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.
Edwin Encarnacion (1B, Toronto Blue Jays) – In April of 2015, Encarnacion batted .205 with 4 home runs. In April of 2016, Encarnacion batted .235 with 3 home runs. Throughout his career, Encarnacion’s worst month by wOBA and wRC+ is April. Encarnacion’s HR/FB% and Isolated Power are both below his career average. He’s due for a power surge. The decreased walk rate and strikeouts are somewhat concerning. April is the month where these are at their lowest and highest rates respectively for Encarnacion. While I can’t see him hitting .277 like he did last year due to a 23% strikeout rate, his zone contact rate is similar to last year making a not-so-terrible batting average around .260-.265 reachable. Batting fourth in the Blue Jays lineup, behind OBP beasts Josh Donaldson and Jose Bautista, E5 is in a good position for counting stats and reaching 30 home runs.
Matt Carpenter (2B/3B, St. Louis Cardinals) – Last season Matt Carpenter changed his approach to hit for more power and sacrifice contact. So far this year, Carpenter is heading towards a best of both worlds type of approach. His zone contact is up and the strikeouts down. Carpenter’s BABIP is currently below his career average. While Carpenter is unlikely to hit 25+ home runs, he is capable of reaching 20 and not sacrificing his batting average.
Prince Fielder (1B, Texas Rangers) – Fielder’s batting average on balls in play and isolated power are both down relative to his career averages. He won’t hit over .300 again like last season but Prince should be a good contributor in each category except steals.
Corey Dickerson (OF, Tampa Bay Rays) – Dickerson’s move to Tropicana Field from Coors Field led to a big value hit before the season. With his batting average dangerously close to the Mendoza line, Dickerson is a good player to invest in. By wRC+, which is park adjusted, Dickerson has a career 123 wRC+ showing he is a good hitter away from Colorado. Dickerson’s batting average on balls in play is .208. That’s pretty unsustainable for a guy who’s BABIP has been over .300 in every season. This is the result of a wildly low line drive rate which sits just below 10%. For perspective, league average line drive rate is 21% and since 2010, no qualified hitter has been under 10% in this statistic. Corey is a prime candidate to buy low.
Jarrod Dyson (OF, Kansas City Royals) – Dyson is the starting right fielder for the Royals. He has blistering speed, capable of swiping 35-45 bags. His batting average will be decent; career .256 hitter. This could be a great year for the Royals speedster.
Justin Bour (1B, Miami Marlins) – Justin Bour is currently doing what he did last year except with a slightly better batting average. Bour’s BABIP is high but his HR/FB% and ISO both suggest his power output will be good. He is not getting as many at bats vs left handed pitchers, a concern before the season started. With the batting average likely being around .250, batting behind Yelich and Stanton, Bour has a decent shot at obtaining 70+ RBI and hitting 20+ home runs. He may be platooned going forward, however in deeper leagues, you can do a lot worse than Bour.
Jason Heyward (OF, Chicago Cubs) – Heyward signed an 8 year/$184 million dollar contract this past offseason and I’m sure neither party envisioned this poor start. Heyward currently has zero home runs. For a player who has averaged 16 per year, Heyward is in a good position to having balls go over the ivy-covered outfield walls. The contact and swing rates look good. The average and power output will go up in the coming weeks. The Cubs have a scary offence; Heyward will make it even more frightening.
Nick Castellanos (3B, Detroit Tigers) – While some may think the Tigers third baseman has figured it out, his batting average on balls in play above .400 tells otherwise. His strikeout rate is consistent with the rest of his career and his walk rate is half of his career average. These are not signs of a breakout. Castellanos free swinging approach will lead to poor results in the future.
Nomar Mazara (OF, Texas Rangers – If you are in a redraft, you should be looking to sell. In keeper/dynasty leagues, depending on settings, you should hold or sell. Mazara was named AL Rookie of the Month; his trade value will never be higher this season. His batting average on balls in play is well above league average largely being controlled by an unsustainable 26.2%-line drive rate. To put that into perspective, only eight players had a higher line drive rate last season. Mazara’s strikeout rate has been a pleasant surprise, however; it is also due for some regression. His minor league strikeout rates were generally higher, hovering around 21%. Playing time may become an issue when Shin Soo- Choo comes back. Pitchers will adjust their game plans against Nomar; he’s a prime sell high candidate.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia (C, Detroit Tigers) – Saltalamacchia’s job isn’t secure as his opportunity to rake came with an injury to James McCann. His Isolated Power is at a ridiculous .400! He’s hitting a tonne of flyballs with a career 30% strikeout rate. Catcher is always a tough position to nail down. For Saltamacchia owners, this opens up an opportunity to move him for something better and consistent.