Photo by: Juan DeLeon/Icon Sportswire
Welcome back to Buy & Sell where this week’s theme is “Desperately Clutching Any Player With a Pulse!” The last few weeks are make or break and the general wisdom and fantasy adages go out the window, at least in redraft formats So without further ado, let’s examine some elite performers still available in many shallower leagues and hot hands who can give you the upper hand.
Adalberto Mondesi (SS, Kansas City Royals) – He shall be known as Adaberto the Mondestroyer. I’ve been touting him for a while now, but it seems every time he just keeps upping the ante and taking it to a new level. Mondesi is hitting a spectacular ..379/.423/682 with 5 HR and and 8 SB over the past 21 days, and hitting .419/.455/..645 with 2 HR and 5 SB just this week. So in just 220 season AB, he’s hitting .291 with 9 HR and 25 SB (only 6 CS), which over a full season would make him an elite fantasy shortstop, especially in an era where speed is so rare. It’s true that there’s a lot of volatility here with a Gallo-esque 18.1% SwStr% rate, but he does hit the ball hard with a plus 7.0% Barrel% and 41.7% Hard%. While he’s more valuable in AVG leagues as he has a terrible walk rate,with this power/speed combo he should be owned and started all over, and he’s still available in nearly half of ESPN leagues. Scoop up in all 10 Team AVG leagues and can be owned or streamed based on needs in 10-team OBP. Enjoy as he Mondecimates the competition.
Michael Conforto (OF, New York Mets) – Power has really been his Con-forte. He’s launched 7 yaks since the start of September with a batting average near .300, with plenty of extra-base hits. His .239 AVG on the season may still make some owners anxious, but he’s clearly a different hitter than the one we saw earlier in the season who was likely still rounding into form. He should be owned in all leagues, both AVG and OBP, and while his ownership jumped from 49% to 69% this week, he’s the kind of talent that should be even more widely owned. Scoop in up in all leagues and give yourself a reason to watch the Mets.
Yasiel Puig (OF, Los Angeles Dodgers) – Raise your hand if you were starting Puig for his two big games this week. …Bueller? Puig really packed a punch with back-to-back multi-homer games, tallying 5 HR and 9 RBI in just one weekend, but it seems he’s been locked in all month with a 5/7 BB/K in 40 AB the past 21 days. This year hasn’t been his strongest campaign, especially compared to last year, but keep in mind that he now still has a .270 AVG with 21 HR and 15 SB in just 370 AB, and is still in line with last year on a rate stat basis. The biggest problem is he’s been getting benched against lefties, and that may still continue. But against righties, few players can match his combo of solid average and SB ability with plus power. In leagues with daily lineups, he can be rostered or streamed in 10-team AVG leagues, and should be owned in all 12-team mixed formats.
Kurt Suzuki (C, Atlanta Braves) – It’s kind of crazy that in a year where catchers have been even more abysmal than usual, Suzuki is not more widely owned considering he’s hitting for double-digit power with a .271 AVG. Then again, it IS Kurt Suzuki. Well I still like him, especially after he hit .283 with 19 Homers in just 276 AB, and while there was no way he’d repeat that, he’s been valuable all-around. Over the past 2 weeks, he’s hit 333/.367/.741 with 3 HR, to bring him to 12 on the year in 325 AB. Even while not getting full-time playing time behind the dish, you can make a good case that he’s a borderline top-10 catcher anyway, which is also kind of sad. Scoop him up in all 12-team formats and consider streaming him in 10-teams if you can adjust daily lineups and have a slumping catcher.
Johan Camargo – (SS/3B, Atlanta Braves) – I’m wasting away in Camargoritaville, searching for my lost pitching assault. Before Camargo hit the DL, he had been crushing, with 3 HR the prior week and 5 over the two weeks prior, with a .327/.415/.636 line the past 21 days. He has sneaky value in several ways, the first being his OBP viability, with a strong .354 OBP, though his .274 AVG has caught up to make him similarly viable in AVG formats. But what truly drives his value is his SS eligibility, where he is not far outside the top performers (not just because his season line is superior to Carlos Correa). Assuming he can pick up where he left off pre-injury, he should be owned in all 15-team and 12-team formats, and he’s still available in over 57% of ESPN leagues, so let him extend a helping Johand.
Scott Schebler (OF, Cincinnati Reds) – I just can’t quit you Schebler. But maybe that’s because everybody else has quit Schebler way too much. The season line may not wow you, as he only has 17 homers this year compared to 30 last year. But he’s hitting for the higher average I hoped for last year, with a .271 AVG and .346 OBP, and his .474 SLG% isn’t far from his .484% mark last year. He’s knocked out 4 more taters over the past 2 weeks, but what I really like is his xStats line, that gives him an xSlash of .284/.357/.488, supporting the idea that he no-longer is a power-only guy, but rather one who can hit at a 25 HR pace with a plus average and a few stolen bags to boot. He went up from 11% to 16% owned, but that number is still too low, as he should be owned in all 15-team leagues and is viable for streaming in 10-team formats.
