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Buy Low, Buy Now: NL Slow Starters

Kevin Nielsen examines some players who have had rough starts to the season and could represent buy-low opportunities in your fantasy league.

Ike Davis is off to another very slow start this season.
Ike Davis is off to another very slow start this season.
Mike Stobe

Now is the time to start sending out trade offers for players who have gotten off to slow starts. After all, the worst another owner can say is "no". You don't really have anything to lose. Keep the offers sane but attempt to get yourself a decent bargain at the same time. If possible, deal a player who is playing over his head right now such as John Buck. Yes, Buck has been great and might continue to be great for another week or two but when his hot streak ends he's going to end up being John Buck again. If you own any of these guys then I encourage you to stick with them for the most part.

Here are some National League targets to attempt to buy low on:


Jonathan Lucroy has is hitting under .200 with 0 HR thus far. He plays in a great lineup in a hitter's ballpark. I still expect at least a .275 average with at least 12 HR out of him for the season. He's been batting mostly in the 5th or 6th spot in the order, the production will come.

Russell Martin only has 2 hits on the season but he's definitely someone to target in NL-Only leagues or two-catcher leagues. His average won't be pretty but 12+ HR with a handful of steals is to be expected.

First Base

Ike Davis is off to another terrible start to the season. If his owner forgets that he hit .265 with 27 HR after June 8th last year then you will have a bargain trade on your hands.

Brandon Belt had a tremendous spring but has started slow, especially after dealing with a stomach virus for a few days last week. He's a guy you may be able to buy for 50 cents on the dollar right now and he would make for a decent CI or DH in many leagues.

Second Base

Neil Walker is hitting under .200 with no HR thus far. Nobody in that Pirates lineup has been hitting much of anything except for Starling Marte. You have to still expect .270 with 12+ HR and possibly 5+ SB out of Walker at worst if he stays healthy.


This is going to sound kind of crazy but I think Starlin Castro is worth a shot. He's only got 1 HR and 1 SB thus far and perhaps his owner was expecting much more. If you can combine a hot starter like Jean Segura with another strong player you might have a decent shot for Castro depending on the experience level of your league-mates. In a mixed league, Jed Lowrie might get Castro straight up right now.

Third Base

Another Pirate, Pedro Alvarez has only 3 hits on the season with 0 HR. Similar to Russell Martin, the average won't be pretty but the HR's will come.


B.J. Upton only has 3 hits thus far and could be worrying some owners.

Matt Kemp is a real long-shot but if someone was already concerned about his shoulder then there may be an opportunity there.

Starting Pitcher

Roy Halladay might truly be pretty much done. He might never have an ERA under 4 again. He also might turn things around and have decent value from here on out. It's worth taking a shot on him with a lowball offer.

Ryan Vogelsong has a 7.15 ERA with a 3.13 FIP. He's not exactly a guy that many were considering a sure thing going into the season which could present an opportunity. He was actually dropped in my NL-Only league... crazy, I know. I picked him up. He'll be fine.

Relief Pitcher

Rafael Soriano has been rough early on but he probably has as long a leash as anyone despite the presence of Drew Storen and Tyler Clippard. The Nationals didn't give Soriano $14M a year to pitch the 7th or 8th inning.

Steve Cishek won't get many saves for the Marlins but he will likely be closing for the foreseeable future even if he continues to struggle. There's not much else in that bullpen and they may want to build his trade value.