Photo by Doug Murray/Icon Sportswire
Welcome back to this week’s Buy & Sell, where this week, instead of diving too deep, we focus on a lot of guys that may be on the fringes of your 12-team and 15-team leagues that have been red hot and showing promise for more. And I shake my fist angrily at more bad catchers, as usual. So, so many bad catchers. Off we go:
Juan Soto (OF, Washington Nationals) – Yeah, I know, he’s probably owned in your league, at least if your league’s owners are remotely competent and don’t just finish the draft and go into a cocoon until October. But if he’s available, do yourself a favor and add him immediately. The young Phenom – has been Sotoriffic, hitting .312/.405/.571 with 5 home runs and a stolen base in just 71 AB. xStats does believe he’s been lucky with a more mortal xSlash of .280/.377/.475, but that’s still “not shabby” for a 19-year old who had 477 total PA in the minors, and it may only keep getting better. He should be owned and started in all leagues and cocoons.
Brandon Nimmo (OF, New York Mets) – After this season, children should now be reading Mrs. Frisby and The Bats of NIMMO. He’s had one of the most dominant stretches in baseball, hitting .367/.397/.833 with 4 HR, 7 R, 7 RBI and a SB over the past week, and hitting .287/.410/.603 with 12 Home Runs and 7 SB overall. He may be due for some regression, as his hitting has masked his ugly 1/12 BB/K the past week, and his performance isn’t entirely justified by an xSlash of .259/.386/.532. But he still is showing strong OBP and power combined with impressive aggressiveness on the basepaths, with only 2 caught stealing, His kitchen sink approach makes him like a poor man’s Christian Yelich, though in lots of ways he’s been better than Yelich so far so that’s a pretty lucky poor man. He should be owned in all 12-team formats as well as 10-team OBP, yet for some reason he’s only owned in 55.4% of leagues, and you should help fix that.
Yangervis Solarte (SS/3B/2B, Toronto Blue Jays) – You shouldn’t get nervous with Yangervis. He can be one of the more maddening players to own, as he’ll do nothing for a while and you put him on your bench or drop him and then he goes gangbusters and you scramble to activate him and then he goes back to humming along. But the total package is great, as he’s hitting .258/.312/.480 with 15 longballs in 271 ABs while qualifying at at least 3 infield positions. And while the amount of homers is perhaps a bit lucky for his SLG%, his xSlash of .276/.328/.485 suggests that nothing else is a fluke here. Even if you have a star shortstop, he makes for an essential utility player and should be owned in 12-team and even 10-team formats. I would’ve said he’s too widely owned to list here, but I was able to pick him up (after dropping him) in my 12-team so maybe you can get lucky too, Or maybe not. But maybe yes!
Justin Bour (1B, Miami Marlins) – His name is a message, because in deep OBP formats, Justin should B our first baseman. Okay, not necessarily, but I had to say it, right? Much like Justin Smoak, he’s been far more valuable than OBP leagues, with a .240/.367/442 line this year. That’s because, like Smoak, Bour is sporting a crazy high walk rate this year of 16.8%, and it’s backed by his career-best O-Swing of 26.8%. This isn’t exactly someone who I’m going crazy over, as his xStats do suggest his batting average has been deserved, and his slugging has been a bit lucky. But he still is on pace to surpass 25 homers, and I think he’s better than Smoak, and at 40.8% is far less owned to Smoak’s 77.9%. So if you’re looking for some widely available power and want a sleeper OBP source for 15-team and 12-team formats, don’t forget about Lil’ Bou-wow.
John Hicks (C/1B, Detroit Tigers) – Many have tried, but nobody has been able to successfully pull Hickscalibur out of the lineup. With Miggy going down for the season, and the Tigers lacking any real hitting depth in the minors, or, y’know, hope for the season, Hicks has playing time finally fully secure, and his ownership has increased tenfold to 26%.. And he’s certainly earned it with his surprisingly plus performance, with his strong .288/.333/.453 batting line, although it seems somewhat luck based compared to his xSlash of .253/.305/.421. But that is still valuable because of one almighty factor: catcher eligibility. BEHOLD! A catcher that can hit, abscond with him up in 15-team and even 12-team formats and sound the trumpets!
Scott Schebler (OF, Cincinnati Reds) – I think most ESPN owners must be allergic to Scott Schebler. Because this is the second year that he’s vastly underowned. I mean, sure, he got off to a lousy start, and then got hurt, but he’s making up for lost time, hitting .353/.405/.618 over the past 21 days to bring his season line to a hearty .281/.349/.474, plus 2 stolen bases. So why’s he owned in less than 30% of ESPN leagues? Allergies. Or because they balked at the xSlash of .261/.336/.447, though that power output is still perfectly useful. I still think he can hit at a .250 30-10 pace which is perfectly viable. He should be owned in all 18-team and 15-team formats, though I’d say you can and should let the good times role as your last OF or UTIL in deeper 12-team as well.
