Panic or Patience?

An annual tradition from the first few weeks of baseball season is to overreact to countless happenings from across the league. Don’t fret, I’m here to be the calming voice of reason while trying to separate the blips from the trends.

PATIENCE

Prince Fielder, 1B, Rangers – Batting .188 is not acceptable for a player picked by many in the first round just a few short weeks ago, nor are the 2 HRs and 6 RBIs so far. However, stay level-headed Fielder owners. In his last 6 games, Prince is batting .272 with both of his homers from this young season. Now, I know this isn’t customary production from the man with the perfect baseball name (even if he’s not as slick with the glove as his last name suggests), but it is an encouraging sign. Since 2007, Fielder has only produced one season of either fewer than 25 HRs or 100 RBIs. Likewise, once fellow corner infielder Adrian Beltre returns to the lineup on Friday, Fielder’s RBI and Runs Scored totals should improve drastically. So while the new Texas first baseman has struggled early on, remember that April showers bring May flowers, and Prince Fielder is good for 30 and 100 annually, no matter how or when he gets there.

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Andrew McCutchen, OF, Pirates – Going into the season, Mike Trout and Miguel Cabrera were the consensus number 1 and 2 picks in almost all fantasy drafts. The third player off the board was up for debate, but Andrew McCutchen often heard his name called after the first two studs. But what’s the problem with the long-haired outfielder? He’s batting a measly .243 and sports a .597 OPS that leaves much to be desired. Furthermore, his 1 HR and 3 steals leave way too much to be desired. Instead of being thirsty (for more), stay calm my friends, for McCutchen has 15 walks (double his April total from last year) which means he’s seeing the ball very well. Once the Buco’s outfielder starts getting some better pitches to hit, he’s going to rake yet again. Moreover, his ankle and back injuries have plagued him thus far, but they seem relatively minor and should heal soon enough. Just wait a week or two and Andrew will return to his MVP form.

Chris Davis, 1B, Orioles – In many ways, Davis has fallen into the same trap as McCutchen. His breakout season in 2013 has garnered some much deserved respect from opposing pitchers and they’re now throwing to him accordingly. Davis’s lack of power thus far is somewhat concerning, and I have my reservations about the first baseman’s ability to reach the 50 HR watermark again, but he’s still going to be an absolute force this season. Once Baltimore’s lineup returns to full strength (A.K.A. when Manny Machado gets healthy), Davis’s RBI and Runs Scored totals will skyrocket. Fear not Orioles fans and Davis owners alike, the big bopper will be bopping again before you know it.

PANIC

Allen Craig, 1B/OF, Cardinals – Throughout the 2013 postseason, Allen Craig was one of the most fear hitters to step into the batters box. However, once the calendar turned to 2014, Craig just hasn’t been the same. Even in good health so far, Allen’s .179 batting average is repulsive and his 5 RBIs aren’t remotely acceptable in any standard. Now, his bat is heating up a little bit as of the past week, but Craig still has only one multi-hit game all season long. Couple that with the inevitable DL stint (he’s never played more than 135 games in any season) and I’m starting to panic with Allen Craig.

Yasiel Puig, OF, Dodgers – After setting the world on fire in 2013, Puig is off to a tumultuous start this season. His .241/.349/.426 slash line doesn’t come close to living up to his lofty draft status, and his lackadaisical mentality is beyond infuriating. One day Puig hits goes 4/5 with a home run and an unbelievable outfield assist, and the next he’s late to the ballpark and drops and easy pop fly. That kind of inconsistency is not only frustrating for his manager Don Mattingly, but for fantasy owners across America (and Cuba) alike. Puig’s name still has such an electrifying connotation that his trade value is still high, and if he’s on my team, I’m testing the waters daily.

Homer Bailey, SP, Reds – I’ve read numerous articles across various sites proclaiming that nothing is wrong with Homer Bailey and will soon return to form and earn his $100 million contract. Really? According to who? All I’ve seen this season is a guy struggling mightily with his command and someone who consistently blows large leads. Sure, he threw 6 scoreless innings on Sunday, but if you look a little deeper, that wasn’t even a great performance. He allowed 6 hits and 3 walks in just 6 frames to the lowly Chicago Cubs, probably the worst offense in baseball. His 5.75 ERA and 1.87 WHIP are both astronomical and will most likely continue to be a hindrance for the remainder of the season.

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