Buy & Sell Stud Edition

This edition of “Buy & Sell” is coming at you from a oceanside beach in Aruba.  The sound of the ocean is a nice backdrop to figuring out how we’re going to wiggle our way up the standings at fantasy.  Maybe it’s the blue water, but I’m dreaming big. Let’s try to deal for some studs this week.

Joey Votto

Votto is one of my two or three favorite players in the league and arguably the best pure hitter in baseball.  He has a cerebral approach and has been a stud for many years. It’s fair to say that his start has been a bit disappointing this year.  He’s also getting up there in years and we know that a big chunk of the fantasy community is ageist. Not sure you can pilfer someone for Votto but I do think we can get a discount since he’s old and off to a bit of a slow start.

Votto is sporting a fine .292 batting average but has just 6 homers so far.  His counting stats are down a bit as well, which does make some sense as the Reds are not exactly the Yankees or Red Sox.  He’s on pace for 17 homers and 67 RBI. That’s not what the Votto investor expected. The owner might even see that Votto’s BABIP is actually 4 points higher than last year at .325 and start to worry.  Votto is still walking a ton at 15.5%. His K rate is up slightly but it still sits at a very impressive 13.9%. His line drive is an insane 33% and he is seventh on the xStats leaderboard for xwOBA (.430).  Votto’s xAVG is also .333, which is .041 points higher than his solid .292.

There is not much to fear about Joey Votto.  He is still a borderline first round talent for most formats and he is a sure first rounder in points and OBP leagues.  If you can find an owner who is willing to deal him for the price of a 3rd rounder, you need to act. The data tells us that Votto is the same guy who had arguably his best year last year.  He’s the old man version of Freddie Freeman. I want and need that on my team. Get him now before he gets too hot and your opportunity passes you by.

Anthony Rendon

I feel like I write about Rendon quite a bit every single year.  He always seems to get underrated and has been unable to get rid of all the stink from a lousy 2015.  Rendon is a borderline superstar that doesn’t really get treated that way at all. He had some injury issues and has been off to a so-so start but I would be looking to buy.

Rendon is batting .266 and is on pace for 17 bombs and 48 RBI.  I’m not even a bit worried about that. He has an awesome plate approach as he walks 11.4% of the time and only strikes out 15.2% of the time.  That’s not too far off Votto who likely has the best approach in the game. He’s hitting the ball hard more often than he ever has (38.8%) and he hits under 30% of his balls on the ground.  He has the 14th highest xwOBA according to Statcast (.418). Rendon’s average should also creep up as his xAVG is .308, which is .042 points better than where he’s currently sitting.

Rendon is a stud.  He is often not treated that way in fantasy circles.  There’s a reason he was a borderline first rounder coming into 2015.  His main weakness is that he is a bit injury prone, but he is generally awesome when he’s on the field.  Rendon gets a bump in points leagues as well do to the great approach and fact he smacks quite a few doubles as well.  The Nats lineup will heat up as well and his counting stats should be just fine. I see no reason Rendon shouldn’t be a top 25-30ish player moving forward.  Pounce on anyone who does not view him that way.

Nomar Mazara

I was hyped when Mazara first got brought up a few years back.  He just looks like a stud ballplayer. Straight out of central casting as they say.  He was mainly unimpressive in the bigs but has had a nice start to 2018. Unless there is skills growth, I don’t expect this to continue.

The biggest issue for Mazara is that he hits far too many ground balls.  He hits 55.6% of his balls on the ground. That’s horrible for a would be power hitter.  He has 13 homers already, which is more than halfway to the 20 he hit in both ‘16 and ‘17.  The homer success to this point has been powered by the 34% homer to fly ball rate. That’s more than double his career average and that will not sustain. He does hit the ball reasonably hard with an average exit velocity of 91 MPH and he hits the ball hard a solid 36% of the time.  All of that is good, but it won’t matter until he starts lifting the ball with more frequency.

I don’t think you can sell Mazara for Votto, but you might be able to do it for one of last week’s guys, Nelson Cruz.  In some leagues, you can probably do even better than that. Mazara is a young name that some people could mistake for a breakout.  I still like him for dynasty but would be looking to deal him in redrafts.

Trea Turner

Don’t freak out as this is some format specific advice.  In roto and categories leagues,  you likely need Turner’s speed contribution.  He is pacing at 45 steals which is awesome although it is a bit less than many were hoping for.  Tons of analysts ranked Turner in the top 3 or 4 in front of guys like Arenado, Harper, and Betts.  I didn’t agree with that in roto though I could at least understand the argument. In points though, Turner is wildly overrated.  Most analysts on other sites had him as a first rounder in points leagues, which is just flat-out wrong. I think Turner is even worth floating in roto assuming you can take the hit to your speed, but you should definitely be shopping him in points leagues as his name value far exceeds his actual value in that format.

Turner is currently 9th among shortstops in standard ESPN points scoring.  On a per game basis, he’s not even in the top 12. Turner is an awesome real world player and he has a good plate approach.  There is potential for decent counting but he’s only pacing at 91 runs and 65 RBI currently. He has more pop than Dee Gordon or  Billy Hamilton when talking about steal sources but 17 homers and 30 doubles aren’t awesome totals for points leagues unless you are doing absolutely everything else well.  

Even with Mookie Betts on the DL, I bet most Turner owners wish they picked Mookie with their first pick in roto.  They probably feel oubly strong about this in points. Turner was routinely picked in front of Arenado, Betts, Harper, Machado, Freeman, Lindor, Ramirez, and many others who have outperformed him.  I don’t think you can deal Turner straight for Machado in points leagues at this point, but you could have in the preseason. I’m pretty sure you can get Votto or Rendon plus for Turner, even in a points league.  Most points leagues still value Turner as a top 3 shortstop. That name has a lot of play. I would try to package Turner and something small for something like Segura and Rendon. Segura is likely better than Turner in points but most people don’t see it that way.  The goal of dealing Turner is to get back two players that might actually be better than him since he is so misvalued in points. I traded him straight for Altuve last year and laughed all the way to the finals off the back of that. Obviously don’t give the guy away, but you can definitely win a trade by a wide margin dealing away Turner.

Good luck buying and selling.  Hopefully you’re able to target some of these kinds of trades and you can leapfrog some of your league mates.

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.

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