Hey, it's May!
That's right, the first month of the fantasy season is behind us already. We've reached the point where owners should have at least a sense of their team's strengths and weaknesses. Here's hoping it's more of the former than the latter.
Either way, this a really good time to act. Put out some trade feelers and, heck, go bold and pull off that big swap you've been meaning to make in the name of bettering your roster. The following five players could do just that … at a discount.
Buster Posey, C/1B: This isn't your typical buy-low situation, because by no means has Posey been bad. He's hitting .284 with 12 runs, four homers and eight RBIs through 22 games. Those numbers? Fine. Then again, "fine" isn't what owners were expecting when they selected Posey -- the consensus top catcher in preseason rankings.
The 29-year-old's sluggish start might be traced to taking a foul ball off his right foot on April 10. That caused Posey, who was hitting .391 with two homers at the time, to sit out two straight games. He has posted just a .241/.302/.362 slash line in the 15 games since returning. Hello, buying opportunity!
The minor injury shouldn't be a problem going forward, and Posey, who homered Sunday, remains a fantasy stalwart with no peer at his position. Seriously, which backstop is going to rival him between now and season's end? Jonathan Lucroy? Brian McCann? Salvador Perez? Please. It's Posey, and it's not close. But right now, his stats aren't much better than any of those players.
And remember: Unlike most catchers, Posey plays first base, too, meaning he doesn't lose quite as many at-bats as others do.
Adam Jones, OF: Like Posey, Jones spent a portion of the season fighting through an ailment, in this case a strained rib cage that cost him three games and limited him to late-inning appearances in a few others early on. The bad news is he's batting just .225 with only seven runs, one homer and seven RBIs. The good news? Jones has played in 16 straight games, so he appears to be past the injury, making this the time acquire him at a steep discount.
Why? Because also like Posey, the 30-year-old Jones is a consistent, in-his-prime producer of fantasy statistics, having averaged 85 runs, 26 homers and 84 RBIs while carrying a .281 average over the past seven seasons. Even if he comes up a little shy of those marks, Jones still has it in him to be a solid No. 2 or strong No. 3 outfielder in fantasy.
Embedded in the middle of a dangerous O's lineup that features Manny Machado, Chris Davis and newcomer Mark Trumbo, Jones can't help but provide quality numbers. He's bound to come around sooner or later. And probably sooner.
Corey Seager, SS: Has that top-prospect-in-all-of-baseball sheen worn off Seager yet? It certainly feels like it. Despite entering the year as everyone's favorite National League Rookie of the Year Award pick, the Dodgers shortstop hasn't shown much of what he did down the stretch last year, when he hit .337/.425/.561 and sent fantasy owners' hearts aflutter over 27 September games.
Seager's stats so far? Try a .242 average with 14 runs, two homers and 12 RBIs. Not awful, no, but not exactly worthy of the Top-5-fantasy-shortstop status he carried in most drafts.
Panicky, less-disciplined owners very well could be open to moving Seager at this stage, simply because he hasn't made all their hopes and dreams come true. There are many reasons to take advantage, including the shallow shortstop position and the deep Dodgers lineup in which Seager resides.
As for Seager himself, he's avoiding whiffs (just 14.7 percent) and making medium-to-hard contact over 80 percent of the time when he puts the ball in play. That's a promising combination, especially for someone who just turned 22 a week ago and is still adjusting to the Majors. Given that, as well as Seager's pedigree, one gets the feeling that the switch will flip soon enough. You'll want to be the one who owns him when the light clicks on.
Cody Allen, RP: Look, there's no easy way to sugarcoat this: Allen has been bad. Like, 6.97-ERA bad. Like, three-losses-already bad. His owners are ouching.
On top of that, it's at least a little concerning that his velocity has dipped a bit (from 95 to 93 mph). But it's just a 10 1/3-inning sample in which one or two rough outings can skew things, and it's still early enough in the season that the radar-gun readings could pick up once the weather warms.
The primary problem for the 27-year-old Indians closer? The long ball, as Allen has surrendered three already -- or one more than he did over 69 1/3 innings all of last year -- accounting for six of the eight runs he's allowed. Yes, he's a fly-ball pitcher, but it's fair to expect them to stop leaving the park at such an astounding rate (20 percent) for someone whose home run-to-fly ball percentage sits at 7.8 for his career.
A slow starter last year, too, Allen was 0-2 with an even-worse 10.13 ERA and 2.63 WHIP on this date in 2015. From that point on, he saved 30 games with a 2.05 ERA and a 0.98 WHIP. Feel better about targeting him in a trade yet? You should, especially considering there's no real threat to his closerdom in Cleveland, either.
Anthony Rendon, 2B/3B: Among the many hard-to-believe statistics so far this season, perhaps none is more unbelievable than this: A key member of the hot-starting 17-7 Nationals, Rendon has played in all 24 of their games … and has exactly one more RBI than you do.
Making matters worse for Rendowners is that he's not helping much in any other category, either, no thanks to a .240 average, zero homers and just one stolen base. At least he does have a reasonable 16 runs scored.
Rendon, 25, has had his share of physical problems in the past, dating to his days as a standout in college. But he's been fully healthy so far, making it almost impossible to explain how a player who only two years ago finished top five in NL MVP Award voting could be so underwhelming. Even more so when you consider that he's hit out of the coveted second spot -- that is, in front of Bryce Harper -- in all but one game.
Rendon is making contact (13.3 percent strikeout rate), and much of it is of the solid variety, as his 24.7 percent line-drive rate as well as medium (47.6 percent) or hard (37.8 percent) contact rates indicate. Of course, it doesn't help that the Nats rank last in on-base percentage from the leadoff spot (.219), which should improve and help Rendon's RBI total once Ben Revere gets back from his strained oblique.
Chalk this up to a puzzling, borderline freakish beginning, and take a flier on Rendon -- eligible at two key positions in second and third base -- turning things around. You might as well, because it really shouldn't take much to acquire someone with O-N-E RBI, now should it?
Jason Catania is a fantasy baseball writer for MLB.com.