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Buy Low Sell Low Week 17

Since this is one of the last Buy/Sells before the fantasy trade deadline, I gave you guys some extra names. Hope you enjoy and are able to pull off some deals that put you over before the deadline!

Buy

Michael Brantley

I’m a little late to the party on this one, but I did recommend him to a reader last week. I am targeting Brantley in all formats, but especially in points leagues. This guy was a top-5 player not too long ago. He backed that up with another excellent year before falling off a cliff due to injury last season. He is looking a lot like vintage Brantley right now though, and his season numbers aren’t too shabby either.

  AB AVG R HR RBI SB K
Season 306 0.301 42 8 48 11 47
July 92 0.304 18 3 18 4 10

As solid as the season numbers are, you can see that he has been even better this last month. The counting stats are up as the Indians offense has begun to awaken. His strikeout rate is back down where it usually is as well, which is why I highly recommend him for points leagues. His K rate for the season is an impressive 13.9%, but it was a mere 9% in the month of July. That is a prime ingredient for a points superstar. His batted ball profile is in line with the years when he was just that, and he  is actually sporting a career high 35% hard hit rate. All signs point to go for Brantley finally being back after a long road through injury.

I would buy and buy hard on Brantley. He has been hot, and I’m sure the owners are aware of that. Target him in all formats, but pay full freight for points as he has a reasonable chance to be a top 5-10 OF in that format. I mentioned to the reader last week that I saw him traded for Jose Bautista in a deep roto league and love that for the Brantley side. I actually just dealt for him a points league as well, trading my man-crush Conforto for him so you know I believe in Brantley. Test the market out for Brantley and don’t be afraid to actually pay a bit for him. I think he’s all the way back.

Trevor Story

This is another guy who has been hot lately. I’m not going to dive into deep analysis on him since this is more philosophy than statistically based advice. Shortstop really stinks; it’s really, really bad. Injuries haven’t done the position any favors either with Correa and Turner on the DL. Trevor Story was on pace to hit more than 40 bombs last year. He also calls Coors Field home and bats in a stacked lineup that includes Nolan Arenado. ‘

I think it’s worth gambling on greatness at a weak position. His K rate is still terrible (34.9%), and he will go into the tank for weeks at a time as a result of that variance. He can also get insanely hot and give you big production where your opponent might be getting close to nothing. He is still hitting the ball reasonably hard at 37%, and he hits almost half his balls in the air. This is a recipe for success for a Coors Field hitter.

Statcast’s new “sprint speed” leaderboard also lists Story as the 3rd fastest shortstop in the league behind only Trea Turner and Wilmer Difo. This gives me renewed hope that he can make good on some his stolen base potential as well. He was touted as having 20 swipe potential as a prospect.

I think Story will still come reasonably cheap as many owners are sick of him. They may see the recent hot streak as a selling opportunity. Several owners even dropped him as his ownership percentage only recently came back over 80% in ESPN leagues. I would shoot over some low ball offers to the Story owner and see what you can get. I might even trade a really solid player at OF or 1B where I am likely flush. For example, I have no problem sending Yonder Alonso or Tommy Pham for Story. Both of those guys are good, but there’s just so much depth at those positions. I think it’s worth gambling on the fact that Story finds a bit of his 2016 magic.

Sam Dyson

Mark Melancon wasn’t supposed to be out as long as he has been. He is allegedly going out on a rehab assignment now, but the Giants are really bad. They also paid Melancon a boat load of money this offseason, so I don’t think they are going to rush him back. That has left Mr. Dyson in command of the 9th inning for the past few weeks. He has been pretty good as well, notching six saves so far as a Giant. He’s done that with an ERA under 1.00 in July.

Many fantasy owners are hesitant to trust Dyson after he burned them in April. I’m still growing my eyebrows back from some of his combustion’s in the Spring. He seems to have figured it out again, though, and is back to inducing an insane amount of ground balls, a 64.9% rate in July. That’s what made him so successful last year.

