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May 13, 2011
Don't Believe the Hype
The Unlikely Heroes
It's tough to argue with this week's drops—Kendrys Morales is out for at least six months thanks to surgery to remove scar tissue from his foot, Chris Young elected to have surgery to repair the shoulder that has knocked him out three years running, and Dallas Braden is having a similar procedure done on his own noodle. Nick Hundley is next up for most drops in the past week, but let's think about this for a moment: He is a catcher who can avoid embarrassing himself at the plate, and there are not nearly enough of those. You don't want to cut him because he will be out for a few weeks. As for the most popular adds of the week…
Homer Bailey, Cincinnati Reds (63 percent owned, +29 percent)
The Reds called him up over and over again before he had ever finished baking at Triple-A, and the results were not pretty. In his first 81
Something clicked with Bailey in 2009, and he has had a 4.28 ERA, 7.6 K/9, and 3.2 UIBB/9 in his last 235
Now that is more like it. It's a small sample, sure, but Bailey finally, for the first time in his career, looks like the pitcher he was expected to be back when his name came up alongside of—and even ahead of—guys like Phil Hughes, Tim Lincecum, Clayton Kershaw, and Yovani Gallardo. It isn't that those guys were underrated prospects, either—Bailey was supposed to be that good, and it looks like, at long last, he might be.
Melky Cabrera, Kansas City Royals (68 percent owned, +25 percent)
Melky Cabrera had a career ISO of .112 heading in to 2011, and that is with a pre-Braves career that took place in favorable hitting environments. His fantasy value in all but the deepest leagues was nonexistent, as he didn't get on base very often, didn't hit for power, and didn't steal nearly often enough to make him worth rostering in spite of the other problems.
Enter 2011, though, and Cabrera is owned in 68 percent of leagues thanks to a recent spike in pickups. His .190 ISO has everything to do with this—Cabrera has already exceeded last season's homer total in just 167 plate appearances. The "just 167 plate appearances" part is the one that needs emphasis—let's say it again, but this time we'll use italics: in just 167 plate appearances—because that is nowhere near a full season of data. If you pick up Cabrera because you think he is some source of power that will do a fine job of producing for you in fantasy, then you are ignoring the 2,657 plate appearances that came before that told you he wouldn't.
Cabrera has uses in extremely deep leagues and in AL-only, but if you're tempted to bet on him keeping up his torrid pace, I suggest you never go to Vegas.
Erick Aybar, Los Angeles Angels (59 percent owned, +24 owned)
He hit .298/.337/.407 from 2008 through 2009, though, and is at .285/.328/.381 since he became a full-time player, a stretch that includes that dreadful 2010 line. There are far worse players you could put at shortstop than Aybar, though with his surge in ownership, position(s), and the expected decline from his current numbers, he also fits the bill of a sell-high candidate, assuming you can find a buyer desperate enough to grab him.
Jake Arrieta, Baltimore Orioles (55 percent owned, +21 percent)
Even with it included, we're talking about a pitcher with a 4.17 ERA and peripherals that are similar to the above. He look a lot like the pitcher PECOTA thought he would be at the 80th and 90th percentiles—that means the current performance was in the cards, and Arrieta didn't even have to wait for the flop to play them.
Eric Hosmer, Kansas City Royals (82 percent owned, +20 percent)
There wasn't much activity in adds this week for AL- and NL-only caliber players—the significant jumps in ownership were all for mixed leaguers. Making a push for any of these players (non-Melky division) via trade in their respective leagues could have an impact on your season, though.