The Fantasy Fox offers up five buy-low hitters who should be acquired, via trade, in the not-too-distant future. To be clear, each member of this countdown has woefully underachieved to date. However, given their strong, if not superb track records ... it also makes 'em viable candidates for a summertime breakout. (Photos: Troy Taormina/Jennifer Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports)
OF Carlos Gonzalez, Colorado Rockies
STATS (as of June 6): 5 HR, 16 RBI, 22 runs, 2 steals, .239 batting, .317 OBP ... REASONS FOR OPTIMISM: 1) From May 27 to June 6, spanning nine games, Gonzalez posted remarkable tallies with batting average (.389), on-base base percentage (.450) and OPS (.978). 2) It's impossible to believe Gonzalez's home numbers for the season -- two homers, eight RBI, seven rusns, .233 batting -- will be this meh for the next four months. On the plus side, it should substantially deflate CarGo's trade value on the open market. 3) For what it's worth ... from a splits standpoint, Gonzalez has shown marked improvement with batting average, OBP and OPS from April to May to June. For this month (small sample size alert) ... CarGo has a 1.078 OPS.
SS Danny Santana, Minnesota Twins
STATS (as of June 6): 11 RBI, 21 runs, 4 steals, .217 batting, .235 OBP ... REASONS FOR OPTIMISM: 1) It's hard to defend Santana's sophomore slump -- particularly the wretched walk-to-strikeout ratio (2/48). However, his 2014 numbers still make him special in the long run: Seven homers, 40 RBI, 70 runs, seven triples, 20 steals, .319 batting and a .353 OBP in just 101 games. 2) Santana has dual-position eligibility (SS/OF), which can never be underrated in fantasy circles. 3) The crop of high-end shortstops isn't deep ... so why not take a chance on a potential star? 4) Put it all together, and the 24-year-old Dominican is an ideal buy-low prospect right now.
2B Robinson Cano, Seattle Mariners
STATS (as of June 6): 2 HR, 18 RBI, 22 runs, 1 steal, .239 batting, .278 OBP ... REASONS FOR OPTIMISM: 1) During spring training, Cano was the consensus choice as the No. 1 second baseman (and top middle infielder). Two bad months shouldn't diminish that in the long term. 2) On the flip side, Cano owners might be ready to accept any reasonable offer for Cano, who has a dual batting average/on-base percentage of .148 in June. Yikes. 3) Yes, Safeco Field is tougher on hitters than new Yankee Stadium. But Cano remains the star-level talent who averaged 28 homers, 103 RBI, 99 runs and a .314 batting averag from 2009-13.
SS Xander Bogaerts, Boston Red Sox
STATS (as of June 6): 2 HR, 19 RBI, 22 runs, 4 steals, .297 batting, .342 OBP ... REASONS FOR OPTIMISM: 1) Bogaerts' 30-day tallies (one homer, eight RBI, nine runs, two steals, .326 batting, .351 OBP) suggest a sizable breakout may be on the horizon. 2) It's a small sample size, granted. But check out Bogaerts' absurd numbers when batting in the 5-hole this season: .526 batting average, .550 OBP and 1.182 OPS. 3) It's been said many times: The pool of quality shortstops is quite shallow. Never knock the notion of pursuing a high-ceiling asset at that position. 4) At age 22, Bogaerts is only two years removed from a sublime campaign in the minors (two levels) -- 15 homers, 67 RBI, 72 runs, 7 steals, .297 batting, .388 OBP ... in just 116 games.
OF George Springer, Houston Astros
STATS (as of June 6): 8 HR, 19 RBI, 26 runs, 12 steals, .228 batting, .345 OBP ... REASONS FOR OPTIMISM: 1) Springer might not get his seasonal batting average above .260. That aside, he's still a four-category threat with high upside. And in leagues that reward OBP over batting average ... Springer's a stud. (As such, it'll be harder to acquire him, via trade). 2) Here's a bad stat that prospective owners can use to their advantage: Through 30 home games, Springer has a deplorable batting average of .191. Just hope his current owners don't research Springer's seasonal OBP at Minute Maid Park: A staggering .358! 3) Springer will be a fantasy superstar sooner than later. Lest not forget his eight-day explosion of seven homers last year.