Welcome back to one of the final editions of Buy & Sell for this year! Thanks to Very Great & Mashley Olson, I narrowly survived the PitcherList writer’s league playoffs for another week, and hopefully some of you were similarly rewarded. Now he’s owned in 35.5% of leagues, and all I’ll say is that’s still not nearly enough. This week we’ll look into some deeper dives for some of the other question mark boxes that can be the final lap’s blue shell. Hopefully your homestretch goes better than me when I had to race on Rainbow Road. Trust me, it was pathetic.
Jose Martinez (OF, St. Louis Cardinals) – Not to be confused with the other Jose A. Martinez (shortstop in the Cardinals’ farm system), this Jose is suddenly setting himself apart. Over the past 2 weeks he’s hit .410 with 3 HR and 8 RBI in 39 AB. He’s managed to do this with a 5/4 K/BB ratio and seems to be taking well to regular at-bats. His ownership jumped from 1.2 to 24.5%, and it should be higher as his ability to hit for power with a low 19% K rate and draw walks (9.7%) makes him a must-own in 15-team mixed and a viable flyer in both AVG. and OBP 12-team leagues.
Nick Castellanos (3B, Detroit Tigers) – Right when I was on the verge of giving up on him some time back, he’s won my heart back with the hot streak I always believed was in him all along. Over the past 3 weeks, he’s hitting .353 with 5 HR, 7 R, and 17 RBI in 68 AB, and hitting .417 with 2 of those homers over the past week. But I think this is more than just luck correcting, as he’s only struck out 7 times in his past 68 AB, and only twice in his past 28 AB, lowering his season K/9 to a career-best 22.1%, with a near-career high walk rate of 6.5%.. While this could just be a hot streak followed by a strikeout surge, I think it’s not a complete coincidence that this seems to coincide with his being moved to outfield, where he is reportedly comfortable defensively. Making errors at the hot corner every other day wasn’t doing his psyche any favors, and the spot is his for the taking since the Tigers traded away J.D. Power and Associates. I just added him in my 12-team and I recommend you do the same, as soon he’ll gain OF eligibility in many leagues.
Yolmer Sanchez (2B/3B, Chicago White Sox) – YOLOmer is playing like every day is his last, hitting .350 with 6 HR, 17 R, 17 RBI and 3 SB. Can we be sure this is the same guy as the light-hitting Carlos Sanchez guy and they didn’t just pull a switcheroo on us? I mean, that’s more longballs in 3 weeks than he’s hit in 4+ months! He’s also sporting the best walk rate of his career at 6.6%, and is still available in most leagues at just 13.5% owned! That being said, he’s probably getting a bit lucky on batted balls, and his 8 stolen bases are somewhat negated by his 8 caught stealings. Still, with him being this hot, he’s a must-add in all 15-team leagues, and a viable hitting streamer even in 12-team while he’s this hot. Like a lonely pirate, pick up Yolmermaid and you’ll have it made.
Michael Taylor (OF, Washington Nationals) – His numbers the past couple weeks were Taylor-made for your fantasy lineup. He’s been an all-around run-producing machine lately, hitting .409 with 3 HR, 5 R, 9 RBI, and 9 RBI this past week, with 2 swiped bags to boot. He’s managed to maintain a high BABIP most of the season but it’s not a total fluke with his combination of hard contact and speed. He’s kind of like a lite Keon Broxton, except his K rate at 30% is good enough for him to garner the lion’s share of the playing time in the OF for now. He should be owned in all 15-teamers and makes for a solid power/speed flier in batting average leagues, though in OBP he may drag you down too much to be worth it.
Eduardo Escobar (SS/3B, Minnesota Twins) – Escobar’s one of those guys who is easy to miss because his boring name, non-prospect yet non-veteran status, and lack of a regular position, but lately his bat has been reminiscent of another E.E. (No, NOT Cummings! Encarnacion!) Over the past 2 weeks he’s hit .280 with 5 HR, 12 R and 15 RBI, and now he’s up to a shocking 17 HR in just 383 AB. Since Sano’s prolonged absence has opened up regular playing time, he’s really locked into a groove and his power with shortstop/third dual eligibility makes him worth adding in 15-team leagues,
Matt Joyce (OF, Oakland Athletics) – Early in the year, I touted him as underrated, and my home league rivals taunted me when I looked so wrong for most of the season. But he’s quietly been making me look not so silly lately, as he’s hit .314 with 4 HR in 35 AB the past 2 weeks, bringing his season line to .241 with 23 taters. Of course, if 35 AB in 2 weeks made you scratch your head, it’s because the A’s don’t really care much about how hot his bat has been as they cede time to their rookies. But if you can adjust your lineups daily, he’s a fine flier in all 18-team leagues and in 15-team OBP. So if he’s cast aside for the early season numbers dragging his line down, pick him up and re-Joyce.
