Buy & Sell 9/22 – Identifying Who to Add and Who to Drop

Ben Pernick breaks down this week's most notable hot and cold hitters.

Welcome back to Buy & Sell. This may be the finale as you’re approaching the finish line in your roto league. And if you’re in H2H like me and lost in the first round of the Pitcher List Legacy League playoffs due to a technicality because you tied and had a better seed and more homers, but the tiebreaker was ERA (I’m not bitter or anything, obviously)… Well, then this isn’t of much use. But kudos if you’re still in the thick of it, and I hope this helps give you an upper hand, or at least an upper fingernail. Just not a hangnail; that’s bad sportsmanship. Anyway, it’s been an honor writing for you this season. Best of luck, now on to the list!

BUY

10-team

Yasmani Grandal (C, Chicago White Sox)

Grandal has had a bizarre season of high walks with low strikeouts yet with terrible results, but the luck dragons are finally breathing some fire into his bat. He’s hit .340 with 5 HR in 50 AB the past 3 weeks, and although he’s hitting just .200 for the week, it’s come with a strong 3/2 BB/K. Despite his still-mediocre .237 AVG, he’s no Joey Gallo, as Statcast gives him an xBA of .258 and xSLG of .512. And he leagues the lead in walk rate with an absurd 23%, which gives him a .949 OPS. He may have been cut by a frustrated shallow league owner, and he’s likely rostered in every OBP format under the sun, but if he’s still available in your 10-team AVG league, get him for Yasmany games as possible.

Evan Longoria (3B, San Francisco Giants)

I’m upset that he hasn’t stayed healthy enough to break out as I hoped, but I don’t get mad, I get Evan. He’s really upped his game, especially in terms of contact, and has only 4 strikeouts (with an even better 8/4 K/BB in 39 AB since his return, with no Ks in 18 ABs this week. His season line might seem to underwhelm with a .288 AVG and 13 HR, but keep in mind that it’s just 212 AB, and he’s also rocking a .386 OBP and fantastic .542 SLG%. His 9% Barrel/PA is top 30 in the MLB, and his max exit velocity of 114 mph suggests that the 35-year-old vet has plenty left in the tank if he can just stay on the field. While his xBA of .270 isn’t so impressive, he’s a high floor guy for power, average, and OBP with the potential for a big final run. Add in 10-team and 12-team AVG and OBP leagues.

12-team

Andrew Benintendi (OF, Kansas City Royals)

I really thought the Red Sox would look smart for trading for Franchy Cordero,  so I was never Benintending to write this. After an abysmal 2020 following a disappointing 2019, the former fantasy 2nd round pick fell to late-round gamble status this year, and while this year was better, he often seemed to toe the line of fantasy relevance. But while the power and speed may never reach the numbers from his debut season, he’s been a batting average boon, batting .481 with 3 HR in 52 AB the past 2 weeks with a whopping 20 RBI, to raise his season line to .277 with 15 HR and 8 SB. It seems to be legit as his eye has improved with a 4/5 BB/K over that span, which is good for a K rate below 10%. In leagues that penalize caught stealing, he doesn’t help much with a lousy 8 CS. If you do the math, that’s a 50% SB success rate that should limit his legs even on the run-happy Royals. He’s likely owned in 12-team formats already, but he’s a worthwhile streamer in 12-team AVG and OBP formats and even worthy of an average stream in deeper 10-team formats.

Jarred Kelenic (OF, Seattle Mariners)

You typically don’t see excitement about hitters who are batting below .200 (aside from anything I said about D.J. Peters). But Kelenic is dripping with upside and has finally tapped into his much-hyped abilities, hitting .310 with 5 HR in 42 AB the past two weeks and .333 with 3 HR this week. On the season, he’s hitting .178, but try to ignore that and focus on the fact that he has 13 HR and 5 SB (4 CS) in 292 PA. Sure, that 25-10 pace isn’t blowing any doors off, and he’s still striking out too much, but it’s worth betting on the star talent on this short sample sizzling streak. Add in all 12-team formats in need of some extra pop with a chance of speed, especially if you have wiggle room in batting average.

15-team

Josh Harrison (2B/SS/3B/OF, Oakland Athletics)

Harrison is enjoying his warmer west coast digs. Hit machine Harrison is hitting a scorching .324/.350/.405 in 74 AB the past 3 weeks as he’s graduated from a super-utility role to become a regular force in the lineup. While he’s getting plenty of ABs and is now up to a solid .295/.357/.426 with 8 HR and 9 SB in 465 AB, he doesn’t’ have much in terms of OBP or power. Despite the streak, it’s been a rather empty batting average as he’s hit 0 HRs and only stolen 1 base (1 caught stealing) during that span. Still, with his multi-position eligibility, he makes a viable utility player or bench piece to stream for average in 12-team batting average leagues or 15-team OBP.

Leury Garcia (2B/SS/3B/OF, Chicago White Sox)

Leury Garcia’s performance has been sweet, though I still prefer Cheury Garcia. Leury has hit a white-hot .370/.400/.593 with 2 HR and 1 SB in 54 ABs the past 3 weeks as he’s moved into mostly regular playing time with many other players on the team dealing with injuries or other struggles, which seems to be Leury’s favorite situation over his career. He’s only struck out 4 times in the past 54 ABs and only once in the past week. Of course, his low exit velocity means he’ll never hit the ball with much authority, which is clear from his career numbers and season line of .262/.333/.373 with 5 HR and 6 SB, so it really depends if you want to ride this wave and risk the wipeout. I think it’s a decent gamble in you need batting average in 15-team leagues.

