Sometimes panic sets in for Fantasy owners this time of year. One-seventh of the season is done, they're near the bottom of the standings, their top hitters need to look up to see the Mendoza Line, and they overreact by pulling off unwise trades.
They know in their heart of hearts it's too early to make such deals. These players did not become poor hitters in one month. They boast track records that scream out that they're merely in long slumps. And if they're traded, chances are they will make up for their bad starts by producing even better than usual for the team to which they were swapped.
The most jittery Fantasy owners have likely been contemplating trading the following players, for whom they will not receive equal return because of their temporary drop in value:
Carlos Santana (.156/.321/.289): The Indians third baseman/catcher and cleanup hitter has recently begun to awaken from a season-long slumber and 3-for-58 disaster. He is 4 for 8 with two home runs and six RBI in his last two games.
David Freese (.188/.239/.275): Ditto. The Angels third baseman has also shown signs of breaking loose, ironically in a series against Cleveland. He is taking the ball to the opposite field and making solid contact to the tune of six hits in his last 17 at-bats with four runs scored.
Carlos Gonzalez (.240/.288/.433): The slugging percentage for this Rockies outfielder is down 158 points from last year, but Fantasy owners shouldn't even dream about trading him. He has owned an on-base percentage between .353 and .376 in each of the last five seasons as one of the premier producers in the sport.
Allen Craig (.192/.254/.298): Like Santana and Freese, the Cardinals right fielder is coming around. He's starting to drive the ball and is batting .258 since a 1-for-30 start to the season. Despite the drop in homers in 2013, his last two years were far too strong to be considered a flash in the pan.
Prince Fielder (.202/.325/.313): Perhaps the preseason MVP talk associated with his past brilliance and move to a hitter's paradise in Texas has had a negative effect on this slugger. But an average of 36 home runs and 108 RBI per season since 2006 tells you all you need to know about Fielder. Trading him now based on his current numbers would be sheer folly.
Curtis Granderson (.136/.252/.216): The Mets right fielder and big free agent acquisition has experienced hitless streaks of 12 and 22 at-bats already this season, but he has hit safely in four of his last six games. It's hard to imagine that injuries that destroyed 2013 for Granderson has transformed him from a consistent 40-homer, 100-run producer into a dead spot in the lineup.
Billy Butler (.221/.283/.253): The Royals designated hitter has been affected by the power outage that seemed to be gripping the entire offense. His doubles have dropped in each of the last two seasons and his homers fell significantly last year. He has just three doubles and no blasts in 2014. But he just turned 28 years old and is too accomplished and steady a hitter to continue on this pace.
Jedd Gyorko (.144/.218/.211): OK, so maybe this is the exception. Perhaps the dreaded sophomore slump has a hold on the Padres second baseman. But three extra-base hits in a month when he combined for 49 a year ago? His minor league numbers suggest 2013 was no fluke. Chances are he'll bust out.
Starling Marte (.229/.308/.305): Same as Gyorko. The Pirates left fielder showed last season he could convert the potential shown in a brilliant minor league career. He also proved he could make better contact than he has to start the year. It's hard to believe he will continue on the 200-strikeout pace he's currently on.