As we move deeper into the season, it can be instructive to check out transaction trends across all leagues. Today, we’ll look at a pair of hitters and pitchers on both sides of the equation. Should you follow the wisdom of the crowds, or go against the grain? Let’s find out.
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Yonder Alonso, 1B, Oakland Athletics
Alonso raked in spring training, but most fantasy owners didn’t bat an eye. At this point, most people know that spring stats are fairly weak predictors of regular season performance. Sometimes, though, they’re the result of a tangible change in approach. That’s the case with Alonso, who in his age-30 season is finally tapping into his power. Given how underwhelming he’d been previously – his 12 home runs this season represent both a career high and equal his prior two seasons’ total combined – it was easy to forget that he was once a top prospect. If he continues elevating the ball, he’s a good bet to keep producing. Buy.
A.J. Griffin, SP, Texas Rangers
After breaking out in 2013, Griffin missed the next two seasons with arm problems. In his return last season, the veteran’s performance was uninspiring. Thanks largely to an inability to keep the ball in the yard, Griffin posted a 5.07 ERA and 1.36 WHIP in 119 innings. He’s off to a much better start this year, with a 2.45 ERA and 0.85 WHIP through six turns. Home runs have still been an issue, though, and he’s become even more extreme in his fly-ball tendencies. When his .200 BABIP inevitably rises, things could get ugly in a hurry. Sell.
Steven Souza, OF, Tampa Bay Rays
Souza has cooled after a blistering start, and combined with him missing four games with a hand injury last week, that was enough to convince many fantasy owners to jump ship. A deeper look provides ammunition for both sides of the argument. Souza has cut down on whiffs, but he’s also making authoritative contact less often. He’s hitting a lot of line drives, but not elevating the ball as much as usual. His walks are up, but he’s also benefiting from a .372 BABIP. When in doubt, defer to previous performance. Souza’s hasn’t been anything to write home about. Sell.
Brandon McCarthy, SP, Los Angeles Dodgers
One of the game’s more cerebral players, McCarthy’s body hasn’t kept up with his mind. He’s pitched more than 170 innings just once in his career, and made only 13 starts combined in 2015 and 2016. He got off to a great start this season, but finds himself dealing with injury yet again as he’s currently on the shelf with shoulder trouble. McCarthy is an extremely high-maintenance fantasy asset, and his production doesn’t justify the hassle. Sell.
Kyle Bishop is a lead MLB columnist at RotoBaller.com. His articles and Fantasy Baseball Rankingsare your secret weapon for winning fantasy leagues.