Fantasy Baseball Insider Trading: Dan Uggla, Asdrubal Cabrera, more

by Rich Arleo on May 26, 2011 @ 14:50:54 PDT

 


Some batters and pitchers on the other teams in your fantasy baseball league are becoming real drags. A few MLB players on your fantasy baseball team are performing better than you expected. Is it time to move in? KFFL.com's Fantasy Baseball Insider Trading series is your accomplice when it's time to do shady business in your rotisserie or head-to-head baseball game.

Buy

Jose Tabata, Pittsburgh Pirates

After a quick start, with nine steals in April, Tabata has just three in May as his average dipped at the end of April into May. Tabata's biggest asset, historically, has been his solid average. Naturally, he'll add value as that mark returns to levels more in line with his past performance with steals and some runs.

Tabata has had some bad luck with a BABIP under .290, and he has actually shown some good plate discipline. He is walking a very solid 13.9 percent of the time, more than five points higher than his career (minors and majors) rate. He's swinging at fewer balls (21.7 percent as opposed to 31.9 percent his rookie year). His contact rate has slightly increased while his swinging strike percentage has dipped by nearly two points.

You'll have to hurry on Tabata, as he is eight for his last 18 and showing signs of waking. Look to grab him from an owner who may fear that Tabata's struggles will repeat.

Dan Uggla, Atlanta Braves

Cleveland Indians SS Asdrubal Cabrera
Cabrera: too hot, but still handle

If you hate bad puns, turn away - it's been an Uggla season for Atlanta's new second baseman. In all seriousness, the prized offseason acquisition has struggled to say the least.

The 31-year-old has hit seven home runs but hasn't done much else, hitting to the tune of .180 and driving in just while 15 sitting in the middle of the lineup. Uggla owners didn't expect a .300 average, but expectations were likely a bit inflated after he hit .287 in 2010.

He is still a career .258 hitter, and owners should expect something more along those lines. Uggla is clearly pressing in his new surroundings. He's swinging more often, at balls and strikes, and his walk rate has suffered because of it.

If Uggla can fix his plate discipline, he should see better pitches. His average and home runs should be on the way up. He's already showing signs this month that he's getting back to his more patient ways.

Sell

Francisco Rodriguez, New York Mets

K-Rod has bounced back from an embarrassing 2010 off the field (although a solid one on it, in the end, with four wins, 25 saves and a 2.20 ERA). He has been one of the best closers in fantasy up to this point with 15 saves and a sparkling 0.76 ERA.

While those numbers are fine and dandy, a closer look reveals that this may not last. His 1.35 WHIP and 4.56 BB/9 show that possible troubles lie ahead. K-Rod puts men on, and while he often gets out of it with the save, his rate of 93.9 percent of men left on base should drop, maybe significantly. His fastball's average velocity has once again declined noticeably.

Another issue is that K-Rod may not be a closer for much longer. The likeliness that he is traded increases with each day. He recently announced that he would waive his no-trade clause as well as his $17.5 million vesting option in order to facilitate a move - but only if his acquiring team will talk multi-year extension. The option kicks in this year at 55 games finished.

Signs point to K-Rod's performance slowing. His value as a closer would be gone should he end up in a setup role. Get what you can for K-Rod now.

Hold

Asdrubal Cabrera, Cleveland Indians

In the past couple of weeks, the 25-year-old shortstop has gone from solid to flat-out studly. He has done it all, with a .306 average, 33 runs, 10 bombs, 34 RBIs and sevens steals, eclipsing Troy Tulowitzki, Hanley Ramirez and Jose Reyes as the top fantasy shortstop at this point in the season.

Many owners are reasonably skeptical. Cabrera has never hit more than eight home runs in a season at any level; he has 10 this year, and we haven't hit June. While the pace will undoubtedly slow, Cabrera certainly has the potential for 20-plus, if he continues to hit fly balls at his 2011 rate of 37.8 percent.

Aside from that, Cabrera will continue to steal here and there. He registered 17 steals in 2009 and 23 at the Double-A level in 2007. He has true 20-20 potential. The average should stick. While he doesn't walk much, his contact rate remains comfortably above 85 percent, and his line-drive percentage is rising.

Some may say that he's a good sell. If you can deal him as a top-10 player at his position, you should consider it. But if your league mates are skeptical, you likely won't get a good price for Cabrera. Continue to ride him to a very solid season as your fantasy shortstop.

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About Rich Arleo

Rich Arleo is a Marist College alum who has been playing fantasy sports since he was 14 years old. He is a local editor with AOL's Patch.com and became a staff writer with Bruno Boys Fantasy Football in 2010 and a contributor to KFFL in 2011.

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