Welcome back to Buy & Sell, where we’ve had FAABapalooza, Rookiepalooza, and now also Injurypalooza, which is decidedly less fun. The recent IL stints of Pham, Bichette, and LeMahieu particularly sting, as they were doing so well before they went down. But when injury closes a door, it opens a window, and if you follow these picks you’ll resist the temptation to jump out of it.
Alec Bohm (3B, Philadelphia Phillies)
And Bohm goes the dynamite. Bohm is arguably the best pure hitter called up to the majors, though there’s some debate whether his home run power is just good or great. The massive 6’5 24-year-old climbed three levels from low-A to high-A and Double-A, hitting .305/.378/.518 batting line with 21 home runs and six stolen bases in 125 games. He hasn’t lit the world on fire yet, hitting .286/.333/.429, but I am bullish as Pamplona during the Festival de San Fermín. Small sample notwithstanding, so far he’s posted an excellent 89% Contact% and 7% Swinging Strike Rate, indicating he can continue to hit for high average. He’s also displayed power upside with a 95 mph average exit velocity and 67% Hard Hit%. He just needs to make sure not to hit too many ground balls, but he can hit at a .290 25-30 HR pace right away. While he was a popular FAAB bid, he’s only owned in 22% of Yahoo Leagues, and is a must-add in all formats. Who needs Alec Baldwin when you can get an Alec Bohm win?
Garrett Hampson (2B/SS/OF, Colorado Rockies)
You can’t spell Champ without Hamp. Last year, I was negative on Hampson from the beginning, but in 2020 his hitting has improved, hitting .309/..381/.491 with a homer and 3 SB. The most important thing, though, is he’s getting regular reps in the leadoff spot ahead of the blazing hot Blackmon and Arenado. Hampson has earned his production thus far and then some with an xBA of .315 and xSLG of .552, though I doubt he’ll keep hitting for that kind of power with his still-weak 24% Hard Hit% and 85 mph exit velocity. He’s gotten even more selective at the plate with a 19% Chase%, so he should still be force in OBP and runs, though owners are hoping he gets more aggressive on the basepaths. With his multi-position eligibility, I’m still buying on the fantasy upside in 12-team formats. At 64% Owned, he’s no sleeper, but I’d offer a trade for him in 12-team.
Jesse Winker (1B/OF, Cincinnati Reds)
Everyone’s been talking about the Nick Castellanos revelation, while you’ve been ignoring J.W. knocking at your door. Winker has mashed a studly .365/.484/.712, good for a 1.120 OPS, and yet he’s owned in only 52% of leagues. What he’s done so far has been legit too, as it’s backed by a .353 xBA and .690 xSLG, and a 112 mph max exit velocity (44th in MLB) that suggests his power is continuing to develop. His high OBP turning to power makes me think he can imitate what Josh Bell did in 2019, providing a surge in value for those who hop on early, and he’s aided by a very power-friendly home park. The only thing that gives me pause is his 50% GB% rate, as his drop in contact% from 84% to 68% would look to be the sign of a launch angle change, but his GB/FB is actually going in the opposite direction. But worst case, you have a .300 hitter in a stacked lineup with solid power instead of massive power. He’s a must-add in 10-team OBP formats and all 12-team formats.
Robinson Cano (2B, New York Mets)
He’s hitting .412 with 4 Home Runs. He’s a future Hall of Famer. And he’s only 32% Owned. His 112 mph Max eV (33rd best in MLB) shows he still has the boomstick, and hits the ball consistently hard even though he’s never a big barrel guy. He’s boosted his contact with the best discipline since 2014, with a 86% Contact% and 7% SwStr%. Statcast backs up his performance with a .393 xBA (99th percentile) and .661 xSLG (85th percentile), and while he won’t keep that up, he can easily hit .310 and a 25 HR pace. He may get hurt again, but in 12-team and possibly even 10-team, you have to ride this out at a thin keystone position. He’s had a rough past couple of years, with the trade of Kelenic for him and Edwin Diaz making him a punchline, but I’m still falling for Robbie like Joker for Harley Quinn.