As long as Dyson is the closer in San Francisco, he doesn’t belong on waivers. Go grab him if you can. He is only owned in 28% of ESPN leagues. I would also take him back in a trade if I needed saves. I wouldn’t be dying to add him, but I do think he can be trusted again for now. I’m not willing to spend much more than some FAAB or a waiver pick on him, though. I would trade other waiver type closers for him as well, such as Tyler Clippard, Alex Claudio, or Fernando Rodney.

Alex Avila

Avila has really stunk lately, and James McCann has been a man on fire. I don’t expect that to continue, and Avila’s underlying numbers seem to suggest he has been unlucky.

He still has a really ugly 30% K rate, but he has always had that. The big reason for excitement here is how hard he is hitting the ball – an absurd 50.4% of the time. This is backed up by an equally silly 27% line drive rate. He has also been given premiere spots in the Tigers lineup in the past. I wouldn’t be surprised if he finds his way back into such a spot if he can heat up again, and the fact I am buying tells you I think he should heat up.

It shouldn’t cost much to acquire Avila. You might be able to just pick him up off of waivers as he’s owned in about 40% of ESPN leagues. I would also trade a guy like Russell Martin for him. At worst, I would put him on my watch list and wait for James McCann’s recent hot streak to end.

Then again, if those late night rumors of Avila going to the Cubs turns out to be true you can just ignore everything I just said.

Trevor Rosenthal

Going to weigh in on another potential closer here. Trevor Rosenthal has been a top-5 closer in the past. He has electric stuff and throws hard as hell. Seung Hwan Oh is also not living up to his nickname as “The Final Boss.” Oh’s velocity is down, and he has blown a ton of opportunities this year. Rosenthal has been pretty good all year, but especially lately.

Grab him if it’s not too late in your league as this could be a potentially elite closer off of waivers or as a throw-in for a trade. His 64 Ks in 41 innings can really give a boost to any starter you may own with strikeout deficiencies. He’s owned in under 20% of ESPN leagues going into Saturday night, which might be low even if he’s not going to be the closer. Hopefully you’re not too late on this one.

Josh Reddick

I just added Josh Reddick off of waivers in a points league. I was surprised to be doing that as I’ll be honest – I had no idea he had been that good this year. It prompted me to do some further investigation. He’s batting .307 and his projections leave him just a bit shy of 20-15. That’s pretty solid for old man Reddick.

Additionally, he plays in the stacked Astros lineup and his reputation as a good defender should keep him in the lineup. He’s also leading off until George Springer comes back from injury. This should result in some good counting stats. I wouldn’t be surprised if he finishes with around 100 runs and 90 RBI.

If you take a look at his underlying numbers and batted ball profile, you will see it all looks legit. His hard hit rate of 32% is the 2nd best of his career, and his 24.8% line drive rate is a career high. He does his best to keep the ball off the ground as well with only 32.6% ground ball rate. That leaves us with 42.6% of balls in the air, which makes me think there’s room for positive power regression as well. His HR/FB rate is only a point lower than his career, but let’s remember that he spent a lot of his career in the pitcher friendly Coliseum. He keeps the strikeouts down (14.3%), and this combined with the hard hit and line drive rates make me think the .300 average is legit.

Somehow he is owned in under 60% of ESPN leagues. Go get this guy if he is on waivers. As far as targeting him in trades, I would try to take advantage of the fact that I think his real world value exceeds his perceived value. People find Reddick boring. He has been around forever and was often injured leading to some bias.

I would try a 2-2 type trade where I upgrade big at one position and then trade a sexier OF for Reddick. Some guys that come to mind would be Adam Jones or Christian Yelich. I think Reddick is probably about an even trade or maybe even an upgrade on these guys, but I think the market finds them to be sexier. Maybe you can do something like Carrasco and Yelich for Sale and Reddick. The other players aren’t important in the example either, it’s just that structure. Reddick can definitely be the 3rd or maybe even the 2nd best OF on a championship team this year. Go get him.



