By Will Overton
We have some slow starters coming around in Pence, Phillips and Reyes headlining the list of whose stock is up this week while the stock down looks at a couple guys with big April’s who haven’t been able to maintain things in May. So here is your weekly stock report and a discussion on what to do with those who are on the rise and those who are falling.
(All stats are for May 22 – May 28)
Whose Stock Is Up:
Adrian Beltre (14 – 29, 4 R, 2 HR, 12 RBI): The Red Sox took a lot of heat for the signing of Adrian Beltre in the offseason, but he’s done nothing but quiet the critics and now that the Sox are turning things around Beltre is right in the thick of it driving in guys on a daily basis. The power of 2004 doesn’t exist anymore, but prior to last year’s disappointment he had hit 20 or more homeruns in 7 of his last 9 seasons. Indications show also that the average may not last too much longer either as Beltre has only hit .300 once in his career, but sometimes strange things happen and right now he’s done it for two months straight without much of a cold streak to speak of, I think this may be the real deal.
Jose Reyes (13 – 27, 6 R, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 2 SB): I’m pretty sure Reyes is back in full force now and if you can still get him for anything less than what he’s worth in your league than do it now. The speed was a concern because of the injury, but I think he has relieved those fears with his 11 SB’s thus far. He got his first HR this week, and hopefully that’s a sign of powerful things to come. Let’s not forget Reyes is only 26 and should just now be getting close to his power potential.
Brandon Phillips (8 – 29, 8 R, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 4 SB): It took a little while, but Phillips seems to be rounding into form and I am trying to buy him in a couple leagues while his value may still be a bit down, cause it won’t stay that way long. He’s finding both his speed and his power this month while hitting close to .280 which is about right for Phillips given his stats in recent years. Phillips has been a 20/20 guy two years in a row and a 30/30 guy the year before. Buy now if you’re going to buy.
Josh Willingham (9 – 19, 6 R, 4 HR, 11 RBI): Willingham has spent time on both sides of this list this year, but ultimately he’s having a fantastic year, only to be owned in less than 80% of ESPN leagues and 54% of Yahoo leagues. He had a hit in every game this week and a run in all but one not to mention those power numbers. Ask anyone who leads the NL in OBP and I bet no one guesses Willingham, but its him as he also leads the league in walks. So you have a guy with 10 HR’s, 34 RBI and is getting on base more than anyone. I think he deserves to be owned in a few more leagues.
Hunter Pence (10 – 24, 8 R, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 3 SB): Well if you didn’t already know it, Hunter Pence is officially back and if you stayed with him through that atrocious April your being rewarded well this month. He’s found his power and all signs point to him getting back to his usual numbers of right around 25 HR’s. I doubt your getting him cheap anymore, but if you think his owner is still blinded by that April you should at least give it a shot.
Whose Stock Is Down:
Alex Gonzalez (2 – 17, 2 R, 0 HR, 0 RBI): He’s only hitting .229 in the month of May and the power seems to be slipping. I don’t think it’s time to cut bait on Gonzalez yet because prior to this week he was hitting the ball pretty well for a stretch. I would however try and trade him now as I think his value may have peaked and I am not sure if you’re going to get much from this point on.
B.J. Upton (2 – 16, 2 R, 0 HR, 0 RBI, 1 SB): Upton has been struggling something mightily throughout the month of May and he just doesn’t seem to be snapping out of it. They gave him a day off this week to try and get some rest and he responded with a hit and a run last night, but I don’t know how much one hit did to encourage Upton’s owners. I’m probably not the best guy to speak on Upton cause I am an unashamed believer, but I do think he’s going to turn things around soon. If I didn’t already have him I would probably be trying to get him, he’s too good of a player to be this bad.
Marlon Byrd (2 – 20, 1 R, 0 HR, 1 RBI): The average has dropped 45 points since May 16th. I don’t think anyone thought he could maintain an average around .350, with a career average of .280 which seems to be where Byrd is headed once again. But it is still within reason that he could end this year with stats similar to last year which was 20 HR and 89 RBI, which is something you’ll take from a guy who is likely your 4th or 5th OF in 5 OF formats.
Jason Bartlett (2 – 20, 0 R, 0 HR, 0 RBI): The offensive production just has not been there this year and I can’t sit here and say that it’s definitely coming. Bartlett’s season last year kind of came out of nowhere as prior to it his most value was in the SB category. So far this year he isn’t even stealing bases, one of the few guys on the Rays who is not. His average should bounce back some as he is a career .280 hitter, but I think last year’s 14 HR’s was a bit lucky and I don’t expect that to be reproduced. He’s owned in almost every league, but I’d be ok with dropping him in a standard league if you can get, Rafeal Furcal, Alexei Ramirez or Alcides Escobar, all owned in fewer leagues and all guys I like more than Bartlett.
Chase Headley (4 – 27, 2 R, 0 HR, 1 RBI): A dominant April was followed up by a subpar May and leaving Headley owners which one was the real Headley. I think the answer is somewhere in between. I don’t think Headley can maintain the .322 average he had in April, but he’s not a .223 guy either. I expect to see something right around .270 for the rest of the year and I do think his power is a bit better than the three homeruns he has so far. I feel like this is just a slump and Headley will bounce back, just not to April form perhaps.
What are you thinking about the week we just saw? Who would be on your list and what would you do with the guys on mine? Any guys you want to buy or sell from this list?