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Buy & Sell 5/17: Identifying Who To Add And Who To Drop

I hope you took my advice from last week and picked up Altherr! This may as well be called the “Sometimes, I’m Wrong” edition of Buy & Sell, as with...

I hope you took my advice from last week and picked up Altherr! This may as well be called the “Sometimes, I’m Wrong” edition of Buy & Sell, as with new data I am changing my mind about Broxton and Mancini to name a few. Believe me, I suffer for the impatience too, as I made the admittedly flawed decision to cut Chris Davis in my writer’s league, and he rewarded another team handsomely for my impatience. Let that be a lesson… patience in fantasy baseball is very, very important. This list has a mix of old and new fantasy assets, and addresses a player I have received many questions about, and the answer isn’t so simple.

BUY 

Neil Walker (2B, New York Mets) – Look, if you’re a Mets fan, it would behoove you to latch on to any reasons for optimism.  Walker got off to a crawl at the start of April, but has continually improved with a slugging percentage gradually rising from then til now.  We know based on his 23-homer 2016 what he’s capable again, and again he’s hitting above 40% flyballs and has even cut down on his chase rate while maintaining a low 8.2% Swstrk. I recommend adding him in both deep and shallow formats as his power at the Keystone position plays in all leagues.  Know that you’ll move forward if you lean on Walker.

Leury Garcia (OF, Chicago White Sox) – There might not be a hot streak in the majors that has gone more unnoticed by the fantasy community than Garcia’s, who is now hitting .308 with 4 Homers and 3 SB in 113 PA. Always thought of a defensive utilityman, the 26-year old looks to be breaking out, as his 7.3 Swstrk% is far better than his 13.3% mark last year, and his 4.3% Barrel/BBE%, while pedestrian, is above many contact-first hitters such as Lowrie, Betts, Altuve and Benintendi. And with his speed, his .322 BABIP is certainly sustainable, so especially now that he’s been hitting leadoff, he should be rostered in AL-only and deeper mixed Batting Avg. leagues for his mix of Avg, runs and speed with a bit of power as well (but not as much in OBP, where he’s a liability). Also be aware that he’s played 2 games at SS for leagues with 1-game eligibility requirements, and he may gain eligibility there later on this season. So don’t be leery of Leury.

Keon Broxton (OF, Milwaukee Brewers) – Let’s get the negatives out of the way first, shall we? Broxton has a 38% K%, which is quite bad, and both his chase rate and swinging strike rate are even worse than last year. It was for this reason I made the unpopular suggestion in April to drop him. I’m sure now you know the positive, as the dude has been super hot fire in the month of may and now has 4 Homers to go with his 9 SB and a palatable .258 AVG. But in addition, his rolling K% since the start of May has dipped, so maybe his rotten April really was just due to being shaken up after getting plunked in the kisser. After all, in every metric he was a total zero over his first 5 games, dragging all his cumulative stats down. But even now while hot, he possesses a high-risk skill set that depends on him making hard contact for high BABIP, so I would be wary if you need AVG, but those in need of a peak BJ Upton-like good power/great speed combo could benefit from playing him.

Justin Smoak (1B, Toronto Blue Jays) – It’s a quarter of the way through the season, and Justin Smoak is hitting .281 with 8 HR and a 19.1% and he’s still owned in just TEN PERCENT OF LEAGUES?!  WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE?!! I mean, I get it, he’s burned owners so many times we’ve started applying lidocaine to our computer screens.  But he’s sporting a Barrel/PA% that’s right between Mike Trout and Manny Machado, with a near-40% flyball rate, and a career-low 8.4% Swstrk thanks to an incredible 95.5% Z-Contact. Unexpected, sure, but there is nothing fluky about his numbers this year.  If he’s still on the bench in your league and it’s not a 10-teamer, minimize this window for a moment and pick him up already! To show I’m not trying to fool you, I just picked him up in the writers’ league, dropping Gallo, and I didn’t even cry… more than once.

