Now is the time to sell Nelson Cruz and Michael Brantley


As with each baseball season, there are plenty of players that are well over or well under their career averages. Finding the players that will either shed their horrid slumps, or cool off after hot starts can be the difference between winning and losing your league.

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How does one go about finding the overachievers and underachievers? Season numbers vs. careeer numbers are a good place to start. But everyone has to have a breakout season sometime. What if a players is in the midst of one of those? Sometimes you just have to go with your gut…….and hope you are reading the right column!

Welcome to the last section of the show. In this piece, we will be looking at the outfielders. Since most leagues do not distinguish between right, left, and center, I will put them all together, and give you more options. Due to this, it will be broken up into two pieces.  The first part is here.

The starting pitchers are here. The relief pitchers are here. The catchers are here. The first basemen are here. The second basemen are here. The third basemen are here. The shortstops are here.

Cleveland Indians left fielder Michael Brantley (23) during the game against the Texas Rangers. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Sell high options:

Nelson Cruz, Orioles: Simply put, Cruz is on an unsustainable pace.  He is leading the majors with 21 home runs, putting him on pace for 50.  His previous career high is 33.  He is also on pace for about 120 RBI. His career high is 90. You see where I’m going with this. While having a career year at age 33 is not unheard of, it is not very common either. He should go 30-90 this year, which would be arguably his most productive season, but keep in mind that he is already at 21-55.

Michael Brantley, Indians: Brantley already has a career high in home runs.  On June 15th.  Ten was his previous high set last season.  He hit his 11th yesterday.  Brantley has always been a pretty good hitter.  He was at .280 for his career coming into this season, so it is not unreasonable to expect him to hit .300.  And with 11 homers and 9 steals, a 20-20 season seems likely, but I wouldn’t expect him to have a 30-30 season, which is almost what he is on pace for.  Sell him to someone that thinks he will and make sure you get that kind of value on him.

Charlie Blackmon, Rockies: With all of the injuries out in that outfield, Blackmon will continue to play every day.  I just don’t think he will produce like he has up to this point.  His is hitting .301 and is on pace for 28 homers and 28 steals.  He had 9 homers and 13 steals in 148 career games coming into this season.  Yes, he will continue to have a breakout year, but I would set your expectations at closer to 20-20 than 30-30.  Same with Brantley.  They are having great years, and will continue to be productive.  They just won’t do so at their current pace.  So sell them if you find someone that still believes.

George Springer, Astros: He is being way overvalued in redraft leagues.  The 12 home runs are nice, and he will likely come close to 25, but the thing that concerns me is the strikeouts.  He has whiffed 76 times in just 200 at bats.  Those are numbers that would make Mark Reynolds proud.  I would not by any means part with him in keeper leagues, but in redraft leagues, you will get far more for him that you would get from him if you hang on to him.  He has the potential to be great.  It just won’t happen this year.

Melky Cabrera, Blue Jays: Melky has put up some good numbers this year so far.  They are rivaling or exceeding the pace of his breakout 2011 season.  So why am I selling?  The validity of that season is in question with his suspension for PED use the next year, and he only hit three homers last year.  I think he has trouble hitting the 22 bombs his is on track for, and he isn’t really running anymore.  He has only four steals so far.  I would not be surprised if he hits .300, but I would be he will be at or under 20 homers and 10 steals.  His trade value is far above that right now.

Come back this week when we wil focus on drop/adds for deep leagues!