Early Sell Highs

Nailing the draft is a great way to give yourself a chance at winning your league.  Working the waiver wire, which Jim Finch can help you with, and in-season trades are the other way you can really improve your odds at winning.  As any ardent fantasy player knows, the dream is to sell high and buy low. We’re obviously in the very early going, but plenty of folks overreact.  Confirmation bias will run rampant and is actually something I’m afflicted with from time to time. You will also find league mates will panic over a week one loss in head-to-head leagues.

I’ve identified some names that might be worth trying to sell high on based on hot starts or name value.  Remember, don’t sell a player just to sell them. Just float guys out there and see if you might be able to get a nice package back.

David Price

I was big on David Price coming into the season, and despite listing him here  I haven’t changed my mind. Price has just produced ridiculously good results in his first two starts.  He’s a brand name ace on one of the best teams in the league. I wouldn’t be in a hurry to trade him, but at the same time there are still plenty of questions.

Price said that he would have gotten Tommy John surgery last year if he was earlier in his career.  He didn’t get that surgery. Maybe the rest and rehab worked and we’ll get similar innings from Price that we’ve gotten from Masahiro Tanaka the last few years… or maybe not.  Maybe he goes down in flames just like he did last year. His velocity is down about a mile per hour from last year in the first two starts. That’s probably not a huge deal as a lot of velocities are down a bit with the 2018 spring being very cold so far.  Another point of note is that price has struck out less than a batter per inning in the early going. Obviously early stats aren’t perfect, but his strikeout percentage is also down a 4-5 points from his career norms as well.

Price has looked great and you should only deal him if you can find the right deal.  I have put him on the block in one league with the hope that he can fetch me ace value.  I’m looking for a package back that’s commensurate with a top 12-15 starter. I bet you can get that kind of a deal given his hot start, name recognition, status as a Red Sox, and the general derth of pitching around the league.

Shohei Ohtani

I was out on Ohtani until the very end of draft season when his stock kept falling lower and lower.  Ohtani is great for baseball. I love that a guy who throws high 90s and is also hitting dongs. It’s exciting, and it has also been fun to own him so far in fantasy given his results to this point.

The argument to deal Ohtani is not a long one for me.  He’s just been as good as you ever could have hoped. When you trade someone, you ideally want to do it when they’re at the peak of their production.  The guy has two quality starts and multiple homers. There are definitely leagues where you can leverage that into something awesome. Ohtani had a health concern with his elbow before he came over.  Maybe this had something to do with the decision to have him pitch every seven days – another reason to move him since there will be no (or very few) two-start weeks. Maybe this issue flares up again causing a slump or reduced at bats. The hot start and these concerns might motivate me to deal him.

I would trade Ohtani for more proven studs – another ace or second to third round hitter.  I’ve seen Ohtani go straight up for guys like Verlander, Greinke, Blackmon, Dozier, and Rizzo. I accept all of those offers instantly and this is the kind of return I’m after.

Didi Gregorius

I’m just about the only Yankee fan who doesn’t gush over Didi Gregorius.  I still don’t know how he is able to do what he has done these past couple of years.  He hit 20 and 25 homers the last two years and was a wonderful asset when you factor in his cost those two seasons.  Didi has been one of the biggest producers in fantasy in this first week and a half of 2018 as well which adds a little more value to doubters, like me.

I would try to trade Didi for the sole reason that there’s a ton of homer Yankee fans out there. Yankee fans that are normally very smart have been routinely asking why guys like Lindor or Seager are better than Didi in either fantasy or real world.  That’s an obscene argument, but this also gives you a selling opportunity. I would take a top 130 type player, but I bet you can get top 5-6 shortstop value or top 75 overall in some leagues.

Bryce Harper

I’m in the camp that thinks Harper is a better fantasy player than Trout.  Well, I believe that when Harper is actually 100% healthy. However, Harper is rarely completely healthy so the argument is basically moot and that is why I would consider dealing this superstar in the early going.

Harper has been maybe the best player in baseball so far.  He has 5 bombs, which is also how many strikeouts he has. As great as it is to own Harper when he’s playing like this, we know the risks. He misses extended periods of time with injury.  Harper has also been lackluster when he tries to play through an injury (see 2016 stats).

If you’re going to trade Bryce Harper then you need to get back something incredible.  I traded him in a keeper points league for deGrom, Nola, and Cespedes last year. It didn’t quite work out for me since Cespedes got hurt, but both hurlers were aces down the stretch.  You need an overpay to trade him, and the best way to induce an overpay is to trade him when he has five homers in eight games.

To add a bit more context, I have a league mate that won’t trade Syndergaard for Blackmon but would do it for Harper.  Blackmon has scored more and has been more consistent than Harper for two full years now, but Harper has a stronger brand name in most leagues. Throw Harper out there and maybe you even get something like Blackmon or Betts plus something else you need. Harper for Betts and a closer is absolutely a trade that can be pulled off under the right circumstances.


Try to catch someone overreacting to a bad first week.  Being 0-1 can make fantasy players do irrational things.  See if you can turn one of these hot starts into something that improves your team’s long-term chance at taking home a title come September.


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Mike Sheehan

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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.

4 thoughts on “Early Sell Highs”

    1. It depends on what you mean by ‘way wrong’. As of right now we are officially through a week and a half of baseball. Ohtani has 3 HR as a hitter and is 2 for 2 in QS per GS. He’s on pace to finish with over 48 HRs and 32 quality starts. There’s no way he finishes with those numbers. The author is saying, if you are going to sell high, his numbers will never be more sparkly then they are right now.

      1. John hit the nail on the head.

        Also, I could be way wrong on Ohtani. I’m way wrong about lots of things as are all analysts. I do tend to get more right than wrong though so it’s worth considering 🙂

    2. I think the one thing that should have been pointed out is he is definitely a sell-high on Yahoo since they (for some dumb reason) split Ohtani into two players. As a pitcher he could be great, but pitching every 7 days does lower his value if you are not able to get the benefit of using him as a hitter for 3 days as well. The hitter Ohtani has limited value playing 3-4 days a week, but a team with a poor draft or injuries might be willing to accept just those few days envisioning home runs every week.

      Personally I’m on the fence with what to do and how to feel, but I’d easily entertain offers and accept for a good price.

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