Ian Happ (OF, Chicago Cubs) – It’s Happ-ening!  Ian Happ has been hitting the crapp out of the ball, with a homer and a .429 AVG in his first 8 PA, which means virtually nothing with that sample size but is still good to see. He slugged 9 Homers in just 116 PA in Triple-A so the power is real, and the 22-year old will be given the playing time to see if he can hit for a decent enough average to let it play. It’s worth tempering expectations since his plate discipline metrics suggest that his Ks may go up bigtime, but again, it’s a small sample so he may also adjust.  I’d buy in NL-only and deeper mixed with a bench where he can be a speculative add to see how his debut plays out.

Justin Bour (1B, Miami Marlins) – There’s no need to feel sour, no need to feel dour, if you’re rostering Justin Bour. After a hot start and then sputtering to end the year last year, he looks determined to crush those numbers, as this year he’s sporting a 44% Hard% and a 12.8% Barrel/BBE% in between Eric Thames and Matt Holliday. It’s not all roses, as while he improved his chase rate, his whiff rate took a significant step back, and he’s hitting 50% GB% which will put a damper on the big power upside. Still, he’s a fine add in NL-only and deeper mixed once the Alonsos, LoMos, and Smoaks (cough cough) are off the table, especially in OBP where his 12.4% walk rate pairs well with the Bour Power.  

Matt Joyce (OF/DH, Oakland Athletics) – While he has not been added as much as other fantasy luminaries such as Ben Gamel, I’m writing this as he’s cranking his 5th homer of the year, so I’m sure he’ll get a little more notice. The main reason I’m bullish on him is that he’s been proving his terrific 2016 was no fluke, with an even better 37.6% Hard% and a career-best 9.6% Soft% (Last year was 17.1%. And while he is swinging at a few more pitches than last year, his Contact rate and excellent low Chase Rate are the same as last year, which means his 8.9% walk rate should rise substantially. I’d recommend rostering him in deeper leagues, but he should be owned in all 12-team leagues that go by OBP.

Lonnie Chisenhall (3B/OF, Cleveland Indians) – For years I’ve enjoyed clowning Lonnie “Prisonhall” (A nickname I gave him as a prospect after his arrest for stealing & selling school computers). But this year, something is up, and it’s not the resale value of laptops. It’s his Barrel/BBE%, which at 15% is 20th best in the MLB, by guys like Miggy and LoMo. So this may be the year he finally has a power breakthrough, so it’s definitely a good thing that he’s hitting a whopping 50% FB%, and might be a sign he’s trying to join the elevated launch angle club. That would explained his decreased contact rate, though he’s made up for it with a career low chase rate, which should help him have a palatable walk rate for once. In deeper mixed, you should be chasin’hall and soon you’ll be glad he was chosenhall.  

Matt Davidson (3B, Chicago White Sox) – A third baseman who swings and misses like crazy but crushes the ball when he makes contact? No it’s not Joey Gallo, it’s Davidson, who despite a 38% K%, has walloped 6 Home Runs. Now, he’s getting dropped left and right since his formerly sky-high BABIP regressed in a hurry (as I predicted in April), but that’s why now is time to buy. Because your leaguemates probably assume it was an early-season fluke, ignoring that his 20.4% Barrel/BBE% is 7th best in the league, right behind Khris Davis and Gallo himself. Interestingly, his K rate has been steadily declining right in line with a decline in his wOBA. He’s more of an AL-only and 15-teamer play, but he should provide sneaky 30 Homer Power at a fraction of Gallo’s asking price.

Jesus Aguilar (1B, Milwaukee Brewers) – Here’s the NL-only counterpart to my AL-only recommendation.  A few years ago, prospect hounds were waiting on Jesus to establish himself as a regular who can hit for both average and power. Well, years later, Jesus has returned, but in another castle (Okay, I’m getting mixed up with my references here), hitting .300 with 3 Home Runs in 62 PA.  Don’t be fooled by the average as it’ll come down, but the power is legit, as his 14.6% Barrel/BBE% is top 25 in the league and right above Golschmidt and Stanton. He hasn’t really made any sizeable improvement in his poor plate discipline, but he’s hitting the ball to all fields with a solid 36.6% FB% in a good hitters park.  If you’re in need of dirt cheap homers, here’s your guy.

