Hold/Fold: Don’t Buy The Youth Movement

“I will not let it go to waste,
I’m takin’ all, I got,
And leavin’ this place, and I, will not,
Be takin’ up space, I’ll take my best shot, I’m pickin’ up the pace” ~ Thousand Foot Kruth “Falls Apart”

In the words of the immortal LL Cool J, “Don’t call it a comeback”. Technically speaking it was a comeback – but it never should have been. In a 20 team league, there was simply no way that a team with a core of Max Scherzer, Ketel Marte, Matt Chapman, Matt Olson, and Max Kepler was as bad as it looked through 14 weeks. In the end, 5-9 turned into 12-9 and a first-round bye this week. No first-round bye in the 30 team league, but I did continue my playoff streak. I’ve never missed the playoffs in the inaugural year of a H2H dynasty or keeper league. So, roto players, I apologize. I stink at roto dynasty leagues. I’ve tried 2, one drafted, one rebuild takeover, 0 top-half finishes.

My advice, such as it is, is always given with H2H formats in mind. As the song above says, it’s playoff time. I do not believe I have a championship-caliber club in 3 of my 4 leagues, but I’m still making moves and setting lineups on the off-chance I can pull off an upset. My one truly great team is in a points league, so there’s no telling how that turns out. Even if it ain’t your year, push on, take your best shot at grabbing a buy-low guy on waivers or September call-up and start getting ready for next year.

Hold ‘Em

One note before we start: it is entirely possible, maybe even likely that MLB tweaks the ball again. There’s a difference between looking for offense and breaking single-season home run records with a month to go. So actual production matters less here than expected production because expected production should carry over, no matter the ball.

DJ Lemahieu

Not exactly a buy-low candidate, DJ is hitting .335 with the first 20 home run season of his career. Here is the first instance of buying the expected production over the actual numbers. With a new ball, DJ’s home runs may well decline – after all, he couldn’t hit 20 playing in the thin air in Denver. That said, his numbers remain elite.

If someone believes the power is a fluke, and that he has no value without the home runs, you should jump on that 110% of the time. His hard-hit rate? Elite, at over 48%. His exit velo? Also elite at 91.9. His expected batting average is .319. He’s averaging the highest launch angle of his career. Lemahieu may not hit 20 again if they change the ball, but he might hit 15 with 50 doubles and bat .300 – that’ll play.

C.J. Cron

Fangraphs hates Cron. Fortunately, fantasy baseball and Fangraphs have almost nothing to do with each other. Fangraphs says that Cron has been less valuable than Eric Hosmer. Fantasy owners everywhere know otherwise. The dude can mash. He can’t run, but he can mash.

In every batting category (except for sprint speed), Cron is way, way above average. Hard-hit % (45%), expected slugging (.549), expected average (.276), xwOBA (.375), and exit velo (91.1). He’s an old-school, slow-footed slugger, but he’s doing the slugging. Ain’t nothing wrong with that.

Fold ‘Em

Nick Senzel, Manuel Margot, Oscar Mercado

Here we have a trio of relatively youthful outfielders pulling off the baseball equivalent of a double-double. They all have double-digit home runs and double-digit steals. The problem is, changed ball or not, only the steals are likely to continue.

All 3 have below-average expected stats. A low hard-hit percentage, a low exit velo, a low expected batting average, and a low xwOBA. Basically, none of them have hit the ball well at all. If the ball changes, their production could really tank. Even if it does not, they’re much farther from being a 20/20 stud than people will want you to believe.

Hanser Alberto

He has been a bright spot in a dismal Orioles season. That said, Alberto has been a very unlikely bright spot. His only elite skills are expected batting average and an extremely low strikeout rate. He doesn’t walk. He doesn’t hit the ball hard – at all. His exit velocity is putrid, resting below 83mph. And he doesn’t run much, with just 4 steals. Alberto may have helped you this year, but that was more of a fluke than a breakout. He’s not a part of your future.

 

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Seth Bias

Written by 

I'm Seth. I love baseball, especially the Braves, and rock n' roll on vinyl. Books, sandals and tacos too, though I find most of my money for those things going to vinyl these days. Once turned Prince Fielder into Justin Verlander and Paul Goldschmidt in a dynasty league. Also ashamed to say I once cut Jose Ramirez. I don't hate your favorite team unless your favorite team is the Nationals or Phillies. May or may not have cried when David Justice hit that home run in game 6 of the 95 World Series - though if you actually ask me, I'll claim I did not.

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