Delino DeShields (OF, Texas Rangers) – DD runs on America. And you should run to pick him up. He’s hit .315 with 2 homers in 38 AB the past 2 weeks, but what I like most is the 7/7 BB/K ratio. He’s continued to show he belongs to be a regular fixture atop the lineup, and has managed to pick up a solid 5 runs scored a week. However, he’s been very weak in the RBI department, with just 3 RBI in 59 AB in the past 3 weeks! That’s one RBI a week, and only ONE isn’t from a home run! He should be started in all 15-teamers, and for 12-teamers he can be your steals guy if you have a need or just lost Billy Hamilton.
Joe Panik (2B, San Francisco Giants) – Panik is back on the attack. Over the past 3 weeks, he’s hit .357 with 3 HR, 9 R, and 8 RBI in 56 AB, but over the past week he’s hit an insane .542. Most of that came in a 3-day stretch in which he got 12 hits, but he claims he recently made a swing change in which he chokes up more (fitting that Panik causes choking up). His plate discipline seems to back this with an outstanding 8/4 BB/K over the past 3 weeks. It seems he will end the year closer to his 2015 self than the 2016 version, so he should be added in 18-team and 15-team AVG and OBP formats. In 12-team he can have his uses if you are desperate to win at batting average and are feeling lucky.
Nick Williams (OF, Philadelphia Phillies) – Nick Williams has been an RBI machine lately, hitting .400 with 2 HR and 10 RBI in the past week and .286 with 4 HR and 20 RBI over the past 3 weeks. On the year he has 37 R and 45 RBI in just 244 AB (267 PA), which over a full season would be around 80 R and 90 RBI. Not bad for a rookie. However, the .287 AVG won’t last, as his 27.8% K% says more than that .370 BABIP which will have to come down even with his solid Hard Contact. Still, for the RBI + Runs, he should be added in all 15-team leagues, and I’d be open to using him as a flier in 12-team AVG leagues, but would steer clear in OBP.
Victor Robles (OF, Washington Nationals) – Well, of course I have to mention him as one of the most intriguing prospects in baseball getting his September cup of coffee. Despite projections for prospects usually being poor, his actually expects him to be an above-average offensive contributor immediately. Unfortunately, Dusty Baker is the manager and seems to prefer Robles riding the pine. If you can set daily lineups or have deep benches, he’s a fine add in 18-team, but it’s a situation worth monitoring closely and be ready to pounce even in 15-team if he gets guaranteed regular at-bats down the stretch for the upside. But if you’re taking him in 12-team or 10-team hoping he’ll win it all for you, Robles your heart.
Paul DeJong (2B/SS, St. Louis Cardinals) – It’s time to hit the gong for DeJong. But let’s give him a hand for what he’s done this season. He went from a nobody to a household fantasy name. But over the past 3 weeks, he has done bupkis, hitting .240 with just 1 home run, 9 R, and 7 RBI in 75 AB. Aside from the unexpected power, the profile always looked unpromising with his high K rate and pitiful walk rate. The batting average and OBP will continue to plummet and while the power numbers still look pretty, I’d cut him in 10-team and most 12-team leagues, especially if it uses OBP.
Steven Souza (OF, Tampa Bay Rays) – Despite the beautiful season numbers, his performance lately has made him a fantasy Louza. This feels like cheating a bit since I usually don’t list injured players, but Souza’s leg injury was minor, but the insult added to the injury was the .147 Batting Average with just 1 HR and 1 SB (1 CS) he’s posted over the past 2 weeks. That’s also come with a downright ugly 14 Ks in 34 AB. If you’re in the stretch run, slumps like this could potentially demolish your chances of winning, and I think in 10-team and 12-team formats, there’s no shame in cutting the cord to your Souzaphone.
Jonathan Villar (SS/3B, Milwaukee Brewers) – Fun fact – Jonathan Villar is owned in 56.8% of ESPN leagues. Another fun fact. 56.8% of ESPN owners love to lose. Because Villar played bad defense so he and Broxton have pulled a freaky friday, and now Villar is the one who is the Brewers’ pine rider extraordinaire. With limited chances to redeem himself from a lost season, he should be cut in 10-teamers, 12-teamers, hell even 15-teamers too. 18-teamers with a bench could play daily lineups, but my State-of-the-art Villar Goggles are saying GAME OVER.
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