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.
Alex Rios, Chicago White Sox
Throughout his career, Alex Rios has been a very streaky player, with up-and-down weeks, months and even years. That being said, Rios' 2011 has been nothing but down thus far. Rios has gotten more than two hits in a game just twice all season, and he has just nine multi-hit games in 59 games played.
Rios has always teased by being on the cusp of fantasy stardom and was probably drafted higher than he should have been this season after a very good 2010, but owners are starting to lose patience. Sometimes, patience is a virtue. In Rios' case, a bit more patience could pay off.
Despite his struggles, a closer look at Rios' numbers indicates a turnaround could come at any moment. Rios is striking out just over 10 percent of the time, way down from his career rate of 17.8. His batted-ball stats are all around his averages, and he is connecting at a rate of 87.3 percent. His BABIP is extremely low, hovering just above the Mendoza Line at .206. Rios isn't whiffing, but the ball isn't finding many holes.
Bedard: Will anyone bite?
While signs point to an upward trend, owners have to keep in mind that it may not get that much better for Rios. The heavy reduction in strikeouts and increased contact rate are possible signs that he may be swinging at any pitch he can hit rather than those he can drill. He'll need to forget the first two months of the season, as manager Ozzie Guillen has encouraged.
Now in his eighth season, Rios has never driven in more than 90 runs and has hit more than 17 home runs just twice. The career .277 hitter has always been somewhat overrated, but while the odds of Rios living up to the hype this year are slim, he should provide some value for you down the line.
J.J. Hardy, Baltimore Orioles
We aren't talking about a fantasy stud. We are, however, talking about someone who has been a starting fantasy shortstop because of power potential but also fallen short because of injuries or other factors. Hardy hasn't played more than 115 games in a season since 2008. He suffered a left wrist contusion in 2010 and had to nurse a rib cage injury early this season.
Still, Hardy has started in every game since returning on May 10 and is a pretty big part of the Orioles' lineup. On Tuesday, he surprisingly was in the lineup batting first for the first time in his career, but that is mostly because he has the second best OBP on the team (.346) and Brian Roberts is still suffering from headaches and concussion symptoms.
The bottom line is that Hardy is healthy, plays in a great ballpark and has hit three home runs in June. He may be had for cheap from someone who views him as an afterthought.
John Danks, Chicago White Sox
To say it's been a rough season for Danks would be like saying the Pittsburgh Pirates have struggled in recent years: It's not news to anyone. Danks started the season on an eight-game losing streak, and his K/9 has decreased to a career-low 6.03. He's getting fewer swinging strikes, and his contact rate against has increased for the third straight season.
Monday finally brought some good news for Danks. He won his first start of the year ... albeit against a below-average Seattle Mariners lineup. Still, there are reports that this start could be even more encouraging beneath the surface. His velocity against the Mariners was the highest it's been all year.
Danks said after the game that he moved back to the middle of the rubber after he usually wound up from the third base side, with his foot hanging off. Take that for what it is, but Danks seems to think it helped and said he will try it for at least one more outing.
Many owners have likely been ready to give up on Danks, but there's at least hope for a turnaround from the pitcher some evaluators believe has the best stuff in this rotation.
Erik Bedard, Seattle Mariners
Bedard has been on everyone's radar the past few years as a guy who will finally stay healthy and produce. The problem is that injuries aren't just a concern; they're inevitable. He has not made it past 15 starts in four years and at 32 is no longer a young arm with potential. He has had multiple shoulder surgeries.
Bedard has now won three straight decisions and lowered his ERA to 3.46. His rate of walks per nine is hovering at a career-low 2.77, and his K/9 is starting to approach his career rate. Owners who are waiting for the stud of 2006 and 2007 to return may be buying.
If you own the ticking time bomb that Bedard might be, you've profited from some solid performances from him, and if you can find a safer upgrade or alternative, pull the trigger and avoid a possible drop-off or injury. If you can't get much in return, then hold onto him, enjoy the success and be sure to brace yourself.