Buy & Sell 8/1: Identifying Who to Add and Who to Drop

Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire

Welcome back to Buy & Sell: Trade Deadline Edition, sort of! See, while you’re reading this, the deadline has come and gone, but when I’m writing this I’m still one day away from the true deadline. But I stayed up super late just to make sure it takes into account all trade deadline transactions, since the trade deadline comes once a year and takes priority in my life over sleep. UPDATE: I’ll say this about the deadline: It didn’t really do all that much to help any quality active hitter’s value in any really significant way, since Meadows and Villar, the two biggest potential beneficiaries, aren’t currently on the active roster. Pitchers is a different story entirely. Okay, on to the list before my sleepy face smashes into the keyboard.

BUY

Michael Conforto (OF, New York Mets) – Earlier in the year, he was looking uneasy, but it seems he is finally getting confortoble once again. There’s optimism that he’s once again fully healthy with his increased power numbers, as he’s hit .304/.421/.609 with 4 HR and an 8/8 BB/K ratio over the past 21 days, although you may not have noticed with his season line at just ..230/.353/.401. While the power has been merely solid and not spectacular, if he’s back in form it can come in bunches, and while he can be a boon in average, he can be an OBP beast as he was already useful there without the batting average. While he’s no secret at a 52.8% ownership rate (in ESPN leagues), that means there’s still 47% of leagues where he’s on your wire! Check out dem math skills. You should confortify your offense in all 10-team OBP formats and 12-team AVG and OBP, and would be fine with a speculative flyer on him in 10-team AVG leagues as well.

Yonder Alonso (1B, Cleveland Indians) – Let’s take a moment to ponder Alonso. After a long stretch of virtually zero power through June, his bat suddenly reawakened in July, hitting .324/.425/.824 with 5 Home Runs and an 6/3 BB/K in 34 AB over the past two weeks, bringing him up to 18 jacks with a .265/.335/.473 slash on the year. His surge has been supported and then some by the xStats, with an impressive xSlash of .272/.344/.492 that beats his current line, and his 9.0 Barrel/PA% is 16th-best in baseball so the power is clearly here to stay at this point. It seems that although he hasn’t walked as much this year, he’s become a more balanced hitter with a reduced strikeout rate that’s supported by a higher contact rate. Especially being in the middle of such a competitive lineup, you’d be wise to pick him up in all 12-team formats and a viable flyer in 10-team as well. Alonso far, Alonso good.

Matt Chapman (3B, Oakland Athletics) – Chappie has been a hitting machine, like the sentient robot of the same name. He’s locked-in with a .405/.500/.786 line with 3 HR in 42 ABs the past 2 weeks, bringing him to a .270/.363/.479 line with 13 HR on the season. Although he lost a fair share of owners when he couldn’t maintain the hype he built up after a hot hitter, I have maintained my optimism throughout the year as he rounded out his game. While the power is great, his boost in value is from correcting his weaknesses, especially in contact, where his improvement in contact rate (and plate discipline) give him a 9.2% Swstr%, which is good for a power hitter and much better than the 11.5% rate he posted last year. xStats is right in line with his AVG and OBP but his .442 xSLG is 40 points lower than his actual rate, so don’t get too crazy, but his great defense combined with great on-base ability make him must-own in all 15-team formats and 12-team OBP formats, and also viable in 12-team AVG leagues.

Nick Williams (OF, Philadelphia Phillies) – It’s Christmas in July, and Philly Old St. Nick has been bringing presents to his owners who believed in him. Compared to some others on this list, his streak has been a shorter spurt, with a .385/.407/.731 line with 3 Ho-ho-homers over the past week to raise his season line to .261/.333/.457 with 14 tates and 2 SB (2 CS) in 276 AB. His xSlash is a mixed bag, as his .267 xAVG and ..343 xOBP are encouraging but trampled by a .419 xSLG that dampens the excitement about his power, his most exciting tool. Although his numbers look rosier from his 2017 campaign, I’m actually much more positive about this one, as he’s had worse batted ball luck this year but made substantial improvements to his K and BB rates. His K rate improved from 28.3% to a much more palatable 23.9%, and his walk rate went up from 5.8% to 7.8%, increasing his OBP appeal. Because I’m skeptical with his ho-hum Statcast data that he can keep up the homers coming at this rate, I see him as a must-own only in 15-team formats, but now also in OBP formats, and he still makes a fine short-term stream in 12-team.

