I hope everyone is enjoying their last week of fantasy baseball before the all-star break! While it is pretty fun having a 10 day scoring period coming out of the break, four whole days without any baseball is always quite difficult for me. For the most part I use that time on more fantasy baseball. I am always speculative when it comes to improving my roster, and the all-star break is a great time to really reflect on how your team has performed and where it currently stands.
Last week, we looked over four players who have the potential to come back and really help your team for the second half of the season. This week’s trade season article will look at just the opposite of that – sell high guys. If you are currently rostering any of these players you should look to sell as quickly as possible, as I think each of them have some kind of regression coming to their numbers. Nothing like the law of averages, right? Or something like that.
Ian Desmond (SS/OF)
.319/.372/.571 – 15 HR – 52 RBIs – 62 R – 15 SB
Selling a guy who is having by and far the best season of his career may seem crazy, but that’s the beauty of selling high. The whole idea here is to trade a player while they are at peak value, drawing a much higher return than you would normally fetch for said player. With that in mind, can Desmond really perform any better than he already has, or even maintain his current pace? The all-star is projected to set career highs in nearly every major statistical category. Desmond’s average is what really jumps out at me and screams for a sell high. A career .268 hitter is hitting .319 with an inflated BABIP of .392 (also .56 points higher than his career mark). In my opinion, that is a fairly simple equation for a bit of regression in average. His K% (24%) and BB% (7.2%) also don’t correlate very well with a .300 hitter, seeing as those numbers are fairly similar to his past seasons. When the average falls, odds say the counting stats will start to as well.
Now this by no means is meant to talk down on Desmond’s stellar season. My point is owners have already seen the best of Desmond as a top-20 player. Will Desmond be a top-20 player from here to the end of the season? Probably not. Owners may be taking a hit in steals, but those aren’t impossible to replace. Throw him on your trade block; you may find a lot of your league is interested. If you could sell him for a top-10 starter or an elite Goldschmidt type bat, do it. If not, maybe something less with one of these buy-low guys could be packaged in.
Marcell Ozuna (OF)
.314/.367/.547 – 17 HR – 47 RBI – 52 R – 0 SB
Miami’s outfielder has always seemed like the “shadow” guy behind Giancarlo Stanton and Christian Yelich, but he is certainly breaking out of that this year. With Stanton’s recent tear, Miami’s outfield is starting to look like the equivalent of a Pittsburgh-lite outfield in terms of fantasy value. Much like Desmond however, I feel as though Ozuna’s best part of his season is behind him. While Ozuna is just six homers away from his career high, his .233 ISO rating just feels too high for a hitter of his caliber to sustain. Ozuna has also sported a fairly high BABIP over the course of his career, but we should see that number settle to the .320 -.330 range rather than the .356 it is currently at.
Ozuna should not fall off the map in the second half. I just believe they’re a handful of guys available right now who could somewhat replicate his first half. Trading Ozuna for a guy like Andrew McCutchen or Jose Bautista could provide major help for the stretch run of the season. His hard hit rate is beginning to slide, so now is the time for owners to make a move with the 25-year-old.
8-2 – 2.17 ERA – 1.09 WHIP – 70 K
I was really excited to write about Michael Fulmer here, mainly because my concern is hardly performance based. Sure, we could say his .202 BAA is low. Actually, low enough to where if he met the innings eligibility he would place for sixth lowest in all of baseball. Sure, we could look at his LOB% and say that 86.8% is far too lucky to sustain. But at the same time, his elite slider and high velocity certainly help in those situations. He is also averaging an exit velocity of 87.1 mph since May 18, showing he isn’t a pitcher who relies on swing and miss stuff.
If it wasn’t obvious, I am very much on the Fulmer bandwagon. I currently own him in two of my leagues, one of which I am keeping him in. Can you guess what I am doing in the other? Selling. My number one concern here is every fantasy owner’s favorite phrase; innings limit. Fulmer has only touched 100 innings twice since being drafted in 2011, and that his first full year in the New York Mets system back in 2012 and last year, where he pitched a career high 124.2 innings between three levels. Roughly, he should break 140 innings sometime in September which should not sit well with owners preparing for a playoff run. That’s even if the Tigers decide to be that aggressive with him. Right now his value is at the highest it has been all year, especially after his scoreless innings streak has shown to be no fluke.
3-7 – 2.72 ERA – 0.93 WHIP – 105 K
Julio Teheran is quietly having one of the best seasons of his young career. Unfortunately, he plays for the Atlanta Braves and does not get a whole lot of attention because of it. The 25-year-old is currently ranked as the 15th starting pitcher on fantasypros. While I do believe that is in Teheran’s future, I’m not exactly sure if this is the year. He was supposed to make a start Wednesday, however he was scratched due to a minor infection in his thigh. His .196 BAA and 82.2 LOB% should regress back to his career average (.233 BAA and 77% LOB%) at some point after the all-star break.
To go along with that, Teheran’s FIP is 3.83 this season. Since FIP is essentially a defense and luck stripped ERA, it could be said that Teheran could see a major uptick in ERA across the second half of the season. Although Atlanta is doing the right thing by semi-shopping him but not really at the same time… you should do the same with a little more aggression.
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