There have been several players that have started off quite slowly. This article is a guide to see who has been starting off a little slowly. Try to deal for these guys with expectations of future success, just don’t pay that price for them. (All stats are through 5.4.2005.)
3B Adrian Beltre, Seattle Mariners: Many a person jumped on the “what the heck is Paul DePodesta thinking” bandwagon when he let third baseman Adrian Beltre leave Los Angeles. Now many people are jumping on the “Paul DePodesta is a genius, go Dodgers” bandwagon with Beltre’s start. After switching leagues and moving to a pitcher’s park, Beltre’s stats have fallen quite a bit to the tune of 2 homers, 16 RBIs, and a .221 batting average. Hype these numbers and deal for him, he’ll hit 28 more homers, 84 more RBIs, and hit probably .310 the rest of the way.
3B Eric Chavez, Oakland Athletics: Here is a guy that is through and through a second half hitter. What does that mean? He’s not going to hit that great the first half. I stupidly drafted Chavez, rather than waiting a little while and then trading diddly squat to get him from a desperate owner. Chavez has two homers, ten RBIs, and a batting average of .202. Take a look at Chavvy’s career stats and deal for him.
CF Steve Finley, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim: Steve Finley is absolutely putrid in April. His batting average is a career .235 without much power in this month. However, when the calendar turns to May, Finley begins to heat up to the tune of .286 and some nice homer totals. Finley is already showing signs of heating up, with two homers in the previous two days.
LF/RF Brian Giles, San Diego Padres: Does anybody remember him from his days in Pittsburgh? Well, I’m sure quite a few of you do. I don’t think he can produce numbers like those this year, but he will be quite serviceable. Giles is in the middle of a 0 for 22 slump, which means owners will want to dump him even more readily. Special note for you: he’s not striking out much in this slump, but hitting the ball. He is also a notorious slow starter, so history is on your side if you get him too.
2B Marcus Giles, Atlanta Braves: The other Giles, Marcus, has been a little bit of a slump lately. He has been 0 for his last 18 or so, which means he’ll start hitting sometime soon. Why? Because Chipper Jones is back in the lineup and the Braves are playing against the Astros and at Coors Field soon. He only has one home run so far, so expect something along the lines of 19 more.
1B Todd Helton, Colorado Rockies: When I drafted Helton, I was like “this is a money pick.” Boy was I wrong, at least for the month of April. Helton hit homers on the 2nd and 4th of May and is showing serious signs of heating up. Just imagine a volcano waiting to erupt, and you’ve got Helton at the plate. This guy is getting ready to do something special.
CF Andruw Jones, Atlanta Braves: Jones has always been prone to striking out, but he is seeing the ball a little bit better right now. He has hit safely in five of the past six games. With Chipper Jones back in the lineup, the Braves’ offense seems to be heating up and with that should come Andruw.
3B Mike Lowell, Florida Marlins: Another third baseman? Must be a cold time for the hot corner. Hehe! Lowell is probably making an adjustment to hitting fifth, as witnessed by his .196 batting average and weak other numbers (2 homers and eight RBIs). With that lineup, Lowell should be penciled in for 23 more homers and 82 more RBIs, which would be a pretty good year for the rest of the season. Note: Miguel Cabrera and Carlos Delgado have not gotten on fire just yet.
C Victor Martinez, Cleveland Indians: Another player that I drafted for my “must-win” league. Martinez is sitting at .198 with two homers and eight runs driven in. I don’t expect those numbers to last very long. While no one should believe that he’ll drive in 108 runs again or hit 23 homers, a .290/20/90 season is very possible and very good.
SP Oliver Perez, Pittsburgh Pirates: (Swallows hard) I think I am advising you to acquire Oliver Perez. I believe there is a chance that he finds himself. Maybe. Perhaps. I would avoid starting Perez against good teams, only against weak offenses like Pittsburgh (darn it!) or Milwaukee or teams of that ilk. Perez has it in him to hit a hot streak and be dominating, but I don’t know what’s gotten into him so far this year. Well, besides the 7.11 ERA and 1.87 WHIP.
OF Aaron Rowand, Chicago White Sox: In his career, Rowand has a .304 average in the second half. He definitely has the talent to hit there again, plus have some power, especially in that home park. Just don’t be surprised if it takes him a while to get going, because he is really streaky.
SP Curt Schilling, Boston Red Sox: Apparently Curt Schilling could have broken his ankle if he had kept pitching this season. Apparently I shouldn’t have drafted Curt Schilling in my “must win” league. His stats for this season are atrocious (7.13 ERA and 1.75 WHIP). Only acquire him if you A) are desperate for pitching, B) are a diehard Red Sox fan, C) believe in miracles, and D) are desperate for a pitching miracle.
1B Jim Thome, Philadelphia Phillies: Thome is currently on the DL with back problems, so hype them up and get him cheap. I know back problems are bad for hitters, but with someone with as much protection in the lineup when he gets back, as much talent as Thome does, and the friendliness of the home park as Thome does, he should be traded for. Who is gonna be smart enough to do so?
SP Jeff Weaver, Los Angeles Dodgers of Los Angeles: Weaver is a talented pitcher who ran into some back luck at the beginning of the season. That would be an ample scouting report for him last year. Weaver also ran into a little bit of bad luck this year—one of those starts came at Coors—so if you have faith in guys who throw quality starts and strikeout hitters, Weaver is your man. Plus, he pitches in a pitcher’s park, always a good thing.
SP Barry Zito, Oakland A’s: “He’s no longer the Big One in Oakland, Rich Harden is.” That’s what I said a while back about this lefty, but who knows what Zito has got up his sleeve. I would trade a serviceable starter to get him. Not a great one, mind you, but a decent one. Just take a gamble and see what happens if you’re falling out of the race.