Buy & Sell 7/25: Identifying Who to Add and Who to Drop
Photo by George Walker/Icon Sportswire
Welcome back to Buy & Sell, where for this week, instead of deep cuts, I’m giving you deep adds and shallow cuts. With a few big trades taking place before the deadline, there was certainly plenty of new movement and teams sick of cycling through the same old players will find some interesting variety here. Perhaps I even got in too deep. But for you shallow leaguers, at least you’ll have some fun guys to pay attention to, so without further ado, let’s get to it.
Lourdes Gurriel (2B/SS, Toronto Blue Jays) – Lourdy, there are tape-measure shots! Twice before I wanted to write up Gurriel, but the first time he got sent to the minors (undeservedly, IMO) and more recently ruined it by getting a concussion. Earlier in the year, xStats indicated he should be hitting for better average and power than his paltry numbers, and since he’s hit ..405/.432/.595 over the past 21 days, you’d think that now things have leveled out, but not so! While his .281/.290/.412 line looks fine and dandy, it’s nothing compared to his xSlash of .312/.329/.531. That’s an xSlash of a Top-10 shortstop, though still far more valuable in AVG. leagues (he takes after Yuli Gurriel in that regard). At this point, the Jays have no reason to sit him for Travis, Aledmys, or even Tulo when he’s back. He does have some AVG/OBP downside with a somewhat high 11% Swstr%, but should provide power the rest of the way with a top-50 in the MLB 8.2% Barrel/PA. All 15-team leagues and 12-team AVG leagues should pick up the better Gurri in a hurry.
Willie Calhoun (OF/2B, Texas Rangers) – It’s seems we’ve been waiting for his arrival ’til the Calhouns come home, but now he’s finally here. Willie has had some trials and tribulations in Triple-A, as he was disciplined by the team for talking smack about the team for not calling him up earlier, and got off to a rough start offensively. He did heat up, getting up to .308 with 8 HR and 4 SB, though the lack of power dampened the excitement. Still, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the power rate crank up in the majors since we’ve seen him do it before. So far he’s hitting just .143 with a .000 ISO in 15 PA, with a concerning 27% Soft% to just 18% Hard, but on the other hand I’m encouraged by his 24% O-Swing% and low 6.8% Swstr%. If a league mate was hoping for instant production, you may be lucky enough to get him at a discount or even on the wire. Despite the deflated helium his offensive upside still makes him worth stashing in all 15-team leagues and deeper 12-team formats.
Garrett Hampson (2B, Colorado Rockies) – Hampson may not need long locks or Delilah to be a powerful asset to your team. He hit a super-strong .305/.376/.452 line with 9 HR and 33 nabbed bases between Dougoodwinble-A and Triple-A, and now with LeMahieu down, he looks in line for a shot to see what he can do. It’s too bad Coors doesn’t inflate speed like it does power… a stadium with speed-boosting basepaths would be pretty cool. Still, he 2016 third-rounder can hit for some decent power in the majors and an even better average, as his high walk rates and low K rates and the fact that he’s hit over .300 at every level since his debut is very encouraging in a MLB park that boosts batting average. He may be back in the minors when DJ returns, but I still think he makes for an intriguing flyer in NL-only, 18-team, and 15-team AVG and OBP leagues, and worth monitoring in 12-team formats.
Cameron Maybin (OF, Miami Marlins) – Hey I just dropped him, and this is crazy, but here’s his SB numbers, so call on Maybin. Although a month ago, he only had 3 SB with 4 CS, suddenly Maybin is partying like it’s 2017, as over the past 21 days he’s stolen 5 SB (0 CS) while hitting .320/.452/.340. This week he’s been especially hot, hitting ..364/.500/.636 with a homer, and that’s raised his season line to a respectable .248/.335/.340 with 3 HR and 8 SB, which is still mild enough to leave him untouched even in some deeper league waiver wires. With a 2.2% Barrel/PA, I think last year’s double digit homers were an aberration, but his hot streaks are well worth riding, especially in OBP formats, and I’d rather stream him for speed than some other high-risk assets like Delino Deshields. I still believe he can steal at a 30 SB pace the rest of the way and the Marlins have no reason not to give him the green light with his recent success, which makes him a must-own in 15-team OBP and well-worth streaming for SB in 12-team OBP formats.
Brian Goodwin (OF, Kansas City Royals) – He is far from the biggest winner in terms of fantasy value after the slew of All-Star break trades, but he is still a good win. He was blocked by a mix of stars and sudden fantasy revelations in Washington, but he’s now in a barren offensive wasteland as he switches from a republic to monarchy, and playing time is there for the taking. While he’s had limited PT thus far, in his 14 AB the past 21 days, he’s hit .429/.467/.643, and his power/speed ability was made apparent last year after he hit .251/.313/.498 with 13 home runs and 6 SB over 251 AB. He should be immediately added in all AL-only formats and 18-team formats (he’s no slouch in OBP), though I’d wait to confirm his playing time situation in 15-team since he’s likely safe for now from getting scooped.
Joey Wendle (2B/OF/3B, Tampa Bay Rays) – His name sounds like an obscure mechanical part. “Hey Joey, can you hand me two screws, I need to make some divots in this aluminum wendle!” But he can be a useful part for your deep league lineups. He’s been especially impressive lately, hitting .340/.407/.623 with 3 Homers and only 7 Ks over the past 21 days, raising his season line to .278/.327/.398. Although Adames is up now and playing semi-regularly, he hasn’t done enough to warrant taking Wendle’s PT, or Robertson’s for that matter, so Wendle’s playing time is likely safe for now. He may not have much power, but he has a rather high batting average floor at the keystone and should be owned in 18-team formats and has enough speed (7 SB) to be a solid utilityy streamer in 15-team AVG formats.
