The trade market is ripe with opportunity for those with the courage to buy low on players who have started the season in disappointing fashion. While some slow starters are at the outset of an unremarkable campaign, many others are set to turn around their seasons in the coming weeks.
The trade market is ripe with opportunity for those with the courage to buy low on players who have started the season in disappointing fashion. While some slow starters are at the outset of an unremarkable campaign, many others are set to turn around their seasons in the coming weeks. With the goal of making long-term lineup improvements, wise owners should immediately make buy-low offers on the following five guys.
Buster Posey, C/1B, Giants
Posey has been excellent in many respects this season, hitting .343 with seven homers across 166 at-bats. But his premium plate work has resulted in just 14 RBIs, a total that ranks 25th among catchers. Wise owners will try to pick up Posey at a discount after floating the incorrect notion that an unproductive Giants lineup (28th in baseball with 203 runs scored) will prevent him from compiling counting stats for the entirety of the campaign.
Jose Cabrera, first baseman, Tigers
Cabrera owners are sure to be disappointed in an early-round asset who has spent time on the disabled list and produced his lowest OPS (.811) since the initial season of his illustrious 15-year career. However, those who take a more measured approach will likely see the buy-low opportunity in 34-year-old who owns a lifetime .320 batting mark and has driven in more than 100 runs in 12 of the previous 13 seasons. And those who need an in-season reason to acquire Cabrera at a discount will be happy to learn that he is generating more hard-hit balls (48.8 percent) than in any previous campaign.
Eric Thames, 1B/OF, Brewers
Thames was arguably baseball's biggest story while hitting .345 with 11 homers across 84 at-bats in April before crashing hard (.221 average, three homers across 77 at-bats) during May. Smart owners should have little trouble convincing those who own Thames that big league hurlers simply needed a few weeks to figure out how to neutralize the adjustments made by the slugger during his time overseas. But in reality, the 30-year-old was mostly slowed by minor injuries and poor batted-ball luck (.269 BABIP, 13 percent HR/FB rate) during his May swoon.
Jarrod Dyson, outfielder, Mariners
Among healthy players with at least 10 steals, only Dyson (14 swipes) is sitting on waivers in more than half of leagues. And his stolen-base total -- which currently ranks tied for fourth in baseball -- could increase rapidly in the coming weeks if his .261 BABIP moves closer to his lifetime .308 mark. Owners who need speed in shallow leagues should pick Dyson up, and those in deep formats should submit a buy-low offer on the notion that his owner views him as a three-category hindrance.
Rick Porcello, starter, Red Sox
On the surface, Porcello has taken an unsurprising downturn after his 2016 Cy Young season. After all, the right-hander entered '17 having posted an ERA north of 4.00 in five of the previous seven campaigns. However, those who take a closer look at his current campaign will see the seeds of a looming turnaround. The right-hander has improved his K/9 to 8.8 from 7.6 last year, while still maintaining his stellar control (1.7 BB/9 rate). With a 3.74 FIP through 12 starts this year, Porcello could regain his shallow-league effectiveness as soon as his .367 BABIP moves closer to his lifetime .311 career mark.
Fred Zinkie is the lead fantasy baseball writer for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @FredZinkieMLB.