Mendoza Line Dumpster Diving

When a player goes out and has themselves a truly putrid start to the season, small improvements are typically lost unless you happen to follow whatever team they play for or they exist on your fantasy baseball team. I happen to have many fantasy baseball teams, and therefore I track many players, for better or for worse. My wife thinks worse. Regardless, although your standard small sample size warning applies, I’ve gotten production out of some surprising sources recently.

Logan Morrison wasn’t particularly high on anyone’s wish list and chances are he wasn’t even drafted in half of your standard leagues. After starting the season hitting .197/.238/.250, anyone who did draft him likely jettisoned him without much thought. Morrison had just 15 hits in 80 plate appearances — one double, one home run. He was slipping down the batting order from 6th to 7th to 8th and rumor of platoons with Rickie Weeks started to percolate.

That’s about when one Nelson Cruz lent him a bat. A longer, heavier bat. I have no idea if this is the reason for his about face, but turn around he did. In May, Morrison is batting .306/.419/.833 with five of his six home runs in just 10 games and 43 plate appearances. He’s also walked at over a 16% clip. And while his .217 BABIP in April might have had you thinking it couldn’t last forever, even in his current hot streak, his average on batted balls is just .231 which doesn’t get in your face and scream fluke. Using them newfangled stats, in May, his hard hit percentage was over 45%, which is among league leaders. League average is 28.6% right now.

Morrison is widely available in most formats and given his .232/.301/.438 line currently, he’s likely to be available a while longer. Although you obviously shouldn’t expect what he’s been doing in May, he could be a shrewd freebie pickup should you have the need. I see his value to be akin to a Justin Morneau or even Adam Lind in daily leagues, where you plug-and-play depending on the match up. Even with all his ups and downs over a six year career, Morrison still owns a .194 ISO against right handed pitching and in 90 plate appearances vs. RHP this season, it’s .272 (and Alex Chamberlain pointed out this morning that Morrison is slightly underperforming his xISO).

Perhaps the singular worst start to the season belongs to Shin-Soo Choo, who opened April with a .096/.254/.173 slash line. He was dumped in many leagues after the Rangers gave him an extended breather to ostensibly watch how other people hit baseballs from a comfortable seat.

But as much as April was famine, May has been a feast. Choo has caught fire, hitting .333/.375/.667 with eight doubles and three home runs. I’m a little less optimistic about him going forward because he’s been striking out at a pretty horrible clip, and his BABIP in May sits at a robust .483. But it’s a positive sign to see his bat come alive, and maybe he can realize that bounce-back season that many prognosticators predicted prior to the season. He’s not running at all, but the projections of a .265/.350/.420 kind of season with 16-18 home runs, 90 runs scored, and 65-70 RBI don’t look completely ridiculous anymore (oh, and he’s also slightly underperforming his xISO if you follow the link above). Better yet, he’s on the waiver wire in a majority of leagues.

Michael was born in Massachusetts and grew up in the Seattle area but had nothing to do with the Heathcliff Slocumb trade although Boston fans are welcome to thank him. You can find him on twitter at @michaelcbarr.

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Trade question for a 10 team points league with keepers.

A Jones, B Phillips and Z Greinke for C Yelich, Dozier, and King Felix