Welcome back to Buy & Sell, where this week’s theme is “Never stop chasing your streams.” While some experts believe hot streaks are merely a myth, any fantasy leaguer is well aware of how they can make or break a season, and so can getting clingy with struggling vets. So let’s be aggressive, be, be aggressive as I cheerlead this group of wonderful randos. On to the list!
Frank Schwindel (1B, Chicago Cubs)
His improbable performance has made a Schwindelible impression on me. His greatness has continued and even accelerated to the impossible, hitting a blue and white-hot .343/.386/.650 with 11 HR in 143 AB and hitting .467 with 5 of those homers just this week! Lots of other “elite” first basemen with good season total stats have cooled down substantially, and it’s time to consider cutting them for him, like how I just cut Matt Olson for him. Amazingly, he’s still only rostered in 52% of ESPN, meaning he’s still on the wire in nearly half of leagues. How?! If he’s still available in your 10-team league, be it average or OBP, grab him and hold him before he’s Gone with the Schwind.
Jonathan Villar (2B/SS, New York Mets)
Finally, something on the Mets that doesn’t make me shake my head hard enough to get whiplash. He’s been surging with an excellent .353/.405/.676 line with 3 HR in 34 ABs this week, bringing his season total to a healthy .265/.338/.464 with 18 HR and 11 SB in 373 AB. The only downside is that he’s not stealing as many bases this year with 7 CS, and frankly, that’s not surprising given his sprint speed has actually been below average for the past few years. Still, he at least has 20+ Homer power and a high walk rate to go with his speed and should be able to get a few of each in the final month as the de facto leadoff hitter for the floundering Mets. He’s been a beast in the 2nd half and worth starting in 10-team OBP.
Alejandro Kirk (C, Toronto Blue Jays)
This season has been quite a trek, but Captain Kirk is a future star. His bat looks likely to live long and prosper, as he’s hitting .310/.388/.524 with 2 HR in 42 ABs the past 3 weeks and an even hotter .364 this week to raise his season line to .275/.350/.467 with 5 HR in 120 AB. I think more power is on the way thanks to a substantial improvement in his Max Exit velocity (109 mph) backed by an elite 102 mph AVG eV, with a much-improved flyball rate of 40% from 25% in his 2020 debut. But what I find most intriguing is he improved his already minuscule K rate to just 12% (from 16% in 2020) while more than doubling his walk rate to a healthy 9% BB%. Statcast is definitely bullish with a .295 xBA and .527 xSLG. With some of the Jansen/Adams/McGuire detritus finally being cleared from his path, he can be a September breakout, but here’s the crazy thing, he’s only rostered in 3% of ESPN leagues! So while he may be available in your deeper league or 15-team, I’ll go one step further and say that his average + power combination makes him a must in 12-team formats as well.
Leody Taveras (OF, Texas Rangers)
Garfield may have kicked Leody off the table, but now he’s back up. He showed last year that he has the potential to put up lots of stolen bases with a few homers in spurts and can be something of a poor man’s Mondesi for the final month. But if you’re in a close race in batting average, beware of the batting average and OBP downside. Taveras is hitting .286 with 1 HR and 3 SB this week, and while since his return, he’s hit 2 HR with 5 SB in just 43 AB, it’s come with an ugly .186/.222/.395 line. The stolen base upside is ethereal with his 99th percentile sprint speed, and his 110 mph max exit velocity is also quite impressive for the 23-year old, but the 40% Strikeout rate is downright scary. But there’s relief in the fact that his decent 75% contact% does not support it and 12% Swinging Strike%. Those with a serious need for power/speed in 12-team AVG leagues should be in hot pursuit and power drift his way as he’s still available in 82% of ESPN leagues.
Kevin Pillar (OF, New York Mets)
It annoys me that the two best baserunners on the team, Villar and Pillar, don’t have rhyming names. It only works on paper! But Pillar’s bat has been putting in overtime, as the rather disappointing campaign is finishing with quite a flourish, hitting .440/.517/1.000 with 4 HR and 2 SB in 25 SB the past 14 days. Despite that surge, while he has 14 HR and 4 SB in just 271 AB, his season average is still a lowly .229 with an even worse .272 OBP. Much like Villar, he’s been less active on the base paths this year with only 3 SB, but with two of those coming in the past two weeks, perhaps he’s ready to take more risks. Although the playing time situation puts pressure on him to continue mashing, he makes a fine play in 15-team leagues and a decent streamer in 12-team AVG leagues, especially those which have designated positions for LF, CF, and RF since he qualifies at all three.
DJ Peters (OF, Texas Rangers)
Be like Farmer McGregor and chase Peters’ rabbit ball. He’s hit 10 HR in just 150 AB, and while the .205 AVG is certainly unsightly, it’s still better than his predecessor Joey Gallo. He’s also hit for more pop and average as of late, hitting a brawny .264 with 6 HR and 14 RBI in 54 ABs the past 2 weeks. Statcast is a fan with his 12% barrel rate, and his rolling xwOBA just got into the red. With full-time reps on a team with nothing to lose, teams in need of power should look past the 35% strikeout rate and low OBP and give this DJ a spin. He’s somehow rostered in only 2% of ESPN leagues and is well worth chasing the carrot tied to his power stick in all 15-team leagues.
