With seven full weeks of the 2013 season in the books, today RotoBaller casts a critical eye on three players who are struggling heading into Week 8:
1) Rickie Weeks (2B, MIL): Weeks is a perennial in the underperforming list. 3 HR, 10 RBI, 51 Kand a .170 BA is where he currently stands. Year after year, he flashes just enough pop and speed to make you think he’s putting it all together, but the truth is that he is maddeningly inconsistent. We recommend staying as far away as possible from Weeks. Don’t worry about catching his hot streak, because you’ll be forced to ride out two horrendous cold streaks that will inevitably sink your average and put up goose eggs in the other categories. His K rate now approaching 30%, and when you factor in that his groundball/fly ball ratio is at 2.3, double what it was last year, we’re worried that he won't be able to regain his stroke this year and top 15 HR. He rebounded in the second half in 2012, so he certainly could do it again, but that's a risky bet to make.
2) Matt Kemp (OF, LAD): With 2 HR and 16 RBI in 43 games it’s officially time to start asking what is ailing Matt Kemp. Now, DO NOT yet abandon ship and discard him for the first offer you get. There will be plenty of vultures in your league trying to buy Kemp on the cheap. That said, at this point, there is real concern about where Kemp’s power has gone. His HR/FB rate is 2.4%, about 20 points below his 2011 and 2012 numbers. He’s stat line this year is closer to a slap hitter than the 30 HR you probably expected. It’s becoming official that he is simply too far behind in the counting stats to produce first- or second-round numbers. It wouldn't be crazy to dangle him and be happy if you could get an Adam Wainwright type in return, since that would probably represent fair value. If you decide to deal Kemp, make sure you get an adequate return.
3) Brett Lawrie (3B, TOR): This will not be the year he breaks out. At 4 HR, 10 RBI and a .191 BA in 29 games, Lawrie is seriously underperforming. There’s a good chance that he turns out to be a sleeper pick in 2014 because he’s no longer going to be at the top of anyone draft’s board. Even with him failing to hit for average, you’d expect him to provide some speed, but all he has to show for his limited time on the basepaths is one failed stolen base attempt. The Blue Jays will continue to run him out there for the time being, so if you are in a deep league, it’s fair to stash him for while and hope he begins to right the ship. There are signs that his luck has just been really bad, with a very low BABIP of .215 that should rebound to a level in the .270 - .280. We’re still working with a small sample size so we’re not there yet to say junk him completely. If you own Lawrie, monitor this situation closely.
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