Jorge Polanco (SS, Minnesota Twins) – He’s made a nice rebound regaining his marbles after earlier this year his value went Kerpolanco. (That was a pun about KerPlunk, because my references are super current.) He’s quietly kept chugging along and has a .407/.407/.556 line with a homer this week to raise his season line to .289/.339/.431 with 6 HR and 4 SB (5 CS). It seemed last year he could be a 15-20 SB kind of guy, but his current sub-50% SB success rate (0-for-3 over the past 21 days) likely will result in him getting the red light more often. But what makes him interesting is an improved ability to hit for average and power, as xStats thinks he deserved a .296/.345/.430 line even before Monday’s homer. He’s still only owned in just 5.5% of leagues although he’s an obvious add for 18-teamers and 15-teamers, and even a viable batting average stream in 12-team formats.
Daniel Palka (OF, Chicago White Sox) – If you stuck with him through his struggles, Daniel has been your pal-ka. He’s hit an impressive .323/.417/.710 with 4 Homers over 31 ABs the past two weeks. But as excited as I am for his big swings, I’m more excited for his not-swings, as it seems he’s finally remembered how to take a walk. He’s posted a 5/9 BB/K over this span, far better than his total 25/133 ratio. I don’t think this is a fluke as he’s always displayed double-digit walk rates in the minors, but this is the first glimpse of it translating. He’s still hard to consider as an asset for AVG/OBP,, but with his huge power he needs to just not be a liability. While he’s more of an 18-team and 15-team league play, a 12-teamer needing a hot bat in the OF may be wise to take a chance on Palka, assuming he makes a swift return from his side injury.
Willians Astudillo (C, Minnesota Twins) – I went out on a limb recommending a debuting Astudillo to owners back when he got called up, so it’s somewhat validating that now he’s making me look slightly less stupid. While during his hot debut, he was hardly getting any playing time, now he’s getting in in spades and taking advantage, hitting ..316 with 3 Home runs in 38 AB the past 21 days. Incredibly, in his first 55 majors league at-bats, he’s only walked once, and only struck out twice. He has true contact ability, with a miniscule 3.6% SwStr% and even crazier 93.3% Contact%.He’s shown more power than expected, and the fact that he can hit for any power at all with such good contact is impressive. xStats is officially a fan with an xSlash of .338/.361/.494… Not too bad for a career minor-leaguer and novelty player. While he may not be viable there long-term defensively, catcher is so thin that he’s deceptively useful in deeper formats, where he’s owned in just 6% of leagues. Will.I.Ans should be owned in AL-only, 18-team leagues and even 15-team batting average leagues, though I wouldn’t touch him in 15-team OBP.
Carlos Correa (SS, Houston Astros) – Cool your jets, this is for 10-team redraft leagues only. Maybe your jets are still red-hot and you probably think I’m correa-zy. And that’s okay. But what I see is a player who has done nothing for well over a month, hitting .179 with 0 HR and 1 SB over 68 ABs the past 21 days and there are only 2 weeks left in the regular season. What evidence is there that he’s going to turn it around, even on the year, he’s only hitting .240 with 14 HR and 3 SB as he’s battled injuries. If you want to win, and you have a Mondesi or Villar on your wire, the smart move is to detach from the name value and cut your losses with him. I wouldn’t fault you for doing this in 12-team leagues either if you’re feeling especially bold.
Carlos Gonzalez – (OF, Colorado Rockies) – Just cut all your Carloses. Gonzalez did seem like he was going to go on a tear after a big midseason hot streak, but ultimately fell short.He’s hit just .190/.230/.310 with 1 HR and 1 SB over the past 21 days, and is starting to get benched against lefties. With David Dahl (who I recommended a few weeks ago) lighting things up in Colorado, my first hot take on CarGo that implied he’d be more or less the same mediocre player we saw in 2017 was mostly accurate. There’s really no good reason not to unload him in 12-team and 15-team formats, though I wouldn’t cut him anywhere deeper.
Kendrys Morales (DH, Toronto Blue Jays) – After his blistering hot August, it seemed that he might not lose playing time in September. Well, that hot streak of his burst into flames like most of the coasters I tried to build in Roller Coaster Tycoon. He’s hit just .191.316/.213 with 0 homers over the past 21 days, and especially without any positional eligibility, there’s no reason to hold on here, especially in leagues with no or shallow benches, and you can cut him in 12-team and 15-team leagues.
Kole Calhoun (OF, Los Angeles Angels) – He was on fire, but lately he’s been in quite a Cal-swoon. Despite hitting a homer the other day, he’s still hitting just .164/.305/.284 with 2 HR and 1 SB over the past 21 days, and hitting just .071/.133/.179 this week. He hasn’t lost playing time yet as the Angels don’t really have much else, but it would be no surprise to see him moved down in the lineup. While he’s kept his head above water in terms of OBP, I don’t think you’ll regret tossing him overboard in 12-team or 15-team AVG formats.
Eric Thames (1B, Milwaukee Brewers) – Eric Thames is still owned in 18.8% of leagues, so I’m using that as an estimate for percentage of owners who just stopped paying attention. He’s only been playing as a pinch hitter and hasn’t even been good at that, hitting just .176/.333/.235 in 17 AB the past 21 days. Especially with guys like Tellez, Choi and O’Hearn at least showing a glimmer of fantasy intrigue, there’s zero reason to hold Thames. In all leagues, it’s time to tell ET to phone home, because he’s not welcome on your team.