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Fantasy Baseball: Early buy low, sell high candidates

Fri Apr 20, 2012 1:01am
By Keith Hernandez

We're only three weeks into the 2012 campaign, and while it's still a bit early to start giving up on your dud fantasy baseball players, it's never too early to gauge interest around your league.

Identifying certain players that are overperforming or underperforming in the early going makes this process much easier. It helps to know if any of your league mates are souring on a specific commodity, too.

Buying low and selling high can return large profit in the summer months if you play your cards right.

Some notable sell high and buy low names at this early juncture:

Sell High

St. Louis Cardinals SP Adam Wainwright
Waino not down the draino yet

Carlos Pena, 1B, Tampa Bay Rays - Those that own the Rays' first baseman should be looking to hand him off like a hot potato. Unless, of course, your squad is already built to endure his poor batting average. Pena is hitting .333 with three homers and an on-base percentage of .458. He has pop, but the BA and OBP are locks for drastic drop-offs.

Jason Hammel, SP, Baltimore Orioles - If you own Hammel, chances are you snagged him off the waiver wire, so if you attempt to trade him now, just know you won't be getting much in return. However, his surprise start is bound to interest somebody; he's 2-0 with a 2.37 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 18 K's and seven BBs. His recent 10-K outing might inspire faith in some, as well as his increased cutter reliance. His command is key, though, and if that evaporates, he'll quickly go back to being just another waiver wire arm.

Austin Jackson, OF, Detroit Tigers - Where did this come from? I'm sure many are asking the same question. A mechanical adjustment this year could be the culprit and could result in developing power and more contact, his biggest problem. I'm not sold, though, and you shouldn't be either. After a red hot start, he's hitless in his last three games, going 0-for-13 with five strikeouts. Speed is the only thing you can bank on until he proves more.

Fernando Rodney, RP, Tampa Bay Rays - Looking to capitalize on another squad's desperation for early saves? Rodney is just the guy to do it with. He's looking more like the reliever in his days with Detroit thanks to a change in his approach. Rodney is 4-for-4 in save chances in Kyle Farnsworth's (elbow) absence and should see another two to three weeks in the role before Farnsie returns. The window is closing. Take advantage.

Buy Low

Adam Wainwright, SP, St. Louis Cardinals - It hasn't been the start that Wainwright had hoped for. In his defense, it's his first season back since Tommy John surgery last year. I was skeptical that Waino would return to his dominant ways from the onset, and it looks like he's struggling with location on his offspeed stuff, which is typical for a TJS-returner. His 14 K's in 13 2/3 innings is encouraging, though. It's the perfect time to snatch him up if others are already writing him off.

Tim Lincecum, SP, San Francisco Giants - The Freak looks like an entirely different guy. His velocity is down a few more ticks - his heavy workload in the past four years is likely to blame - and coupled with poor location, he's getting hit hard. Lincecum acknowledged he needs to use his slider more - a good first step. He has the talent to adapt. Buy him for the skills he possesses now, not for the price of his 2011 season or prior seasons.

Albert Pujols, 1B, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim - I know, this one seems like a stretch, but what the heck. It could be worth a shot, especially if his owner is focusing on the donut in the home run column. After destroying spring pitching, the Machine started slow out of gates with his new team. Still, he's had a hit in all but two games and is batting .296. His price will likely never be lower for the rest of the year.

Kenley Jansen, RP, Los Angeles Dodgers - Many drafted Jansen expecting him to take over the closing duties in L.A. within the first two months. It hasn't happened yet and doesn't appear to be close to happening anytime soon, as long as the wheels don't come off for Javy Guerra. Jansen has had his own problems to start the year; he's not throwing as hard and isn't using his entire body, notably his lower half, to generate his typical swing-and-miss stuff. He's still a fantasy-relevant setup man and worth speculating on for saves down the road.