Welcome back to Buy & Sell, where this week’s theme is: explosions and implosions, and OMG it’s September! The Yankees and Padres/Jays/Mets showed simultaneously that a few big streaks can put you back into (or knock you out of) contention. While fantasy standings generally don’t ride so heavily on a win-loss record (unless you’re in Head-to-Head) then it’s no time to quiet, especially because you can capitalize on the moves or lack of moves from teams that already threw in the towel. Anyway, before football inevitably distracts you, let’s get on to the list!
Josh Donaldson (3B, Minnesota Twins)
Donaldson has managed to underwhelm all season despite being a barreling pro. He is at least 90th percentile in barrels, hard hit%, and exit velocity, but his season line of .250 with 20 HR is rather yawn-inducing. However, note that he’s only had 336 AB due to injuries and would be closer to 30 HR in a full season, and also consider his OBP of .356 has helped him be very valuable in real life and OBP leagues, well at least if there’s no fantasy category for being a clubhouse troll. He’s heating up, hitting .429 with 3 HR this week, and as long as he can keep his ailing legs in one piece (or two pieces?). With his high barrel rate, solid 20% strikeout rate, and strong OBP, I think he should be a must-start in all team formats and especially 10-team OBP formats. Third base thins out after the top few stars, and he’s a solid second-tier stud.
Ty France (1B/2B/3B, Seattle Mariners)
I get by with a little help from my France. He’s been one of the best hitters across the league over the past three weeks, with a fantastic .338/.385/.592 line with 5 HR in 71 ABs. He’s hit for a decent average for most of the season but was looking like a 15 homer Ty Wigginton type, but now he’s looking like one of the best super-utility hitters in the AL as he’s finally delivering on the promise he showed in his incredible season in the minors years ago. With the ability to hit .290+ with another 5 HR down the homestretch, he should be started in all 10-team AVG leagues.
Tyler Naquin (OF, Cincinnati Reds)
As far as stories of change of scenery breakthroughs, he’s the Naquintessential example. He has been Trinidad moruga scorpion pepper hot, hitting .439/.493/.848 with 6 HRs in 66 ABs the past 3 weeks. On the season, he’s hitting .277/.342/.493 with 19 HR and 3 SB in 379 AB, which is deceptively solid and essentially the pace and the line that got people hyped on Lourdes Gurriel last year but with better OBP. After starting the season with a shocking power surge (much like the one that knocked out the subways the other night), his bat had considerably cooled off for a few months, but his Statcast rates have remained strong with an 114 max eV and 43% HardHit% and a rapidly rising rolling xwOBA. If you want power and average and missed out on the Solers and Santanders, he makes a nifty consolation prize in four or five OF 12-team formats.
Jazz Chisholm (2B/SS, Miami Marlins)
I wouldn’t lose faith just because he’s left a bad taste in your mouth like Cheez Whizholm. While he cooled off fast before his injury, he’s making up for his streaky bat with his feet, hitting .265 with 3 HR and 5 SB in 49 AB since his return. With a .254 AVG to go with 14 HR and 16 SB in just 373 ABs, he has an outside shot of managing a 20/20 season as a rookie while providing acceptable batting average and OBP. Teams that are looking for speed without having to sacrifice in other categories should consider Jazz in both 12-team AVG and OBP formats.
Nick Solak (2B/OF, Texas Rangers)
He had really let himself go after his red-hot start, but after learning some lessons in the minors, maybe this time he won’t be Solakadaisical. He’s hitting .379 with 1 HR and 1 SB in 29 AB since his return, but the thing that makes me excited is the fact that he’s only struck out once. Small sample for sure, but a marked change nonetheless from a player who had a 24% K% before his return, and unsurprisingly It’s led to a rise in his previously terrible xwOBA. I’m still concerned by his poor Statcast rates in a pitcher-friendly park, but he should provide moderate power, speed, and now perhaps batting average from a rather rundown second base position, so I think he’s at least worth owning 15-team formats and worth streaming in 12-team AVG formats.
Edmundo Sosa (2B/SS/3B, St. Louis Cardinals)
Sosa’s two-triple game was certainly a career milestone, but I think he’s more worth watching than Telemundo. I know that’s not saying much. But he’s been en fuego hitting .533 with a homer this week. While with his season stats, he’s seemed like a lower upside player with a .273 AVG with 4 HR and 3 SB in 216 AB (245 PA), it seems a breakout could be right on the horizon. His max exit velocity of 115 mph ranks in the 93rd percentile, while his sprint speed ranks 98th percentile… and all of that with just a 17% strikeout rate. Add in his youth (25 years) and triple-eligibility, and I think he’s worth a lotto ticket grab in all NL-only formats and 18-teamers and even 15-team formats where you feel bold as I do.