Sell

George Springer

This will probably be a controversial one given the fact that Springer is having the kind of season that fantasy owners hoped he would have. A .380 ISO is absolutely ridiculous as is a 162 wRC+. He’s going to destroy his career highs for homers, and he has a premium slot in arguably the best lineup in baseball. So why is he a sell then? I think he’s a sell because I believe his market value has spiked and the underlying numbers lead me to believe he hasn’t made much of a leap.

First of all, let’s start out by pointing out the obvious. We thought Springer would be a fantasy stud one day because we believed he had 30-30 potential. Guess what? He’s still not stealing bases. He has 4 stolen bases, and given the fact that he is currently on the shelf with a quad issue, I wouldn’t bet on him eclipsing the 9 swipes from last year. Okay, so we’re throwing the speed part of the equation out the window. What else has changed then?

His K% is down 3 points which is promising, but not transformative. His walk rate is down a couple of points, but nothing too serious to see here. His BABIP is up 20 plus points from last year, which helps explain some, but not all of the spike in average. He is crushing the ball with a very sexy 38.9%. Still, his mix of grounders, line drives, and fly balls is just about identical to last year – this includes an awfully high 46.7% ground ball rate. The most obvious and glaring thing that I see is the HR/FB rate that has jumped up almost 10 full points from last year. 29% of his fly balls are soaring out of the stadium this year which is an unrealistic number.

I do think Springer has made some incremental gains this year, but also think most of the change in results can be explained by luck. The raise in BABIP and HR/FB rate are the primary drivers for Springer’s even higher level of success in 2017.

Springer is still a stud so don’t sell him just to sell him. He is just more of a 3rd rounder than the 1st round type talent he has performed at this year, and I’ve seen him flipped for that kind of talent. He is also slated to come off the DL very soon, which should excite prospective buyers. I saw Springer dealt for Altuve straight about a month ago – these types of trades do happen. I’ve also seen him dealt for a player of similar value plus something else of use such as Kluber and Giles. I like that trade too.

If you’ve been lucky enough to benefit from Springer’s massive 2017 campaign, I hope you’ve enjoyed it. I would test the market to see if you can land a 1st round guy before the deadline.

Alex Claudio

Not much to say here. I like him, and for some reason find his name hilarious. He seems like one of the scrub boxers Rocky Balboa beat up on in Rocky III before having to face off with Clubber Lang (Mr. T).

My analysis on this one is pretty simple. Claudio doesn’t strike many people out. He’s very good against lefties, but a 5.6 K/9 isn’t likely to cut it as a closer. Also, as stated – he’s great against lefties, and the Rangers don’t have a plethora of southpaw options. I imagine he’ll eventually end up falling back into his lefty specialist role. Claudio is a solid reliever and likely won’t kill you, I just don’t think he’ll keep the role.

I’d sell him straight or as a throw-in to get a deal I wanted done.

Eric Hosmer

I’ve always liked Eric Hosmer as a real world baseball player and hated him as a fantasy one. I came around a little bit during years when I was able to get him for $1 or off of waivers to fill a Util slot in a points league. Overall, though, I think Hosmer is just above average in fantasy. He is having arguably his best fantasy season to date, so let’s take a look at why this might be.

A .354 BABIP does some explaining right out of the gate. That’s 53 points better than last year and 26 points hihger than his career mark. Maybe he is hitting the ball harder, or his batted ball profile has changed? Nope, not really. His 30.2% hard hit rate is the lowest in his career, trailing only his rookie year. He is also still putting the ball on the ground at an epic rate for someone with the results he’s been getting (53.3%). His line drive rate is at a very impressive 23.5%, and he has managed to sustain what seems like an outlier in HR/FB% from last year (21.3%).

