Fantasy baseball isn’t just about picking the right players. It’s about picking the right players at the right time.
There’s a tendency to look at a player who is having a bad or good first month and somehow project that whatever they are doing so far is going to continue during the entire season. Sure, sometimes that happens. A player will simply have an extremely good year or bad year. Some of that has to do with luck (a player can have good or bad BABIP in a particular year) or circumstance (Christian Yelich going from Miami to Milwaukee) or injury.
But in most cases, players eventually end up at some type of career norm. Here’s a look at some players who are worth buying low right now because they should takeoff soon or at least return to their norm:
Andrew Benintendi OF Boston
While a .276 batting average, 5 HR and 20 RBI isn’t terrible, Benny is a fixture at the top of the Red Sox order that has started slow due to a postseason hangover. The key with Benintendi, who hit 20 HR in 2017, is that he’s still not quite 25 years old, meaning that he should be able to take another step in growth. More importantly, the Red Sox are starting to roll again. A 20 HR season with a .290 110 runs is surely possible as Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez start to heat up behind him.
Nick Castellanos OF Detroit
Castellanos, 27, has always been a talented hitter and he broke out the past two seasons with 26 and 23 HR. This season was expected to be even better in his age 27 season. But a quarter of the way into the season he has only 3 HR to go with a .278 BA and 12 RBI. Yes, Detroit has a bad lineup, so pitchers don’t need to give Castellanos much to hit. Still, his slugging percentage (.465) is not far off the past two season, so bet on a bounce back the rest of the way.
Nomar Mazara OF Texas
Mazara has had 20 HR in each of his first three seasons in the majors and is on pace again this season. The concern is whether his .227 BA is sustainable for him to remain in the lineup. He was nearly a .260 hitter for his career coming into the season, so expect a bounce back. His problem so far this season appears to be his reduced walk rate (he has only 7 this season, although it’s not a drastic drop). The other thing to consider is that Mazara is still young at age 24, He’s roughly 1,700 at bats into his career. Mazara is not only likely to see a decent jump in his average, it’s worth betting that he could make a big improvement soon.
Shohei Ohtani OF/DH Los Angels Angels
Ohtani the pitcher won’t happen this season as he is still recovering from Tommy John surgery. Ohtani the hitter seems as somewhat of an afterthought. After the experiment of trying him in the outfield on off days from pitching, Ohtani is now going to hit most likely in the DH spot only. After hitting .285 with 22 HR 61 RBI in only 367 at bats last year, he will be deployed in the heart of the Angels lineup in a attempt to add some juice to that sluggish lineup outside of Mike Trout. The interesting part is the Angels are talking about playing him against lefties.
Carlos Carrasco SP Cleveland
Carrasco has been one of the most consistent starting pitchers the past four seasons. That’s why this year’s 3 Wins and 4.91 ERA are surprising. They are downright weird when you consider his strikeout rate (12.6 per 9 IP) and his walk rate (1.6) are at career-best levels. The problem? He’s giving up a lot of hits. More than one per inning and his home runs allowed per nine innings has nearly doubled to 1.8. That has contributed to his 1.21 WHIP, but that isn’t too far off of his three-year average of 1.12. But remember, this has only been 40.1 IP this season. Outside of a couple clunkers he has actually pitched well.