Weekly Planner: Breakouts and busts from draft's early rounds
Every failure is an opportunity in disguise. Those are your words of wisdom for this week, so let's try to capitalize on some of the fantasy disappointments to date.
Last week we analyzed the top five at each position after a month into the season. Now, let's take a look at the breakouts and busts from the first five rounds of the SI.com
There are actually a lot of mediocre performers from the early rounds. Albert Pujols hasn't been his same dominant self, and while Hanley Ramirez is coming off his best week of the season, he still hasn't gotten started in his age-27 season. It just makes them nice buy-low candidates.
Longoria has the excuse of injury, but he is back and ready to get going. Ramirez also stole four bases last week and will erupt with the bat. It will be hard to get these guys still but you can pounce on some weaker and impatient fantasy owners, perhaps.
Zimmerman shouldn't have been a first-rounder, but his abdominal injury should keep him out awhile. Gonzalez hasn't gotten started either, and you have to be a bit wary that last season could have been an aberration. Both of these players look more certain to be full-season busts than Ramirez or Longoria.
He was the best pick of the first round and is off to his usual dominant start. His current pace might be the only unreachable one of the first round, though: 24-4, 2.19 ERA, 279 strikeouts in 261 2/3 innings.
A new month has been a new beginning for Crawford. He is hitting .387 in May and is getting ready to move up the Red Sox batting order again. Sabathia is famously a better second-half pitcher, even if his start hasn't been bad, he stands to be closer to the best pitcher in fantasy here on out.
The injury risks have proven to be injury busts. Utley is getting ready to return this month, and Hamilton could, too, but they could be frustrating fantasy players all season.
Like Round 1, there hasn't been a true gem of a pick. Everyone here should be better more productive from here on out.
A couple of injured and winless starters here that should be productive winners for fantasy owners, and a pair of injury-risk Red Sox who have yet to take off. It was a hard winter and spring, but Boston is going to have its market correction. Adrian Gonzalez has heated up with Crawford and Jacoby Ellsbury. Youkilis and Pedroia will follow.
Mauer is still weeks from returning and it is becoming more apparent that injuries and the demands of the position are making him far less intriguing than he looked in 2009. We should have all been so wise to assume that was a once-in-a-lifetime season for a catcher.
Johnson remains a Cy Young candidate, but we already had a market correction with his first start in May. He will be a top-10 starter, though, so don't sell too willingly.
The track record of power with these two veterans is too long and consistent for them to not get hot, even in their new homes. It tends to take a little bit to adjust, so jump if someone is selling this early.
Heyward is an incredible talent who will become a fantasy first-rounder someday, but you have to wonder if the hype and expectations were heaped on him too soon. V-Mart is nearing that age of breakdown for fantasy catchers and he is slugging in the toughest pitcher's park of his career. This could be a career decline for him.
These two pitchers are going to be big winners throughout this season, but they are pitching like the best two pitchers in fantasy. They are running a little hot. You should expect Weaver to be around fifth-best and Haren to be 10th-best, so sell if someone buys them as the best two arms of fantasy.
Liriano has already enjoyed his correction, tossing a no-hitter last time out. Latos should be much better as he builds up strength in his young shoulder. We warned you of Latos in the preseason as a Verducci Effect bust candidate, but it might be time to go the other way on him.
The injury bug bites again. Some players like Cruz are just predisposed to that little critter. He is already past the age to be confident he will ever put a full healthy season together.
Fittingly, the fifth round is indicative of how this season's early round picks are going. Everyone here stands to be better than they have shown. Very few early picks have been better than anticipated, save for some pitchers.
It is also curious to note the first pick of Round 6 in the SI.com draft: Jose Bautista. He is looking capable of posting another monster season, somewhat surprisingly. Bautista is the second-highest scoring hitter to Lance Berkman to date. Bautista is hitting .352 with 10 homers and 30 walks to just 17 strikeouts. He has become an OPS monster.
Now on to the rest of our regular Monday fantasy trend offerings ...
Francisco Liriano popped out of the fantasy doghouse with a no-hitter early last week, but Justin Verlander upstaged him with a gem of his own. The Verlander one was far more impressive, because it took a 12-pitch at-bat leading to a walk to keep him from perfection. For the season, Verlander might be a mere 3-3, but he is 7-for-7 with quality starts. It is yet another great season for pitchers and he is the fourth pitcher in five weeks to be the SI.com fantasy player of the week.
This could help you deal with injuries or forecast the returns of your stars:
1. 1B Eric Hosmer, KC
Hosmer got the early call to the majors and had a decent first weekend (3-for-9, .333). He is going to be a bit over-owned because of the hype and his deep position, but he has a good chance to make the impact Ike Davis made a season ago, albeit with a better average. Arrieta is 6-for-7 in quality starts and proving to be an effective option for mixed leagues now, especially with this two-start week like Hammel. The Royals also see Cabrera and Aviles string some hits and fantasy ownership together.
1. C Nick Hundley, SD
Hundley (oblique), Lyon (shoulder) and Freese (wrist) are on the DL, while Harang and Harrison hit the skids after great starts. Harang and Harrison each tossed quality starts last time out, though, a signal they could be candidates to add back again.
1. 1B Hosmer, KC
Roberts has cooled considerably, but he did have a three-hit day last week. Joyce and Lind are finally performing to their potential and look like solid starts in all formats. Cueto has returned from the DL in Mike Leake's rotation spot and not Wood's. Hammel has had five consecutive quality starts and is heading into a two-start week that gives him great value. Drew is dealing with a nagging groin injury that is going to affect him for a few weeks, apparently.