a couple of players for that matter, do it and do it quickly.
B.J. Upton (OF) | Atlanta Braves
The Atlanta Braves have been the story of the National League East early on this season mostly because of the hot start of B.J. Upton’s brother, Justin Upton. While B.J. has been nothing short of a disappointment nearly three months into the 2013 season, he has showed some life recently. As I don’t expect him to perform at his early 5th round draft value (ADP was 50.4 on Yahoo), he should still be a buy low candidate. He’s averaged 82 runs scored and 39 stolen bases over the last 5 seasons. He recorded a career high 28 home runs just last season (granted it was a contract year). Upton will turn 29 years-old in mid-August and I think as the NL East race starts to heat up, so will B.J. There’s no way he hover around a .160 batting average all season long.
Aaron Hill (2B) | Arizona Diamondbacks
Aaron Hill has only played 10 games this season after being hit by a pitch that broke his left hand. He took batting practice for the first time last Friday after the break and experienced no problems. He could join the Arizona Diamondbacks sooner than later, even as early as this weekend if all goes accordingly. Hill can provide a well-balanced stat line for fantasy owners. He had a 93 run/26 home run/85 RBI/14 stolen base/.302 batting average last season for the D-Backs. If you can get him for an 8th-10th round value or so, I’d do so today.
Matt Cain (SP) | San Francisco Giants
Matt Cain has been a disappointment so far this season for fantasy owners. Through the first month of the season, Cain ended April with a horrific 6.49 ERA with a 0-2 record. It doesn’t get much worse than that for a fantasy ace. Since the start of May, Cain is 5-1 with a 3.48 ERA. His ERA is a bit inflated even over this time because of two poor starts at the Colorado Rockies (6.1 IP, 6 ER and he still got the win) and at the St. Louis Cardinals (6.0 IP, 7 ER). Take these two starts away and Cain has a 1.90 ERA over seven starts. This is a great time to go after Matt Cain.
Who do you like as fantasy baseball buy low players?