Studs that were Duds

Even the best fantasy players post poor seasons. Often times, one owner’s disappointment can be another owner’s opportunity. Fantasy baseball is such a “what have you done for me lately” game, that some owners will give up on premier talent after a down season. While it’s never easy to make a deal in fantasy — particularly when the players involved are considered elite — sometimes it pays to inquire whether a certain player is available in your leagues. Here are some of those elite players that could be available at a lower price in your leagues right now.

Jason Heyward

What went wrong: Injuries and general ineffectiveness depressed Heyward’s overall line to .227/.319/.389 in his sophomore season. While his batting average can be explained be a poor BABIP, his complete lack of power is very concerning. Many analysts speculated that Heyward altered his swing following his shoulder injury, which contributed to his lack of power.

Why should you ask about Heyward: Don’t be fooled by his most recent season, this is still the same player that posted a five win season at age 21. Heyward still has loads of potential, and his team already trusts him to bat in the middle of the lineup. As long as he’s recovered from his shoulder injury, he’s going to live up to his promising rookie season.

Hanley Ramirez

What went wrong: Did anything go right for Ramirez last season? Between injuries, ineffectiveness and a bad attitude, the once premier shortstop posted a rather pedestrian season. His season was so poor that the Miami Marlins are taking a hard look at Jose Reyes this off-season — which could move Ramirez off of the shortstop position.

Why should you ask about Ramirez: Ramirez has a track record of success at the thinnest fantasy position. A chance to acquire an elite shortstop rarely ever presents itself in most leagues. Now would be the time to strike, as his owner might be sick of all the drama that seems to follow Ramirez. Based on his history, he’s a great bet to return to form next season.

Carl Crawford

What went wrong: The short answer is “everything.” In his first season with Boston, Crawford failed to hit for average, get on base or steal bases. All in all, he was a huge disappointment — in fantasy and in real life.

Why should you ask about Crawford: Because he was such a major bust last season, Crawford’s owner might think it’s time for Crawford to be someone else’s problem. His struggles were more highly publicized than most players since he plays in a major market, and that could be a benefit for owners looking to acquire elite talent on the cheap. Like Ramirez, Crawford has a history of posting elite seasons, so we shouldn’t let one poor year influence how we view him as a player. There’s also no way he only steals eighteen bases again next season, right?

There’s no guarantee these players are even available in your leagues right now, but savvy owners will at least inquire about their availability. Never underestimate how frustrated an owner can get after a player posts a disappointing season. Sometimes, even the most elite talent is available for less than you think. It never hurts to ask.

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Chris is a blogger for He has also contributed to Sports on Earth, the 2013 Hard Ball Times Baseball Annual, ESPN, FanGraphs and RotoGraphs. He tries to be funny on twitter @Chris_Cwik.

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What about Choo, Dunn, Mauer, Suzuki, Bay,…any of them fit in the buy low/bounce back category or are they all on the downswing?


Choo is the safest bet there.