Coincidentally, the weather has not heated up nationwide just yet, just like a lot of big names across MLB have not gotten it going like everyone is accustomed to. However, there is no reason to fear. Slumps are a part of the game and happen much more often in baseball than they do in either fantasy basketball or football. Three weeks in may have owners ready to pull their hair out due to some lackluster production from some big names, but the MLB season is a marathon. Hang in there.
In week three of the hot and cold player installment, some bigger names have begun to get it going, whereas some other bigger names have tossed their hats into the “its-time-to-consider-dropping-me” category. Three weeks is enough time to truly form some bigger conclusions. A slump this long holds much more water than a bad week, so that is what this installment of hot and cold will touch base on.
Ryan Howard: Philadelphia Phillies 1B
Welcome back, big fella! MLB now has a hefty amount of great first baseman, but owners mustn’t forget that it was not long ago that Howard was the creme de la creme. His last two seasons have been marred by an Achilles injury, but now he looks to be back and as good as ever. Howard has yet to miss a game and has come to life after a slow start. The Phillies first baseman has four homers in his past eight games, a welcome sight for a guy who slumped to just 11 homers last year. He looks extremely healthy and in good shape after two years of playing less than half a season. Owners who took a late round flier on him are jumping for joy. Owners who dropped him last week after giving up hope of catching lightning in a bottle are crying themselves to sleep.
Howie Kendrick: Los Angeles Angels 2B
Kendrick got somewhat lost in the fold early on in the Angels offense, and many owners undoubtedly jumped ship to pick up hot-starters at second base like Brian Dozier or Neil Walker. Once again, MLB is a roller coaster. Owners who rode out Kendrick’s slow start have begun to reap the benefits, as he has raised his average 70 points in the past six games up to his customary .296. His power has come around as well and he already has three steals and has scored 11 runs, well ahead of last season’s pace. Hang onto Kendrick.
Ike Davis: Pittsburgh Pirates 1B
It has to feel good for Davis to finally escape the New York Mets. He was inauspiciously traded to Pittsburgh, and so far is 5-for-13 with his new team with a grand slam. He was elated to finally go to a team that truly wanted him instead of wallowing on the bench behind the unimpressive Lucas Duda. Davis is available in the vast majority of leagues and everyone knows what kind of ability he has, so if owners just can’t stand the lack of production they are getting from guys like Miguel Cabrera or Edwin Encarnacion at first base, Davis could be worth a pickup.
Clay Buchholz: Boston Red Sox SP
Buchholz was decimated on Patriot’s Day by the Baltimore Orioles to the tune of seven hits and six earned runs in just 2.1 innings of work. Buchholz was torched in his first start before showing marginal improvement over his next two, but this last hiccup has him on the drop radar. He is admittedly not where he wants to be just yet in terms of arm strength, so owners must decide for themselves just how much more of him and his 7.71 ERA they can stomach.
Jean Segura: Milwaukee Brewers SS
Segura had huge preseason hype and was undoubtedly one of the three to five highest drafted shortstops in all leagues, but so far he has been good for nothing outside of the occasional stolen base. He was dropped to seventh in the batting order on Monday due to his offensive ineptitude. So far, Segura has drawn just one walk, which hinders his ability to do what he does best: steal bases. It isn’t as if he is even thriving in that category to begin with, as he has been thrown out in four of his eight attempts thus far. He exploded onto the scene last year, but his massive second-half drop off has carried over into this season and likely has him on the verge of being dropped in leagues. If that were to occur, he is easily worth a pickup as a buy-low option.
Pablo Sandoval: San Francisco Giants 3B
Kung Fu Panda has not done much damage at all this season. He began to heat it up a little bit earlier, but then slipped back into his old ways. Sandoval is in a 3-for-24 slide and is hitting just .162 on the year, while also on pace to obliterate his previous career high in strikeouts. The slimmed-down third baseman came into the year a prime candidate for a career season due to his impending free agency, but so far has done little to warrant being held onto. Another poor week or two and owners are going to have to begin to consider rejuvenated options at third base like Trevor Plouffe and Mike Moustakas.
Commentary by Justin Hussong
Guardian Liberty Voice Sports Writer covering the Boston Red Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers