Owned in fewer than 50% of league polled
SP Roberto Hernandez, Tampa Bay Rays
People, let us continue to behold the awesome power of this franchise. With the wave of a magic wand, a tip of the top hat and a decision-making process that is clearly far from intuitive for most of the rest of the league, the Rays save careers. They are MLB messiahs.
OK, this is plainly exaggeration. But this organization gives excellent individual instruction. Take Hernandez. As DRaysBay pointed out last month, the righty is throwing an above-average changeup more often than he did with the Cleveland Indians (mostly while going by the moniker Fausto Carmona), among other changes, some more intangible.
Carm- errr Hernandez is generating more swings and misses than at any point in his career. Same goes for his 22.3 strikeout percentage (career rate of 14.1 percent). He's posted an 8.65 K/9 against a 2.74 BB/9 while continuing to produce a grounder rate of 50-plus percent. The lone problem has been the bomb: Compare his 2013 HR/9 (1.48, on 20.6 HR/FB) to his lifetime rates (0.89, 11.7).
There will probably be more rough moments. This isn't an overnight process. But Hernandez has clearly, with help, discovered a better way to do things, setting himself up for more success -- and more improvements to his ERA like those that have gotten him to 4.43 in that category this year.
SS Stephen Drew, Boston Red Sox
The last couple of years haven't been kind to Drew, mostly thanks to his health, but with the exception of his concussion in spring training, his ordeal is related entirely to the broken ankle he suffered in July of 2011. The BoSox took a one-year shot on the 30-year-old and are seeing dividends.
From April 27 through May 15, Drew raised his average from .136 to .245, with three round-trippers and stolen base in that time. He's a fixture at the bottom of Beantown's lineup, but it's a pretty good lineup, so don't complain.
An active Drew remains no guarantee, but a healthy one -- a completely healthy one -- should be owned in most leagues. He could end up with 15-plus homers and double-digit steals and cost you nothing to acquire. He's playing for the chance to secure a multi-year deal this coming offseason.
About Nicholas Minnix
Minnix is baseball editor and a fantasy football analyst at KFFL. He plays in LABR and Tout Wars and won the FSWA Baseball Industry Insiders League in 2010.
The University of Delaware alum is a regular guest on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio and Baltimore's WNST AM 1570.
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