buy and sell – June Edition

I’m writing this instance of “Buy & Sell” from just outside of our nation’s capital in Alexandria, VA.  It’s a beautiful, quaint town that has me thinking clearly about fantasy. We’re getting to the halfway mark  Now is a great time to push the gas pedal down if you’re in a good position. It’s also a good time to start thinking about forcing the issue before it’s too late if you’re not quite where you had hoped.  Below are some people to consider buying and selling.


Max Muncy

I immediately disliked Muncy when I saw him play.  It was completely irrational and unfounded. My best guess is that his last name sounds scrubby.  He sounds like a backup point guard for a JV hoops team. I was digging into his numbers earlier this week though and boy was I surprised and impressed.  I would definitely try to nab him from waivers before it’s too late. If someone else has him, then I would try to get him added to a bigger deal in a somewhat innocuous way.  Let me tell you some of what I found.

Muncy hits the ball hard 43.2% of the time according to Fangraphs.  That’s awesome. He’s also only hitting 33% of his balls on the ground.  So while his 26.2% homer to fly ball rate is probably a bit higher than we would expect moving forward, Muncy has fly ball revolution written all over him.  A guy who hits the ball hard and in the air breaking out… doesn’t that sound a bit like Justin Turner, the guy he has been filling in for? Statcast also has his xwOBA at .438, which is good enough for 5th in the league.  He’s behind only Mookie Betts, J.D. Martinez, Mike Trout, and Freddie Freeman on that leaderboard. That’s a nice group to be a part of. Statcast also has his “barrels” per plate appearance as the 7th best in the league. A lot of other similarly studly names in that list.  The only thing I don’t like about Muncy is his K rate is up at 24.3% but he also has a 15.5% walk rate.

It’s a small sample and there’s a chance the league adjusts to him.  I think it’s worth chasing this guy to find out. It shouldn’t cost you much more than a waiver move or some FAAB.  If Muncy can continue the approach and quality of contact that he’s shown so far, he can potentially be a stud. That’s the kind of cheap difference maker that helps you win a title.  Turner should be back soon but it’s been reported that Muncy will remain in the lineup when that happens. The Dodgers have proven to be one of the smartest teams in baseball and there’s a chance that Muncy is one more good find.  Oh, he’s also dual eligible in many leagues. Go get Muncy!

Carlos Rodon

We should have picked Rodon up and stashed him weeks ago.  He had a dominant rehab stint at triple A that got me very excited about having him.  He put up a 1.42 ERA with a 22 to 5 strikeout to walk ratio. I would go get him off waivers if it’s not too late yet.  There is also some prospect fatigue with Rodon if the owner didn’t notice his rehab dominance. I would act fast though.

There’s obviously not much to draw on from 2018 after the late start due to injury.  He had the amazing triple A run and he just held his own against the Red Sox. That start is encouraging to me given that the Sox are a dominant offense, even without Mookie Betts.  Rodon also managed 7 strikeouts in five innings. He threw 63 stikes on 97 pitches as well. This is a LOT to get excited about given his pedigree. Rodon is a lefty that averages around 94 MPH on his heater historically with a dirty slider.  His big issue has always been an elevated walk rate. For example, he was at 10.4% last year. He also had a 25.6% K rate, which is pretty nice as well. Rodon is approaching 400 career innings in the bigs as well. That’s a level of experience that makes me start looking for the post-hype breakout with pedigree pitchers like Rodon.  

I think the likely outcome for Rodon is a 3.50 to 3.70 type ERA with good K numbers.  I would expect around 11 per 9. Given Rodon’s blistering minor league run, there’s always a chance he breaks out this year as well.  He was once one of the two or three biggest pitching prospects in the league. If you’ve seen his stuff, you know why. Rodon will definitely be usable in fantasy and there’s a chance he elevates his game to the next level.  Definitely seek out his owner to see if there’s any chance you can get him at a fair price. Be sure to check the wire as well given that he’s only 17% of ESPN leagues. That’s a joke and you need to grab him immediately.  If he has improved his control as much as his minor league stint suggests, there’s a good chance Rodon takes the leap.


Mike Foltynewicz

I was lucky to get a ton of shares of “Folty.”  I fell in love a few years back when I saw his electric stuff.  His recovery from thoracic surgery also made me overly optimistic about Matt Harvey’s chances at doing the same.  That’s another story for another day. Folty is off to an awesome start this year and has rewarded folks that drafted him, including myself, with ace like production.  That said, I think it’s worth exploring what you might be able to get for the young lefty.

