Buy & Sell 9/18—Identifying Who to Add and Who to Drop

Welcome back to Buy & Sell, where this week’s theme is: good players on bad teams, and hey I’m writing this in Chile and the internet makes it near impossible! On the bright side, I learned that my PitcherList team, Astudillo Ghibli, narrowly floated over my opponent like a Tortuga Totoro and has reached the Prodigy League finals, in the quest to win my second title in three years. Unfortunately, many H2H leaguers are already bumped out, but then again, they probably aren’t reading this and you are! Despite not having an amazing draft, playing the waiver wire aggressively can help you luck into/skill into edging out your foe, especially in H2H, where you can assess your categories midweek and make aggressive plays based on category.

Heads up that I likely will not be able to answer questions in the comments this week because of the whole hardly-any-internet thing. Best of luck to you, and on to the list!

 

BUY

 

10-Team

 

Sean Murphy (C, Oakland Athletics)

 

If you’re looking for a replacement for Gary Sanchez or pretty much just a hot catcher who isn’t JT Realmuto, look no further. Although his playing time has not been super consistent, he’s been a superbeast when in the lineup, hitting .400/.438/.967 with four home runs over 40 at-bats since his call-up and .476 with three home runs, nine runs, and six RBI this week. He walloped 10 home runs in under 200 plate appearances in the minors after recovering from a torn meniscus and has already proven that wasn’t just a result of minors inflation. He’s posted a superb 94.2 mph exit velocity, and his small sample size success is validated by a .367 xBA and .681 xSLG, and 13% barrel rate. Of course, he’s unlikely to continue to be a batting average force with a more pedestrian 22% strikeout rate and 6% walk rate, but he’s certainly still worth riding over the last couple of weeks.

 

Kyle Lewis (OF, Seattle Mariners)

 

Lewis has been quite arm-strong, blasting a superlative .367 with four home runs and nine RBI in just 25 at-bats in one week. I mentioned him last week as a viable upside gamble, and he has certainly proven to be even more than that with enough upside to be viable in even shallower leagues. He’s not without his flaws as evidenced by his 0:7 BB/K in his 25 at-bats, but if you’re looking for a play for power, what he’s done so far certainly seems legit. Obviously the sample size is laughably small, but his barrel rate of 22% and xAVG of .340 and xSLG of .823 show that what he’s done so far at least has been more than smoke and mirrors. If you’re hurting for power in deep leagues, he can continue to be lightning in a bottle.

 

12-Team

 

Luis Arraez (2B/3B/SS/OF Minnesota Twins)

 

All Arraez for the honorable batting average king. The contact kingmaker has now officially surpassed David Fletcher for that title and has vastly outperformed him, hitting a studly .400/.459/.508 with 13 runs and four RBI in 65 at-bats (73 plate appearances) and hitting .444 this week. If he qualified for the batting title, he would surely win it, and one would hope that we’d forgive his three home runs and two stolen bases over his half-season of 286 at-bats (319 plate appearances). I wrote back in June shortly after his small sample size success that he seemed like as sure as a bet as possible to continue to post a batting average over .300, but I naturally expected his batting average drop below .350. Now that he has playing time security over any competition, he’s worth owning in 12-teamers, but many balk at that idea because of the lack of speed or power. But I argue that the 22-year-old’s ability to hit for batting average (and draw walks for OBP) is so significant that it supersedes the lack of power, especially in a points league or H2H format, where he can win you the category combined with his handy multi-position flexibility.

 

Brett Gardner (OF, New York Yankees)

 

Gardy’s hit .333 with four home runs this week thanks to two multi-homer games and is also riding a four-game hit streak.. Don’t look now, but he has crossed the 25-home run/10-stolen base threshold, and he’s also for once got a solid stranglehold on playing time in the somehow still-battered Yankees outfield and lineup in general. Because he’s old and boring, he’s on the waiver wire in many leagues, but for much of the season, he has rated as one of the top value earners on the waiver wire in points leagues. Even with the injured team, he should be able to continue to produce plenty of runs in the Yankees’ high-octane lineup. Stream in 12-team leagues, especially OBP formats.

 

15-Team

 

Garrett Hampson (2B/SS/OF, Colorado Rockies)

 

He’s done hamp-ering your team. It goes without saying that he’s been one of the biggest if not the biggest non-injury fantasy disappointments this year after being a super trendy sleeper, but he has at least gone down to the minors to work out the kinks and certainly seems like he’s regained some of his old form. He’s been hitting .360 with a home run with eight runs, five RBI, and four stolen bases over 50 at-bats his past three weeks, though most of the heavy lifting has come from this past week, where he’s hit a cool .500 over 25 at-bats. He’s still not as attractive as some other speedy options such as Tommy Edman or Kolten Wong as the offensive production is harder to trust, and even while hot, he still doesn’t show Mallex Smith-esque aggressiveness on the bases. But he can at least recoup some of his crashed value with a low strikeout rate as a discount power/speed option the last few weeks.