Jurickson Profar (SS/OF, Texas Rangers) – Sometimes I plant my flag on a player (see: Max Muncy) and pat myself on the back, so it’s only fair that when I plant my flag against a player, I publicly flog myself. Shame, shame on me for doubting you, Jurickson! So, I’m sorry if you followed my spring advice to cut Profar, because he’s actually pretty good. And lately, he’s been REALLY good, hitting .271/.352/.604 with 5 homers, 14 RBI and a 4/2 BB/K in 48 AB over the past two weeks, to raise his s/.710 eason line to .239/.313/.439. While xStats does believe his power has been a bit lucky with a .425 xSLG, it also thinks his average and OBP should be a bit higher with a .258 xAVG and .330 xOBP.. While his Barrel/PA of 3.7% is still mediocre, it’s right there with some other power hitters like Brian Dozier and Marcus Semien, and Ian Kinsler (I know that’s not exactly a glowing endorsement). His combination of solid walk rate (8.1%), low K rate (12.9%) and decent power and speed at age 25 makes him at worst an all-around decent contributor and at best perhaps a late blooming breakout that enters next year as a Top 15 Shortstop. However, Andrus coming back could push him into a utility role, draining most of his value. BUT I will also plant my flag on a wager that Profar will push the craptastic Odor out of the sduffytarting keystone role. Add in all 18-team and 15 team formats, and you can even feel comfortable keeping him as your utility guy in deeper 12-team formats. Whew, that one got a bit long.
Matt Duffy (3B, Tampa Bay Rays) – The Duffman! Oh, yeah! Much like Duff Beer is presumed to be, there’s nothing premium about him, but he gets the job done. He’s managed to maintain a high average of .314/.358/.434, and with the 2 homers he hit this week, he gives the buzz of not being a one-category player. His batting average skill has always been in his toolkit, but I’m sobered by his middling power, as his xSlash of .296/.341/.401 suggests. While the lack of power may be a turn-off to some, the Devil’s Advocate might point out that at least thus far, there’s not a whole lot of difference between him and Adrian Beltre, who’s sporting an xSlash of .300/.359/.413, and Duffy does chip in with a handful of stolen bases. He needs to be owned in 18-team and 15-team AVG. formats, whereas I’d likely only stream him for batting average in 12-team AVG leagues,
Ketel Marte (2B/SS, Arizona Diamondbacks) – The Ketel has been heating up and starting to make his owners whistle. He’s hit a studly .323/.368/.710 over the past month to raise his previously anemic season line to a nearly-respectable .246/.301/.411. Although he was initially a very different prospect that Jurickson Profar, it seems their paths have converged into being similar players, with good walk rates combined with low strikeout rates. But unlike Profar, Ketel Marte isn’t making errors everywhere and also isn’t about to lose a solid chunk of playing time. While he’s not exactly exciting as he’s at most a double digit power guy, he still should have double digit stolen base upside as he’s still just 25, and that combined with a solid average makes him a fine middle infield play in 15-team leagues. 12-team batting average leagues can try to ride the wave with him as a streamer but I would not own him beyond that at this point as in shallower formats, his low ceiling has more weight than his high floor.
Tom Murphy – (C, Colorado Rockies) – Tom Murphy has been freed! He’s gotten off to a decent enough start, hitting .261/.292/.348. Of course the reason you took interest in him, if you did, is likely because of that tasty .289 with 16 Homers and .353 ISO in 209 PA in Triple-A. But I’ll add a grain of salt, or spill the whole salt shaker, because he’s 27 years old and his .289 AVG. belies his 27.3% K%, and that’s while playing his 4th straight year at the level. And Murphy has been whiffing at everything in the early going, with a 44.2% O-Swing% and a 60.2% Contact% for an abysmal 21.6% Swstr%. Being a catcher with pop in Colorado, the hype is understandably high, but the average is going to hurt a lot, and the damage he may do away from Coors may outweigh his contributions when he’s at Coors. If you own him, I’d sell before the helium floats out of the Rocky Mountain atmosphere.
Rougned Odor (2B, Texas Rangers) – I know he’s only 24, but I think it may be time to show Rougned the O-door. After returning from a lengthy stint on the DL, I was willing to be patient, and he rewarded that patience with a .220/.329/.305 with nary a homer or stolen base the past 21 days. With Profar hitting the cover off the ball, plus reports of a recent incident that got his drinking buddy demoted to the minors, Texas may have their Profar problem solved, with Odor being the guy who gets demoted or gets the boot. While he has returned gangbusters from demotions before, we’re already nearing July and he may end up needing a change in scenery, and even so this may still be a lost year for him. I hope you already cut him in 10-team and 12-team, but even with his power/speed ability from previous years, but even in 15-team formats (especially OBP), you should pull out the Rougned from under him
Brian McCann (C, Houston Astros) – Look, I know he has the good track record, but I simply McCann’t even. xSlash sees no bad AVG/OBP luck in his ugly .215/.301/.348 line, with an xSlash of .215/.301/.364. Add that he’s an 34-year-old catcher with many innings behind the dish, one who just got his knee drained, and I think this is him finally breaking down. A former 20+ HR bat, His 2.6% Barrel/PA% is worse than Blake Swihart, and his exit velocity on FB/LD is just 88.8 mph along such sluggers as Alcides Escobar, Jose Iglesias and Jarrod Dyson. And he’s not making up for it with more contact, as he has the lowest Contact% since 2011. With Stassi being the #1 catcher and #4 in the entire MLB in FB/LD eV at 99.7 mph (7.4% Barrel%), it’s simply a matter of time before the Astros stop caring about the defense and game calling and turn McCann into a role player, so jump off the ship now before anyone sees the looming iceberg and deal him at 50 cents on the dollar before he getts McCanned.