Hold/Fold and an apology

“Well, I tried to do it right this time around
Let’s start over, I tried to do it right this time around, it’s not over” ~ Daughtry “It’s Not Over”

The playoffs are not over. The season isn’t over. And, least significantly of all, this column isn’t over . . . though it probably should be.

That’s the intro this week. Last week’s advice was terrible. I’m so sorry. A two-homer game from Didi, Moustakas with a home run, Soroka with his best start in weeks, I said trust Bassitt and he stunk too . . . at least Kepler was mostly bad or unavailable. I hope I didn’t cost anyone a win.

So, as Daughtry says, I tried to do it right this time around.

Hold ‘Em

Yadier Molina

A lost cause for most of the season, Molina is finally hot over the last month or so. In his last 100 PA, his xwOBA has been .397, after being .219 for the month before that. You probably didn’t cut Molina, because he’s Yadi. But there were times you probably wished you had. If you held him, your faith has been rewarded. I can’t see the future. Last week’s column is proof of that. But Yadi is swinging a good bat, and if I had him, I’d be playing him right now. That’s all I know.

Mitch Garver

Someone should really check the health and personalities of octogenarian Hall of Famers because I’m convinced that Garver has a case of body-snatching going on. The improbable ride seemed over after an August slump, yet here he is with an xwOBA of .512 over his last 50 PA. Are you kidding me with that number? Whoever is inhabiting Garver’s body right now, whether it’s Garver on the run of his life or a body-snatching Hall of Famer, they are mashing.

Adam Haseley and Danny Santana

xwOBA gives you an image of the whole package, not just a raw number. It’s not just home runs or steals, but patience and quality of contact as well. So Danny Santana and Haseley had been in a funk, but over the last week or two, they’ve both posted relatively quiet xwOBA’s of .349 and .348 respectively. While solid, those are not elite. However, in the previous period, both had an xwOBA under .200. There maybe be a higher peak in both over these final 2 weeks, there may not. But they are clearly finding their stroke at the right time.

Starlin Castro

Take this one with a grain of salt. Actually take all my advice with a grain of salt, and this bit with two. I’m not a huge fan. But I like to keep my Holds positionally similar to my Folds. It’s dumb to tell you to replace an outfielder with a shortstop or a catcher with a third baseman. Castro has been hot since moving to 3b, but as he’s still eligible at 2b, he might actually hold value for you there. Especially as a replacement option for:

NO IDEA WHATSOEVER

. . . Rougned Odor

The numbers actually suggest Odor is on the upswing. He is smoking the ball in September. He may continue to smoke the ball. The problem here is that he smoked the ball in July too, and was unplayable in August. Or is the problem that he strikes out 30% of the time. Or is it that when his walk rate rises, it’s because he’s not making any contact at all, not because he’s learning plate discipline?

The point here is that Odor is hot and making hard-contact without showing any signs of improvement as a hitter. Ride him if you want to. But without any baseline improvement, hot streaks vanish as fast as they appear, and he could save your season or kill it. He is hot right now, but he’s burned everyone this year making him a high risk play down the stretch.

Fold ‘Em

Jose Quintana and Mike Fiers

Points leagues still think pitcher wins and losses matter, which is dumb. However, in a points format, Quintana has been worth negative points over the last month. That’s more than just losses piling up. And Fiers xwOBA over his last few starts is eerily similar to Mitch Garver’s over his last 50 PA. That’s not a good matchup. You are better off with streaming starters if you need innings, or just grabbing relievers for holds and k’s. I ditched both for the championship round of my points league. So I’m following my own advice.

James McCann

Garver sustained the magic, but McCann ended up being smoke and mirrors. His xwOBA for the last several months is below .300. It was a nice ride for a couple of months, but it’s over now.

Charlie Blackmon and Matt Chapman

I’m obviously not telling you to cut them. Or even not to start them. But both players are streaky as can be. For stretches, they can look as bad as Odor at the plate. Both have a higher baseline to fall back to, and both are obviously tremendously productive. But Chapman just snapped off a 7-50 with 23 strikeouts streak, his third major slump of the season. And Blackmon’s xwOBA for his past 100 PA is just .299. There’s a lot of danger in benching, or playing, both. Beware the bust factor here, and if you are playing with a batting average or OBP lead, they may be safer on your bench.

 

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Seth Bias

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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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