Jim Johnson- RP, Oakland Athletics
Jim Johnson has heard plenty of boos in Oakland after a rocky start to 2014, and I’m sure he’s even booed himself in the privacy of his own home. This is a guy that has compiled back to back 50+ save seasons, with ERAs under 3 in both seasons, and an All-Star appearance in 2012. That being said, he is 31 years old, I don’t think baseball’s grim reaper is here to collect his career just yet. Yes, he has a 4.96 ERA, 10 walks (he had 18 all of last season), and lost the closer job, but things have turned around since then. Before Sunday, he had made ten straight appearances without letting up an earned run, and if a guy with his reputation can get back on track, I see him netting 30 saves for any fantasy owner willing to take a chance on him.
Allen Craig- OF, St. Louis Cardinals
Allen Craig is another player that has enough of a resume to assume that he will eventually come around. He plays on a team with a balanced lineup, is only 29 years old, and has hit over .300 with an OBP over .350 for the past three years. With that in mind, you’d have to imagine that when he does break out it’s going to be in a big way, since his current .221 AVG and a.278 OBP is a far cry from his usual production. To me, this seems like a pretty sure fire candidate to buy-low on, and a guy that may make you look like a fantasy guru before the season is over.
Ian Desmond- SS, Washington Nationals
It is always nice to have a shortstop on your team that has the ability to supply power, and that’s exactly what Ian Desmond is. Sure, he has only hit .219 with a .270 OBP this season, but his power and RBI numbers are still pretty on point (5 HR 20 RBI). If you trust the last couple of years, that have seen Desmond hit over.280 and post an OBP over.330, then take the plunge. And hey, if you do take a chance on him and he’s awful, take solace in the fact that your shortstop is able to grow a tremendous mustache.
Alexei Ramirez- SS, Chicago White Sox
Ramirez is having a great season right now, but if history is any indicator, and it usually is, he is eventually going to come down to earth. The power he showed upon his arrival in 2008 (21 HR) has dropped off considerably, to the point where he hasn’t cracked double digits in home runs for the past three years. Also, he is currently batting .327, which is tantalizing, but his best season average wise was also 2008, where he hit .291. You’re better off taking a guy like JJ Hardy, who is similar is age, but has a rate of production that is far more predictable.
Mark Buehrle- SP, Toronto Blue Jays
Mark Buehrle is the Papa John’s Pizza of pitching. He is consistent, and everyone is ok with him, but he’s never going to be your number one choice. Historically, he finishes each year around .500 in the win-loss column, and sports an ERA in the high threes or low fours. This year, he is 7-1, with an 2.04 ERA. Don’t trick yourself into thinking that he’s going to win twenty games and finish with an ERA below three. In order for order to maintain balance in the universe, Mark Buehrle must finish his season with average numbers, and that’s just what he’ll do. If you’ve been the beneficiary of his success so far, then great, but seriously, don’t get greedy.
Dee Gordon- 2B, Los Angeles Dodgers
Dee Gordon leads the league in steals right now, but his success otherwise is a bit of a mystery. The Dodger infielder has never played in more than 87 games in a season, and that alone is cause for skepticism when it comes to Gordon maintaining his current numbers. The steals will be there either way, so if you can handle a potential significant dip in AVG and OBP, then go for it, but I’d keep an eye on him.