Jed Lowrie (SS - OAK): Watching fantasy owners' deal with Jed Lowrie's 2013 season has been a great lesson in behavioral finance. Lowrie started off the season exceptionally hot and looked like one of the best bargains during draft season. Those who drafted Lowrie were pleased with their initial return and immediately began raising their expectations for the potential breakout. Lowrie's pace eventually slowed (.258-4-0-8 in May) and I almost immediately began fielding twitter questions about whether he should be dropped. Now Lowrie's pace has picked back up in June (.323-15-2-11) and owners are rejoicing the value they got on draft day. Lowrie's changed his a game a bit to fit in Oakland this year. He's flattened his swing and intentionally traded FB's for Line Drives which has left him a high average contributor with limited power. Since the impact a player's batting average has on your team's rotisserie standing most owners have a hard time appreciating Lowrie. He's pretty clearly a Top 10 option at the shallow SS position and going forward I think owners can expect a .290-35-5-35 line from Lowrie during the 2nd half.
Albert Pujols (1B - LAA): Pujols went 0-4 on Sunday and saw his 2013 line drop to .249/.323/.429 with a rotisserie line of .249-41-13-49-0. On the surface Pujols dip in production this season looks fairly BABIP driven. He's posted a .245 BABIP but a 20% LD Rate suggests he's deserved much better. He's increased his FB Rate, which is typically a good sign for a power hitter, but a lower than average HR/FB Rate (10.7%, career average 18.8%) is also driving down his ISO. It's easy to see room for regression and a strong 2nd half from Pujols, but you look at the month-by-month splits and you see an incredible amount of stability in those metrics. For the last 4 full months Pujols has played he's posted a sub-.800 OPS with low BABIPs and HR/FB Rates. I'm not exactly sure how to project Pujols going forward. He did put together a rather monstrous 2nd half last season and his performance this season even with unfortunate peripherals creates a decent floor. On the other hand, Pujols is a year older, battling some leg injuries that could be sapping the power, and playing for a non-contender that may cause him to rest down the stretch. I lean towards selling over buying on Pujols even when the peripherals suggest some positive regression is in his future.
Justin Masterson (SP - CLE): That was easy. Masterson just dominated a RH-heavy White Sox lineup as he tossed a complete game shutout and improved his record to 10-6 with a 3.48 ERA. Masterson has a little bit of CJ Wilson going on in his line this year as he's posted a 0.72 ERA, 0.84 WHIP, and 7.2 K/9 against the White Sox in 25 IP (3 starts). Against everyone else, Masterson has posted a 3.83 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, and 9.41 K/9 in 108 IP. The jump in Masterson's K Rate coincides with a higher swinging strike rate and a heavier usage rate for his slider, which suggest there's some legitimacy to the growth for Masterson. With it, he's been able to lower his FIP to a career best 3.42 and gives me reason to believe this version of Masterson is legit. For his career Masterson's slider has been a whopping +40 pitch value, while his FB (-10) and CH (-9.7) have both been below average pitches. By using the slider more, Masterson has made himself a significantly more effective SP and a legit middle of the rotation starter in traditional formats. I'll admit to being slow to come around on this one as I always thought Masterson was a matchups/back-end type, but he's transformed himself.
Adam Lind (1B - TOR): Lind left Sunday's game early with some mild back irritation. The Blue Jays have come out and already said Lind is day-to-day. Owners in weekly lineup settings can feel comfortable deploying Lind this week based on the day-to-day comments. Lind remains one of my favorite calls of the season, but I'll admit to being a bit concerned about Lind's 2nd half. The strong BB rate that Lind was posting in the first 6 weeks of the season has all but vanished here in June (2.9% BB%). He's making up for it with a great ISO and immense LD Rates (28.3% in June) that are helping the batting average elude the challenges of a low BB/high K Rate. It's possible Lind maintains those going forward and the Jays lineup construction couldn't be any better for his RBI totals as he has the three highest OBP guys batting in front of him. Lind probably doesn't have enough value to sell high and really get a significant return, so I think you hold and see how this develops. The strong lineup positioning plus his power should at the very least provide strong HR/RBI production, but I am concerned about where the Avg goes from here with the deteriorating plate discipline.
CJ Wilson (SP - LAA): Wilson continued his dominance over the Astros this year which is quite literally the only thing keeping Wilson fantasy relevant in traditional fantasy leagues. Wilson against the Astros this year has posted a 3.03 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, and 34 K's in 26 2/3 IP (11.5 K/9). Against everyone else? Wilson has posted a 4.16 ERA, 1.43 ERA, and 65 K's in 80 IP (7.3 K/9). He's basically been a worse version of Felix Doubront against the rest of the league. I'd be selling CJ Wilson as high as I possibly could if I owned him.