Deep Leagues

Keibert Ruiz (C, Washington Nationals)

He’s hitting some frozen Roepers, so I’m giving Keibert two thumbs up. On the year, he’s hitting .250 with 1 HR, but the top prospect has a much-vaunted combo of high flyball rate and low strikeout rate, which bodes well for his future major league career as a hitter. In Triple-A, he impressed to the tune of a .311/.381/.631 with 16 HR, a 10% BB% and 11% K% in 231 AB. While he’s been a bit of a free swinger since his MLB arrival, he’s managed a 15% contact rate and has been getting regular reps, so he’s likely better than your other deep league catching options. Pick him up in NL-only and 18-league batting average formats, and if you’re feeling bold, I wouldn’t cast aspersions on streaming him in 15-team formats either.

Willie Calhoun (OF, Texas Rangers)

Little Willie Style is back and ready to get jiggy with it. Prior to his injury, he had been better than the surface stats showed, and now he’s proving it. He’s hitting .353 with 3 Ks in 17 ABs since his return in semi-regular playing time, raising his stats to a decent .261/.328/.387 with 5 HR in 222 ABs. Statcast gave him an improved .278 xAVG and .405 xSLG, and while his barrel rate remains low, he’s still set a career-best 41% HardHit%. On a team going nowhere and his competition at DH Pozo being sent down (albeit unjustly), he should be a solid addition to AL-only squads.

SELL

10-team

C.J. Cron (1B, Colorado Rockies)

I thought he could make a return like any good supervillain, but he might just be one of their Cronies. He’s hit just .205 with a homer in 39 AB the past two weeks and an even colder .118 the past week. A month ago, it looked like I’d actually succeed in my prediction that Cron would outhit Arenado, but that flipped in a hurry, and Cron is not looking like he’ll do enough in the final couple of weeks to hold onto. I’m killing my darlings and cutting Cron in 10-team AVG leagues, although he’s somewhat more viable now in OBP formats.

12-team

Raimel Tapia (OF, Colorado Rockies)

Why aren’t the Rockies starting one of their most talented outfielders? To me, it seems there’s no Raimel reason. He’s logged just 7 ABs in the past 7 days, and while I get that, he struggled with a .174/.264/.239 line with 0 HR and 1 SB in 46 ABs in the past 3 weeks, it still makes no sense to bench him. After all, he still has a solid .276 AVG on the year with 5 HR and 20 SB, and it’s not like he can’t benefit from more PT on a team going nowhere. But then again… this is the Rockies.

15-team

Cesar Hernandez (2B, Chicago White Sox)

Take a guy who hit a lot of homers in a neutral park and move him to a homer-happy park, and… disaster, of course. He and Joey Gallo can commiserate. Unlike Gallo, it’s not like he’s whiffing a ton more, but he’s still hitting .224/.274/.259 in the past 21 days without a single homer and really hasn’t hit for a lick of power since joining the Sox. As a result, he lost what was thought to be a sturdy full-time role. If you failed to notice given him padding his numbers early, that’s on you, but you can still redeem yourself a bit by not expecting him to magically find his pop with two weeks to go. Cut in 12-team and 15-team OBP.

Alejandro Kirk (C, Toronto Blue Jays)

Don’t call my name, Alejandro. I’m writing this with fistfuls of sour grapes because my decision to cut Zunino for Kirk in my Pitcher List Legacy League playoffs led to me narrowly getting eliminated. It seemed he had finally earned regular playing time, but the bowling ball-shaped catcher must have learned from Astudillo that it’s hard to win a job when you don’t look the part. He still has a great BB/K ratio, and I strongly believe in his future, but until he can finally break free from the bogeys of Danny Jansen, Reese McGuire, he simply won’t play enough to be relied on. Cut in 12-team and 15-team 1-catcher formats that have decent alternatives.

Deep Leagues

Matt Beaty (1B/OF, Los Angeles Dodgers)

When the Dodgers called him up September 10th, I hoped, against all reason, that he would earn semi-regular playing time and be a late-season hero. Eight at-bats since then really stretches the definition of semi-regular, and I think I just pulled a hammy. While he’s done fine when he has played with a solid .262 AVG and .369 SLG%, he might’ve gotten a bit lucky with that based on his disappointing xBA of .231 and xSLG of .334. He simply isn’t hitting the ball nearly as hard this year as he had in years past and seems likely to succumb to terminal hitter Dodgeritis. Sounds nasty. I’d recommend amputating him off your roster in all leagues.

Ben Pernick

I've been writing for Pitcher List since the beginning, and have been a fantasy baseball addict now for 20 years. I grew up as a Red Sox fan in New York, but now I declare allegiance only to my fantasy teams.

  • Avatar Larry V says:

    I love all the buys. However, I’m not selling CJ Cron right now. It’s easier for me to say this after last night’s (Wed) game where Cron was 4-5 with 2 runs and an RBI. So in the past 2 games, he’s 7-10 with 3 runs and 3 rbi…and that was against the Dodgers! I don’t expect anything from him tonight against Mad Max but I’m definitely holding him at least until the Rox homestand ends next Wednesday. After all, Cron mashes .333/.691/1.112 at Coors! In fact, it’s not nuts to keep him for the Rox final 3 games after the homestand (they close out the season @ARI) because he has done well against them and has hit well in limited AB’s at Chase Field.

    • Ben Pernick Ben Pernick says:

      Glad you didn’t sell, this one I’ll flat out admit was a mistake and I regret cutting him in my 10-teamer. The homestand makes a big difference. Maybe my preseason bold prediction that Cron will outhit Arenado still has a shot!

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