Fantasy baseball owners can easily fall in love with young players. They normally come cheap on draft day and are full of potential. Few, but some, actually live up to that potential in their first season or two. Most, however, go through the normal struggles of a young ballplayer getting their first taste of the big leagues. Here are three young players that have seen early season success, but make for a great sell high.
Austin Jakson .328/.381/.466, 3 SB
Jackson has more than pleased owners who selected him toward the end of their 2010 drafts. However, it's time to thank Jackson for his early season contributions and sell him off to a team looking at his high AVG and stolen base potential. There are two main factors to Jackson's game that should turn his AVG south before long. First, his .328 AVG can be somewhat attributed to an insanely high .500 BABIP. Sure, he's hitting a ton of line drives, but that pace is almost certain to slow. Even Albert Pujols couldn't keep this pace for too long. Second, Jackson has struck out 20 times in 58 at-bats, good for a strikeout rate of over 30 percent. Jackson put up some high strikeout rates in his minor league days as well (high for a player not profiled as a power hitter). In the end, Jackson is probably not going to hit .300 this season and his value is probably at it's peak right now.
Ricky Romero 1.57 ERA, 0.74 WHIP, 22 SO in 23 IP
This sell high is not to suggest that Romero will fall off the face of the earth soon. I actually like the changes he has made and think it will result in a little breakout season. However, the numbers he is putting up right now are Cy Young Award worthy. They are also only based on only three games. Sure, Romero has a very good chance to see an improved strikeout rate over last season and keep his ground ball rate over 50 percent, but there is no way in the world he maintains a 9.3 percent line drive rate.
As sample sizes grow and Romero mixes some bad outings in with the good, you'll have a pitcher who's ERA and WHIP are good, but not Cy Young good. The chance to sell high is now, especially after he followed up a near no-hitter with eight solid innings against the Angels.
Romero has been recently traded for closers like Heath Bell, Jose Valverde and David Aardsma. He would also be a great piece to add to a two-for-one or three-for-one to try and upgrade to a top-end bat.
Cameron Maybin .302/.362/.413, 15 R, 1 HR, 3 SB
Sometimes the hype surrounding a player's potential can be a bit misleading. For years Cameron Maybin has been touted as a potential 30/30 type future hitter, but he has done very little to support those predictions. Maybin is still young enough to take some big strides in his game, but non-keeper leagues shouldn't be looking past 2010.
Taking out of the equation his future, Maybin still hasn't shown enough with his plate discipline to keep up what he is doing right now. Maybin's .302 AVG comes with a lofty .429 BABIP. As his BABIP regresses his AVG will fall, mostly because of a continuing problem with the strikeout. In 176 at-bats last season Maybin struck out 51 times (29 percent). For his Major League career he has a 31.3 percent strikeout rate in 320 at-bats.
Simply put, until Maybin cuts down on his strikeouts he's not going to hit for much AVG at the big league level. When he was sent down to triple-A last season, he actually did cut down on the K's, but his power numbers suffered because of it.
Maybin may still find a balance between power and AVG someday, but it's not likely going to happen this year. Sell while you can.