Written by Jonathan Leshanski
Published: 24 April 2008
This week instead of scanning the waiver wires for unclaimed gems we’re going to take a look at nine guys that have started slow. In many leagues these players are becoming trade bait or their owners are ready to drop them. Almost everybody on this list is hitting below the Mendoza line, but trying to trade for them - especially those in their prime might be a bit hard. Take a look a both the potential and the downside with us.
Troy Tulowitzki (SS, Rockies):
Anyone trading for Tulowitzki should be reminding the current owner of a guy named Clint Barmes who also vanished seemingly overnight from the Rockies lineup. And if Tulo doesn’t start hitting and soon, he might well find himself back at AAA or splitting time. Still he’s a pure hitter that struggled last April too (hitting .244 with 2 home runs). His lack of power (0 home runs) and his .133 average at Coors right now has to open your mind to some doubts.
J.J. Hardy (SS, Brewers):
People are giving up on Hardy left and right and he’s just barely on the right side of .200. His inconsistency has led to him being moved between the number two and number seven slot in the lineup. In the seven spot his value falls a ton - especially since he’ll get fewer quality pitches to hit. Still it’s hard to forget that this guy hit .277-26-80 last year and there is no reason to think that all that talent has vanished. Of course last year he hit .282-6-17 in the month of April.
Jose Guillen (OF, Royals):
The 32 year old Guillen is only batting .165 for the month of April but he’s a notoriously slow starter. Last year he managed just a .239 average in the month of April with 2 home runs. That’s not far off this year’s pace and there is no reason to expect a big decline from last year’s .290-23-99 season. With a proven track record he’s far more likely to produce than inexperienced players like Tulowitzki and Hardy.
Carlos Delgado (1B, Mets):
Is he just old and done or is April just the cruelest month for Delgado? Actually he hit .188 last April and still finished at .258-24-87. If that’s all you are hoping for he probably can come close to those numbers. Still he looks rather clueless at the plate right now and he’s old enough to be on the edge of the cliff when it comes to skills.
Carlos Pena (1B, Rays):
Coming into Wednesday at .194 Pena sure doesn’t look quite like the out of nowhere slugger that he did last year. Admittedly 6 of his 13 hits have been home runs and his .194 compares fairly well with the .213 he hit last April. Still, he’s a great buy low candidate right now.
David Ortiz (1B, Red Sox):
I know I’m going to get hate e-mails for putting “Big Papi” on this list, especially as he has 16 RBI’s already, but there are owners right now who are saying .181 and 33 years old… he’s done. Take advantage of them. Odds are you’ll still have to cough up some top talent to steal him, but maybe not quite as much.
Rickie Weeks (2B, Brewers):
That .192 average is made a little more digestible due to the accompanying 3 home runs, 18 runs, and five steals. If you want to do a little theft yourself you might remind his owners that he only hit .235 last year and looks to be on the down slide - just don’t believe it yourself.
Gary Sheffield (OF, Tigers):
Sheffield is likely to limp into the 500 home run club this season but I worry that the limp might be quite literal. He has bad shoulders, a finger that needs time to heal and a .192 batting average 15 games into the season. Sheffield, for all his skills, is at best a gamble at this point.
Kenji Johjima (C, Mariners):
With guys like Mike Napoli on the waiver wire anyone holding onto Johjima has to be wondering if a guy hitting .207 with no home runs and just 5 RBIs is still worthwhile. Play on that and try to steal a guy who’ll probably finish with at least a dozen home runs and a .280 average. Still if you want reason to be worried this is Johjima’s worst April ever in the Majors.