Miguel Sano (1B/3B, Minnesota Twins) – When a potential- 40 homer slugger in his prime years gets demoted to single-A ball, that’s just a Sano the times. Sano honestly didn’t do that great on his minor league campaign considering that at his age he should be expected to demolish the competition but was merely good. Still, on a Twins team that has thrown in the towel, he will get the chance to right the ship full-time at the major league level, and even though it’s clear at this point that batting average will never be part of his game, he still possesses 35+ home run power. Perhaps with Morrison and Mauer hitting well, a fire will be lit under Sano and he’ll respond with a big surge. With all that’s gone on with him this year, it’s impossible to know, but in all 15-team formats and 12-team OBP, the risk may be worth the potential payoff, even if it means taking him as a bench stash.

David Freese (1B/3B, Pittsburgh Pirates) – He’s clearly the better David F. third baseman I write up in this article. Although often overlooked as that boring, low-ceiling 3B type, lately Mr. Freese has been like Schwarzenegger (bad ice-related puns included), with a .353/.476/.706 line with 2 homers this week to bring his line up to .286/.352/.451. Over the past 30 days he has the 9th-best xOBA with a .434 xOBA tied with the previously white-hot Lourdes Gurriel. One might reason that a 35-year-old with a SLG% far higher than in past years is due for regression, but… WAIT, WHAT’S THIS? An xSlash of .347/.410/.568? Okay, I know you think I did that for dramatic flair, but that was legitimately my reaction I just had. I honestly wonder if this may be some sort of mistake, but assuming that xStats is a flawless man-powered machine, yeah how can you not be intrigued by that? He should be owned in all 18-team leagues and 15-team leagues too. As crazy as it sounds, I think he may actually be 12-team viable despite being widely available, and you’ll be feeling sweet with some Freese’s pieces.

Nick Ahmed (SS, Arizona Diamondbacks) – People laughing at him must be his energy source. Ahmed has gone from a punchline to a hitter with punch, as he’s hit ..315/.333/.611 with 3 HRs over the past 3 weeks for a season line of .240/.293/.448 line with 14 longballs over 346 ABs. While xStats is not convinced in the power, giving him a ..394 xSLG, xStats has been pessimistic on him all year and he’s still been producing, and doesn’t need that much to be useful as a shortstop, though more than in olden days. Unfortunately, he can’t draw walks, hit for good average or steal bases, so his fantasy upside is limited to deeper formats, but he should be owned in all NL-only and 18-team formats and makes for a viable streamer in 15-team leagues, where his production shouldn’t be considered Ahmediocre.

Melky Cabrera (OF, Cleveland Indians) – I always liked the Dead Milkmen, but the Melkman is not dead yet! His first debut was forgettable before getting released and weirdly signed again by the Indians, but this time around he’s looked like an entirely different hitter, with a 400/.438/.567 line bringing his season average all the way up to .272. Over the past 30 days, Melky is tied for 6th-best in the MLB with an excellent .438 xOBA, and this is reflected in his fantastic xStats translation, with a studly xSlash of .315/.344/.418. Okay I should probably clarify that is only close to studly in batting average leagues. I think there will be some regression, and I doubt he possesses even double-digit SB speed at this point, but I do think he still has a very high floor in batting average with 10-15 HR pop. Let him deliver for you in AL-only and 18-team Batting Average leagues, and makes for a legitimate batting average stream in 15-team H2H.