 

Deep Leagues

 

Jordy Mercer (1B/SS, Detroit Tigers)

 

He’s more than just the daily flavor, he’s the Soup de Jordy. Of course, nobody realizes this because he plays for the Tigers. He’s hitting an excellent .381 with three home runs over 42 at-bats over the past 21 days, though it’s only come with nine runs and seven RBI because he plays for the Tigers. Still, especially as he’s hitting .421 this week, he’s been valuable enough from an average and power standpoint to be a viable deep-league pickup down the homestretch. While Statcast’s expected stats seemed to incorrectly indicate earlier in the year that he was in for a breakout, he’s at least returned to being an above-average roster filler that won’t hurt you, and in deep leagues, that’s not to be underrated (I’m looking at you, Chad Pinder).

 

Christin Stewart (OF, Detroit Tigers)

 

Stew is not without his warts. Still, he won’t burn you by getting freezing cold. He’s hitting .364 with a homer over the past week and hitting .310 with three homers over the past two weeks, though even the deepest of leagues may overlook that because of his season batting average being .247. He hasn’t been nearly the OBP-friendly 30-home run sleeper we expected preseason, and it hasn’t just been bad luck as he’s posted very disappointing below-average exit velocity around 85 mph on the year. Still, with Nick Castellanos gone and the Tigers having nothing to look forward to but the future, they have no reason not to play him and hope he can finish the season strong to make his case for starting next year. Compared with Mercer, I’d probably prefer Mercer as Stewart’s high-strikeout ways make his production more likely to drop off, but Stewart has slightly better odds of bopping a homer for you if that’s what you need.

 

SELL

 

12-Team

 

Anthony Santander (OF, Baltimore Orioles)

 

You may have thought your production was safe with him, but the past few weeks, he’s ripped us off more than Santander Bank. Statcast said all along he was overproducing earlier, from both an average and power perspective, and this may in part be his luck simply taking a turn, combined with no longer benefiting as much from the heat of Camden Yards. He really should have a shorter leash anyway as he’s been an absolute zero in the stolen base category and lacks any viable lineup protection. I only won my last matchup as a result of cutting him for Edman, and I’d probably drop him for a less hot player as well.

 

15-Team

 

Teoscar Hernandez (OF, Toronto Blue Jays)

 

After being neck and neck production-wise with Khris Davis for much of the season (which, of course, was never fair as Davis was hurt), Teoscar’s production has Khrashed. Not only has he not contributed in the home run category the past month, his average has been positively dreadful, going from a passable .240 all the way down below .220 and could be flirting with the Mendoza line by season’s end. The Blue Jays are clearly out of contention, but even so, they may have seen enough already. Even if not, surely you have seen enough if you don’t want to crash and burn in the final month.

 

Deep Leagues

 

Eric Sogard (2B/3B/OF, Tampa Bay Rays)

 

If you’ve stuck with him after his trade to Tampa, times for your fantasy squad must be Sohard. He’s been hitless over 15 at-bats the past two weeks and hitting a paltry 186/.222/.186 with two RBI and two runs over 43 at-bats the past three weeks. He had been massively overproducing all season as Statcast indicated he made no change in approach or his 84 mph exit velocity, and perhaps the simple change of moving from a hitter-friendly park to a pitcher-friendly environment was enough to pop the bubble. He should be dropped in all leagues but those in which points are awarded based on being the face of the team’s IT department.

(Photo by Nick Wosika/Icon Sportswire)

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.

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Comments


Dave

Ben, two quick questions.

1. Future outlook: Compare and contrast Kyle Lewis and Trent Grisham to include playing time potential (I believe they were both former 1st round draft picks).

2. Arraez is intriguing, but… all the hype in blogs makes me think of Astudillo last year. Do you think he (Arraez) will be a long-term productive starter in the lineup?

Thanks.

Ben Pernick

1. I’d probably rate Lewis the better asset for the next two weeks, but Grisham is likely the better long-term investment due to being 2 years younger and without Lewis’s significant injury history. But if healthy, Lewis definitely has the higher power upside.

2. The difference between Arraez and Astudillo, aside from age, defensive ability and beergut, is that Astudillo is entirely dependent on batted ball outcomes because he never takes walks (an exploitable flaw), whereas Arraez has a great eye with 34 walks and a .419 OBP. This makes it more likely that Arraez will be a superior run producer and will have a higher likelihood of being a leadoff or #2 hitter, and he can grow into a bit more power next year to offset any AVG regression.

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