Welcome back to Buy & Sell, Trade Deadline edition… and September Call-up edition too! That made it one heck of a weird trade deadline. The Blue Jays and the Padres led the charge to keep things interesting with a bevy of moves, but some other teams joined the trade fracas. It’s not exactly clear-cut what all the teams were thinking with some of these moves, but I’ll do my best to try to make sense of it all, at least as far as it applies to your fantasy teams. Though to be honest, not so many hitter outlooks had drastic changes resulting from the past few days that have much fantasy relevance. Anyway, on to the list!
Ian Happ (2B/3B/OF, Chicago Cubs)
If you’re Happ Ian you know it, clap your hands *CLAP* *CLAP* Now THAT is what is Happ punning. Happ deserves a round of applause from fantasy leaguers after his round-trippers galore, including 3 homers in his past two games. His recent hot streak has raised his season line to .294/.417/.624 with 9 Home Runs, 17 R, 20 RBI and even 1 SB. The strikeout-prone slugger has managed to cut his K rate down to a reasonable 23%, while raising his walk rate to 17%, and the latter is supported by a career-best 23% O-Swing%. When he makes contact, he’s been Javier Baez-esque with the bat, and Statcast backs him with a .293 xBA and .554 xSLG. With that, plus his super-useful multi-position eligibility, (also counting as an MI and CI with OF), it’s shocking that he’s still only rostered in 76% of leagues. He’s a must-add in all leagues and formats, and an even mustier add in OBP. The mustiest of adds, in fact.
Evan Longoria (3B, San Francisco Giants)
Longoria is no longer a desperate fantasy housewife… I swear that reference made sense the last time he was this fantasy relevant. After many years of ho-hum compiling, the 34-year-old is having a triumphant return with a line of .299/.339/.495 with 4 Homers, 18 R, 19 RBI in 107 ABs. While that’s already good, what really caught my eye is how he’s deserved an even better line with an xBA of .304 (95th percentile) and an xSLG of .604 (90th percentile). He’s managed this by having the best in-zone contact% of his long career at 91%, which has helped him post a career best 14% K%, while also having high quality contact. Him and Yaz make a great run production tandem atop the Giants lineup, and his combination of power and average makes him a fine add in all 12-team formats and a viable CI play in 10-team batting average formats, and underrated at just 19% Rostered.
Christian Walker (1B, Arizona Diamondbacks)
The power is just starting to show, but Christian remains a Chrusher. He’s hitting a cromulent .299/.350/.496 with 4 tates, 19 R and 21 RBI on the season, with 7 Hits, 2 HR and 9 RBI in the past week. Statcast is certainly a fan of him for both power and batting average, as his .317 xBA is 94th percentile, with an also-great .568 xSLG (88th percentile). While he seemed like a potential fluke last year, he’s continued to hit the ball hard with a great 92 mph average exit velocity and elite 55% Hard Contact% (Top 4% of MLB). The only downside is that his hard contact may be at the expense of discipline, as his 6% BB% is nearly half of his 11% rate last year. Still, he’s only 54% rostered, and could be in for a big final month and should be added as a CI in all 12-team AVG. formats and a viable CI in 10-team batting average formats as well.
Austin Riley (3B/OF, Atlanta Braves)
Riley is here to stay, in the majors and in your lineups. The streaky slugger hit .378 with 3 HR and 11 RBI over the past two weeks, raising his line to .240/.287/.470 with 6 Home Runs in 108 PA ABs, and it should just keep getting better. Statcast believes he’s underperformed as he has a much healthier .264 xBA and .518 xSLG. But what really interests me is his strikeout rate improvement from 36% in 2019 to 29% in 2016, backed by improving his O-Swing% (from 41% to 34%), and Contact% (from 63% to 70%). With everyday at-bats now virtually guaranteed, the dual-eligible masher can hit 6-7 more dingers over the final month. At just 27% rostered, he’s a fine pickup in 12-team AVG leagues, though I’d hesitate in OBP formats.
Nick Madrigal (2B, Chicago White Sox)
Count on Nick to Madrigallop around the basepaths. Just don’t expect him to walk. The second sacker hasn’t missed a beat since returning from a nasty shoulder injury, hitting .538 (7 for 13) with a stolen base since returning, bringing his season batting average up to .400 with just 3 strikeouts in 30 ABs. While you can’t count on him for pop with his wimpy 83 mph exit velocity, he at least helps out in a big way in two categories with his elite average and SB ability, and he can still score plenty of runs hitting 9th “in front” of Anderson, Eloy and Abreu. There’s still a chance if he keeps this up that he can get boosted to the leadoff slot, where his value will get a much bigger boost with the increased ABs. Still, at only 29% rostered, he makes a viable play in points league and a category streamer in 12-team AVG leagues or Head-to-Head formats.