Clint Frazier (OF, New York Yankees)
He’s been tempest-tossed in Pinstripe laundry, but the Yankees now emptied out the Clint trap. Frazier was a Bronx cheer favorite after errors and drama in 2019. But the Yankees brass promised he’d get a more fair shot in 2020 and they’ve stuck by that, and he’s rewarded them handsomely. He’s hit .444 with 2 Homers with 3 R and 8 RBI in 20 PA, and I think it’s more than just a hot start. For one thing, he’s showing great discipline at the plate, with a 37% Swing% and 22% Chase%, and improved his Contact% from 70% to 75%, driven entirely by improved contact in the zone (95%). He’s also already launched 4 Barrels in just 20 PA, with an average eV of 96 mph and 101 on FB/LD, the latter of which is top 10 in the MLB. I think he has the upside to be about as valuable as Luke Voit the rest of the way, and I love me some voit. Add as a spec in all 15-teamers and most 12-Team formats, especially ones with 5 OF.
Dylan Carlson (OF, St. Louis Cardinals)
He’s here! Or is he? He is. I think? The 21-year-old supposed power/speed phenom is hitting a lousy .118/.167/.176 in his first 18 PA, which may lead itchy trigger finger owners to ignore him or cut him. But fear not! Statcast thinks he’s been super unlucky, with a fantastic .330 xBA and .631 xSLG with 2 Barrels, so I wouldn’t overreact to that. Then again, his 64% Contact% means he may be a volatile high K guy. When he actually gets on base we may see his speed, and you’ll wish you didn’t jump off the hype train. Just note he might actually get fewer at-bats with the Cards having so many 7-inning doubleheaders on the docket. I’m still all-in for 15-team formats and he’s worth a spec add in 12-teamers in need of power/speed.
Robbie Grossman (OF, Oakland Athletics)
We all know who he is, right? So how is he the 66th most valuable player in fantasy? Nothing makes sense anymore. Well, he’s hitting .300/.455/.633 with 10 R, 11 RBI, 4 HR and 4 SB, and Statcast even says it hasn’t been a complete fluke, with an xBA of .287, xSLG of .530, and .420 xwOBA that ranks Top 7% of the league. So, what changed? His contact rate has stayed solid as ever, but the real difference is he’s pulling the ball more this year. He averaged 37% Pull% and 27% Oppo% in his career, but this year upped it to 47% Pull% and 17% Oppo%, which has helped him hit the ball harder than ever, with a career-best 10% Barrel% and 35% Hard Hit%. And while the speed seems suspect as he was an atrocious runner for years, he did quietly steal 9 SB (4 CS) in 2019, and his 72nd Percentile Rank in Running this year is the 2nd best of his career. Add in all 15-team formats and stream in 12-team OBP. You can cut a struggling stud like Kris Bryant to make room for him and it’ll help you, even if it feels Gross man.
Kole Calhoun (OF, Arizona Diamondbacks)
Take Old Kole and be a merry old soul. He’s one of those guys that lately gets ignored but brings back value for you, year in and year out. Sure, Calhoun has an ugly .225 AVG to go with his 6 HR. But he’s hitting in a great lineup position in the leadoff spot behind a red-hot Diamondbacks offense. Not only that, he’s deserved far better, according to Statcast and his .278 xBA and .570 xSLG. He’s cut his K rate down to a much more palatable 20% and is getting tons of opportunities with 91 PA already, so he’s a must-add in 15-team formats and an underrated run production and power streamer in 12-team OBP, and at just 26% owned, he very well may be the better Calhoun.
Andres Gimenez (SS, New York Mets)
If you have room to make a speedy stash, grab Gimenez before he runs away. While Gimenez hasn’t swung a hot bat, he’s got blazing feet, with 3 SB this week that brings him up to 6 SB (0 CS) in 60 PA. He was one of the top (if not THE top) Mets prospect entering the year, with comps similar to Amed Rosario but with better defense. And with Amed Rosario’s struggles, the 21-year-old speedy Gimenez should continue to eat away at Amed’s playing time, and possibly be the primary option the rest of the way. Gimenez made some swing changes last year that gave him 15 HR power upside with decent average, and with his speed he can convert his 82% Contact% Rate% into hits. It’s surprising that with his minors-leading (tied with injured Pham and Villar) stolen bases, he’s only 8% owned, so jump on it like the Apache song.