Foltynewicz’ standard line this year is pretty ridiculous thus far.  A 2.31 ERA with 88 Ks in 74 innings, yes please! He’s achieved these lofty numbers with a 28.7% K rate.  His walk rate is at a scary 10.8% walk rate. To put this in perspective, that’s 4 walks per 9. His FIP is 2.98 and his SIERA is 3.70.  I tend to think his true skill is somewhere between those two numbers. He’s allowed .61 homers per game, which is about half of his career number.  His homer to fly ball rate is 4 points off his career as well. It’s hard for me to buy that Folty has suddenly fixed his homer problems, especially in a friendly park like SunTrust.    His swinging strike rate is also 9.8%, which doesn’t really support a 28.7% overall K rate as well. Trevor Bauer showed us last year that this can be fluky though and the stuff is definitely there if you watch Foltynewicz pitch.

Make no mistake, I think Folty is a top 40ish SP.  He does have a bit of a cult following in fantasy circles though.  They might think that he’s busted out and is a full-fledged ace now.  I would be seeking top 20-25 value in exchange for him. The depressed homer rate and extremely high walk rate make me think that there are tougher days ahead.  He does play in a division with some light hitters and the NL is a positive in general, but I am scared of his home park. It’s helped turn Freddie Freeman into a first rounder and to ruin most of Julio Teheran’s value.  I would expect something like a 3.30 ERA from Folty moving forward with decent K stats. You should only move him if you’re getting the right price. Given how hyped he’s been in fantasy circles in the past, you definitely have a chance at finding that top 20ish price tag.

Javier Baez

Baez is a delightful real world player.  His defensive prowess is absolutely a joy to watch.  His versatility is also awesome, which makes him a good fit for Joe Maddon.  He has historically been overrated for fantasy though and despite his solid start, I would try to sell. I feel more strongly about this in points leagues.  

Baez has amassed a very nice 14 bombs and 9 swipes to this point.  That would be 38 homers and 26 steals if he continues this pace. He’s pacing at 96 runs and 126 RBI as well.  That’s an absolute fantasy monster. I don’t think he can continue at this rate. Baez is hitting 45.8% ground balls and striking out at a clip of 24.2%.  That’s pretty bad. The K rate is down about 4 points from last year, but he’s been in this neighborhood before. His swinging strike rate is still at 17.9% as well.  Again, that’s terrible. Additionally, Baez only walks at a 3% clip. This plate approach makes me want to vomit all over my lovely hotel room. This is like the anti-Votto.  Baez also pops up on the infield a ton. He’s popped up at 12.7% this year, which is only .7% worse than his career. Infield pop ups are almost as automatic of an out as a strikeout.  Baez is hitting the ball harder, which is good. He’s up to 35% hard hit on Fangraphs. Some of the power is being powered by a 25.5% homer to flyball rate. That’s 8 points higher than his career average.  Baez average exit velocity is a bit underwhelming at just 89.7 MPH next to guys like Jacoby Jones and Yadier Molina. That said, he does a good job of barreling the ball with some frequency. He barrels a ball every 8.9 plate appearances, which is 19th best in the league.  The speed has been nice as well and he’s pretty fast. Statcast has him as the 45th fastest guy in the bigs. He’s tied with guys like White Merrifield and Austin Meadows. Steals tend to be a stat based on decision. As long as Baez continues to want to steal bags, it seems like he should be able to sustain that.  He’s not a complete burner but he is definitely an above average runner.

Doing a deep dive on Baez actually made me like him more than I thought I would.  I still hate the plate approach. It’s going to be hard to be a good hitter when you strike out at such a high rate and don’t ever walk.  His contact skills in general are deplorable. So far this year, he’s tended to have trouble hitting but then when he gets a hold of one- he really gets a hold of it.  He is also popping up a ton and hitting a ton of ground balls. I just can’t see how Baez can sustain his current level of success given his profile. I would deal him in points leagues in a heartbeat.  In roto, it can be tougher given the steals production. He’s pacing at that prodigious 38 and 26 rate though, so you might be able to get a big return. Baez definitely has big backers. He’s been overdrafted year after year.  You likely have 2-3 Baez lovers in your league. It’s worth seeing what he’ll fetch you in roto as well. I bet you can get top 5 shortstop value in points leagues, which is his less useful format. For roto, you will want to aim for more than that to make it worth the effort.  

Best of luck buying and selling.  As always, don’t sell just to sell.  We want to make sure we’re gaining value with any deal that we make.  Usually, there’s at least one or two people in your league that will allow you to do that.  

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.