Ryan Mountcastle (SS/3B, Baltimore Orioles)
I want to join the hype, but I don’t want to make a Mountcastle out of a Molehill. He’s certainly had a valiant start, slashing .364/.432/.606 with 2 Home Runs, though most of that damage came from one big two-tater game. But there’s a reason the 23-year-old was held back for so long, as the team felt he had too much swing-and-miss in his game, and it seems that may not be fixed. While his strikeout rate of 22% and walk rate of 11% seem fine, it’s a fondant fortification which will soon crumble if he can’t improve his ghastly 43% O-Swing% and 76% Z-Contact%. The good news is he can barrel the ball, hits in a power-friendly lineup and plays every day, so he can be a solid power flier in batting average 15-team leagues. If you roster him in a shallow 12-team league or OBP format though, now might be a good time to trade him since his hype value will likely only go downhill if it doesn’t plunge into the moat.
Jazz Chisholm (SS, Miami Marlins)
Well this is unexpected, just like everything in free-form jazz. Like in jazz, that doesn’t mean it’ll be good. Still, Chisholm is a high-octane prospect and if you’re in the cellar, he can provide you some lightning in a bottle. Without dependable minor league stats for this year, it’s hard to know if he improved from his disappointing 2019 minor league campaign, but the upside of the bat is worth rolling the dice on in 15-team leagues if he’s in the lineup regularly. Someone’s going to take a chance on him, so spec early and hope he’s Coltrane, at least in terms of musicianship and not lifespan.
Sam Haggerty (2B/OF, Seattle Mariners)
He’s not great, but he’s not Haggerty the Horrible. With so many injuries to the league and Seattle as well, he’s made the most of his playing time, hitting .277 with a homer and 4 SB in 47 ABs as he attempts his best Dylan Moore impersonation. While he has no prospect pedigree, his speed is the real deal, with 93rd percentile sprint speed, and for a rabbit he hits the ball rather hard with a 90 mph avg. eV. He may just be a streamer until Moore returns, though with how bad Dee Gordon and Jake Fraley have been, he may continue to play and nab bags. He’s a sneaky speed play in AL-only formats and streamer in 15-team Head-to-Head for now and available everywhere.
Erik Gonazalez (3B/SS/OF, Pittsburgh Pirates)
This Gonzo isn’t looking blue… at least not on his Statcast page. The Pirates offense is rather dreadful, but compared to them, he hasn’t been bad, hitting a solid .266 with 3 Homers, 10 R, and 15 RBI in 94 ABs (99 PA), and playing every day while qualifying at 3 different positions. Statcast thinks he’s deserved more credit with a 49% Hard Hit% that’s 90th percentile and a .287 xBA and .532 xSLG. However, that will likely regress as the 29-year-old has always been a rather punchless hitter. Still, he has value just from getting reps in the leadoff spot, and now that he hasn’t been traded that may continue. In batting average leagues, he makes a fine utility player to plug in your lineup in 15-team formats, where he should still be available at just 2% rostered.
Jose Marmolejos (1B/OF, Seattle Mariners)
This was probably the biggest jump from 29th man to fantasy relevance of all time. Don’t overthink it. Marmo has been mashing to the tune of .421/.500/1.000 this week with 3 HR and 7 RBI, largely propelled by a fun two-homer day, but I like what I’ve been seeing from the dual-eligible late bloomer. He’s provided great hard contact with 6 Barrels in just 51 PA, Statcast suggests he may be legit with a .271 xBA and .571 xSLG. Still, he could be a flash in the pan with his concerning 65% Contact%, but I think he can stay hot for another couple weeks and provide big deep league value. This Orange Marmolate bloomer is a must-add in AL-only formats and a viable power streamer in 18-team formats.
Luis Torrens (C, Seattle Mariners)
Well, with Nola gone, he’ll at least give you at-bats from the catcher position that might not kill you, and that’s pretty good I guess? Torrens is just 24 and hasn’t embarrassed himself this year, hitting 3-for-11 with just 2 Ks in limited PT this season. Until Murphy comes back, he’s likely the main man behind the dish with Odom behind him. And I still think based on his strong minor league stats he can hit like a league-average catching regular despite his terrible cups of coffee, if you need at-bats at the catcher position.
Josh Naylor (OF, Cleveland Indians)
If your only tool is a hammer, then every problem looks like a Naylor. Because the Padres had many toolsier guys hammering homers, Naylor could never get regular reps. However, the decimated Cleveland outfield gives him much better digs. In 37 AB, Naylor’s hit a decent .270 with 1 HR, 1 SB and just 4 K in 37 ABs, and showed flashes in 2019 when he hit .249 with 8 HR in 253 ABs for the Friars. While the 23-year-old looks unlikely to go on a power surge, he can be dependably solid in every fantasy category, and that kind of unexciting accumulator has value with so much lineup uncertainty. Snag in AL-only formats.