David Fletcher (3B Los Angeles Angels) – I probably should preface this by saying I’m not happy about this. Not that I’m not happy about Kinsler being traded, that wasn’t too surprising, it’s that the Angels, despite having basically nobody to play 2b, are making Fletcher play there and not calling up Jose Miguel Fernandez. Jose is 31 and his time is being wasted crushing at Triple-A and who xStats suggests deserved way better in his short majors stint. Rant over. Fletcher is still pretty good though, and like Fernandez, was a member of Carson Cistulli’s Fringe Five earlier this year. He’s quietly posted a hot streak with a .295/.442/.500 line the past 2 weeks for an overall line of .298/.339/.404 with 1 HR and 1 SB over 114 ABs. xStats suggests that may be lucky, with a more humble xSlash of .275/.317/.356, but that still has its uses in batting average leagues thanks to Fletcher’s imminent multi-position eligibility. He’s just one game from reaching 5-game qualifications at 2B, SS, and OF, and with Kinsler gone, he’ll get at least one. I still have hope that he continues to contribute a plus average with a little more power and speed than he’s shown in the majors so far… granted that won’t be too hard. Try to make Fletch happen in AL-only and 18-team Batting Average formats.

Brett Phillips (OF, Kansas City Royals) – Look, I debated even writing him up at all, since he’s unowned even in some AL-only leagues. But I’ll say this: While so far his contact rate has been very bad, he still has significant power and speed, and should have full-time ABs all but locked up on KC’s rebuilding franchise. After a strong 2017 that caused his stock to rebound upwards, he’s had quite the underwhelming Triple-A season, but we now know about the majors power boost. He could be an asset in a similar way as Niko Goodrum, another power/speed guy with poor contact, though when that’s the positive comp, you know we’re talking deep leagues here. He’s a fine add in AL-only and 18-team OBP formats as I expect that walk rate to improve.

DROP

Adam Duvall (OF, Atlanta Braves) – Duvall goes from one red team to another, but now his value is in the red. He’s getting Steve Pearced in Atlanta, which may be great for the team but terrible for the average fantasy owner, as now Duvall will likely see most of his ABs from the weak side of platoon. Unless you play daily matchups, it’s safe to cut him in all leagues but the deepest of NL-only formats. Don’t cry too hard as you cast away your Duvallyball and watch him float away.

Carlos Gomez (OF, Tampa Bay Rays) – Okay, he may have been dropped in your league already, on account of, y’know, being pretty bad. I mean, he put up decent power and speed numbers, but that average was hard to stomach, and now with the addition of Pham, someone’s got to step aside, and it’s likely not the young speedster Mallex or the defensive whiz Kiermaier. I think it’s safe to cut him even in AL-only leagues, but you can be happy for him that he didn’t get terribly injured this year, I guess!

Nick Martini (OF, Oakland Athletics) – Look, I could’ve said Orlando Arcia, but who was really still starting him at this point? Man that Brewer’s defense will be hilarious. Speaking of alcohol, Martini has shaken, not stirred things up with a .421/.522/.684 line this week for a ..325/.426/.500 line over 40 AB. Hey, Voros McCracken always said anything can happen over 60 PA. I actually wanted to list him as a buy with him being this hot, until I looked at what xStats had to say. They see what he’s done and give him a dry, bitter xSlash of .217/.339/.321. I’m pretty sure I just heard a balloon deflate and fly around the room. So be warned that in anything deeper than AL-only, you may look silly becoming a Martinibopper.

Ben Pernick

Fantasy baseball nerd, music therapist, and comedy singer/songwriter and stand-up/sketch comedian. I am also an insufferable enthusiast of puns and dad jokes. I grew up as a Red Sox fan in New York, but now I declare allegiance only to my fantasy teams.

sdf

Comments


Will

Hey Ben, thanks as always for the content. What the hell should I do with Bellinger? I keep expecting to see him here as a drop. I keep hoping that he picks it up. It’s brutal, man. Any insight appreciated!

Ben Pernick

Hey Will, yeah this is a tough one. His xStats indicate his current slash line is entirely deserved, but still 17 Homers, 5 SB and a .326 OBP, while surely a far cry from his 2017, is still hard to drop. In batting average-based 10-teamers you could, but I would advocate even more patience. I think he’s better than a 13.9% HR/FB and while he has a disappointing Barrel%, the exit velo is good and could put together a big streak. But I could cut him, especially in a batting average league, for Conforto or Alonso if they’re on your wire.