Trey Mancini (1B/OF, Baltimore Orioles) – Here’s another guy with a major strikeout problem who I was down on until the Statcast Data for this year came out to reveal he has a top-10 BarrelBBE at 19.2%, right in between launch angle breakouts Ryan Zimmerman and Yonder Alonso. Mancini got off to such a hot start that some owners will ignore his .287 with 7 Homers, knowing that the average isn’t sustainable and failing to realize that the power is real. With a 18% Ststrk% that makes Keon Broxton’s seem okay, the average will hurt, but with his much improved chase rate, he should draw some walks which will help his value in OBP leagues. You’ll be wise to pick up a slugger before it heats up in Camden Yards, so in AL-only and deeper mixed, put on your tankini and pick up your Mancini.

SELL 

Andrew McCutchen (OF, Pittsburgh Pirates) – This isn’t so much a suggestion that he should be dropped as much as it is a discussion of this question that I have gotten over and over.  I don’t blame you, since over the past 20 games, he’s been hitting well-below the Mendoza line, and his terrible season is actually right in line with a precipitous wOBA decline every year since 2014.  To his credit, his 43.4% FB% is a career high, and he still has an unspectacular but solid 6.4% Barrels/BBE (between Dozier and Shaw) and  and over 30% Hard%, though both are declines from his previous years’ marks.  His bat speed and his run speed have both declined, but he should still be a slightly-above-average hitter, and his .205 BABIP will go up (though not all the way with that high FB%).  In conclusion, no, he’s not a superstar anymore, but yes, he can still hit .265 with 15-18 HR with good run production and a handful of SB the rest of the way.  That’s droppable in 10-teamers, and while I can’t blame you for dropping in shallow 12-teamers, I’d hold my nose and hold on for a bit longer unless there’s a clearly superior option on the wire.

Steven Vogt (C/1B, Oakland Athletics) – I abstain from this Vogt.  He seems to have forgotten the skill that made him and OBP beast a few years ago, as he’s drawing few walks and has a far below-average Hard% at just 22% this year, with 31.6% Soft%.  He’s starting to truly seem like a replacement-level bat, and very soon he may find himself replaced if he can’t turn it around, since he’s a below average defender. In all but AL-only or deep 1-catcher 15-teamers, It’s time to be leavin’ Steven.

Yangervis Solarte (3B, San Diego Padres) – It’s not hard to see why he’s among the most dropped players this week, as his 3 HR, 2 SB and .236 AVG is not pretty.  You may think that he must have a better average with just an 11% walk rate, and you’d be half right. But with a 23% Hard% and 26% Soft%, he’s just not hitting the ball with much authority, and is swinging at near everything with a 55% swing rate and 38% Chase rate. Lots of contact is no good if it’s bad contact and often on bad pitches. He’s droppable in all shallower mixed leagues at a position that is suddenly looking much deeper than it has in some time.

Brandon Phillips (2B, Atlanta Braves) – I hope you were smart and tried (successfully) to flip him for something after his early season hot streak where he had average, power, and speed that he’s failed to maintain. At the end of the day, you could do worse in deeper mixed, but the reality is just that in this point (age 35 going on 36)in his illustrious career,  while he won’t hurt you in any category, he won’t help much either. He is safe to cut in 10-team and 12-team mixed, so drink a Screwdriver and toast farewell to Phillips.

Ben Pernick

I've been writing for Pitcher List since the beginning, and have been a fantasy baseball addict now for 20 years. I grew up as a Red Sox fan in New York, but now I declare allegiance only to my fantasy teams.

2 responses to “Buy & Sell 5/17: Identifying Who To Add And Who To Drop”

  1. Ahmed Adoudi says:

    “In deeper mixed, you should be chasin’hall and soon you’ll be glad he was chosenhall.”

    Thanks Dad

    Out of all the OF eligible players here, who’s your bet on ROS?

  2. cassiebd says:

    Do you roll the dice on Leury or Yuli? Position eligibility doesn’t matter too much, but I could use another OF more than another corner.

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