Working The Wire: Looking At Some Slow Starters You Should Pickup And Some You Shouldn’t

by Will Overton

Every year fantasy baseball players worldwide overreact in the month of April. And if you are a smart owner you can capitalize on their mistakes. In this week’s ‘Working The Wire’ we are looking at six guys who are off to some pretty rough starts who are starting to see their owner percentages decline. I’ll discuss whether or not I see them turning things around and what you should do if you either own them or have a chance to get them on your waiver wire.

Keep in mind that how you handle slow starts also depends on the kind of league you play in. There is less room for slow starters in a standard league with lots of options for available guys. However in deep leagues or AL/NL only leagues, the choices might be slim enough that you are better off with the underwhelming player you drafted. I’ll try and make sure to hit on which leagues each guy should be owned in.

Matt Wieters: This is year three for Matt Wieters and people are still waiting for that potential we’ve all heard so much about. So far, we’re not seeing it this season. Going into last night’s game Wieters was 5 -for- 26 so far with no home runs and only one extra-base hit. He had a double and homer last night which is a good sign. What is concerning is that his past struggles have come against lefties, but  he hasn’t faced many this season, so his slow start has mostly been against righties. He looked to turn things around last night and should probably not be dropped in anything but the shallowest of leagues.

Pedro Alvarez: Not quite the start we were all hoping for out of the hot shot prospect who got our attention with 16 home runs in just over half a year last season. So far he doesn’t have any 11 games in and he’s only hitting .200. A young kid who’s not living up to expectations makes a fantasy baseball manager trigger happy and over anxious to drop a guy. In this case I would find a warm place for him on the bench and see if he turns it around. There are some hot hitting 3B out there right now you can plug in until Alvarez is ready to get back in the lineup.

Vernon Wells: This time last year Vernon Wells was the hottest guy in fantasy baseball. This year fantasy players can’t get him off their team fast enough, and who can blame them. He’s hitting under .100, showing no power and he’s not running the few times he’s gotten on base. There was a lot of concern about Wells heading to Los Angeles and so far those concerns are being backed up. In standard leagues he’s worth dropping and if he’s been dropped I wouldn’t hurry to grab him. In deep leagues you can bench him a bit longer before cutting him loose, but don’t wait too long.

Andres Torres: There has been a lot of speculation about whether Torres would end up on the DL with a hip flexor injury. Yesterday we found out that he won’t be and he could be back in the lineup as soon as this weekend. Meanwhile he’s been dropped in over 20% of leagues because of the injury and the waiting game. There have been questions about whether he was a one hit wonder last season, and I am not convinced he wasn’t. But regardless, until he proves it one way or another he’s a good pickup in all formats.

Madison Bumgarner: Unlike his Giants teammate, Bumgarner’s spot on so many waiver wires has nothing to do with injury and everything to do with a very rough first two outings. He’s only managed eight innings in which he’s given up eight runs, walked seven guys and only struck out five. I can’t blame people for dropping the guy after that, but I still think he has value if you can get him off the wire and have room for him on the bench for the time being. He had a strong showing last year after being called up, and looked great in the spring. The two starts are certainly concerning, but my hunch is he turns it around here at some point relatively soon.

Phil Hughes: If you thought those numbers from Bumgarner were bad, Phil Hughes first two starts put those to shame. He’s only managed to go six innings in two games and his ERA is 16.50 with a 2.67 WHIP. And unlike Bumgarner the leash for Hughes is very short, with many clamoring for Bartolo Colon to start. Hughes didn’t finish strong last year with only one of the last four months posting an ERA under 4.85. His velocity is dropping and he just seems worn down from last year’s workload. In deep leagues I might hold him on the bench, and certainly in AL-Only leagues. But in standard leagues he should be on the waiver wire, and he should be left there.

Do you own any of these guys? What are you doing with them? And if you don’t own them would you pick them up if they were dropped? Give us your thoughts.


  1. rob says:

    I was just lookoing at other options for Weiters two days ago. He just hit a HR, had 2 hits. He’s bought himself another week or two at least.

  2. Terry says:

    I’m brilliant enough to have drafted two of these guys. I dropped Wells and I’ve benched Bumgarner. He might be gone too after his next start. There’s enough decent pitching out there to justify dropping him.

  3. Will Overton says:

    Yeah. I think giving Bumgarner another start or two to get things straight is a good move.

    Wells obviously won’t be this bad all year, but I don’t think he’ll ever be good enough to make you regret dropping him.

  4. Chad says:

    Bumgarner and Hughes are having the same effect on ERA’s and WHIP’s that Clay Buccholtz is having on mine.

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