Still, he doesn’t hit enough balls in the air to be a true power threat. The BABIP is inflated, and despite the elevated line drive rate, he’s not hitting the ball very hard so I would expect the average to drop as well. Throw all of this together with the fact that the Royals lineup is Triple A-ish and I would try to sell Hosmer.

Hosmer is a pretty polarizing player. I imagine this is for a few reasons. He looks physically impressive if you watch him play – he just looks like a baller. He has also been a mainstay on some very successful Royals teams, but he has never lived up to his fantasy or real life pedigree. That makes some folks hate him as a fantasy option. Most leagues have at least one Hosmer guy, and that guy might yet again be thinking that Hosmer has made the leap that Rizzo and Freeman made since those were the guys he was grouped with 3-4 years ago, but he hasn’t.

See what you can get for the big lefty. I flipped him for Carlos Santana and Sean Doolittle in a points league before Santana’s recent outburst. I saw him traded for Brantley, which you know I love. And if there’s no Hosmer guy in your league – just ride it out. The hot streak will end, but Hosmer is still solid, especially in points leagues. He makes a fine utility player in points and is acceptable as a CI in roto. However, if he is your starting first baseman after all of the breakouts at that position, you’re probably in trouble already.

Taijaun Walker

I’m tired of being teased by this guy. He is on a bit of a run and he gets excellent support from a great offense. He also pitches in a bad park and is just not a special pitcher. He is only owned in about 60% of ESPN leagues so this is not to say I wouldn’t stream him. I’ve just seen a lot of chatter in the industry wondering if this is finally Taijuan taking the leap. I really don’t think so.

He is currently sporting a respectable 3.47 ERA, but a 3.90 FIP and 4.40 xFIP suggest some luck here. His K% is within a point of last year at 20.3%. His walks have crept up to a slightly troubling 8.4%. The only differences I can see in his profile this year vs last are his HR/FB rate and his pitch mix. His HR/FB rate is at 9.8%, down from almost 18% last year. I wouldn’t expect someone to move from Safeco to Chase Field and experience added HR prevention. They didn’t put the humidor in yet so that change of scenery doesn’t explain that change.

The other change is that Walker throws a slider a bit this year. Guess what? It’s a bad pitch. If you’ve seen it live you know that. Fangraphs’ Pitch Values assigns all of his pitches a negative value except for of course his fastball. He has a great heater. That is not enough to be a successful MLB pitcher, let alone in a hitter’s haven like Chase Field.

I would try to deal Walker if I owned him. He still has a bit of the prospect sheen on him, and some owner might be thinking that Arizona is the new Pittsburgh with the success of Ray and Greinke this year as well. Walker is on a bit of a run, and maybe you can convince someone he’s made the jump. I would deal walker for names like Berrios, Nola, S. Gray, and J. Nelson. I saw a deal in one league where Walker was paired with Ryan Madson for Johnny Cueto. I love that too.

Paul DeJong

If you have him, enjoy the “Cardinals Devil Magic” while you can. It’s not going to last much longer. He has a 30.6% K rate and pairs that with a 3% walk rate. To put that into actual counting stats, he has 60 strikeouts compared to 6 walks so far in 196 plate appearances. Shortstop is really bad so enjoy it while you can, but it should end soon. You might be saying, “but you came out for Trevor Story and his profile isn’t much better”. True, but Story plays at Coors Field. St. Louis is actually a pitcher’s park.

My trade advice would actually be try to turn DeJong into Story. You may not be able to do it straight up, but it is worth a shot. I would also be willing to add something small to get a deal like that done. DeJong shouldn’t have cost you anything to acquire so any assets you can net with him should be gravy!

 

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Mike Sheehan
Comedian, Powerlifter, and most importantly a Cum Laude graduate of the fantasy baseball school of hard knocks. Double major in points and categories with a minor in roto. Happy to be doing my Postgraduate work here at the Fantasy Assembly.
Mike Sheehan

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