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A new reality or illusion?

Vernon Wells finished the series with Texas, going 6-for-10 with four home runs.
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - When your sample size is too small, for instance a single three-game series, it's virtually impossible to tell whether a player's performance level has changed on a "permanent" basis.

But too often, fantasy owners jump to conclusions about a player's future performance based on this tiny amount of statistical information. Don't be the guy who trades a perennial star for one of these "first-week wonders."

On the other hand, as soon as you can safely determine in your mind that a player's performance level has indeed changed (either for the good or bad) then that is the right time to pull the trigger on a trade.

Let's look at some of these "first-series wonders."

Vernon Wells, OF, TOR - Wells finished the series with Texas, going 6-for-10 and hitting homers in three consecutive games (a total of four home runs). He's got an OPS 2.492. Wells has had three consecutive sub par seasons since posting a 32 HR, 106 RBI, .303 batting average campaign in 2006. I'm not yet sold that he has raised his game to that level. Wait-and-see.

Placido Polanco, 3B, PHI - Polanco opened the season with a grand slam and six RBIs and after completing a three-game series with the Nationals is hitting .500 with an OPS of 1.357. While it's true he has a coveted spot in the high- scoring Phillies lineup, do not be fooled. Polanco will finish the season with 80-90 runs scored and about 65 RBIs. The three-game set was with the Nationals!

Garrett Jones, OF, PIT - Jones hit two homers on Opening Day and added a third long ball in game No.2 before going 0-for-3 on Thursday. Jones hit a homer every 14.9 at-bats last season and is a legitimate power hitter. Assuming 500 at-bats, he's going to hit 33-34 homers this season. He is the "real deal" and will likely play enough games at both first base and the outfield to be eligible at both positions. I would not be afraid to trade for him and in the 25% of all leagues where he is a free agent, I would quickly snap him up.

Delmon Young, OF, MIN - Young showed his skills for Tampa Bay in 2007 when he knocked in 93 runs while hitting .288. He disappointed fantasy owners the next two seasons while with the Twins by not coming close to his 2007 numbers. I would take a wait-and-see attitude.

Edgar Renteria, SS, SF - Renteria went a stunning 8-for-11 in the three game set with the Astros, but you shouldn't be fooled here. How many 15-year veterans improve their performance level drastically. By season's end, particularly in the light-hitting San Francisco Giants lineups, he'll revert to his usual numbers which for a 162-game season will be a .288 batting average with 11 HR and 71 RBI.

Vladimir Guerrero, DH, TEX - When Guerrero is healthy, he's one of the game's most dangerous hitters. Unfortunately, he hasn't been healthy for the last few years. If he can stay on the field, actually he'll be a DH all season, he could be a nice value for a 12th-round selection (ADP 144).

Martin Prado, 2B, ATL - Prado (7-for-12 this season) is only owned in 65% of all leagues and was around a 25th-round choice in those in which he was selected. He's actually a career .307 hitter coming into the season, who could be a spot starter at second base for a fantasy team.

Dallas Baden, SP, OAK - Braden opened the season with a seven-inning gem, yielding just four hits and one run while striking out 10 Seattle Mariners. He's got enough talent and pitches in a pitching-friendly ballpark to make him a viable late-round selection or waiver pickup option. He's owned in about 25% of all leagues.

C.J. Wilson, SP, TEX - Wilson got his first start since 2005 and threw very well. He went seven innings giving up five hits and two runs while striking out nine batters. Texas is a tough ballpark to pitch in, but considering he'll only cost you a waiver wire pickup, might be worth a flyer. Watch his next outing carefully (at Cleveland next Wednesday).

Luke Hochevar, SP, KC - Hochevar had a stellar outing on Wednesday only marred by a blown save that cost him a win. He went 7.2 innings, yielding just five hits and no runs. That's a far cry from the 6.55 ERA and 1.49 WHIP of 2009. I'll need to see a lot more games like the first one before I'm sold on him.

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

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