By Rich Arleo
Some batters and pitchers on the other teams in your fantasy baseball league are becoming real drags. A few MLB players on your fantasy baseball team are performing better than you expected. Is it time to move in? KFFL.com’s Fantasy Baseball Insider Trading series is your accomplice when it’s time to do shady business in your rotisserie or head-to-head baseball game.
Has the 26-year-old finally found the sweet stroke many have been waiting for the past few years? Joyce is raking to the tune of a .365 average and .434 OBP with 26 runs, seven home runs and 21 RBIs.
Taking a look at Joyce’s minor league stats, in 519 games played he hit just .275. He had decent power numbers, but the average was never anything special, although he had a nice OBP of .362. He should hit for some decent power, but the pace that Joyce is on seems unsustainable, especially since his contact rate is hovering around 77 percent.
Sanchez has shown this before
Also, owners can’t forget the injury concerns with Joyce. He suffered through elbow issues last year and had a calf strain suffered prior to the start of 2009 that lingered, plus occasional back pain. He has been healthy thus far, but the injury concerns are certainly there.
Joyce’s bat has been somewhat highly regarded since his days with the Detroit Tigers, so there are plenty of owners who think this could finally be the year. It certainly could be, but if you find one of them and can get a safer, quality option in return, it may be worthwhile.
After a solid rookie season, the 27-year-old first baseman has become a must-start in all leagues, with a .325 average, a .406 OBP, seven home runs, 25 runs and 26 RBIs.
One big criticism of Sanchez is that he doesn’t have the power you expect from the first base position, but with seven home runs already, he’s on pace to hit more than 25. He’s being more selective at the plate, walking at a higher rate (11.7 percent) and an improved BB/K ratio of 0.81. His swing percentage at balls outside the strike zone is at 27.6, down from 34.8 percent last year.
Sanchez is hitting fourth in a decent Florida lineup, which means plenty of opportunities to drive in and score runs, especially once the struggling Hanley Ramirez figures things out at the plate. While his average on balls in play (.352) will certainly begin to normalize, his strong foundation should soften the ball. His HR/RB percentage (13.7) isn’t outrageous to predict a massive fall-off.
With Sanchez, it looks like a case of a player avoiding a sophomore slump. The signs are showing that in the majors he’s become the more patient, selective hitter he was in the minors, and it’s paying off. Unless you find Sanchez’s No. 1 fan, who’s willing to pay a respectable price for him, and not a skeptic who projects him to become James Loney, keep him and enjoy what should continue to be a breakout season.