Welcome back to Buy & Sell, now that most of the exciting shiny new toys we looked at last week are getting dropped like it’s cold and returned to the minors or hitting the DL. This week’s theme is unheralded mid-career breakouts, some really out of nowhere, and some controversial sell recommendations! And a truck load of some of the worst baseball puns you’ve seen since the Great Dad Joke Incident of 1988. So make like a middle schooler who can’t afford an orthodontist, and brace yourselves.
Chris Taylor (3B, Los Angeles Dodgers) – It’s easy to look at Chris Taylor’s .396 BABIP and and 28.1% HR/FB and scream fluke. FLUKE! There I just did it. But just because I did that, frightening my roommate in the process, doesn’t mean that what he’s done thus far isn’t great and somewhat legit. As you may know, line drives have very high average, and he’s hit a whopping 26.7% LD%, which is even higher than his FB% (26.1%), while drawing plenty of walks. And his 7.3% Barrel/BBE, while far from exceptional, is not too shabby for a career minor leaguer. But the fact that he’s succeeded in 8/10 SB attempts is what cements his value as a must-own in all 12-team formats, and worth a flier in 10-team with a big enough bench.
Brandon Drury (3B/2B/OF, Arizona Diamondbacks) – You have the the right to a trial with Drury. He’s among the most added players in ESPN after raising his average up to .300 to go with 8 home runs. He’s hit .319 in the month of June, and while I was nearly scared off by his 20% K rate, it’s worth noting that while he posted a 19% K% in April and 26% % in May, in June it’s down to 13.2%, with a .340 ISO to boot. He’s also posting the best Hard% of his career at 34.9%, and all of this while he’s still just 24 years old. He should be added in all 12-team AVG formats since he also carries multi-position eligibility and is worth a flier in deep 12-team OBP though he’s considerably less valuable there. Somewhere out there is a lucky team with Judge and Drury.
Trey Mancini (1B/OF, Baltimore Orioles) – Now that Davis is down, he’s been putting on a show so entertaining, I’d think I was at a Mancini-plex. Statcast still loves him as much as ever with a 12.8% Barrel/BBE and an elite 96.7 mph on FB/LD eV. And while the average is mostly supported by a lucky .372 BABIP, his strikeout rate and contact rates in general are acceptable for someone hitting for his level of power, and I don’t see him becoming a liability in that category. Before this week, he was only owned in 13.8% in leagues, and although that’s risen to 44%, that still means he’s available in over half of ESPN leagues. He should be owned in all 12-team Batting Average leagues, and worth a flier in OBP as well since it’s never a bad idea to own a power hitter in Baltimore in the summer. I promise you won’t puke if you take the Mancini-mon challenge.
Yangervis Solarte (2B/3B, San Diego Padres) – It’s time your fantasy team becomes more efficient and converts to Solarte power. He may not be hitting the ball harder, but he’s hitting a career-high 42.2% flyballs, so his 10 HR is backed by a 10.6 HR/FB right in line with his career marks. Since he doesn’t have great exit velocity, I’m not quite as bullish on him as some other guys on this list, but with his low strikeout rate and high walk rate, he does offer reliable production and some under-the-radar batting average and OBP upside. I’d recommend him as a flier in deeper 12-team mixed leagues, but in 10-team formats, Yangervis makes me Yang-nervous.
Lonnie Chisenhall (OF, Cleveland Indians) – From the depths of the fantasy graveyard, he has risenhall. It was certainly valid to have concerns after his concussion that the newly-viable Lonnie would lose a step or revert to his old ways, but that simply hasn’t happened. He’s still earning his Lonnie long balls (writing that made me squirm a little, but I’m keeping it in) with 10 homers (in just 128 AB) backed by a fantastic 14.2% Barrel/BBE that’s actually trending UP. It seems he’s one of the more unheralded flyball revolutionaries, as his 51% FB rate is rather extreme, and while it’s giving him a career-worst, but still solid 87.4% Z-contact% , he’s effectively canceled that out with a career-best 33% Chase Rate (with a career mark of 39.0%, it’s gone from terrible to passable). That has contributed to a career-best 7.6% BB/9 which makes him more viable in OBP leagues than in previous years. Right now he’s only owned in 6.7% of leagues, which is a travesty, as he should be owned in all 15-team formats and worth a flier in deeper 12-teamers as well. Say it with me: Lonnie Long Balls.
Jose Pirela (2B, San Diego Padres) – At 220 lbs, he’s a massive second-baseman, but he’s, injecting energy into the lineup and crushing balls at the speed of light. That’s the Theory of Pirelativity. It’s just 55 Plate appearances, but he’s hitting .354 with 3 Home Runs, 11 R, 8 RBI and 1 SB, and while it’s unexpected, that doesn’t mean you should shrug it off. He has a great 38.9% Hard% with a 91.7 mph avg eV, and a fantastic 95.3 mph FB/LD eV. And if you just blame that on small sample size, consider that he replicated this success in the minors, hitting .331 with 13 HR, 8 SB, and a .304 ISO in just 201 AB in Triple-A. It’s not as easy to find breakout players at the keystone position, so add him in NL-only and 15-teamers and I’d advise taking a flier on him in deeper 12-teamers as a speculative add. He may provide your team with as much refreshment as a sarsa-Pirela, and he’s fun to root for.