Evan White (1B, Seattle Mariners)
You probably think I’m a zealot for recommending someone with a .139 AVG and 43% K%, which is disturbing as the CATS movie. But I swear I’m not an Evan Jellicle. As bad has White has been, the 24-year-old has done one thing most doubted he’d do… hit for power. He’s hitting .235 with 3 tates and 1 SB this past week, which almost makes you forget the fact he has 10 Ks in 19 PA over that span. So he’s a work in progress! I do think this will improve as plate discipline hasn’t been as horrible as you’d think, with a 63% Contact% but with a solid 27% Chase%, resulting in a bad-but-not-awful 17% SwStr%. Most people with similar rates rock a high 20s to low 30s K rate, which he could rock with a 111 max eV, 97 mph eV on Flyballs/Line Drives, and 17% Barrel/BBE that are all tied with or better than Matt Olson. Comparing him to Olson and his .176 AVG isn’t getting anyone hot and heavy, but White should still earn time over Vogelbach, and with his 96th percentile Hard Hit%, can hit .220-.230 but at a 30 HR pace with decent OBP and a couple of SB (he has 84th percentile Sprint Speed. That makes him a fine add in AL-only and 18-team formats. He’s just 4% Owned% so he’s not the cats meow, but if you need at-bats and power he can be your Rum Tum Slugger.
Isaac Paredes (SS, Detroit Tigers)
He’s Paready for action. His call-up was easy to miss among all the Tigers excitement about Mize finally getting the call, but he could provide more value than both. He’s a bat-first prospect (a “bad body” type) who has managed to hit for decent power while maintaining a low K rate. Now that Cron is out for the year with surgery, moving Goodrum to 1B, the team will likely give him plenty of reps. Shortstop is hella deep so unless they move him around, you can take a wait-and-see approach in 15-team formats, but he could be a sneaky OBP/power play, as his potential is something of a hybrid of Willie Calhoun and Luis Arraez. That’s pretty neat. He’s still just 1% owned so scoop him in deep leagues but consider as a spec add in 15-team as well.
Ty France (3B, San Diego Padres)
With Pham out with an injury that will sideline him for 4-6 weeks, many deep leaguers are wondering if Naylor or Olivares is the better add. I’m going with neither. Not to say I don’t like them, as they both can be useful, but France is the one who gets ignored who I think will be most likely to break out. Despite his ho-hum .226 AVG with 1 HR in 34 PA, Statcast says he’s deserved far better, with a .300 xBA and .514 xSLG. He’s managed to keep a low 16% K rate, and his minor league numbers think he has the upside to be helpful for both power and speed if he can usurp the playing time at DH. He’s especially useful if you can set daily lineups or have a bench, but I’d go for him anyway in NL-only leagues. He’s 0% owned in Yahoo, so even though The Friars dealt Franinmal and Franchy, take a chance on France.
Kris Bryant (3B, Chicago Cubs)
I consume a lot of fantasy discussion about struggling players, and not one I saw mentioned Bryant. That’s Kris Miss. I warned he was being severely over-drafted in the preseason when I bold predicted he would be outhit by Mazara (back in pre-Covid March), but he’s been even worse than I expected, with a .177/.271/.323 line. But hey, that’s just bad luck, right? Not exactly. His xBA of .204 and xSLG of .349 suggest he’s earned it. While has Max eV was a solid 109 mph (116th out of 267 qualified batters), his avg. eV of 83 mph is 252nd, and 89 mph on FB/LD isn’t much better (236th). If the power drop weren’t bad enough, his contact hasn’t helped… his 70% Contact% is his worst since 2015. He could always turn it around, but I don’t get why he’s still owned in 97% of leagues. You’re dreaming on an “upside” that has long since disappeared. Kris Kross him out in all 10-teamers, and you should try to swap him for a superior 3B like Kyle Seager or Gio Urshela (really) in 12-team, but otherwise might consider cutting him there too. I would.
