Photo by Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire
Welcome to this week’s edition of Buy & Sell, and for this week the theme is… so long, ESPN! That’s right, for this week, I’m going to use Yahoo’s Most Added/Dropped as a guide instead of ESPN’s version. That’s because either everyone in ESPN is a three-toed sloth, in which case I love them, but their adds and drops seem… a little….. slow. So let’s hope Yahoo helps us figure out who’s hot and cold right at this moment. And while I won’t write him up, I’ll mention here that in those rare leagues with one-game eligibility, you can and should now play Isaiah Kiner-Falefa at catcher! Baseball is weird sometimes. Speaking of utility players, on to the list!
Enrique Hernandez (2B/SS/OF, Los Angeles Dodgers) – Yes, I’ll call him Enrique, since this is a written article and I don’t want there to be misunderstandings about how his name is pronounced. Actually, I’ll do one better. So anyway, Quique Hernandez has been on fire lately, hitting 3 homers over the past 2 days, and hitting .325/.386/.725 with with 5 yaks (but only 7 RBI) over the past 2 weeks., following that Dodger hitter magic trend. Although his season average sits at .234, he’s already surpassed his career high in HRs with 13 less than halfway through the season. Quique in good company with a 7.7 Barrel/PA%, though it’s likely to regress some with lower exit velocity at 87.4 mph (92.7 mph FB/LD eV), and xStats backs his current power uptick. Suddenly I’m craving quiche. You may guess Hernandez is sacrificing contact for power, but he’s actually sporting a 9.2% Swstr% that’s his career best and a career-best 23.1% O-Swing% that suggests he should continue to post high walk rates. He could hit over .250 with 10-13 homers the rest of the way, which with his multi-position eligibility (plus 3B in some leagues) making him 15-team worthy in batting average leagues and at least worth streaming in 12-team OBP, so if you’re feeling lucky see if you can catch the white whale with Queequeg Hernandez.
Derek Dietrich (2B/3B/OF, Miami Marlins) – I don’t know what he’s been eating, but I bet it’s a dietrich with protein. Because he’s been muscling the ball, with 11 home runs (2 from his career high) with a .301 AVG that you may have missed if you decided you couldn’t bear to watch the Marlins. Now, this is likely fluky, as it’s not supported by his .269/.324/.450, but it’s worth noting he’s outperformed his xSLG every year and .450 is still quite good for a player with his multi-position eligibility. With a merely average 5.5% Barrel% and 90.1 mph FB/LD eV, his power outburst looks less legit than Hernandez, and his high average seems mostly spurred by a career high 26.6% LD%, and that should regress at some point but we don’t know when. In the meantime, he’s fine to stream in deeper 12-team batting average formats or for streaming in 15-team OBP, where is low walk rate drives down his value. With his multi-position eligibility, he could wake your offense up with some DDPerks.
Kurt Suzuki (C, Atlanta Braves) – Fun fact: He’s the only major leaguer named Kurt. He’s also the best one. He’s hit .412 with a homer over the past week and .382 over the past 3 weeks over partial playing time. While the lack of at-bats dings his value, Flowers has been wilting and Suzuki could stomp on what’s left of his playing time. That’s just for the three of you who got that reference. While he doesn’t quite have the same power as last year’s surprising burst, he’s held onto much of those gains, and his xSlash of .293/.354/.483 is certainly bullish on him. Considering how bad catcher is, I’d rather roll with him even as a part-timer than many full-time guys, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Suzuki methodically plays the exit music for his competition on the world’s smallest violin. He should be owned in 15-team formats, and I won’t back down from saying he should be owned in 12-teams too. P.S. Suzuki is a type of dance that involves stomping. Also a method of violin training. That’s pretty obscure and I didn’t want you to feel left out.
Mark Trumbo (OF, Baltimore Orioles) – Let’s get ready to Trumbo! After laying a big egg and then cracking earlier this year, he’s finally taken flight, hitting .315 with 5 homers the past 2 weeks, with 4 of those homers in the past week. He is a sure bet for full-time at-bats with health, especially since it’s now clear that Chris Davis magically forgot how to hit a baseball. It’s worth noting that while xStats believes his avg and OBP are legit, it thinks the power numbers have been lucky with a .418 xSLG against his 480 SLG%. But I’ll counter that with the fact that his 7.5% Barrel% and 97.1 mph FB/LD eV on the season is impressive, especially considering his rough start, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him slug .480% or even .500% the rest of the way, and he should be added in 15-team formats and 12-team batting average leagues in need of power.
Austin Romine (C, New York Yankees) – Well now that Sanchez is out for a month, it looks like Austin will Romine in the lineup. Oof. Somewhat unsurprisingly, Romine has cooled off, or more like nearly froze his nose off, after a super hot May, as he’s hit .111 over 27 AB in the month of June to bring his season average down to .291. That tells you something about hot he had been before. The good news is that he may have finally levelled out, as he had previously been far exceeding his xAVG, whereas even with the huge slump, his xAVG still sits at a healthy .289. His .437 xSLG% is a far way from his .500 SLG% he has currently, but that’s not bad, and let’s face it, you just want him for the month of full-time at-bats. And he’ll get you that, while having at least some ability for average and power in a great run-scoring environment. Add him for now in 15-team and 12-team formats (assuming you have a need at C) as a stream until Sanchez returns.
