Bargains and Busts

Evaluating the commodities in baseball's ever-changing market
July 02, 2006

C

BUY
Gerald Laird, Rangers
A strong first half (.341 BA, .367 OBP, .588 SLG through Sunday) puts him inposition to supplant Rod Barajas for the starting job.

SELL
A.J. Pierzynski, White Sox
Here's why his .321 BA is a mirage: He's hitting .353 on balls in play, farabove his mark of .301 entering this season.

1B

BUY
Justin Morneau, Twins
He hit 10 of his 19 home runs during Minnesota's recent 20-11 run, making him asafe bet to become the first Twin since 1987 to hit 30.

SELL
Chris Shelton, Tigers
His plate discipline is vanishing along with his power (four homers since May13) and batting average (.171 in his last 23 games).

2B

BUY
Marcus Giles, Braves
Despite a .239 BA, all his peripherals and batted-ball breakdowns are in linewith past years. Expect .290 with 25 doubles from here on.

SELL
Dan Uggla, Marlins
His high strikeout rate (45 in 265 at bats) and 2-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratioportend a falloff in batting average from his lofty .313.

SS

BUY
Jason Bartlett, Twins
Another Michael Young in the making, he should not have lost the starting job ayear ago. After his first 10 games of '06, he was hitting .412.

SELL
Craig Counsell, Diamondbacks
Two home runs and the worst strikeout-to-walk ratio (2.69-to-1) of his career?Phenom Stephen Drew is waiting in the wings.

3B

BUY
Eric Chavez, A's
An uptick in his ground ball rate has cut into his power (14 home runs) andbatting average (.255). Look for more fly balls--and a turnaround.

SELL
Freddy Sanchez, Pirates
A legit .300 hitter, he won't keep up his .351 pace. If Sanchez falters,high-paid Joe Randa could squeeze him out of the lineup.

LF

BUY
Adam Dunn, Reds
His .224 batting average on balls in play (BABIP) can only go up, and that willdrive his OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage) over 1.000.

SELL
Luis Gonzalez, Diamondbacks
A decrease in his home runs per fly ball reveals a loss of power--not asurprise at age 38. He's no longer a .300 hitter, either.

CF

BUY
David DeJesus, Royals
A move to leftfield (now that Joey Gathright is around) should save his legsand let him reach his .300 (with walks and power)
potential.

SELL
Gary Matthews Jr., Rangers
He was a big part of Texas's first-half success, but he's a .258 career hitterbatting .332. A reality check is coming up.

RF

BUY
Jason Lane, Astros
This Baseball Prospectus favorite hit for power with few walks in '05 and isnow drawing walks with a .208 BA. He'll get it together soon.

SELL
Jeff Francoeur, Braves
He's on pace for 33 homers and 115 RBIs, but it's one of the worst 30-100seasons in modern history. His .271 OBP is killing Atlanta.

P

BUY
Felix Hernandez, Mariners
He has struck out a batter an inning and three times as many as he's walked,while enduring one of the game's highest BABIPs (.335).

SELL
Mark Buehrle, White Sox
He's striking out only 3.7 batters per nine innings and allowing more homers(11 total) and walks (2.3 per nine innings) than a year ago.

RP

BUY
Jorge Julio, Diamondbacks
He allowed only four hits in 11 innings after being traded to Arizona, where hehas the closer's job and the skills to keep it.

SELL

Jason Isringhausen, Cardinals
This isn't just a minor slump. At more than seven walks per nine innings thisyear, he's crossed into Mitch Williams territory.

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HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)