The Bull-Dozier has plowed through the competition. (USAT)
On a silly 40/60 pace, Brian Dozier has been arguably THE biggest shocker special of the young year. If prompted to BUY, SELL or HOLD the second baseman in 12-team mixed leagues, what would you recommend?
Brad – SELL. It's time to turn a profit fantasy boys and girls. He's sure to finish in the 20-20 range, but if you can convince another owner to part with an underperforming superstar (e.g. Chris Davis), take the money and run.
Scott – HOLD. He's basically been doing this for a year. The average is shaky, but he's walking a ton, parked in the leadoff spot, and giving us delicious category juice. This is a dynamic player.
Andy – HOLD, because I think the power/speed combo is legit, in a 25/25 sort of way. No one is gonna give you a mega-star for Dozier, I'd wager.
Newly spectacled outfielder B.J. Upton, who has three steals and four RBIs since May 1, rest of season BA .235.
Scott – UNDER. Even when Upton is in a groove, that average is a fair number. Your hope here is for 10-15 homers and 20-25 bags. But you're paying a batting-average tax here.
Andy – PUSH. I like this number for Upton. Like it a lot. If I went over or under here, it would only be by a couple points in either direction.
Dalton – UNDER. It seems so crazy at this point that the career .247 hitter once had a .300 BA back in 2007 (while playing in a tough hitter's park). Upton projects as a .225 type hitter moving forward.
Howie Kendrick, who astonishingly has seven steals already this season, rest of season swipes 13.5.
Andy – OVER. We're not talking about a slow person, and this is such a modest number. If he stays healthy, 20-plus steals isn't a crazy number.
Dalton – UNDER. It wouldn't be crazy if Kendrick beats this, but he's never even stolen 15 bases in a season during his career and has an extensive injury history.
Brandon – UNDER. He'd have to meet his career-high in steals (14) the rest of the way in order to top this number. And, while I think he's physically capable of doing that, I doubt he'll be asked to run that much if he sticks in the middle of the order (just 2 SBs, so far, in 26 games batting in the 4-6 spots in the order).
Dalton – QUINTANA. He has a 35:12 K:BB ratio over 43.0 innings this year, meaning his 3.56 ERA and 1.21 WHIP are legit with the possibility of improvement. Quintana has a 16:3 K:BB ratio over his past three starts and is unlucky to have just one win so far this season.
Brandon – ELIAS. The curveball is nasty, his K rate (8.06/9) is above average and he induces a lot of ground balls. And Safeco Field remains one of the friendliest pitching environments.
Scott – Hasta manana, QUINTANA. Okay, that's a cute rhyme, it doesn't really make any sense. I still like saying it. Chicago knew what it was doing when it gave the lefty a five-year extension, and he's backed by the American League's best offense.
Rocked for four earned in his last two appearances, ballooning his ERA to 4.85, date Cleveland closer John Axford surrenders his job to Cody Allen June 15.
Brandon – OVER. Even though I'm heavily invested in Allen because I expected rough sailing for Axford, I also know from owning Vinnie Pestano in the recent past that Cleveland is not quick with the closer hook.
Scott – OVER, though I do think the Ax eventually falls. Cleveland fancies itself a contender, and Axford's gopher problem is back again.
Andy – OVER, or not at all. Axford is far from flawless, but he was OK this season until the calendar flipped to May. I don't think Cleveland wants to make a change. I'd buy low on Axford, if you're in need of saves and his owner is in a panicked state.
The Caribbean Cruz is crushing umbrella drinks, baseballs. (USAT)
Nelson Cruz, socking the snot out of the ball launching three homers since April 27, rest of season long-balls 21.5.
Brad – OVER. My heart has always thumped hard for sweet Nelly. Injuries are always a concern, but he's clubbed 30-plus long-balls before (33 in '09). As long as the imp doesn't bite, reaching that threshold again shouldn't be a difficult task.
Andy – UNDER. Obviously he has power enough to reach this total. But I'm expecting one or both hamstrings to explode before July 1.
Dalton – UNDER. If he surpasses this number, it will result in the second most homers in a season by Cruz in his career, behind only his 2009 campaign. The crazy thing about Cruz's season so far isn't just that his 25.0 HR/FB% is a career high but also that he's hitting more ground balls (1.11 GB/FB) than ever before.
Houston hotshot Colin McHugh, brilliant in his first two starts but tagged for six earned runs against Seattle May 4, BELIEVE or MAKE BELIEVE?
Andy – Mostly MAKE BELIEVE. The team context is brutal, and, in my opinion, those initial starts didn't offer a realistic glimpse of his true talent level.
Dalton – MAKE BELIEVE. Unfortunately, it's almost certainly too late to sell now.
Brandon – BELIEVE. This leaves a lot open for interpretation in terms of what I say I'm believing in. I'll just say that a guy that has produced swinging strike rates the way he has over his three starts has to get some credit for it not being a complete fluke - among pitchers with at least 19 innings pitched, he ranks fifth in SwStr% behind Ervin Santana, Masahiro Tanaka, Francisco Liriano and Jose Fernandez.
Sticking with the 'Stros, Jonathan Villar, batting well over .300 over the past two weeks, rest of season rank among shortstops 14.5.
Dalton – UNDER. His BA is ugly, but this is a 23-year-old playing a thin position who's on pace to finish with 23 homers and 37 steals.
Brandon – UNDER. This number should have been 12.5, as it doesn't take much to finish top 15 among the current MLB SS class. Last year, all four shortstops that swiped 30-plus bases finished in the top 10 in fantasy value at the position. Villar should top 30 steals, therefore I think he's a shoo-in to come in under this number.
Scott – UNDER, simply because he's going to run liberally. But with a wrist injury, I don't trust the power to stick. "Sell high" seems silly on a player with this limited a profile, but the timing might be right to cash out, nonetheless.
Corner conundrum. Who do you prefer rest of season: Eric Hosmer, James Loney or Garrett Jones?
Brandon – HOSMER, easy. He's a .300 hitter hitting in the heart of the KC order. Sure, he doesn't provide much power, but you won't get much from Loney, either. Yes, Jones gives you some HR upside, but he's limited in nearly every other way.
Scott – You just want us to say something nice about HOSMER. This is one player Ned Yost can't screw up. ROS: .285-63-16-71-7.
Andy – Gross. HOSMER. You couldn't pay me to own Jones.
Nathan Eovaldi, who punched out a career best 10 batters on Cinco de Mayo against the Mets, rest of season K/9 6.99.
Scott – OVER. I guess this is growing up. I wish I had him on all my teams; the park is groovy, and Miami's offense can hurt you (no joke).
Andy – OVER, slightly. Not in an eye-popping way, but sure, I can see a 7.0-ish K/9 from this dude. His minor league rate was 7.4.
Dalton – OVER. His average fastball velocity (95.9 mph) is the second highest among all starters, and he also sports a 9.6 SwStr%. Eovaldi currently has a 25.1 K%, so it would take something drastic for him not to beat this mark by a wide margin. He's more likely to have a 9.0 K/9 rate ROS than finish under 7.0.
- Sports & Recreation
- John Axford
- Brian Dozier