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To hold or release?

It's looking more and more like last year was an aberration for Aaron Hill.
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Is your fantasy team under-performing? If so, you probably have Aaron Hill, Aramis Ramirez, Carlos Lee, Carlos Pena or Jason Kubel on your squad don't you?

These guys are at least 125-165 at-bats into their 2010 season and they don't look anything like they did in 2009.

Aaron Hill, Toronto - As a fourth-round draft choice, coming off a stunning 36 HR, 108 RBI season, much was expected of Hill. He hasn't produced. He was the fourth second baseman off the board (behind Chase Utley, Ian Kinsler and Robinson Cano), but isn't performing anywhere near that trio. Hill was battling a hamstring problem in April, but that shouldn't have an effect on his current 5-for-49 slump. It's looking more and more like last year was an aberration, not a new performance level. I'd consider trading him if I could get close to "fair market value."

Aramis Ramirez, Chicago Cubs - Coming off an injury-plagued 2009 campaign, it was surprising that Ramirez went as high as he did on Draft Day (ADP 52). He's been struggling with a left hand/thumb injury and it's very concerning. A trip to the disabled list could be in the works. After five very good seasons for the Cubs, Ramirez is now a fantasy "problem" for the second consecutive year. His career numbers say he improves in the second half (first half OPS 0.808 vs second half 0.870), but not if he can't stay healthy. I'm not ready to cut him loose, but I'd find someone else to start in his place, perhaps Scott Rolen, who has been on fire of late (.375 over the past 14 days with four HR and 14 RBI) and is owned in just 40% of all leagues.

Carlos Lee, Houston - Lee is batting .203 over the past three weeks which is actually an improvement over how he started the season. He's always been Mr. Consistency posting 100+ RBIs and 26-32 HR every season, but this year he might have a problem hitting those numbers. There hasn't been any injury to blame the hitting slump on, he's just not putting the bat on the ball (23 Ks in 163 ABs vs. 51 all last season in 610 ABs). I'm beginning to think this might just be a "bad" year for Lee and I'd trade him if I could get equal value.

Carlos Pena, Tampa Bay - Pena has always been streaky, but his start this year is downright ugly. And that's with his two home run night on Thursday against the Yankees, or the numbers would look a lot worse. The good news is that Pena is a "second-half hitter" with an OPS which usually jumps 107 points after the All-Star break. He'll always be a liability in the batting average category, but he should still give you solid second half production. Don't drop him, but do sit him on your bench for a while. His best months, based on career OPS are June (0.925) and August (1.010).

Jason Kubel, Minnesota - After Kubel posted a 28 HR, 103 RBI, .300 batting average season in 2009, much was expected of him in 2010, but that hasn't happened yet. Fortunately, he was likely only around a ninth-round pick. Still, if he isn't performing you should be looking elsewhere for production - perhaps Milwaukee outfielder Corey Hart who has six homers and 12 RBIs in his last nine contests. From a career standpoint, June is Kubel's best month so he might still be able to turn the season around. Don't cut him, but bench him.

Selected 2010 Under-performing Hitters

YearPlayerTeamGmABRHRRBISBAVEOPSADP
2009Aaron HillTOR311382582820.3620.986
2010Aaron HillTOR311241951310.1610.60140
2009Aramis RamirezCHC401532493300.3400.991
2010Aramis RamirezCHC401561542000.1600.49452
2009Carlos LeeHOU431612182910.3170.890
2010Carlos LeeHOU431631651710.1960.56164
2009Carlos PenaTB4315130143510.2450.970
2010Carlos PenaTB431502172720.1870.66385
2009Jason KubelMIN371362052100.3240.892
2010Jason KubelMIN371261032200.2140.646117


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

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