Fantasy Sports: The debut of Trust or Bust

Welcome to a new weekly special I am adding to the Fantasy Sports blog called Trust or Bust. Basically I analyze player performances and let you know if they are sustainable (Trust) or if the players are performing over their head (Bust). Let's get started.

Ruben Tejada, SS/New York Mets: Not a highly regarded prospect - but a solid one - Tejada has been showing some maturity at the plate recently. Power isn't his specialty and if you are expecting more than a handful of homers than move along.

But Tejada has good speed and a prime hitting position in the lineup - the No. 2 spot. After racking up 10 hits in a three-game span last week, Tejada is a solid bet to hit for a good average, collect 15 or so steals and score around 80 runs. Verdict: TRUST.

Jason Hammel, SP/Baltimore Orioles: The tall righty's swinging strike percentage is up so that is a good sign, but I'm not quite sold. Although he has three wins already, there is no guarantee the O's keep winning and Hammel goes deep into games.

I won't say he is a bust because I think he has some usable skills and can be used as nice rotation filler against certain teams. Verdict: TRUST against the right opponents.

Alex Rios, OF/Chicago White Sox: Now we have come to my fantasy kryptonite. Admittedly I own Rios on almost every team and I have and I just can't help myself. The threat of a 25-25 season or better has me hooked.

I'm here to tell you to not be like me, cut the cord with Rios if you get a good offer from a fellow owner. While I'll hold on to hope that he is on the cusp of a career season, be a smart fantasy owner and sell high before the inevitable slump arises. Verdict: BUST, time to sell high.

Tom Milone, SP/Oakland Athletics: A control specialist with average velocity, Milone has acquitted himself well so far in the American League. His rough start against Boston non- withstanding, I feel Milone is a good investment.

While I may not play him against the Texas Rangers or the New York Yankees, he is a solid rotation clog for the A's and fantasy owners. His strikeout rate has gotten better and while it will never be elite, he could settle in around five or six per nine innings. Verdict: TRUST in most matchups.

Jose Altuve, 2B/Houston Astros: Standing just over 5-feet, 7-inches, this sparkplug has ignited the Astros' offense with a batting average north of .300. While his line-drive percentage is a little higher than average, Altuve can take the ball to all fields and he uses his speed as a weapon.

He can probably pop a few homers and while his run totals may be low because of a less-than average Stros' offense, 30 steals aren't out of the question once he learns his way on the base paths. Altuve is a starting second baseman in leagues 12 teams or deeper and if he picks it up on the basepaths, he becomes 10-team worthy. Verdict: TRUST.

Adam LaRoche, 1B/Washington Nationals: Usually known for his second-half surges, the veteran lefty has put together a nice month of April. While some may say it's a fluke, I couldn't disagree more and it took just one at-bat for me to form my opinion.

Down 1-2 in the count, LaRoche pulled a homer off Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw into the right field bleacher and I was sold. Only the 15th homer Kershaw has ever given up to a lefty and LaRoche hit it with authority.

As long as his shoulder doesn't act up, LaRoche could make a run at 30 homers and once Mike Morse returns to the lineup, he could become even more dangerous. Verdict: TRUST if healthy.

Got a player you want me to address? A new topic or interest in writing a guest blog? Email me an bphaines37@gmail.com.

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