Manuel Margot (OF, San Diego Padres) – Lately, he sure has been seeing the ball Man-well. Margot’s hitting .344/.394/.574 over 61 ABs over the past 21 days, and is hitting .385 with 2 homers this week. The only problem is when it comes to stealing a bag, he refuses to Margot for it. He may have the red light from the team after a dreadful 4 consecutive caught stealing to bring his season total to a 50% stolen base success rate (6 SB, 6 CS). He may need to refine his technique and work on better leads, since his sprint speed is still top 20 in baseball and tied with teammate Jankowski. Until that happens, he can only really be recommended as a short-term stream in 18-team and 15-team formats, but monitor him closely because if he fixes his running bug, he could nab bags in a hurry.
Steve Pearce (OF, Toronto Blue Jays) – Look, I’ll keep this short, because there’s not much need to wax poetic about a platoon guy. But, like, there’s a lot to like. Although it’s a small sample, his Barrel% of 10.8% is Top 10 in the MLB, with a strong FB/LD mph of 95.1. And while his .299/.349/.547 line is fantastic, xStats ups the ante with an xSlash of .350/.397/.647. Again, he’s only had 77 AB this year, and more than half were against lefites, but that’s bananas. He’s hit .455 with a homer in 11 AB in his return, and while the playing time is currently clogged, he can muscle his way into more ABs on the Toronto Outfielder Carousel. If your league allows for matchup plays, he makes for an underrated gem in 18-team and 15-team when he’s in the lineup, especially against lefties (though he’s still solid vs. righties). Keep an eye on his playing time situation and there’s a chance you can get some great value from him.
Curtis Granderson (OF, Toronto Blue Jays) – Speaking of Toronto Outfielder Carousel… Granderson is the one currently on the high horse, as he’s hitting .378 with 5 homers over 45 AB the past 21 days with 3 of those homers coming in the past week. Grichuk and Teoscar are the exciting exit velocity darlings, Grandy in his old age may be overlooked in your league, even in deeper OBP formats. While his 30% K rate definitely makes him a regression risk, he’s managed to hit an insane 31.6% LD% to keep his batting average afloat while still producing power at a similar rate as his previous 26-30 homer campaigns. He’s still proven worthy of playing time and I’m holding out hope that a trade or two in the next month will clear up this mess. While he’s hot, you should own him in 18-team and stream him in 15-team batting average leagues, but in OBP formats, he makes for a sneaky add even in 12-team leagues. Just be ready to jump off if the ride takes a turn for the worse.
Jon Jay (OF, Arizona Diamondbacks) – I had tried all season to ignore him, with that shiny batting average that was for sure going to come down. But you know, maybe it won’t. See, Jon Jay has posted very high BABIPs every year since 2016 with his heavy opposite-field groundball approach, and even outperformed his xAVG every year (although moreso this year). He has single-digit power and speed which really makes him a one category player (well, two if you count runs), but his average will carry weight thanks to his high volume of at-bats. While some regression is in order, he can still provide value with a rare skill much like Brock Holt did several years back (WARNING: I am not advising to take Brock Holt now. Please don’t do that). Although owning him is about as exciting as Ben Stein reading a dictionary, he should still be owned in NL-only leagues, 18-team Batting Average leagues, and very short name leagues.
Marwin Gonzalez (1B/2B/SS/OF, Houston Astros) – Marwin some, Marlose some. This past week, he’s laid a pure goose egg, going 0-for-16 with 8 Ks. Now, the “good” news is that if you look at his season numbers, they’re below but really not that far off from his 2016 rate stats, which could be a fair estimate of what to expect the rest of the way. The bad news is, that’s not what you were hoping for by “good” news, was it? xStats thinks he’s been lucky if anything, with an ugly xSlash of .231/.309/.366, and it may not be too soon to call his 2017 “breakout” mostly a fluke. While you may be HODLing him hoping he turns it around, if you can still get Enrique Hernandez for this, I’d go do that in a heartbeat and rock out to the new one-hit wonder.
Jeimer Candelario (3B, Detroit Tigers) – When he was hot, I thought of writing him up, but I never did, because I didn’t think it was sustainable. So now that he’s struggling, time to piledrive him! Take that, talented but lucky young baseball player! Anyway, he’s hitting an anemic .138/.271/.259 over the past 21 days to sink his season line down to .239/.341/.457, and xStats STILL thinks he’s been kind of lucky. His xSlash of .223/.328/.415 probably sounds scary if you’re in a batting average league but somewhat adequate for deep-leagueOBP. Still, especially with Miggy done for the year, he’s not likely to contribute much in terms of run production, and despite his youth he doesn’t hold a Candle-ario to many of the other CI options available. Cut in him in 12-team formats, and I’d even go so far as to say he’s expendable in 15-team Batting Average leagues provided there’s someone good on the wire.
Eduardo Núñez (2B/3B/OF, Boston Red Sox) – Why can’t you be more like those other utility Eduardo? Nunez has been unable to repeat his Red Sox surge, and that’s probably an understatement. He’s hitting just .252/..284/.350 on the season, with just 4 stolen bases (2 CS). Perhaps he’s feeling the aging effect, as his sprint speed declined from 27.9 ft/sec in 2017 to 27.5 this year. That may not sound like a lot but consider that in his 40 SB campaign in 2016 his sprint speed was 28.1 ft/sec…. a little time can make a big difference. He’s also not making contact like last year, keeping his putrid 3.7% walk rate with a K rate going from 11.0% in 2017 to 17.1%, which is a huge jump when contact is one of your only skills. It sure isn’t his power, with his puny 88.9 mph FB/LD eV and 2.2% Barrel%. So a low power, meh speed, average contact hitter? Sounds an awful lot like Ronald Torreyes or Brock Holt (who actually have higher sprint speeds and better K rates). It does not, however, sound like a guy I want to own in 12-team or even 15-team leagues, and in OBP formats he becomes a real Eduardo Booñez. Yep, that’s the joke I’m going out on.