Adalberto Mondesi (SS, Kansas City Royals)
We get it, you don’t want to drop someone you spent serious draft capital on. The “upside” is still sky-high. Sort of like how Ted Bundy having such a beautiful smile made people fawn over him despite him doing unspeakable things, like what Mondesi is doing to your bottom line. The 8 SB are no small feat, but Mondesi has been disastrous otherwise with a .186/.211/.240 slash line with 0 homers and just 11 runs and 2 RBI. Statcast doesn’t think it’s unlucky either, with a .194 xBA and pathetic .287 xSLG. He’s basically been a post-peak Billy Hamilton, and proving once again that you can’t steal first base. It’s possible he never fully recovered from the offseason shoulder injury. If you thought he’d turn it around, his .080 AVG this week should get you to run to cut him for pretty much anything else in shallow redraft formats. At 82% Rostered% still, it’s time for folks to catch up to reality.
Gary Sanchez (C, New York Yankees)
Catcher this year has been a dumpster fire, but Sanchez is the pile of flammable materials serving as dumpster tinder. While the lack of alternatives is alarming with Salvador and Garver down, Sanchez continues to be a black hole for batting average with a .111 AVG this week and hitting just .128/.242/.349 with 6 homers on the year. He’s still hitting the ball hard, but he has a very exploitable flaw in his swing, and smart pitchers will feed him low-and-away sliders all day. In deeper leagues you may be forced to hold, but 10-team is deep enough that you should scramble to another catcher who can hit for power, while getting hits once in awhile. At 95% Rostered%, most have consigned themselves to this hostage situation, but even in my Pitcher List 12-teamer I’m considering dropping him. I’m THIS close, I tell you.
Maikel Franco (3B, Kansas City Royals)
He fooled you again, didn’t he? Well fool me once, shame on me, fool you every year, shame on Maikel. He had some big exit velocities and hard hit balls in the early going, but has regressed back into being who he always is, with an unexciting .254 AVG with 6 HR. The HRs were nice, but I don’t expect that to continue with a boring 87 mph average exit velocity and a 7% barrel and 36% Hard% that are the same or slightly worse than in past years. His contact rate is also mostly unchanged but with a slightly worse contact rate. In shallow leagues and 12-teamers, he should be cut outright for Longoria or Urshela, though you can try to sell him in deeper leagues. He’s dropped to 11% rostered, but that’s still too high.
Shogo Akiyama (OF, Cincinnati Reds)
Akiyama’s bat was a no-showgo. He entered the year a popular sleeper as a leadoff hitter who could hit for average with some power and speed, and failed to do pretty much all of that, hitting .196/.282/.250 with 0 HR and 2 SB in 92 PA. Statcast suggested bad luck was at play with a .246 xBA, but after the Reds acquired Goodwin, it looks like his time as a regular may be up anyway, at least if Aquino hits too well to be platooned. There’s plenty of better power/speed plays at this point, so you can cut him in 12-team and batting average 15-team formats. He’s still 19% rostered and that’s just yuckiyama.
Bobby Dalbec (1B, Boston Red Sox)
Normally I don’t like to throw cold water on someone who just reached the majors, unless they’re overheating or something. But Dalbec, who looks to take over as the starting 1B for Beantown after Moreland’s departure, looks to be a sell-high if someone jumped on the hype train after his debut HR. For one, he’s still talked about as a prospect, but he’s already 25 and hasn’t gotten off to a good start. While it’s rather silly to judge an eight at-bat sample, Dalbec looks to be even worse than Chavis with his swing-and-miss, with a hilarious 75% K rate backed by a 30% Swinging Strike Rate. He did hit 27 homers over two levels with a strikeout rate around 25% last year, but that’s not so impressive for a 25-year-old. You’ll likely be better off taking a chance on Marmolejos or Ronald Guzman so flip him now if you can.
Shed Long (2B, Seattle Mariners)
The Mariners might regret giving him a Long Leash. The Mariners’ acquisition of Ty France (who I wrote up as a buy last week) may spell the end of Long as a regular. He hasn’t been terrible from a power-speed standpoint with 3 HR and 4 SB, but it’s come with an ugly .170 AVG backed by an xBA of .196. Even if France doesn’t overtake him outright, I don’t think Long has enough power upside to justify being rostered in 12-team and in 15-team AVG leagues I’d also consider throwing him back into the shed.
Santiago Espinal (SS, Toronto Blue Jays)
For a short while, he was more underrated than this is Espinal Tap. He racked up a bit of deep league value filling in for Bichette, but now that the Jays acquired Villar, he’s back to being a punchless utility backup without a fantasy relevant tool. If you streamed him, time to toss him back into the water.
Francisco Mejia (C, San Diego Padres)
I know he’s out with an injury, but at this point even having Mejia on your IL is a waste of roster space. The Padres, in acquiring both Nola and Castro, made it abundantly clear that they are moving on from Mejia, so you may as well do the same. It’s been a long way down from the former top prospect, and I can only hope he doesn’t go full Jesus Montero.
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