Madison Bumgarner looks mortal, Jordan Zimmerman is walking people, Danny Salazar is slithering out from Triple A, and it’s already the end of Week 2. Remember that patience is the best virtue in fantasy baseball; don’t drop any of the established players you drafted in the early rounds for a flash in the pan. Cursing Mat Latos and his descendants is healthy, but dropping him for Ubaldo Jiminez is an overreaction. Here are three hitters and three pitchers to buy or sell after Week 2.
Dexter Fowler: Ah, the age-old art of being seduced by Dexter Fowler. He dangles steals, power, and average in front of your face, but at the end of the season, the results just aren’t there. The dream of a .280 average with 20/20 is long gone, but if there’s any manager who can be trusted with squeezing every bit of value out of Fowler on the field, its Joe Maddon.
Steven Souza: If you were patient with Souza over Week 1, take your homers and RBIs to the bank with a smile on your face. If you dropped him or didn’t draft him, you don’t have long before his price goes through the roof. His power is legit, and he should form a nice one-two punch in the otherwise punchless Rays offense.
Ender Inciarte: The stat that made me buy into Inciarte is his 95.7% career contact rate on pitches in the zone. Yes, his contact rate on pitches outside of the zone is 78.9%, so he basically just makes contact with everything—but that’s the name of his game. His current BABIP of .386 is obviously unsustainable, but he has the footspeed (he swiped 19 bags last season) to beat out throws from the infield and keep his average above .280. Think of him as a poor man’s Jose Altuve.
Jordan Zimmerman: It’s time to pounce on Jordan Zimmerman and his unseemly 6.14 ERA. Just cover up the ugly numbers, repeat to yourself that this is a guy who didn’t allow more than three walks in any of his starts last season, and offer up a trade. ZiPS projects him to post a 3.20 ERA over the rest of the season, which seems more realistic than his current pace given his immaculate track record.
Anthony DeSclafini: The young pitcher passed the eye test with flying colours over his first two starts with the Reds, posting a 1.38 ERA with 11 whiffs to just three walks. DeSclafini face off against the Brewers and the Cubs next, which should give him a chance to dominate and pick up fantasy buzz. He’ll probably be shut down before the end of the season, so grab him now and try to flip him for something later.
Danny Salazar: Salazar is this season’s quintessential post-hype guy, looking like the force of nature that everybody thought he would be last season. Of course, mowing down the Twins lineup isn’t exactly the toughest test, but his breaking ball looked absolutely filthy in his season debut on Saturday—eight of his ten strikeouts came via high-80s breaking balls, all swinging. His fastball velocity (topping out at 99 MPH) has never been the issue, and the improvement of his off-speed stuff is a sign of good things to come.
Kendrys Morales: For the record, I think Morales is a solid hitter with underrated power and patience. But a hitter with negative speed posting a .412 BABIP is not something to buy in the long run. He’ll improve on his horrible 2014 campaign, but his average has nowhere to go but down.
Michael Taylor: With Denard Span coming off the DL, Taylor won’t be getting enough at bats to be rostered. That said, with Bryce Harper and Jayson Werth, the Nationals outfield is injury prone enough to give Taylor another chance at some point this season. His strikeout rate is too high to justify a starting role just yet, but if he can improve in that regard, his power/speed potential is valuable.
Dalton Pompey: The top of the high-octane Blue Jays lineup is a gold mine for counting stats, but Pompey isn’t ready to deliver the goods yet. His long swing forces him into a lot of popouts and strikeouts, and he doesn’t walk nearly enough to help in OBP leagues. With Michael Saunders coming back from injury soon and Kevin Pillar setting the Rogers Centre outfield grass on fire through the first two weeks, I’m also worried about Pompey’s playing time going forward.
Ubaldo Jiminez: Jiminez is the ultimate hot/cold pitcher. He’ll be untouchable one week and then give up seven earned runs the next. He’s a viable streaming option against weaker lineups, but I wouldn’t play him against any team in the AL East except maybe the Rays. His ERA should end up above 4.00 once again after another rollercoaster season.
Travis Wood: Here’s a formula for failure as a major league pitcher: average 88.4 MPH on your fastball, pitch to contact, and have a diverse but very average five-pitch arsenal. That’s essentially what Travis Wood is working with. He showed that his 2013 was a mirage with an awful 5.03 ERA last season, and his FIP of 4.38 was actually lower than his expected FIP, meaning he got lucky with a few flyballs that should have left the park. Sell hard.
Yovani Gallardo: Take advantage of a string of excellent outings to fetch some value from an opponent who still remembers Gallardo’s glory days in Milwaukee. He’ll get you around 200 innings, but his velocity and strikeout rate have been declining over the past three seasons, and pitching at the Arlington bandbox isn’t a great way to resurrect a fading career.