Mirage or new reality?
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - With most teams having just passed the quarter pole of the 2013 baseball season, it's a good idea to re-evaluate players who are playing well beyond expectations or well below what you thought they could produce.

The idea behind the process is to decide whether they will continue to perform at their current levels and what you, as a fantasy owner, should do with the information: trade the player away, deal for the player, hold him or release him.

Let's check out some of the guys who are performing far outside their expected values.

Hitters

Matt Kemp, OF, Los Angeles Dodgers (Yahoo preseason ADP 5) - Most concerning is his sudden loss of power. After hitting a home run every 17.5 at-bats in 2012 and 15.4 at-bats in 2011, the Dodgers slugger has hit just one home run in 162 at-bats this season. Last October's left shoulder surgery appears to be the culprit and we're not sure he'll be 100 percent healthy this season. If you can find a trade partner willing to offer a reasonable value in return, you should jump on it.

Albert Pujols, 3B, Los Angeles Angels (ADP 9) - When Pujols said he was having trouble with his foot (plantar fasciitis), fantasy owners should have taken heed. Now he's added a sore knee (his surgically repaired right one) to his aches and pains. The result has been another disappointing start (.241, seven home runs, 25 RBI, 732 OPS) for a hitter who used to be the most reliable first-round fantasy selection in baseball. We still think he could blast 25 homers and knock in 85 runs, but first basemen who put up those numbers are selected in the middle rounds, not the first round.

Giancarlo Stanton, OF, Miami (ADP 10) - We were afraid that opposing pitchers wouldn't have any reason to throw Stanton a decent pitch and it appears that's what was going on before he ended up on the disabled list. He still has plenty of long-term value in keeper leagues, but his 2013 season value is extremely low and we doubt you will get anything close to fair market value in a deal.

Paul Goldschmidt, 1B, Arizona (ADP 42) - Goldschmidt was highly regarded when he made a late-season appearance in 2011 and his first full season was solid, though not spectacular. He's off to a sensational start in 2013, batting .333 with 12 home runs and leading the NL in slugging percentage (.635), OPS (1.049) and total bases (101). We see no reason that his numbers should falter as this fourth-round selection has become one of the season's best bargains.

Jean Segura, SS, Milwaukee (ADP 264) - It's likely that most fantasy owners didn't have Segura on their radar when the season began. Those who took a flier on him, or reacted quickly after his fast start, have been rewarded with the best shortstop in fantasy. He's done it all - power, speed and batting average. Nothing in his past major or minor league career suggests he can play at this level for an entire season and he's a prime candidate for "selling high."

Manny Machado, 3B, Baltimore (ADP 211) - Machado was a highly-thought-of-minor- league prospect who is turning into a highly-thought-of-major-league fantasy third baseman. He batted just .262 with a .739 OPS in 191 at-bats last season, but has shown much more power in 2013 with 25 extra base hits and an OPS 150 points higher than a year ago. He batted mostly at the bottom of the Orioles lineup last season, but has hit exclusively out of the No. 2 hole in 2013, and with Adam Jones and Chris Davis behind him, he has seen much better pitches. He should continue to perform at this level and be a top-five fantasy third baseman.

Pitchers -

David Price, SP Tampa Bay (ADP 25) - The Rays need their Cy Young Award winner and so do fantasy owners who selected him as the ace of their fantasy rotation. But only if he can return to his 2012 level and not the 1-4 pitcher with the 5.24 ERA and 1.44 WHIP of this season. He's still worth holding onto both in keeper and single-season leagues because you won't get fair market value while he's on the disabled list.

Matt Cain, SP, San Francisco (ADP 34) - Cain has made a number of really bad pitches this season, as symbolized by 13 gopher balls in 56 1/3 innings pitched versus 21 in 219 1/3 innings last season. The good news is that he appears to be healthy, his strikeouts per nine innings haven't changed and his velocity is the same as in past seasons. Given that, we have no choice but to hold onto him and hope he turns his season around.

Matt Harvey, SP New York Mets (ADP 135) - He's a stud pitcher with a 95-plus mph fastball and a great breaking ball. His 2013 record (5-0, 1.55 ERA, 0.723 WHIP) isn't a fluke, though he won't continue at this level for an entire season. He should not be traded away, unless another owner is unloading multiple players of high value ... and even then you should think twice.

Hisashi Iwakuma, SP, Seattle (ADP 283) - Fantasy owners ignored him on draft day despite his 9-5 record (3.16 ERA) with a mediocre Mariners' team. This season he's added control to his repertoire (1.2 walks per nine innings pitched versus 3.1 last season) and the result is fewer runs allowed (1.84 ERA) and a stunning AL leading WHIP (0.784). Although he had a couple of good seasons in Japan, only 2008 (21-4, 1.87 ERA, 0.977 WHIP) showed an ability to perform at this level. We think the odds are he reverts to being a good, but not great pitcher and this would be a great time to "sell high."




Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Steve Schwarz at sschwarz@sportsnetwork.com.