Yoshitomo Tsutsugo (1B/OF, Pittsburgh Pirates)
Earlier this year, he looked green, but now Yoshi is rolling like a spotted egg, and he just won’t Tsutsustop. Why on earth do I think a guy who’s hit .333 with 5 taters over 27 ABs the past 2 weeks may still be available even in deep leagues. Maybe because he’s still just hitting .192 with those same 5 HR in 130 AB for the year. Now on his third team this year, he received a vote of confidence with the team deciding to axe the oft-injured Polanco, and I’ve always liked his combination of power and OBP. In NL-only and 18-team OBP formats, I’d ride Yoshi and hope he helps you jump for a pennant.
Brandon Marsh (OF, Los Angeles Angels)
Brandy Marsh has been south parking the ball all over the field. He’s surged to a .406/.449/.578 line with 1 HR and 2 SB in 64 ABs in the past two weeks. But despite the shiny prospect name, don’t get addicted to chasing the dragon as he’s riding a fiery BABIP. as he’s struck out in 29 of those 64 AB. I hold out faith that his well-rounded baseball skills will lead to him cutting down on the whiffs long-term, but it might not happen right away. Still, he’s already hit 4 doubles and 2 triples in his last 64 AB, and I think a few of those will go over the fence soon. The likely out of contention Angels may as well play him while he’s hot, so he’s worth riding in AL-only and 18-team OBP formats, but I wouldn’t target him in shallower leagues until next year unless your league has a category for beard length. Seriously, big Jayson Werth vibes there.
Adam Frazier (2B/OF, Pittsburgh Pirates)
I was roundly criticized for suggesting several months ago to cut Frazier in 10-team leagues, but much like my Joey Wendle sell call in May, people who didn’t listen have been burned by the boisterous BABIP banshees. Despite his appealing 2B/OF eligibility, he’s provided little in the way of fantasy value lately, hitting just .172/.213/.207 with 0 HR, 0 SB, 4 R, and just 1 RBI in 58 AB the past 3 weeks. And you know the craziest thing? He’s still rostered in 88% of ESPN leagues! While his season line may look solid with .304 with 4 HR and 6 SB, I doubt he’s stealing more with his 5 Caught Stealing, and with his inconsistent playing time now, how is he any different from Luis Arraez? I say cut in all 10-team leagues and even OBP-based 12-team leagues.
Gio Urshela (3B, New York Yankees)
I know it’s not nice to pick on a player coming back from injury, but I just couldn’t resist the Ursh. He’s still rostered in 58% of leagues, and it’s understandable given his high batting average the past few years, but I think those days are already behind him. He’s hitting just .077 this week in 13 ABs to bring him to a .266/.306/.424 line with 11 HR in 323 AB. While he has been barreling the ball more this year, he’s had a precipitous increase in K rate to 25%, with an increase in his swinging strike rate from 8% in 2020 to 12% this year. He can be an empty .260 AVG with some runs produced and 20-25 HR, but if that profile doesn’t induce yawns in shallow formats, well, it should. In 10-team formats and 12-team OBP, it’s time to drop the Giodude like a rock.
Dominic Smith (1B/OF, New York Mets)
It’s a little-known fact, but when Mets hitters recently gave a thumbs down after getting hits, it wasn’t directed at the fans, but to Smith, who unfortunately couldn’t get on base to get the last word. He’s hit an anemic .167/.193/.204 with 0 HR in 54 ABs the past three weeks and is hitting just .243 with 11 HR in 412 AB on the year. Yet he’s still rostered in 51% of leagues, despite the fact that I have players on the waiver wire of my AL-only league with comparable stats (looking at you, Ryan O’Hearn). If you continue to own him in 12-team leagues or even shallower 15-team leagues, you must be a masochist to be starting Dom when he’s been hitting like a sub.
Lewis Brinson (OF, Miami Marlins)
The funny thing is when I wrote up Brinson a few weeks ago, I was going to write him as a sell, and then I looked at his numbers again and switched it to buy. Basically, he convinced me to try to kick the football, and now I’m flat on my back because Lewisy pulled it away. Since his fools’ gold rush, he’s hit an ice-cold .059/.111/.088 in his past 34 AB. On the bright side, he did steal one base, so I have that going for me, which is nice. Cut in all 15-team and probably some NL only if you’re fortunate enough to still have Tsutsugo on your wire.
Dylan Moore (2B/3B/OF, Seattle Mariners)
This Mariner jumped the shark, and now it’s eating him. Moore is hitting .080/.207/.080 with 0 R, 0 HR, and 1 SB in 25 ABs the past 3 weeks. I wrote before the season (on Twitter) that he was the most overrated second baseman (granted, I said the most underrated was Tommy La Stella), and he’s proved me right, as his 10 HR and 18 SB can’t overcome his horrific .174 AVG in 281 AB. With Abraham Toro taking charge at the keystone, he becomes little more than a backup utility guy and pinch-runner, making him pretty much useless everywhere. I get that he can steal bases, but even in AL-only, the only running I need is far away from him.