With just hours before the end of the (non-waiver) trade deadline, here are some risers and fallers in the American League outfield.
Alex Gordon – After a pretty slow start this season caused a lot of people to think that his 2011 was a fluke, Gordon has been excellent for the past two months. His June average was .349 and his July average has fallen all the way back down to .333 so far. I had him down in the fifth tier to start July and that ranking is looking increasingly silly. In case anyone hasn’t been paying attention to their team lately, or can only remember Gordon’s start to the season, I’d go ahead and trade for him. The final two months are upon us and Gordon is a valuable asset in any format.
Michael Brantley – Brantley is another guy who I’ve underrated all season long. I was skeptical of his ability to continue hitting, but he hasn’t stopped yet. In the month of July his triple slash is a very impressive .321/.409/.531 and has 12 walks against just nine strikeouts. For all intents and purposes, Brantley has been hitting like Miguel Cabrera in July. Brantley even has a shot at stealing double digit bases the rest of the season. If for some reason he’s available in your ESPN league, I’d pick him up; he’s owned in 70% of those leagues. He should be easier to come by in Yahoo! formats, where his ownership rate is only at 38%.
David Murphy – He had me buying all of his stock after a very frisky month of June, but July has been a wake up call. His seasonal line is still impressive, but this month he has come back down to Earth. He’s still useful if you play in OBP leagues, but I probably shouldn’t have had him in the fifth tier. A .272 rest-of-season average is okay, but he doesn’t offer much power or speed to offset that mediocrity.
Brett Gardner – *insert heavy sigh here* I honestly thought Brett Gardner would be an effective and useful fantasy player this year. Clearly that hasn’t—and won’t—be the case. After yet another setback in his elbow rehab, Gardner was again shut down and was set up for another round of MRI’s. It seems as though it is a strong possibility that he is out for the season now. He is still owned in over 30% of both ESPN and Yahoo! leagues, and I can’t help but feel at fault for that. I kept recommending to hang on to him for weeks (and months) at a time. I felt like I was trying to stem the tide of bad news by saying “Remain calm! All is well!” Now I feel like Kevin Bacon at the end of Animal House. Unless you play in a keeper league, I’d go ahead and drop him. I’m waiving the white flag on Gardner.