Ben Pernick

I mean, while it’s hard to recommend dropping Beltre in such a deep format, I’d drop him for some of these guys if they’re on your wire, sure. Definitely would drop him for Alonso, Conforto or Chapman, maybe even Freese at this point depending on your needs, since it seems Beltre can’t handle playing every day anymore.

Levi Morales

I’m guessing great defense (along with OBP ability) is equated to more guaranteed playing time, which is a boost in fantasy value.

Ben Pernick

Ding ding ding. Granted, at his current level of offensive production, he’s now quite safe in that regard, but it does mean he’ll have fewer off days and less likely to be pinch hit late in games.

theKraken

I don’t think Sano is necessarily a BA sink (who isn’t these days). When he is hot he always hits for average and we always talk about how unsustainable it is but he isn’t as flawed as many players in his category. I could see him hitting for a fine average if he ever gets on track. He always does when he is going well, which is what you are hoping to capture in the final two months. He has lost a bunch of weight which is what I think the minor league stint was all about.

Nice buy list though I found this to be insightful. Put another way, I agree with many of the buys.

Ben Pernick

Glad you found the list helpful, though I disagree about Sano hitting for average. Sano has a career .248 AVG and a 36.4% K rate, and this year it’s 40.4%. A Joey Gallo with less speed and exit velocity is someone who can absolutely tank your average in a cold spell. And with his O-swing% at a career high 31% so far this year, his OBP may not be entirely buoyed either. Here’s to hoping he turns it around, though!

Tom McDowell

Hey Ben! Absolutely love the buy/sell articles. On a bit of a pedantic point, can you point us to where you access the month x stat data? I can only ever find the full-season data when I use the leaderboards at Baseball Savant.

I’ve noticed you reference monthly/weekly x stat data before and have always been curious about where you are finding it.

Ben Pernick

Thanks, that’s not pedantic at all! You can find all the xStats data for hitters and pitchers at xStats.org (not .com). I believe it’s a new feature where they have xstats for the past 30 days, though unfortunately at this time I don’t think you can adjust the time frame. When I reference regular stats I usually use OnRoto which lists their stats for past 7, 14 and 21 days, and use fangraphs if i’m looking for monthly splits. Hope that helps

Tom McDowell

That’s fantastic. Thanks ever so much. It becomes so much more difficult to parse the x stats the later into the season we get, so this is invaluable information.

AL

Kyle Gibson is available in my 14 team h2h points league and my worst SP is Bundy…do you add Gibson or ride out Bundy on the horrible O’s in the tough AL East?

Thanks!

Benjamin Pernick

Gotta roll with the bullDozier. Schoop will always have the lower ceiling and floor due to lack of speed and plate discipline, and will have to play Shortstop which may distract him from offense

Ben Pernick

I have not been buying shares of Morrison. If this is Morrison when he’s good, If this is considered a hot streak for him, outside of AL-only or 18-team OBP, I don’t want LoMo NoMo.

Brandon

Hey Ben,

Always love these columns and thanks for providing the reference to xStats. That google sheet is super sweet!

I have a question on Tyler O’Neil. FantasyPros ROS projections has him listed : 24/11/30/3/.253 with a VBR of 31. I keep seeing this thinking it is crazy. I took a look at xStats, and those projections are very similar to Yahoo.

I wanted to get your take before doing something stupid and rostering this guy. Thanks in advance for any advice.

Ben Pernick

Thanks, glad you’re finding it useful. I do think O’Neill’s power is legit, and those projections are certainly within the range of possibility. Keep in mind though it’s looking like he’ll split time with Bader. I personally think O’Neill could hit those power projections with full-time ABs, but I think his average would be more in the .220-.240 range at best as his whiff rate is one of the highest in the majors at 21.7%… yikes!

Brandon

Thanks for your thoughts Ben! Most appreciated. Would you swap O’Neil for Teoscar or Ian Happ? I did see that both O’Neil and Bader started yesterday in place of Fowler. Maybe this will be a thing.

Leave a Comment


Your email address will not be published.