This is the time of year that fantasy owners start to develop either buyer's or seller's remorse. That can't-miss starter may be winless with an ERA that resembles an AM radio station, or that breakout slugger might have more strikeouts than hits. Memorial Day, the traditional quarter-pole of baseball's regular season, is still about a month away, so there's certainly no reason to panic yet. That being said, it may be time to do some serious thinking about whether or not your players are headed in the right direction. Here are some players we've identified you should hold onto or get rid of.
Players Trending Up
Albert Pujols, 1B, LAA
We haven't heard much from Prince Albert since he signed that jillion-dollar contract with the Angels prior to the 2012 season, and he obviously had problems adjusting to a new team where he was no longer "the man." But he just hit Number 500 a week ago, which has to give both him and the team a lift. He is healthy this year and he already has 9 HR and a .927 OPS. Both of those numbers resemble the glory days in St. Louis of four or five years ago. Watch out.
Justin Morenau, 1B, COL
After a number of good years with the Minneosta Twins, Morneau bounced around a bit before settling in with Colorado. And settled in he has. Morneau sports a .967 OPS, a figure not seen since the MVP and All-Star days of yore. He's hitting more line drives now, and in Denver, line drives translate into extra-base hits. His .340 BA will come down, but he still could hit .290 to end the year with close to 25 HR and 100 RBI.
Michael Brantley, OF, CLE
Like Morneau, Brantley was drafted relatively late. Like Morneau, Brantley is trending hard and fast in the up direction. With a HR and 3 more RBI Friday night, Brantley is now sporting a .272-5-23 fantasy triple slash, with 4 SB and 15 runs thrown in to boot. He's looking like a very solid 5 category hitter. Even more encouraging, his BB% is up, his K% is down, and his BABIP is currently .241, so when that rises 40-50 points over the next month, look out. Brantley won't continue to hit for this much power, but if you can still snatch him from another owner for a reduced cover price, you'll be thankful you did.
Players Trending Down
Billy Hamilton, CF, CIN
Here's a fun fact: Flash is only the third player since 1900 with 20 steals in his first 30 games But he's had some problems adjusting to the Show. Hamilton already has 5 CS this year, which probably means that he's having a hard time reading pitchers and getting a good jump. He's also overmatched at the plate: last year's .902 OPS has plummeted to .610, and he already has 19 strikeouts this year. The latest news on Hamilton's knuckle sprains is that he'll miss a few days. You hate to put labels on a kid, but this writer senses the return of Juan Pierre.
Michael Pineda, SP, NYY
He's probably not the only pitcher that uses pine tar, but he's the only one who's not smart enough to hide it. He's definitely the only one who's stupid or arrogant enough to hide it in plain site on his neck. Maybe his injury was a blessing in disguise just in case he was planning on using it again! If you were hopeful based on that strong 2011 season in Seattle or his early start to the 2014 season, take a reality pill. There were already danger signs before this incident, such as a 6.9 K/9 (way down), and a 86% strand rate, which is unsustainably high.
Carl Crawford, OF, NYY
There is no describing the terribleness that Carl Crawford has been recently. 5 for his last 48, 0 HR, 0 RBI. No more speed. Just gross all around. If you drafted Crawford, you could try and see if any owners have nodded off already and take a chance on Crawford not knowing just how bad he's been. If you have more pride than offering up ice cold junk like Crawford around your league, just drop him for a better, hotter OF.