Fantasy pickups: Daniel Murphy, Kyle Lohse, Rickie Weeks
Below are players who have been dropped in at least of 14 percent of ESPN leagues that you should consider adding to your fantasy team.
Daniel Murphy, 2B, New York Mets: Daniel Murphy was my favorite second-basemen/middle-infield option in the preseason because his talent level1 was being undervalued by the fantasy community, which manifested itself as he was going as the 22nd second basemen in NFBC leagues. During the first 3-4 weeks of season, he put up a slash line of .329/.371/.512, but since then, he’s been in an enormous slump, hitting .185/.214/.241. Consequently, he’s been dropped in 30 percent of ESPN leagues. If he’s been dropped in your league, go get him. He’s on pace for 97 runs, nine home runs, 74 RBI, zero stolen bases and .272 batting average. Since 2011, in 1,180 plate appearances, Daniel Murphy has a .299 batting average, which means his batting average is bound to improve as the season progresses.
Kyle Lohse, SP, Milwaukee Brewers: Of all the players who have been dropped, I was most shocked to see Lohse. Fantasy owners expecting a repeat of last year’s performance will be disappointed, because when his career is over, 2012 will likely be the outlier career year. The fantasy owners who dropped him were probably expecting more than a 3.49 ERA and 1.27 WHIP. However, he’s striking out 17.1 percent batters and only walking only 2.8 percent of batters, both career highs. StatCorner, prior to this season, rated Miller Park as the second-best ballpark for home runs, so it’s natural his baseball card statistics would experience a decline compared to his last two seasons in St. Louis. However, with the increased strikeout rates and lower walk rates, it looks as though Lohse is adapting to his new home ballpark.
Rickie Weeks, 2B, Milwaukee Brewers: Weeks is another player I was very high on entering fantasy drafts because his talent level was being undervalued by the fantasy community. However, so far, he’s looked worse than Robert Pattinson’s acting2. Last year, Weeks started off slowly, only hitting .199/.314/.343 before the All-Star break, before rebounding with a typical Weeks statistical slash line of .261/.343/.457. With a current slash line of .181/.302/.276, it’s easy to say this is another slow start, but let’s see if there’s room for optimisim. His .253 BABIP is easily the lowest of his career and his HR/FB rate of 10 percent is the lowest it’s been since 2008, so those statistics are bound revert back to back to his statistical mean. However, he’s striking out 28 percent of the time, which is three percentage higher than last year. What’s the most troubling is he’s hitting ground balls 56.8 percent of the time, 12 percentage points higher than his career norm. With the increased strikeout rate and ground balls, his batting-average ceiling (the rest of the season) may be .225-.240, but he’s hit 20 home runs the past three seasons and plays in one of the best hitter ballparks in the majors.
1. I projected a .305 batting average, 90 runs, five home runs and seven steals in the preseason for Daniel Murphy.
2. If you truly believe he’s a good actor, watch Remember Me and look me straight in the eye and tell me he can act.