Cold out of the gate

The flip side of April’s custom of unfamiliar names atop the leaderboards is those studs mired in the dumps. Here I’m going to discuss two players whose poor starts I feel are indeed harbingers of poor seasons, as well as two players whose poor starts I chalk up to simply small sample size.

Concerning cold starts

Salvador Perez
Perez has been the recipient of considerable superlatives from many around the Kansas City Royals organization. He burst onto the scene last year and tore the cover off the ball before injuring himself. This left many fantasy owners eager to own Perez in 2013, expecting a real offensive star at the catcher position.

The first week of 2013 has not been kind to Perez though, who is sporting an ugly .200/.226/.233 line. If this keeps up, he’ll be demoted from the four/five slot in the batting order. One thing I worry about with Perez is that throughout his minor league career, he was not the power threat many investing in him have pegged him. Granted, we are talking about seasons when Perez was 18–20 years old, but his profile seemed more like a free swinger higher average type.

I don’t blame his owners for rolling the dice, but I would not be surprised if he struggles on and off throughout the entire season and finishes up being borderline waiver wire material in standard leagues.

Jason Kipnis
2012 was a tale of two halves for the 55th pre-ranked fantasy player of 2013. In the final 69 games of the season, Kipnis posted a .232/.322/.328 line, with 33 runs, 27 RBIs, three homers, and 11 steals. There aren’t too many players pre-ranked as a top-five option at their position who spent half of 2012 as a replacement-level player.

I deliberately avoided Kipnis is my drafts, given his price, and if I were a Kipnis owner and could get close to preseason value for him, I’d jump ship. He rode a surprising 2011 call-up into a great first half of 2012 and is now coming back to earth. I’d be quite surprised if he finishes the season ranked in the top 100.

What, me worry?

R.A. Dickey.
Dickey is certainly a player about whom there are varying opinions and, therefore, different owners probably have different expectations for him. While I did not expect him to repeat his 2012 Cy Young season, he did have a three-year track record of being highly effective and I was expecting a top 12-18 starter. I am not ready to jump off that position yet. Knuckleball pitchers will take their share of lumps and have their share of bad outings. As long as Dickey gets a handle on his control—he’s been uncharacteristically wild in his first two outings—he’ll settle in and be quite valuable.

Mike Trout
I am covering Trout here only because there was a segment of owners who did not believe him to be a legitimate No. 1 overall pick. One week into the season, he hasn’t stolen a base or hit a longball and has scored only three times. Don’t fret though. The skill set is still there and even with a decent amount of regression, it’s hard to see Trout not turning in a top-five season.

Now is the time to start knocking on the door of Trout owners. Those who selected him begrudgingly on the word of others and against their personal inclinations may be feeling skeptical and vindicated by this start and may be looking for a mulligan in their first round pick. Offer a late first-rounder or early second-rounder for him… it can’t hurt.

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