Eric Sogard (2B, Milwaukee Brewers) – The former face of the Oakland Athletics franchise, he is now more than just a bespectacled fan favorite. He’s hitting an insane .350 with 3 HR and 2 SB in 150 PA, with a sky-high 15.2% Walk Rate higher than his 11.7% K rate. Maybe this is what the A’s saw in him in all the playing time they gave him, though I’m sure moving from the AL’s most pitcher-friendly park to one of the NL’s most hitter-friendly parks also didn’t hurt. And he’s posting a much-improved, career-best Hard Hit Rate by far of 26.7%! That’s not a typo! Dude is not very powerful! But he does hit line drives at a bonkers 29.3%, which seems not so fluky since he’s quietly posted a 24.1% Liner rate over his career. While his 10.7% HR/FB may be a bit lucky based on his 2.7% career mark, I’m a believer in the AVG and OBP and can be a peak Joe Panik-type guy but even better for OBP. He’s widely available at only 6.6% owned, where I believe he should be owned in all NL-only and 15-team formats and a 12-team streamer for AVG and OBP. Sogard your offense ratios and pick him up!
Jake Marisnick (OF, Houston Astros) – “Hey Ben , wasn’t this the guy you put on your drop list just a few weeks ago?” Why yes, yes it is. And then I saw how far he hit a home run, and I conceded defeat. And I learned a lesson: If you have to choose between Barrel/BBE and Hard%, go with barrels, since Marisnick still weirdly has a wimpy 27.1% Hard% but with an excellent 13.7% Barrel/BBE. Basically, Marisnick is trying to be a Keon Broxton clone, and that brings everything that comes with Keon Broxton. So I would not recommend him if you care about batting average, but if you just need power and speed in a deeper league, he’s a guy who’s likely available and contribute in those two categories. If you’re the bold type who never got scared while watching “Are You Afraid of the Dark”, take a flier on MariSNICK.
Eric Young (OF, Los Angeles Angels) – For everyone bummed out that they lost out on speedsters with some pop like Mallex and Maybin, you should go Young, even if he isn’t. While he’s on the most-added list, he’s still owned in only 8.3% of leagues. But with a .323 AVG, 3 HR, and 6 SB, you could almost forget that Trout was missing. While he’s 32 now and never had a season like this before, seeming fluky, he did have a career year at Triple-A, hitting .354 with 5 HR and 15 SB in 201 PA, so it seems he has made some changes in his game this year. With an 82.3 mph eV and 22.1% Hard% compared to a whopping 27.2% soft, I wouldn’t bank on many more homers, but if you’re looking for a short-term replacement for the many hitter injuries, he’s worth owning in AL-only and a solid flier in 15-team formats, since the speed is real and anything else he does is just gravy.
Josh Harrison (2B/3B, Pittsburgh Pirates) – Behold the inventor of the bloop home run. His overall numbers still look quite good, but you need to remember that most of the damage he did, especially in the power department, was in April and early May, and since then he’s been decent but hardly exceptional. I’m not surprised that the power rate declined, as he had a weirdly high launch angle and low exit velocity on his home runs that just did not seem sustainable or an indicator of true power. I mean, his Hard% is a career-best 33.0%, but Statcast tells a different story entirely, with a paltry 83.7 mph exit velocity and jut 1.9% Barrel/BBE that’s below Nick Ahmed and Jose Peraza. And as for the speed, his 6 stolen bases come with 3 Caught Stealing, which might be enough for him to see fewer green lights in his future. But he’s still a contributor in batting average. I would consider him droppable in 10 and shallower 12-team mixers, and all 12-team OBP, though I would hold in deeper mixed and NL-only formats as he still contributes in batting average with positional versatility. But I’m not joshing you when I say his viability situation is looking hairy, son..
Didi Gregorius (SS, New York Yankees) – Look, it’s not exactly a popular move to recommend selling on a guy who’s hitting .330. I even recently added him as my insurance policy for my benched Trevor Story. But I wouldn’t ever consider Didi as my starting shortstop. Don’t get me wrong, he’s contributed a roughly equivalent home run rate as Story with a batting average that’s over .100 points better. And he has been hitting like gangbusters since he’s returned to the majors with an epic hit streak. But back then the average seemed largely BABIP-driven, and that hasn’t really changed, and it doesn’t seem likely that it will last, considering he has a hard contact rate of just 21.5% compared to a soft contact rate of 24.1%, with a pitiful 84.1 mph exit velocity and 3.8 Barrel/BBE. Yuck. He’s also not even hitting many liners at just 17.7%, compared to a FB% of 39%, which will help the power numbers but also pull the average down. But the heart beating under the floorboards is his erosion of plate discipline, which despite his good strikeout rate, shows a career-worst 13.5% Swstrk% due to career-worst chase and contact rates. I’d try to shop him before you drop him as your leaguemates may fall for the mirage, but he should be dropped in 10-team, shallow 12-team AVG leagues, and all 12-team OBP leagues since he can’t walk his way out of a paper bag. America runs on Didi, but you should run from him.
Odubel Herrera (OF, Philadelphia Phillies) – Teams that drafted him must have Odubel-vision after his lackluster performance thus far, with just 5 HR, 4 SB, and a .250 AVG. He may be getting a bit unlucky on the power as his 31% Hard Contact is a career-best and his Statcast data and 7.1% Barrel/BBE suggest better. But his main value was in average and speed, and and, with a career-worst 40.5% chase rate and 12.9% Swstr, he’s unlikely to see rosy batting averages again. And with 4 caught stealing along with his 4 Stolen bags, he’ll be seeing red lights on the basepaths far more often. With his main sources of value down the toilet, it’s time to flush away Odoodoobel. …I am 30 years old. Yep.
The hyperlink in the Didi write-up doesn’t point to anything.
So if you owned both O Herrera and Piscotty and had to make a cut, which one would you dump first? 6×6 obp. I need all of the hitting stats I can get. Thanks