Welcome back to Buy & Sell: H2H Playoff Edition! I hope you took my advice from last week and bought high on Will Smith, who I have a Going Deep piece on coming out soon. Not to say all of my recommendations have panned out… My dropped Adalberto Mondesi who was scooped up by my Pitcher List playoff matchup says hi. Still, there are some crazy performances this past week worth highlighting and some laggards worth low-lighting, which are both better than political gaslighting. On to the list!
Josh Bell (1B, Pittsburgh Pirates)
If you managed to have the patience to stick with him. Bell has finally started ringing out some hits for you. He’s hitting .480 with 3 Homers over the past week with just 4 strikeouts in 25 at-bats. He’s now hitting a more acceptable .242/.311/.395 on the season, and while it’s a far cry from his 2019 production, he’s an excellent player to own when he’s hot. The Pirates lineup still offers little in terms of run production, but if he goes on a tear anything like his 2019 first half that won’t matter. Add in 12-team formats and 10-team OBP.
Jared Walsh (1B, Los Angeles Angels)
He lacks the youth and glamour, but he has been the superior Angels two-way player. Which is why I call him OldTani. The 27-year-old was seen entering the year as not much more than an interesting depth piece, but he has hit so well the past few weeks that he’s overtaken Albert Pujols for the starting first base job. Not that he even needed to hit that well. He’s hitting .286/.302.673 with 5 HRs in just 53 PA. Unlike many of the other unexpected September splashes, Statcast says he’s mostly deserved his hot streak, with a .287 xBA and still good .532 xSLG. He could be an Adam Duvall-type at first base the rest of the way, and widely available at just 17% rostered. He is well worth riding into the sunset in 15-team leagues, 12-team and even a hot stream in 10-team AVG formats if you have a need.
D.J. Stewart (OF, Baltimore Orioles)
Disco Stew is back on the menu, baby. Okay, well he never was on it before, but he is now *finger guns*. Stewart has been one the biggest fantasy splashes of the year, hitting an incredible going .371/.476/.1000 with 7 home runs, 11 R and 12 RBI in 35 ABs in just over a week. Obviously he won’t keep this up, but, like, some entire fantasy teams don’t get 7 home runs in a week. The 2015 first round pick has long been seen as something of a bust, though he did hit a passable .238/.317/.381 with 4 HR and 1 SB in 142 PA in 2019. Statcast couldn’t be much more skeptical, giving him a .184 xBA and .469 xSLG compared to his season .265 AVG and .714 SLG%. The reality going forward likely lies somewhere in the middle. It’s hard to resist riding the streak in all formats, which is likely why he’s suddenly 30% rostered (wow). While I think he’ll fizzle long-term, with only two weeks to go, you can hope he keeps spinning the disc with his insane 28% Barrel% in 12-team, but only bet on in 10-team OBP formats if you need a miracle.
Jedd Gyorko (1B/3B, Milwaukee Brewers)
Start spreading the news, I’m bidding today… I want to be a part of it, New Gyork, New Gyork. Ol’ Jedd has once again proved to be an underrated addition to the Brew Crew lineup. He’s is now up to .284/.369/.625 with 8 taters on the year in just 84 PA after hitting .320 with a .393 OBP and 3 home runs this year. He is getting more playing time with the departure of Justin Smoak and the Vogelbaching of Dan Vogelbach. It’s possible he’s selling out for pop with an elevated strikeout rate but also an elevated barrel rate and exit velocity, but you can’t argue with the results. Surprisingly he’s only 3% rostered, but you should stream him for the next two weeks in 15-team and 12-team OBP formats.
Manuel Margot (OF, Tampa Bay Rays)
In a fantasy landscape in which Mallex Smith was taken as a top #250 pick, it’s a little silly that Margot is getting no love. He’s still only 15% rostered when he’s imitating the better version of Mallex and pacing for over 50 Stolen Bases over a full season. The crazy thing is Margot accomplished this while being a platoon/backup for most of the year, after hitting .272 with a homer and 9 SB over the past 21 days, and hitting .375 with 3 SB in 16 AB this past week. He’s still just 25 and the former blue chip Red Sox prospect has double-digit power in his bat to go with his massive steal potential. Now excelling with more at-bats, he should be streamed for speed in 15-team and 12-team H2H formats.
Miguel Rojas (SS, Miami Marlins)
He’s hitting .370.452/.593 with 3 HR and 3 SB in just 84 PA. And yet he’s rostered in only 8% of leagues. How? Well start by asking yourself “Who would I drop to make room for Miguel Rojas?” and it makes a bit more sense. He first showed signs of fantasy relevance last year when he hit .284 with 5 HR and 9 SB, and has continued to grow as a hitter. What might shock you however, is that Statcast kind of supports his improvement with a .326 xBA and a .471 xSLG that would still be a boon in most leagues. The problem is shortstop is already quite deep, but I’d gladly cut an emptier batting average guy like Jorge Polanco or Hanser Alberto for Miami Miggy Marlin. Add in 15-team but consider as batting average/speed streamer in deeper 12-team formats.
