Every Wednesday, Dapinder joins Pitcher List to outline the best position player buys and sells of the week. He’ll outline the hitters to trust in your lineups and who to shop while their price is high. Make sure to stay ahead of the curve and use the market to your advantage.
Jose Abreu (1B, Chicago White Sox) – In his first two seasons, Abreu has averaged 33 HR, 104 RBI while batting .296. His current batting average is low due to an ugly .204 BABIP which will improve in the coming week and the Isolated Power is also below his career average. With a zone contact rate the same as last year, Abreu is poised to begin terrorizing pitchers.
Alcides Escobar (SS, Kansas City Royals) – After a down year in 2015, Alcides Escobar looks like he might in for a rebound. Escobar has been batting lead-off for the Kansas City Royals in every game he has appeared in putting him in a great position to score runs. Following a season with only 17 steals last year, he has four already, standing a good chance to exceed 20 stolen bags for the fifth time in his career. Lastly, his his .279 batting average of balls in play is due for a regression which means he likely won’t be batting .244 from here on out.
Odubel Herrera (OF, Philadelphia Phillies) – The rule 5 pick is having a great start to his season. His BABIP has dropped from 2015 to more normal levels and with his strikeout rate coming down closer to his minor league average, Herrera looks like a good bet to continue batting in the .280 range. Herrera stole 16 bases last year. With four this April, Herrera has a good shot at reaching the 20 mark.
Justin Upton (OF, Detroit Tigers) – Upton has been fairly consistent throughout his career. He has appeared in 149 or more games in each season over the past five years as health is not a question mark. His strikeout and walk rates will both regress closer to career averages. History suggests Upton is capable of going 25/10 the rest of the way while challenging 90 runs with Cabrera and Martinez batting behind him.
Kyle Seager (3B, Seattle Mariners) – Seager’s .134 average is dragged down by a .118 BABIP, which shouldn’t stay this low for long. His HR/FB% is right in line with his previous two seasons. Corey’s older brother is a good bet to reach 25 home runs and accumulate plenty of counting stats. He should come at a discount.
Addison Russell (2B/SS, Chicago Cubs) – One of the game’s bright, young shortstops, Russell has exhibited signs of progression in his offensive game. The strikeouts are down significantly and the walk rate is up five percentage points. He is laying off at outside pitches and making contact (O-Contact) closer to league average rates. Last season, Russell had the fourth worst contact rate at pitches outside the zone. This year he has improved his O-Contact by 21%. He’s being saddled by a .239 batting average on balls in play; it is only a matter of time before Russell breaks out.
Russell Martin (C, Toronto Blue Jays) – Since 2007, no qualified batter has finished the season with an Isolated Power below the .036 Elvis Andrus had in 2010. Martin’s current .019 ISO and HR/FB% of 0 are both in line for regression. Batting in the six hole after Chris Colabello was suspended, Martin could be a good source of RBI the rest of the way.
Aledmys Diaz (2B/SS, St. Louis Cardinals) – Diaz looks like a decent hitter, but he is also playing out of his mind. His batting average is encroaching .500 largely due to a BABIP encroaching .500. His Isolated Power is way above anything seen in the minors. With Peralta coming back sometime around the all-star break, there will be playing time issues for Diaz as second base is also jammed with Kolten Wong and Jedd Gyorko. Pitchers will also adjust their strategies when facing the Cardinals shortstop. Diaz’s value will never be higher; the time to sell high is now.
Wil Myers (1B/OF, San Diego Padres) – The Thomasville, North Carolina native is having a terrific April hitting four home runs with a .316 batting average. The power looks legit as his Isolated Power is nothing out of the ordinary and he stands a decent shot at reaching 20 home runs. The average, however, is a different story. It is being propped up by a BABIP close to .400. The Padres don’t have a good offence which will limit the counting stats for Myers. The key for Myers will be to stay healthy but there is little that suggests a breakout. At 1B, and even the outfield, you can do better than Myers is most leagues.
Hanley Ramirez (1B/OF, Boston Red Sox) – Ramirez was a good bounce back candidate at the start of the year and thus far has delivered. Unfortunately, part of that has to do with a .345 BABIP that is somewhat higher than his career average. The biggest issue is the continued decline of his plate discipline. He has a career high strikeout rate to go along with a career low walk rate. He is making less contact as a whole and still hitting too many grounders. While he won’t average one home run per month, his inflated BABIP and and declining plate discipline metrics should be a worrying sign for Ramirez owners and Red Sox fans.