Fantasy Baseball Insider Trading: Adam Dunn, Ichiro Suzuki, more

by Rich Arleo on June 16, 2011 @ 16:50:13 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?'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.


Adam Dunn, Chicago White Sox

When you drafted Dunn, you thought you knew what you were getting. From one of the most consistent power hitters of the last seven or eight years, you expected to lock in at least 35 home runs, 100 RBIs and an OBP over .350 while dealing with a .250 average.

Seattle Mariners OF Ichiro Suzuki
Ichiroll coming? Want to find out?

Now in the middle of June, you're dealing with a .183 average but have gotten just seven home runs and an OBP barely sniffing .330. Dunn is adjusting to a new team in a lineup with others struggling, as well as a new league and a new position (DH). Also, earlier in the season he believed time missed due to an appendectomy might have set back his timing.

He's being beaten by fastballs more often and is getting under a lot of pitches, thanks to his highest infield fly-ball percentage since 2003. About half of his batted balls enter the air; though sometimes an abundance of those can lead to an increased amount of outs, his fly percentage typically sits in the high 40s. A 20.0 percent line-drive rate shows he's making hard contact, and with some fixes, more of those liners could turn into Dunn-like thumps.

Manager Ozzie Guillen recently told him and Alex Rios to put their struggles behind them and focus on what they can do from this point on. After that, Dunn was given a few days off. In four games back in the lineup he's hit two home runs, driven in six and drawn four walks.

Dunn appears to be slightly awake, and, aided by hitter-friendly U.S. Cellular Field, his pop should start resurfacing, which is really your chief concern. Nobody is looking for Dunn to hit .300 - or even .260 for that matter - for the rest of the season; as long as he gets on base and hits his home runs, you're happy.

That being said, Dunn's new league with more quality pitching may keep him from reaching his career averages, and you shouldn't invest too much in Dunn. Still, if you're looking for power, try to find deal for him. Maybe his owner has power to spare and is looking for help in other offensive categories. Or maybe he's just tired of waiting for Dunn to show more life.

Casey McGehee, Milwaukee Brewers

After wallowing in the Chicago Cubs' minor league system for a few years, McGehee caught on with the Brewers in 2009 with some solid numbers and broke out in 2010 with 104 RBIs to go along with a .285 average. Owners fell in love with McGehee at third base, a scarce position.

Those who expected to get similar numbers from him in 2011 have thus far been disappointed. He has just four home runs and is hitting .229 heading into Thursday. Many owners may be looking to cut bait with the struggling hitter, and you should swoop in with a cheap offer.

Since his value is so low, he can likely be had for very little, and there are some signs of him heading in the right direction of late. After talk of moving him down in the order, manager Ron Roenicke recently said he will keep McGehee in the five-hole right behind the big man Prince Fielder and ahead of a resurgent Corey Hart in one of baseball's better scoring offenses.

McGehee ripped a two-run double Wednesday night and has at least one hit in six of eight games since breaking a long 0-fer. His walk, strikeout and contact rates are right around his career numbers, and he's hitting the ball with more authority of late. If he can be had on the cheap, there's little reason not to take a chance on the young third baseman.


Ichiro Suzuki, Seattle Mariners

One of the best hitters in the game since he hit .350 with 56 steals and his first major league season in 2001, Ichiro is now 37 years old and is in his 20th season of professional baseball between Japan and the U.S.

Chicago White Sox DH Adam Dunn
Not Dunn deal yet

He never gave you power, but what you got from him was an average well over .300, 40-plus steals and somewhere around 100 runs scored. In 2011, Ichiro is hitting just .269. He has been red-hot of late going 10 for his last 21 with four steals, and he's hitting more line drives in June, so it looks like he may have found something ... but don't jump yet.

With power already crossed off the list, runs have also decreased for the past three years and should continue to do so with a struggling offense around him. So what are we left with? Steals and batting average. He has 18 swipes already; he is running and should continue to do so, but the name Ichiro just isn't what it used to be. Don't be fooled: All he is now is a base stealer that can possibly reach .300 again.

Owners are likely overvaluing Ichiro based on his name and track record and won't give him up for nothing, so if you're looking for speed, try another avenue. It looks as though the decline of Ichiro has finally become obvious.

Nick Markakis, Baltimore Orioles

Markakis is one of the most curious cases of the past five years. As a prospect, he was deemed "can't miss" with multiple .300-30-100 years ahead of him. Now in his sixth full season in the bigs, Markakis has never hit more than 24 home runs, averaging around 18, and he drove in just 60 runs in a full season a year ago.

At this point, many fantasy owners lowered expectations for the outfielder but still expected a .300 batting average with 20-80 potential. Now, the most valuable aspect of his game has taken a hit as Markakis is hitting just .251, and owners are likely wondering to themselves why he is even on their roster with no power and a bad clip.

A few things have likely played into his decline, and one of those is the departure of hitting coach Terry Crowley, who many insiders noted Markakis was close with and some call his "mentor and confidant."

Markakis was seemingly more aggressive late last season, and that paid off at first as Markakis hit .344 from September 1 to the end of the season. This season however, it looks like pitchers are apparently feeding off his aggressiveness. His swing percentage is up to 45.9, its highest since his rookie year. Markakis is seeing fewer fastballs than he ever has while dealing with more off-speed stuff, especially more sliders. On the season, Markakis is hitting more line drives than ever before (22.0 percent), but that was mainly boosted by a 30.0 percent May rate that has now fizzled.

Maybe he'll see more RBI chances whenever Brian Roberts (concussion) returns atop the O's lineup. But the adjustment to a new style and a change in hitting coach seem to have Markakis off-balance, making him a very risky option at the moment. You can find safer plays out there and may have to wait one more year for Markakis to put it all together, if he ever does. He's shown some life of late, but let someone else be the one who has their fingers crossed that he keeps it up. Look elsewhere.

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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 and became a staff writer with Bruno Boys Fantasy Football in 2010 and a contributor to KFFL in 2011.

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