Here are seven players for your consideration to either acquire or send packing.
Nyjer Morgan – Owners drafted him for speed and Morgan has been successful on just 14 of 24 SB attempts. Also, he was hitting so poorly as the Nationals’ leadoff man that he was dropped lower in the order. But Morgan has played well the last two weeks while everyone is dumping on him. In his last 14 games (13 starts), Morgan is batting .286 with 9 R and 5 SB in 7 attempts. He is a three-category performer who struggled while suffering through a poor BABIP stretch. ZiPS (U) shows him with 35 SB and that seems to be on the low side of what he should be expected to do given his speed and recent success ratio.
Francisco Rodriguez – Ask any Mets fan or Rodriguez owner if they feel comfortable when he comes on to nail down the save. Tuesday he allowed a 2-run HR in the ninth inning but held on for the save, prompting Metsdradamus to label it an “8” on the Coronary Meter. But if you do not watch the games and just view the results in the box scores, you will see that Rodriguez’ results are more than satisfactory. In the last 30 games, he is tied with Jonathan Broxton for most Saves in the majors with 9. In that time span he has a nice 12.09 K/9 ratio. And even though hitters are enjoying a .393 BABIP against Rodriguez, he has a very acceptable 2.97 ERA in that stretch. The results can be even better in the future if his BABIP regresses to normal levels.
James Shields – He has dropped three straight decisions and now carries his highest ERA (4.55) since his rookie season in 2006. But Shields is on pace to record his highest K/9 (8.68) of his career and his xFIP of 3.39 is a personal best. The Rays righty is scuffling right now due to a 50 percent strand rate, the lowest of any qualified pitcher in the last 30 days. Once he improves with runners on base, Shields will be a pitcher to help in all four categories thanks to Tampa Bay’s offense and the chance for big Win totals.
Matt Cain – Everyone thought Cain was lucky last year but he is topping even that pace with his current hot streak. In 2009, Cain had an ERA 1.33 lower than his xFIP. This year it is 2.49 lower thanks to a 94.8 LOB% in his last six starts. Now, Cain’s ERA has been better than his xFIP each season of his career, so it is certainly not all due to luck. Still, now is a good time to look to sell high on a pitcher who has gone 4-0 with a 0.55 ERA in his last four starts.
Aubrey Huff – After a poor start to the season, Huff has been on an extended hot streak. In his last 41 games he is batting .333 with 8 HR and 26 RBIs. That has caused his ownership in CBS Sports leagues to rise from 40 to 75 percent. But it is questionable if Huff can maintain this pace going forward and there are also some playing time concerns going forward. With Buster Posey and Pat Burrell both making the case for consistent at-bats, Huff may find it hard to match last year’s 536 ABs.
Colby Rasmus – Last year LHP devoured Rasmus as they limited him to a .474 OPS in 115 PA. But this year Rasmus has a .951 OPS versus southpaws in 44 PA and he is faring even better against RHP. In his last 30 games, Rasmus has been hitting everything in sight, as he has a .444 BABIP and a 25.0 HR/FB rate. Neither the overall success nor the results versus LHP are likely to keep up their current pace, making Rasmus a sell-high candidate. ZiPS (R) has him for a .269 AVG and 11 HR, and it is hard to believe his trade value is not higher than that.
Mark Teixeira – A notorious slow starter, Teixeira got off to his usual slow start and then turned things around in May. But ZiPS was not all that thrilled with Teixeira to start the year and the updated version shows reduced totals in AVG, HR and RBIs. I am going to side with history and predict that Teixeira exceeds his ZiPS (U) totals of .252-27-104.
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