Here are seven players for your consideration to either acquire or send packing.
Jose Reyes – Those owners who gambled on Reyes might be ready to cut bait. In addition to his .232 AVG, Reyes’ walk rate is less than half of what it was a season ago, he has yet to hit a single HR after reaching double-digits in his last three healthy seasons and he ranks fifth in the majors with a 20.0 IFFB%. But since returning to the leadoff spot 10 games ago, Reyes is batting .283 with 8 R and 3 SB. It’s too late to get him for pennies on the dollar but RoS ZiPS shows him with 30 SB the rest of the way. And those will be worthy paying for if they come with above average R and AVG marks.
Wandy Rodriguez – His BB/9 is up, while his K/9 and HR/9 are down from a year ago. It adds up to an ERA 1.31 higher than it was in 2009 and an xFIP 76 points above last year’s mark. Rodriguez has struggled this year with his curveball. The pitch which had been such a strong offering for the previous three seasons now checks in with a wCB/C of -2.55, a change of 4.5 runs from 2009. It is hard to imagine his curve being so poor the rest of the season – the most likely scenarios are that he either improves with it from here on out or ends up on the DL. If his back can hold up, Rodriguez is a good buy-low candidate.
Ervin Santana – His numbers look solid overall but Santana has pitched very well after getting roughed up in his first two starts of the year. He allowed 9 ER in his first 11.2 IP but since then Santana has given up 19 ER in 57.1 IP for a 2.98 ERA. While his average FB velocity is still down from his big 2008 season, Santana is getting good mileage with his slider. On Tuesday’s start against the Blue Jays, Santana got 14 swinging strikes with his slider. His xFIP and RoS ZiPS both show Santana as a sell candidate but with each start he looks further removed from 2009’s 5.03 ERA and closer the 2008 version, even without the great fastball.
Adrian Beltre – Many people expected Beltre to bounce back in 2010 with his move to Fenway Park. Safeco Field suppressed power from RH hitters and many thought that Beltran would at least get back to his mid-20s HR power, if not more than that. But Beltre has a career-low 28.9 FB%, making a big HR season virtually impossible. Right now Beltre’s value is tied up in his .327 AVG, which is the result of his .381 BABIP. Beltre has topped .300 just once in his career. He has a .293 lifetime BABIP and his career-best is the .325 he posted in 2004.
Alex Rios – He has rebounded nicely from last year’s dismal performance and is on pace for 34 HR and 53 SB. But Rios has a career-high 14.3 HR/FB rate and a 45.7 FB%, also a personal-best. And not only is Rios hitting more fly balls, he has a 53.9 FB% in his home park, where he has hit six of his nine HR. Perhaps Rios has a completely different approach at the plate at home than he does on the road. But it is more likely to be a fluke. Odds are against Rios hitting 34 HR and even the 24 that Updated ZiPS projects might be optimistic. Clearly, at age 29, a career-high in HR would not be unexpected, but do not expect him to shatter his previous best of 24 HR. Also, Rios’ career-high in SB is 32 and in his other five full seasons in the majors, he has averaged 17 SB per year.
Alfonso Soriano – George Steinbrenner once dubbed Dave Winfield “Mr. May” and that moniker might work for Soriano, too. He is batting .347 with 6 HR and 16 RBIs this month with six games left to play. Lifetime, Soriano has 67 HR in May, the most of any month in his career. Soriano currently has a .363 BABIP and a .306 ISO, both of which would easily be career-bests. Fantasy owners likely got Soriano at a huge discount after his poor season in 2009. While they should not just give him away, neither should his owners look to get too greedy with a player who has missed 98 games the past two seasons.
Joe Saunders – I am a big Saunders fan because he consistently delivers Wins despite poor peripherals. Even with a 3-6 record this year, Saunders has a 51-28 lifetime record. After starting the season 1-5 with a 7.04 ERA, Saunders has seemingly gotten back on track in his last four games, going 2-1 with a 1.57 ERA. I like him to better his RoS ZiPS projection of a 9-8 record and 4.84 ERA.