Lane Thomas (OF, Washington Nationals)
His bat has definitely been living life in the fast lane. The former fringe prospect 26-year-old has surged this week with a .367 AVG and 3 HR in 30 AB, which brings his partial season total to a line of .242/.343/.383 with 3 HR and 3 SB (2 SB). While that season total looks pretty mediocre, he’s had nearly all of his run production in the past three weeks, with 12 of his 14 R and 11 of his 12 RBI on the season in that span. Frankly, it’s quite surprising to me that he’s nearly twice as rostered as Kirk at 7%, but perhaps it’s due to receiving more reliable regular reps in the leadoff spot in Washington. He makes for a decent streamer in 15-team OBP and is a must-add in all deep leagues.
Anthony Alford (OF, Pittsburgh Pirates)
If you’re looking for some out-of-this-world production, may as well take a chance on Alf. Just make sure he doesn’t eat any cats. The oft-injured outfielder is unlikely to overcome his massive strikeout rate, but the former football player could be a power/speed late bloomer if he can stay on the field. This week, he’s hit an impressive .238/.273/.667 with 3 HR and 2 SB in 21 AB, bringing his season total to 4 HR and 4 SB in just 78 AB. Unfortunately, it’s also come with a .192 AVG and an even worse .259 OBP. That seems unlikely to improve as 41 of those ABs have ended in a strikeout, giving him a hideous 48% K%! We know the deep league power/speed upside seems off the charts, but so is his 58% contact%—here be dragons. Add only in NL-only AVG leagues in need of lighting in a bottle. Just be prepared with a jar full of dead bugs.
Kolten Wong (2B, Milwaukee Brewers)
Congratulations, Kolten, you’re a dad! As your gift, I’m disowning you. Life comes at you fast. His season totals may not seem to merit this rough treatment as he’s hit a solid .281/.341/.452 with 11 HR and 9 SB in 367 AB (405 PA), making him a viable five-category contributor. But while you can take that to the bank, the month ahead looks bleak, and he’s hit just .209 with 1 HR in 43 AB the past two weeks. That’s not just bad luck either, as his rolling 50-PA xwOBA has dropped from .340 to just .228, one of the biggest fallers. Honestly, he’s been likely over his head overall, as Statcast is skeptical of his entire game with a mediocre .245 xBA, .364 xSLG, and a 41st percentile sprint speed. The latter helps to explain his 5 times Caught Stealing, making it less likely he gets the green light. It’s time to cut him in 10-team leagues and at least consider it in 12-team OBP.
Randal Grichuk (OF, Toronto Blue Jays)
If I were a Grich man, all day long, I’d be a biddy-biddy bum. He’s been as precarious as a fielder on the roof, and he’s plummeted with an oy-inducing .146/.250/.250 line with 1 HR in 48 AB the past 3 weeks, dragging his season total down to just .240/.281/.429 with 21 HR in 459 AB. Although he had been surging with a .300 AVG earlier in the season, this is a textbook case of “He is who we thought he was.” And that was a player who should not continue to be rostered in 74% of leagues.
Tommy Pham (OF, San Diego Padres)
He had several years of feast, but right now, it’s only Phamine. Ever since Tatis moved to the outfield, he’s been relegated to part-time duty and barring injury, that looks unlikely to change in the Padres stacked lineup. He’s hitting just .156 with 1 HR and 2 RBI in 32 ABs over the past 3 weeks, and with a 63% roster rate, it’s clear many of those rostering him are phoning it in or phocusing on phootball. He has no business being rostered in any 10-team or 12-team league, and I’d go as far as to advocate cutting ways in 15-team AVG leagues without deep benches.
Aledmys Diaz (1B/2B/SS/3B/OF, Houston Astros)
I was excited for him as an underrated utility deep league add, but it seems ultimately we were Aled astray. He’s hit just .156 with 0 HR or SB in 59 AB over the past 3 weeks and an even worse .071 in 14 AB this week. While his season line of .276 with 7 HR in 246 AB is still adequate, there’s just not much to chase here, even in deeper formats, and you need to pull the plug quickly on struggling players like this in September when there could be red-hot options on your wire. In 18-team and even AL-only formats, it’s time to cut bait unless your league has a Futility spot.
All of the sells are former cardinals lol
Former Redbirds are now the ones in the red
Feast or Phamine. El-oh-freaking-el!
Glad you appreciated that one!
Drop Olson for Schwindel? That seems too spicy a take for me. Olson hasn’t even been that bad.
We’ll granted that’s an 8-team league where I need batting average and a prayer to move out of 3rd. I’m not advocating for others to drop Olson, since most people have far worse players they can stop for Schwindel.
12 team points league, 1 catcher. Would you drop Narvaez for Kirk for the end of the season?