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What to do with slumping Jays options?

5/6/2013

There is certainly no shortage of disappointing Toronto Blue Jays players, as the team enters the first full week of May in last place in the American League East and with a mere 11 victories in 32 games. The lone team with a worse run differential is the Double-A team known as the Houston Astros. But fantasy owners invested in many a Blue Jay in March, and in myriad cases are running away. Should they? Here are numerous Blue Jays being dropped in ESPN standard 10-team leagues and my thoughts after a relatively positive Sunday in which they scored 10 runs and won.

Melky Cabrera: One of the most dropped outfielders, which is understandable, Cabrera hit his first home run Sunday, a solo shot off lefty Joe Saunders. He also scored three runs. He hadn't even scored a run in 10 games! Ever the optimist but also wary of one month's work dictating proof, I haven't dropped Cabrera yet in leagues, and still think he can hit .300 with 12 home runs, 12 steals and 80 runs, so I'm being more patient.

Brandon Morrow: The right-hander won his first game Sunday in his seventh outing, permitting three hits and two runs in eight innings, and most important, fanning eight Seattle Mariners. Sure, it wasn't the Detroit Tigers, and he walked five, but you own Morrow for the whiffs. Earlier in the week, he fanned seven Boston Red Sox. I'm buying a 175-strikeout season, though with an ERA over 4.00, and leaving him among my top-50 starting pitchers.

Emilio Bonifacio: His start has been brutal, and I cannot fathom why a guy known mainly for his speed and stolen base prowess didn't even attempt a steal in April. Not one. Bonifacio stole 30 bases in 64 games in 2012. Bonifacio, who did add second base eligibility to his outfield status a few weeks ago, didn't reach base via hit Sunday, but he did steal two bases. I don't know why he hasn't been running, but he's certainly capable of making a big difference in fantasy if this is the start of something. I'm being patient here too, but mainly because of the second base eligibility.

J.P. Arencibia: Only John Buck has more home runs as a catcher, but Arencibia last hit one two weeks ago. With an incredible 42 strikeouts against two walks, it was eminently predictable that his batting average would plummet, and it has. Even with two hits Sunday, he's hitting .243. It can drop 40 more points. He's not among my top-10 catchers, and it's not close. But can he swat 25 home runs? Sure he can.

Josh Johnson: He hit the DL Friday with triceps inflammation, necessitating the recall of lefty and former ace Ricky Romero (don't go near him in fantasy, by the way). Sure, in 10- and 12-team leagues, I'd let the former Miami Marlins right-hander go, but there's strikeout potential here when healthy. He did make 31 starts last year. This appears to be a short-term injury. Wait in deeper formats, because a top-50 starter lurks.

R.A. Dickey: And finally, the 2012 NL Cy Young Award winner has dropped below the 100 percent owned threshold after Saturday's miserable outing. I think it's a mistake to cut him in 10-team formats, though. Dickey allowed five home runs in 13 innings this past week, but otherwise wasn't bad. He had command of the knuckleball. The MRI on his ailing back/neck was clean. I'm investing, even in 10-team leagues.

Box score bits (AL): Kansas City Royals catcher Salvador Perez saw his streak of three multihit games end Sunday, but he did draw two walks. He entered Sunday with one walk all year. That's a great sign he's turning things around, though his .281 average certainly isn't bad. ... Texas Rangers first baseman Mitch Moreland had a nice weekend against the Red Sox. He had five hits the first two games, then homered Sunday. He's safe to start in fantasy with his .282 batting average and with prospect Jurickson Profar playing in the minors. ... Baltimore Orioles slugger Chris Davis hurt a knee Friday and was supposed to miss a few games, but he started Sunday. He's safe for activation this week. ... I'm not buying Tampa Bay Rays singles-hitting first baseman James Loney batting cleanup Sunday, but the guy is hitting .398 in 83 at-bats. (Lead him off!) The Rays already rehabilitated Fernando Rodney. Why not Loney? Just don't expect any power. ... Oakland Athletics catcher/first baseman Luke Montz was called up last week when Coco Crisp hit the DL, and the power hitter has been handling designated hitter duties. On Sunday, he hit his first big league home run since 2008. Montz, 29, is no prospect, but the Athletics are scheduled to face a few lefties this week, so he should get some at-bats.

Box score bits (NL): Lost in the Roy Halladay disaster Sunday was Marlins right-hander Kevin Slowey tossing yet another gem, winning his first game since 2010. With him having a 1.81 ERA in seven starts, you should add him while he's hot. ... Colorado Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado enjoyed his weekend, taking David Price deep for a grand slam Saturday, and homering again Sunday, but it's interesting that the rookie batted second Sunday. It might not stick, not like Orioles third baseman Manny Machado, but he'd score more runs there. ... The Atlanta Braves will welcome back catcher Brian McCann on Monday night. Evan Gattis had two more hits Sunday but is about to see a decrease in playing time. ... New York Mets outfielder Lucas Duda knocked in a run Sunday, giving him 10 this season. With six home runs, and a .411 OBP fueled by the highest rate of pitches per plate appearance in baseball, he should have 25. Get him if he's available. ... Mets lefty Jonathon Niese gave up seven runs on seven hits and six walks Sunday. I loved him on draft day, but considering he has one of the worst strikeout rates in the majors, I fear something is wrong. Let him go in 10-team formats. ... Yuniesky Betancourt played some left field late in Sunday's blowout loss. MVP Ryan Braun need not worry about his job. ... Fantasy owners keep whining about St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Allen Craig, but he blasted his first home run Saturday, and knocked in four more runs Sunday. He has 25 RBIs and is fine. Buy low.