Anyone else reach that point in the season when your focus begins to shift elsewhere and your fantasy teams get less attention than usual? For me, that happens right around the end of June every year. I have to take a moment to refocus, and reassess where my team is and where I may need to make some changes in order to make up points somewhere.
I always have to remind myself to keep up with how other teams are performing in the league as well. There’s always the team that started incredibly hot that has cooled off, or the team that looked to be a dumpster fire that may in fact make a few waves. Having a general awareness of how these teams are doing is pivotal, particularly in keeper and dynasty settings as it will aid you in your trade valuations.
In regards to this, keep in mind that a team’s upward or downward momentum in the standings will impact how and what they want to trade. Taking four or five minutes to do a little homework on your trade partner can go a long way in expediting any trade discussions and making a smoother on ramp for you into a mutually beneficial deal.
With that, this week we have two “Buys”, one “Sell”, and one “Hold”. Let’s take a look!
2020 is a year that Tommy Pham would likely choose to omit from his statistical player page. A hand injury contributed to his .211 batting average and his worst power output in his career. In case his value wasn’t low enough, after the season ended Pham had wrist surgery and was also involved in an altercation outside of a strip club that ended with him getting stabbed. Heading into 2021 fantasy owners were largely writing off Pham as a guy who would not be able to return close to his previous levels of play and who would struggle mightily for playing time in a stacked Padres lineup.
The first half of this season we saw more of the same for Pham. He struggled with power and average and was bouncing all over the bottom third of the lineup. However, let’s take a look at how Pham has performed just from May 18th forward. Hitting almost entirely out of the one hole in the lineup, Pham has a .300/.431/.520 triple-slash with five homers, eight stolen bases, and an 18.7% walk rate. Even more impressive is his spray chart. Pham has gone from a guy in 2020 who uncharacteristically looked to only be able to hit to one field, to a guy who is now hammering the ball back to all fields. Check out the spray charts below.
Right now Pham’s batting average on the season is still low at .243 and it is possible that his owner might not be aware of just how good Pham has been lately. This is a player I would look to buy, particularly in a league where I’m hurting for speed. Pham looks every bit the guy who used to be considered a top 15-20 outfielder, but he shouldn’t cost near that much. For dynasty, just remember that he is 33 years old and might not be someone you would want to bank on for years.
OnThe last few years have been rather bumpy for Paul Goldschmidt. Since getting traded from Arizona to the St. Louis, Goldy has seen his speed disappear while also struggling with is consistency at the plate. If he is hitting for average on the year, then his power has just been marginal. Whereas if he has hit for a little more power, then we have seen his average droop. Gone are the days of him hitting for both while also chipping in a healthy number of steals.
None of this should come as a surprise to anyone. Goldschmidt is an aging player who has good plate skills, but oftentimes as players age we see a tradeoff within their skills as they look to make their own adjustments at the plate. This season has been a mixed bag. Goldschmidt’s average has dropped from a .304 finish in 2020 to .245 this year, and we are also seeing him walk significantly less as that rate has been cut in half from where he finished in 2020 all the way down to 8% this season.
The good news is that the power has been there and looks to be real. He has hit nine HR on the year to this point, which doesn’t make him elite, but does mean he is a solid option on the corner and is a passable starter depending on your league size. It would appear that he is trying to tap into a little more power as he has become a little more aggressive at the plate (28% Chase) while also increasing his launch angle (17.5%).
If you are in a dynasty, now may be your last chance to extract some value for Goldschmidt. While he may continue to hit like this, the odds are looking slim that we will see much better. That to say, he could still be a very valuable piece for anyone in contention and should be marketed as such.
Verdict: SELL – could be your last chance in dynasty
Joe Ross pitched a gem in his last outing against the Giants with just five hits, nine strikeouts, no free passes, and no runs given up in eight innings of work. This was an extremely encouraging start as Ross has yet to make it past six innings this season and at times he has really struggled with walks. That start brought Ross’ season ERA down to a more respectable 4.19 and could signify him turning the corner after missing all of 2020. He chose to opt-out as he was dealing with shoulder and elbow issues.
There isn’t anything in the profile here that points to a frontline starter, but rather a guy who should be a solid bet for innings while also flirting with a strikeout rate close to a batter an inning. I know many fantasy managers who shy away from arms like this because they don’t see the upside, but unless you play in a shallow league, you are going to need pitchers who can fill out your ratios. Ross is a little bit of a risky buy right now because his innings are likely to be capped and there will probably still be some ups and downs, but patience with him could be rewarded with a solid guy to hold things down at the back of your rotation.
In redraft leagues If I really needed pitching I would go out and see if Ross is on waivers or look into acquiring him. Yes, you are buying him off of a great performance, but he still shouldn’t be that expensive. If we are looking at keeper and dynasty leagues, then I might wait until he is closer to him getting shelved with an inning limit to then inquire about him in a trade.
This one hurts a little bit. I really love Jared Walsh and have been following him and even wrote about him already once earlier this season. Through May 17th of this year, Walsh was batting .343/.413/.577 with seven home runs and even a couple of stolen bases. Knowing that his .412 BABIP pointed to a regression may have softened the results of his last month or so of play a little, but that doesn’t make it any easier to stomach. Since May 18th Walsh has batted .200/.254/.509. His strikeout rate has jumped nearly fourteen percent to 35.6% and his walk rate has also dipped a little to 6.8%.
The good news here is that Walsh is still absolutely crushing the ball. He has blasted nine home runs in the last month. Interestingly enough, his BABIP has also swung really hard the other way and is sitting at .220 right now. What does all of this mean? Well, I think it’s entirely possible that Walsh is pressing right now and what we are seeing might not be his true form yet. Keep in mind, this is a player who was a pitching prospect at one point and so he is a little bit of a late bloomer.
Walsh wasn’t guaranteed a full time role until the somewhat recent move of Albert Pujols off the roster. I don’t think he is a .300 hitter, but can he settle in around .260-.270 and mash 30-40 homers a year? I’d be willing to bet on it. This does make him a risky acquisition right now, so I’m holding if I own him.
Photo by Mick Haupt/Unsplash | Feature Image by Justin Redler (@reldernitsuj on Twitter)