Mitch Garver (C, Minnesota Twins)
I should’ve known better than to trust a catcher. Garver has been terrible, and no amount of the Twins batting him leadoff will fix that. He’s hit just .143/.259/.204 with 1 HR in 58 PA, and it’s supported by an xBA of .171 and xSLG of .271. While he is still 75th percentile in exit velocity and Hard hit rate, the rest of his Statcast page is blue, including a 38% that’s in the bottom 3% of the league. With Garver already being short of full-time reps and Avila performing better all-around, it might not be long ‘til Garver has a true 50-50 split or even sits. He’s still 83% owned, but I’d cut bait in 10-team and 12-team AVG formats, though it’s easier to justify holding out hope in OBP leagues. I’m only scowling because I’d bought the hype and overpaid for a bench-worthy dud, so I have Resting Mitch Face.
David Dahl (OF, Colorado Rockies)
The stats keep staring back at me, must be a creepy Dahl. Dahl’s Statcast page has hypothermia, as his .189 AVG and .243 SLG in 80 PA are mostly supported with a 19th percentile xBA and 16th percentile xSLG. Even though he’s just 26, I’ve always found him overrated due to his injury proneness and lack of a true dependable offensive tool. He’s still owned in 71% of leagues and that’s far too high. Cut in all 10-team and 12-team formats.
Amed Rosario (SS, New York Mets)
His hitting has been as petrifying as Amedusa. You may have seen this coming if you read my Giminez blurb, as I think Gimenez is the superior player on both sides of the ball, including whichever side stolen base ability is on. Rosario’s always been fast, but got the red light due to his poor baserunning ability, and now he’s not even getting on base, with a .211/.211/.310 with 1 HR and 0 SB in 71 PA. Even though he still has “potential” as he’s still just 24, With his K rate up, exit velocity down, and poor defense, he’s likely to soon get get the Kingery treatment. He’s still 66% Owned% but should be cut in all 10-Team and 12-team leagues, and even worth considering cutting in 15-team OBP formats with the depth at shortstop.
Jo Adell (OF, Los Angeles Angels)
Every year, there is a prospect who comes up with tempered expectations and blows us all away. Adell isn’t it. While his future is bright, the future phenom is hitting just .188/.212/.188, which Statcast actually considers to be lucky. He is completely lost at the dish, with a 64% Z-Contact% and 58% Contact% supporting his 49% K%. That’s worse than Gallo with none of the benefits. While his 96 mph average eV shows he does have raw power, he’s trying to hit his way to China, with a wild 81% GB%. See if you can flip him for Carlson as someone’s bound to want to “buy low”, but otherwise I’d be fine cutting him in 10-team and 12-team formats, and would bench in 15-team if possible.
Scott Kingery (2B/SS/3B/OF, Philadelphia Phillies)
It’s so great that he qualifies everywhere, so he can stink at every position. Kingery has hit a Peasantry .128/.180/.128 over 50 PA, and there’s just no way to sugarcoat that. His 19% Hard Hit% is in the bottom 2% of the league, and he can’t steal first base. Now with Bohm likely up to stay, and with him having back problems he’s unlikely to make an impact as more of a bench bat the rest of the way. Not Great Scott. Cut in 15-team and probably 18-team too, since NL-only value is the best you can hope for at this point.
Ryan O’Hearn (1B, Kansas City Royals)
His bat is O’seen, but rarely O’heard. He was earning playing time over McBroom, but now he’s getting swept away. His average recently fell to .255, but it was always unsustainable with a .208 xAVG and a .315 xSLG, whereas McBroom has a superior .232 xBA but .500 xSLG. The major difference is exit velocity, something O’Hearn teased but has mostly failed to show, with an 87 mph average eV. You can do better taking a chance on pretty much anyone else. Cut in all leagues.
Eddy Alvarez (2B/3B/SS, Miami Marlins)
He was an Olympic Speed Skater! How cool is that? That being said, while he does have 2 stolen bases, he’s not as much of a speed demon without skates. Honestly, I’m surprised he’s been as decent as he has been, as his Statcast data is awful and suggests he’s been lucky, so cut even in deep NL-only. Still, it’s a pretty cool story, right?
Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire