Buy Low: Stars Still Struggling

We’re not “early in the season” anymore, but, then again, we aren’t exactly deep into the season either. There are a number of high round draftees still struggling to find their way and put forth the numbers that their fantasy GMs were expecting. Because of their track record, on top of current peripheral stats, these players make for great buy-low targets.

Jose Reyes – Reyes has struggled to adjust to his new surroundings, but his numbers suggest that he may have run into a bit of bad luck along the way. His current BABIP of .266 is extremely low for his standards, especially given his speed – his career BABIP is .312. It’s not like Reyes is making weak contact (23 percent line drive rate) or showing a regression in plate discipline – quite the opposite, actually (12 percent walk rate and only a 25 percent chase rate). Once those hits start falling, his AVG, OBP and stolen base totals should skyrocket.

Justin Upton – The young Upton has struggled with some injuries out of the gates, but he continues to hit the ball hard, perhaps just to the wrong places. Given his 25-percent line-drive rate, his .298 BABIP actually seems low. While his HR/FB rate is in line with his career numbers, his GB/FB ratio is has flip-flopped a bit in 2012. A thumb injury may have very well been the culprit here, causing him to alter his swing a bit. Once at 100 percent and with enough time to readjust, I expect Upton to heat up. When he does, he’s going to put up big numbers in a hurry.

Brandon Phillips – While I don’t think that Phillips is the star that he used to be, he certainly represents a solid buy low right now. Phillips is struggling to produce in just about every category. Though Phillips has never had great plate discipline, which has held true this season, he has been able to compensate by hitting for power and increasing his line-drive rate over the past season or so. His current line-drive rate stands at 20 percent and his BABIP is a little on the low end (.279).

The biggest problem has been his high amount of infield pop-ups. Phillips has popped up to the infield in 20 percent of his balls in play, which is extremely high given his career average (8.4 percent). While it’s possible that he continues this type of weak contact, it seems unlucky given his track record. Once his swing evens out, the power numbers should return and his AVG should rise. You might be able to snag him for 0.25 cents on the dollar.