Buy Or Sell: Brian Dozier & Melky Cabrera
It’s only the third hump day of the season, and I’ve already seen some ridiculous transactions, whether it’s in the form of adds, drops or trades. Paying $26 FAAB for Francisco Rodriguez? Really? Come on man.
Writing a “Buy or Sell” article this early is just asking for trouble, but I’m a glutton for punishment and my #TDGX team needs an intervention.
Buy: Brian Dozier, 2B, Twins
Looking at the top-five second basemen in 5X5 leagues through Wednesday (Dee Gordon, Chase Utley, Emilio Bonifacio, Neil Walker, Dozier), you may be wondering why you paid for a second baseman at all. On April 16, Robinson Cano and Dustin Pedroia have yet to leave the park, while 5-foot-11, 160-pound Dee Gordon has already matched last year’s total with one—off 2013 AL Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (of course).
Dozier enters Thursday with a .180 batting average, but it could be in your best interest to casually inquire as to the availability of the 26-year-old keystone from Minnesota. Dozier came out of nowhere last season, slashing .244/.312/.414 with 18 home runs, 72 runs, 66 RBIs and 14 steals in 147 games. He led the team in home runs and runs, finished second in RBI and steals, and was third among all second basemen in big flies. Drafters paid close attention, selecting Dozier as the 13th second baseman in 2014 snakes, according to NFBC.
Dozier has picked up right where he left off, launching four home runs and stealing three bases in his first 12 games; he’s also first in the majors in runs scored (14), tied with Chicago’s Adam Eaton. Batting leadoff in 12 of 13 games, he’s a perfect 3 for 3 in steals and has already drawn 11 free passes atop the batting order. Could we be looking at the next 20-steal second baseman? In the first half of 2013, Dozier was caught six times in 14 attempts, but only gunned down once in seven tries after the break. I like his chances of getting to 20 thefts with the fast start.
Dozier’s 2013 would have been considered a success across the board if not for a .244 BA. But, keep in mind, Dozier had one of the worst infield fly rates. Any improvement to that unfortunate facet of his game should lead to a significant rebound in batting average. He routinely hit in the upper .290s in the minor leagues—save for a .232 BA in 48 Triple-A games—and while I don’t think he’ll ever hit .280, there’s no reason he can’t be a .265 hitter. Dozier turns 27 in May, making him a nice middle infield target in dynasty leagues for the foreseeable future.
Sell: Melky Cabrera, OF, Blue Jays
Out of all the hot starts in baseball, Cabrera is the one I’m most likely to sell (if I owned any shares of the PED user and failed web designer, that is). Toronto’s left fielder — and occasional center fielder — has silenced his critics thus far with a Joey Bats-like performance, blasting four taters in 13 games, including three in a span of four contests. He’s also the answer to the trivia question, “Who had the first hit and first home run off Masahiro Tanaka?” The Melk Man, that’s who!
Cabrera is still on the right side of 30 and not far removed from having a significant fantasy impact, but I’d temper your expectations moving forward. His best years came in 2011 and 2012, when he batted .305 and .346 (!), respectively, with a combined 29 home runs and 33 steals. Cabrera has a high of 18 homers, 102 runs, 87 RBIs and 20 steals (all in 2011), but a 50-game drug suspension and injury have led to 123 missed games over the past two seasons. In 2013, he struggled mightily with a back injury (a tumor, actually), hitting three home runs in half a season.
I’m not shunning Cabrera because of his past actions or injuries, but I don’t see another Marlon Byrd renaissance happening. I don’t doubt that he can be useful (especially in five-outfield formats), but how valuable are we talking? If you’re like me and think he maxes out at 15 home runs and hits .290, not very. He’s boring, not spectacular, and I think his fast start is just that — a fast start. If I can payout now for a future investment in a dynasty league, I’m not hesitating to make a deal.