Charlie Culberson (SS/3B/OF, Atlanta Braves) – Losing Albies this week would’ve been cumbersome if not for Culberson. The utility man has been scorching hot this week, hitting 9-for-16 with a homer and a .933 SLG% over the past week while Albies has been nursing a hamstring injury. Albies is due back later this week assuming everything goes well, though hamstrings are tricky and the Braves would be wise to not rush their young star at the keystone, especially with Culberson performing so admirably in his stead. Although his .289/.340/.467 line with 5 HR and 3 SB looks great, knowing his career production, or lack thereof, plus his pessimistic xSlash of .256/.310/.371 nerfs my enthusiasm. Still, with him hitting so hot and with multi-position eligibility, he makes for a viable short-term streamer in NL-only, 18-team, and even deeper 15-team AVG leagues.
Daniel Vogelbach (1B, Seattle Mariners) – Free Dan Vogelbach! I know, you all probably think I’m crazy for even wasting digital ink on him… I mean, he’s currently not owned in my AL-only league. But sometimes, I’d rather tell you about a potential breakout before it happens. So far, I believe the only reason Vogelbach has not become an AL-only mainstay is that he hasn’t earned the playing time. See, he’s had a true breakout in the minors, hitting .305/.456/.582 with 16 HRs, a 15.9% K% rate and an insane 21.6% BB% in 283 PA in Triple-A. You may say he’s a tweener and always had good minors numbers, but not this good, especially in terms of power, and this is after an offseason swing change. While he’s only hit .200/.333/.323 in 78 PA in the majors, his xSlash is a much healthier .277/.398/.509. And while his 5.1 Barrel% isn’t great, his 98.1 mph FB/LD eV is top 15 in the league and tied with Aaron Judge. Unfortunately, with Nelson Cruz being a full-time DH, he may need an injury or trade to give him the opportunity he needs. Don’t pick him up yet, but monitor closely for an opportunity in AL-only and 18-team formats, and 15-team OBP, since he can be an insta-beast with playing time. I’ve already planted my flag here, and I’m content dying on this hill.
Eric Hosmer (1B, San Diego Padres) – Hi, I’m Hosmer, captain of the groundball train! The San Diego “star” acquisition is hitting an amazing ..123/.135/.192 over the past 21 days, for a superstar-level line of .245/.311/.387 with 10 HR and 4 SB (also 4 caught stealing)! Okay, sarcasm aside, it’s been a bad campaign, and xStats at least believes that bad luck has played a role, with a far more forgiving xSlash of .277/.340/.431. But it’s hard to find optimism in a career-worst 61.2% GB% and 23.3% K%, as if the spacious Petco Park wasn’t making it hard enough for him. While it may be hard to admit that you got a dud out of rather early-round pick, in 10-team formats you can safely find better options, and you can probably at least find equivalent value in most shallower 12-team formats, as he’s only useful if you need someone to tamp down some soil.
Kyle Seager (3B, Seattle Mariners) – For a while he was one of the most underrated mainstays at the hot corner in fantasy. Well, this Mariner’s tide has turned and he’s become overrated, as he’s been going downhill since his peak 2016 season. He’s been hitting a disappointing .233/.284/.412 with 16 homers in 382 AB, and hitting just .176/.222/.235 over the past 2 weeks. With power being his one above-average tool and it being a dime a dozen in today’s environment, he’s no longer a must-own guy, and I’d definitely roll with someone with more batting average upside with his power like Maikel Franco, or more OBP upside like Matt Chapman. In 10-team and 12-team AVG and OBP formats, it’s time to turn the page on Seager.
Jake Lamb (3B, Arizona Diamondbacks) – It’s rather incredible that Jake Lamb has still been owned in 51% of leagues as of the all-star break, now down to 47%. By which I mean that 47% of ESPN leaguers who own him are not credible. He’s only hit .223/.309/.351 with 6 HRs in 202 ABs, and even the biggest worriers about the Humidor’s impact never saw this coming. Sure, xStats doesn’t see him as being quite this bad, with an entirely more palatable xSlash of .258/.339/.418, but even that is not a line that deserves being owned in nearly 50% of leagues, especially after he’s hit just .160/.232/.200 over 50 AB the past 21 days. If you’re in 10-team or 12-team, or even 15-team AVG leagues, you should cut lamb and feed him to the lions.
Jose Bautista (OF, New York Mets) – So, at this point you’ve learned that no, Jose Bautista is probably not going to save your fantasy season. Fun gamble though. He got some people excited with big spurts, but the total is a pretty forgettable .216/.366/.409 line with 7 Homers in 213 PA this season. Well, at least forgettable in a batting average league, since his 18.8% walk rate gives him a bit of a Carlos Santana thing going on. His 92.1 mph avg. eV is actually pretty good, but his poor Barrel rate of just 4.2% doesn’t give much room for optimism, since at his advanced age, the later months of the season will wear him down more than most, especially with him having to play in the outfield with no DH. While he’s still 15-team viable in OBP formats, he should be cut in 12-team and 15-team AVG leagues. We’ll still always remember the good old days, Joey Bats, nobody can take that away from you.