Ryan Jeffers (C, Minnesota Twins)
It’s so considerate and selfless of Jeffers to offer teammate Mitch Garver an excuse to relax the pace of his rehab assignment. Jeffers is coming off a big week in which he hit three homers. Astudillo is still playing part-time, but Jeffers is the bigger impact on both sides of the ball. The 23-year old was just outside the Twins top 10 prospects, but even a single week like this makes him instantly more intriguing than the rest of the catching pool, at least for now. When Garver does return, he may be relegated to part-time duty, but is worth riding until then in two-catcher or AL-only formats.
Vimael Machín (SS/3B, Oakland Athletics)
With Matt Chapman going down, Oakland seemed trapped. But fortunately, they employed a Deus ex Machína. He’s failed to impress on the surface with no power or speed and a week .207 AVG. But the interesting thing is he seems to actually possess both good plate discipline and exit velocity. He’s logged a league-average 108 mph max exit velo and plus Avg. eV of 91 mph and 43% HardHit%, and also rocks a strong 8% Swinging Strike rate thanks to his combo of low O-Swing% and strong contact%. Maybe that’s why Statcast thinks he deserves better with an xBA of .302 and xSLG of .420, which would make him a better version of teammate Tommy La Stella. He’s still probably available everywhere, so scoop him in AL-only and 18-teamers and hope he unleashes a Vimaelstrom.
Josh VanMeter (1B/2B/OF, Arizona Diamondbacks)
The VanMeter must be much less than three feet, because thus far he hasn’t measured up. He’s had a solid week hitting .273 in 11 at-bats since his call-up, which has raised his batting average to a studly .111. But in all seriousness, he’s getting strong-side platoon reps against righties since Ketel Marte hit the IL. It’s hard to imagine his video game numbers Triple-A campaign was a complete fluke, and he does hit the ball decently hard with a 90 mph exit velocity, but you’re really just hoping he keeps playing and anything else is gravy. Also consider Josh Rojas, who has less pop but more average and speed potential based solely on his minor league rates. Any Josh will do, really.
Luis Robert (OF, Chicago White Sox)
Yes, I’m fully ready for you to call me crazy and/or a White Sox hater. (Just saying New York makes a vastly superior pizza but that’s neither here nor there). The fact is that over the last 50 PA, Robert has been the #1 biggest decliner in 50-game Rolling xwOBA. Of course, he was hitting so well that he had a long way to fall, but his previous xwOBA of .504 (phenomenal) fell to just .260 (terrible) over his last 50 PA. That .244 point xwOBA drop is reflected in his surface stats too… he’s hit just .125/.234/.200 with 1 HR and 2 SB over the past 2 weeks. The reality is that likely the book is out on him, and in a redraft with two weeks left, he’s unlikely to suddenly turn it around.
Yoan Moncada (3B, Chicago White Sox)
Someone burnt the Filet Min-Yoan. I noticed back in August that his expected stats showed he had a massive drop off in exit velocity, but I decided to hold off writing him as a sell since he’s been so streaky. Well, that looks stupid now. After posting an elite 93 average exit velocity in 2019, this year he’s whimpered to the tune of a weak 88 mph exit velocity and 33% Hard Hit%. He doesn’t run anymore, so he’s not helping you in speed, power, or average, so why roster him? Yet he’s still 90% rostered, when you’d be much better off with a younger, stronger Alec Bohm at just 36% Rostered%. In 12-teamers who actually care about winning, it’s time to say Moncadios amigo.
Yuli Gurriel (1B/3B, Houston Astros)
I kept wanting to write him up as a sell candidate earlier in the year, as it became increasingly clear that his 2019 was a fluke and he simply is an aging player that doesn’t actually possess that kind of impact power. But he kept hitting. Well, the well has finally dried, and what’s left is a player that doesn’t make a dent in power or average in shallow leagues. He’s currently hitting a ho-hum .265 with 6 HR, 21 R and 26 RBI in 166 AB. Of course he’s also day-to-day which doesn’t help either. He’s still 77% rostered, which curiously is the exact same roster rate as his more deserving little brother Lourdes Gurriel. I’d even rather roll with the boring-yet-cromulent Garrett Cooper (6% rostered) right now than the old Yule Log, as the former is at least a Statcast darling (.321 xBA and .557 xSLG, though I take that with a big grain of salt) with better positional flexibility. Cut in 12-team formats and 15-team OBP leagues.
Joc Pederson (OF, Los Angeles Dodgers)
Hopefully you weren’t caught with your pants down holding Pederson hoping the power would come. I’d hate to be Joc-strapped. He’s hit below the Mendoza line and that’s mostly playing against righties, since he proved conclusively as possible that he couldn’t hit lefties. If you need power, there are tons of better options, and that was his only asset. He’s still 36% rostered, but he’s a cut in all but the deepest of formats as his fantasy relevance is quickly Pedering out.
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