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NL only fantasy thoughts: Early 2013 Disappointments

Ray Guilfoyle takes a look at some hitters and pitchers who have disappointed NL only league owners thus far in 2013.


Last week, I took a look at some hitters and pitchers who have outperformed their preseason rankings in 2013. Today, I am going to take a look at some hitters and pitchers who have disappointed fantasy owners thus far. Every year, there are going to be players who under-perform their draft ranking, and every year there are first round picks who turn out to be busts. Here are a three hitters and three pitchers who have driven fantasy owners nuts this season.

So should you sell low or sit tight? Read on.

Matt Kemp

Yeah, he's the heart and soul of the Dodgers, but has just one home run this season. I have written several times in these pages that his offseason shoulder surgery is impacting his power, and we may not see it come back till midseason at this point. His .079 ISO and .342 SLG are signs the shoulder is not full strength, yet I have not see any of the Dodgers beat writers say it. My decision to keep him at $47 in one of my NL only keeper leagues is looking very foolish right now. Should you sell low on him? Well, I don't see 30 home runs from him. I think he might struggle to hit 25 home runs this season.

B.J. Upton

I was pretty high on Upton coming into the season. Actually, i was pretty high on both Uptons coming into the season, yet Justin is the one who is actually hitting well so far. His older brother, Boss Man, is making Rey Ordonez look like Ted Williams this season. Upton is hitting just .154-.233-.279 with 3 HRs, 5 RBI and 3 stolen bases in his first 117 plate appearances. He still has time to regress to the mean, but he will have to have a few huge months to hit 25 home runs this season. His .197 BABIP tells me he should raise his batting average around 100 points before season's end. Some of those hits will end up in the seats, and some of those hits will result in more steals. He is a solid buy low candidate.

Jay Bruce

I was high on Bruce coming into the season, as I opined that he could approach 40 HRs in 2013. Well, he is going to have to hit 39 home runs if he is to reach 40 this season. He is hitting just .254-.306-.358 with just ONE home run, 18 runs and 15 RBI. The telling stats are his .105 ISO and .358 SLG right now. What is absolutely shocking is that he owns a .379 BABIP right now. Bruce hits in one of the best hitters parks in the game, and he is well known for his streakiness, so now is probably the time to buy low on him.

Stephen Strasburg

Strasburg gave up 4 or more runs six times in 28 starts last season. This season he has given up 4 or more runs twice in his first 7 starts. Strasburg is just 1-4 in those 7 starts, with a 3.45 ERA, 3.58 FIP, and a strikeout rate that has dropped from 11.13 K/9 to 8.93 K/9. He has already given up 5 home runs in 44.1 innings, after giving up 15 in 159.1 innings last season.

Cole Hamels

I am of the belief that Hamels left about $20 million on the table by signing a long term contract before becoming a free agent. He is 1-4 with a 4.34 ERA, 4.44 FIP and a 1.18 WHIP. His strikeout rate is down by a strikeout per nine, and like Strasburg, Hamels has struggled with the long ball this season. Hamels has given up 7 home runs in 45.2 innings, after giving up just 24 in 215.1 innings last season.

Matt Cain

If Cain pitched against the Dodgers every game, he would win the NL Cy Young award hands down, but we all know he will have to face other teams this season. Cain has looked like the 2013 version of Tim Lincecum thus far, as he is just 1-2 with a 5.57 ERA, 5.16 WHIP and 1.26 WHIP. Like Hamels and Strasburg, Cain has been bitten by the long ball this season, giving up 9 home runs in 42 innings, after giving up 21 in 219.1 innings last season.

All three of these pitchers are ace-level starters, so I see each of them returning to form real soon. If for some reason an owner in your league is panicking, make an offer and see if you can buy one of hem for .80 on the dollar.