Buy Low, Sell High: O's Roberts older but still better than most

Publish date:

There's a name for people who don't make trades during the year, but it's not fit to print on a family-friendly column. A healthy league is one with many trades, and all season long you can come here to get the kind of edge you need to get ahead ...

Brian Roberts, Orioles: There is nothing wrong with Roberts. OK, he chooses to come to the plate to a series of collection of crappy late-90s hip-hop, but other than that there is nothing wrong with Roberts. His peripherals over the season's first month-plus look a lot like they did in 2005, when he hit .314 with 18 homers and 27 steals. His line drive rate is outstanding (24.0 percent) and he doesn't strike out (13.7 percent). His walk rate is down (7.8 percent), and at 33 he's lost a quarter of a step over the years, but these things don't add up to a .220 batting average on balls in play and a .209 overall average. Right now, Roberts is hitting it well enough to hover around a .300 average. At this point he's more of a 20-steal guy than the 40-steal guy he used to be, and durability is an issue, but he's clearly a top 10, bordering on top 5, fantasy second baseman who can be had for dirt cheap.

Matt Garza, Cubs: Garza is enjoying his first season in the N.L., even if his career-worst 4.17 ERA doesn't indicate it. Garza won't miss bats at the kind of rate he is now (11.78 K/9, compared to his 7.40 career mark), and he'll miss Tampa's outstanding defense every time a ball leaks through the Cubs' sieve D. Though, as bad as Chicago is in the field, Garza's league-high .382 opponent BABIP is incredibly fluky. Plus, he's simply throwing it really well right now. On top of the strikeouts, his groundball percentage is a career-best (48.0 percent). At 27-years old, he's entering his prime and he's facing inferior lineups in the N.L. Get him on the cheap before the dolt who owns him realizes he's moved into the upper echelon of pitchers.

Michael Cuddyer, Twins: Lost in the all-around awfulness of the Twins' offensive performance so far (they must be wistfully nostalgic for Gene Larkin at Target Field) is the fact that Cuddyer has picked up second base eligibility in Yahoo leagues. Get it through tour head now: his '09 (32 HRs) was a fluke. But Cuddyer could give you 15 HRs from the 2B spot from here on in. Someday soon Joe Mauer and Delmon Young will rejoin him in the Twins lineup, Ron Gardenhire will figure out who's been giving umpires those hilarious novelty lineup cards with Danny Valencia batting fifth, Cuddyer will actually hit a few home runs with men on base, and all will be right with the world. He's worth stashing if he's on the waiver wire in your league. And if someone in your deeper league already has him, he'll be worth the ham sandwich you'll have to give up to get him.

Josh Johnson, Marlins: I'm not saying Johnson isn't great, just that I don't think he'll be a Cy Young candidate again come September. Right now the obvious red flag is his .219 opponents BABIP. With a mediocre defense behind him, that's beyond unsustainable. And despite the fact that his 4.2 percent home run/flyball ratio held a year ago, I find it hard to believe it will hold again. But mostly I think he's in for some frustrating nights now that Logan Morrison is back. Morrison is solid offensively, but he's a disaster in left field. On top of that, considering Chris Coghlan was a subpar left fielder, I don't buy the strong early advanced metrics returns on Coghlan's move to centerfield for a second. Johnson is an elite pitcher, but there's a strong chance his defense will let him down. Considering the premium haul you can get for him, now's the time to make a move.

Brennan Boesch, Tigers: Boesch has made some slight improvements over last season, posting slight improvements in strikeout and walk rates, not surprising for a 26-year old. But he's also hitting .343 on balls in play despite a mediocre line drive percentage (16.3 percent) and average speed. His batting average is .298 right now, but those are the peripherals of a .250 hitter. Runs scored (25, tied for 12th in the majors) has been his best contribution, but those will obviously come down along with his average. Factor in his second-half collapse of a year ago (.990 OPS pre-Break, .459 OPS post-Break) and you have the perfect storm for a sell-high candidate.

Do you have questions? Concerns? Unflinching boredom? Following me on Twitter (@GGramling_SI) won't help, but you should do it anyway.