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Fantasy Baseball 2011: Four Hitters to Buy Now

Here are four hitters fantasy owners should buy now. I was trading emails with Paul Sporer from Baseball by Paul, on Tuesday discussing  the use of the term "buy low". We have all seen the articles that tell you to "buy low" on Mark Teixeira after his annual slow April start. What does that really mean? You won't find a fantasy owner willing to deal Teixeira for .70 on the dollar. What Paul and I agreed upon is, "buy low" really means to just "buy". Pay market price for Teixeira, or whoever, since from this point forward, we all know Tex is going to end the year with a better BA than he has right now. So pay market price for him, and be happy at the end of the year.

Here are a few guys who are underperforming expectations who will improve as the season goes on.

Ian Kinsler, TEX-Kinsler has started the season hitting just .213-.360-.492 with 4 HRs, 9 RBIs, 12 runs scored and 1 SB. His BA is probably hurting your overall team BA at this point, but it is largely due to the fact that his BABIP is a putrid .184. Kinsler's career BABIP is .289, so his BA is due to regress to the mean and should increase from this point forward. What owners should also know is that Kinsler has reduced his K rate slightly, from 15% in 2010 to 13% this year, and increased his BB rate from 12% to 16%. All Kinsler needs is a little more luck and he will be helping your fantasy team across the board.

Andrew McCutchen, PIT-McCutchen is one of my favorite fantasy hitters, but he is off to a slow start this season at the plate and the basepaths. Manager Clint Hurdle said the Pirates would be running more this season, but we have seen just 1 SB from McCutchen to date. In addition, he is hitting only .230-.356-.426 with 3 HRs, 10 RBIs, 7 runs scored and 1 SB. Like Kinsler, his BABIP is just .244 this season, but that should come around as he owns a career BABIP of .314. Couple other points is that McCutchen is striking out more-21% vs 16% in 2010, but he is also walking more-15% vs 11% last year. And, he is hitting for more power as his ISO sits at .197 vs a career ISO of .174. McCutchen should start putting it together real soon.

Carl Crawford, BOS-no one can explain his slow start, but I wouldn't be concerned just yet. Crawford is hitting just .143-.182-.175 with zero HRs, 3 runs scored, 2 RBIs and 2 SBs. Heck, he probably had several GAMES last year where he scored 3 runs, drove in 2 and stole 2 bases. Crawford's BABIP is just .170 right now, so he has been very unlucky to date. He is hitting the same number of flyballs as last year, but is hitting less line drives, and more groundballs, but overall, he is pretty much the same hitter as last year, and it is just a matter of time before he starts to hit.

Alex Rios-Rios is off to a slow start as well, as he is hitting just .194-.280-.254 with no home runs, 4 RBIs, 10 runs scored and 2 SBs, His BABIP of .236 is well below his career BABIP of .315, but on a positive note, he is being more selective at the plate, as he is walking at a 11% clip right now. His FB rate has dropped from 38% to 29%, but he is hitting more line drives and groundballs as a result. One would think if he is hitting more linedrives, his BA would be fine, but that is not the case. If he can keep the LD rate around 20% and increase his FB rate, we could see Rios duplicate his 2010 season where he went 21-88-89-.34.