Welcome to week one of The Roto Exchange. Just like in past seasons: each week we will take a look at players who are either trending up or down, and from that try to determine if fantasy owners should be buying into these performances or if they should be selling (or dropping) these player.
We’ll mostly look at players outside of the top 100, but will occasionally dive into the top 100 if there are any performance alarming enough to discuss. Lets get to it.
Trevor Story: What hasn’t been written or discussed about Trevor Story? Six games, 28 at bats, 7 home runs, 12 RBIs, a .333 batting average. To say he’s off to a hot start is an understatement, setting multiple records in the first week. As great as he has been so far, keep in mind, he won’t hit 200 home runs this season. Pitchers will adjust to him, and he has already struck out 8 times in these games for a 28.6% strikeout rate. He is very aggressive at the plate, and as pitchers adjust he’ll start to level out.
In a redraft league: if you own Story I’d try hard to move him to the guy who really believes. In a dynasty league: this will be a harder move to make. I’d still float him out there to see what the offers are. If you can sell high, for a top 100 player for example, I’d make the move. If there’s no believer in your league to sell high on, sit and enjoy the production while you get it.
Verdict: Strong Sell/Hold
Cole Hamels: A previous top tier pitcher who has fallen in many rankings, Hamels is off to a good start. He’s 2-0 with two quality starts; one against the Mariners in Texas, and one against the Angels in Anaheim. Only 3 ER for a 2.08 ERA with 12 strikeouts in 13 innings. The caution with Hamels is that he has also walked 3 batters in each start and given up 2 home runs. The 8.31 K/9 is just below his career average, but the 4.15 BB/9 is well over his career rate of 2.31. The walk rate should even out and will the home run rate, and Hamels will continue to be a very good pitcher.
You probably won’t be able to get top 20 value if you try to sell Hamels, and you should be happy with your return based on where you were likely to have drafted him.
James Shields: James Shields pitched 2 games last week, one quality start, and one non-quality start. He tossed 6 innings against the Dodgers, and 7 innings against the Rockies. In total he managed 8 strikeouts, 3 walks, and most disturbingly 3 HR in those 13 innings. After a career best 9.6 K/9 last season he managed only 5.5 K/9 in these two starts. Shields has seen his HR/9 and ERA rise each of the last 3 seasons, and if the strikeout rate falls back to or even below his career level he will become a replacement level fantasy pitcher.
You won’t be getting much of a return for Shields, especially after this first week of the season. He’ll still get you 200 innings this season, and as long as his strikeout rate returns to near his career level you’ll get what you expected on draft day. You didn’t draft him for his ERA or WHIP (hopefully); you wanted his innings and his strikeouts. One of these you should get, and the other you’re now left hoping for.
Byron Buxton: Top prospect Byron Buxton has gotten off to a rough start this season. After a rough cup of coffee last season some owners may be worried. He’s only hitting .158, with 11 strikeouts in his first 19 at bats. He’s got 1 RBI, 1 run, and 0 home runs and stolen bases. Buxton came into the season with a lot of hype, but has struggled in the first week. His contact rate is almost 12% below league average right now; he is swinging at pitches outside of the zone almost 20% more than league average. As he gets a little more comfortable with major league pitching, he should even this out and improve his numbers overall.
In a redraft league: I would let the current owner deal with the struggles. In a dynasty league: Buxton is someone I would target if you can get him from a panicked owner. He may not be the second coming of Mike Trout, but he should turn into a great player over the next couple of years.
Verdict: Hold/Strong Buy
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