Coming out of the All-Star Break I thought it would be fun to take a look back at some of the players I felt strongly about one way or the other. I know there have been some player’s I have pretty confidently told you to pursue in a trade, while there’s other’s I may have advised you to sell. Of course it would be really easy for me to just cherrypick the ones I got right and take only victory laps, but where’s the fun in that?! Instead, I am going to look at some I may have been really right on, and other’s that I messed up royally. Obviously I can’t get to all of them, but I am going to try and highlight some of the ones who I feel may merit a revisit more than others.
All the way back on May 22nd, I decided I wanted to do a write-up on Amed Rosario. If I’m being honest it was a little self-serving. He’s a guy I’ve watched or had shares of in a variety of fantasy circles for years, so I really wanted to dive a little deeper into his performance. What I found was worse than bad, it was putrid. Rosario has spent the early part of the season struggling with his new position in CF as well as looking absolutely lost at the plate. Even still, I made the recommendation to buy in on him based on his pedigree, an intentional move back to his natural position of shortstop, and a very small hot streak that showed Rosario had a pulse at the plate.
Since then Rosario has looked like a totally different player as he put together a triple slash of .289/.328/.405 with a five SB and three HR to boot. I know this might not seem like anything to write home about, but let’s remember that up to that point Rosario had been batting .224 and was likely on waivers or close to being on it in most fantasy leagues. That means if you went out and grabbed him at that point, you didn’t suffer through his bad hitting and got to enjoy the fruits of the good hitting!
Particularly in deeper leagues, Rosario could be the type of player who has helped plug a hole on your team due to injury or underperformance. Sometimes at the end of the season it’s the smaller contributions that make all the difference. Rosario is only 25 years old and maybe there is another level to unlock still. I’m still buying.
Verdict: GOOD CALL
For as much as I pumped Amed Rosario, another guy I wanted everyone to go get was Nick Solak. He went on a hot streak in April and I seriously wrote, “Solak very well may finish the year as a more valuable fantasy player than Javier Báez”. I could not have been more wrong, and this is one big fat “L” that I have to take.
You know a player is has struggled when he’s already on a bad team and he goes from batting 3rd or 4th to hitting at the bottom of the lineup. On the season Solak is hitting .229 with nine home runs in 358 plate appearances. His biggest issue looks to be his ability to hit anything offspeed. He has tumbled all the way from hitting .360 in 2020 to .212 this season against those types of pitches. It pains me to say it, because I really want Nick Solak to be a thing, but if he can’t figure this out over the second half then I’m not sure we see him with more than a part-time role next season.
Verdict: AWFUL/TERRIBLE CALL
We might as well keep piling on with the guys I was wrong about. Back on May 1st, I took one look at Riley’s .299 BA and his underlying numbers and scoffed at the idea of buying in on his performance. While I may have been right about his BA being a little inflated, I will say that Riley has surprised me with his play this season and probably was not a great “Sell” candidate unless your return was excellent.
As I mentioned above, Riley’s season average has drooped to .279, but there’s nothing wrong with that. Riley walks at a 10% clip and hits the ball really hard, which makes up for his 25% strikeout rate. My one big issue with him is still his 42.2% ground ball rate. I’m still having a hard time with his peripherals buying in completely, but it’s hard to argue with results.
Riley has all the looks of a solid 30 HR bat with an incredible OBP. Here’s to hoping he can keep this up and maybe elevate the ball a little more consistently while he’s at it!
Verdict: I REGRET THIS ONE
A huge part of being good at fantasy baseball is knowing when to sell a guy, and to not become too attached to him. On June 12th, I recommended selling Jesse Winker as it was really hard for me to see his performance continuing. Up to the point he has hit .344 with 17 HR and he was getting hyped like crazy. Even though it’s always hard to give up that sort of production, there was simply no way Winker was going to continue playing at that level based on his underlying metrics.
Since June 12th, Winker has come crashing back to Earth with a .204/.317/.324 line and just two homers in 126 plate appearances. Of course I’m not trying to suggest that this is the actual talent level for Winker, I actually think he’s an incredible hitter. I’m more so making the point that when you have a guy performing to that level, you have to look to capitalize on that performance and cash them in as hard as that may be. Perhaps now might be a good buying opportunity for Winker…
Verdict: WAS THE PERFECT SELL HIGH
Last month I was able to go to see the Brewers play in person. It was an absolutely crazy game with the Brewers scoring 15 runs total. I actually was incredibly intentional that day about watching Keston Hiura at the plate and on defense. All the way back in an April Performance Report, I wrote about Hiura and his struggles. I said he was a “Hold”, but with the caveat that I would be trying to sell him very actively if I got a half-way decent offer.
I don’t know if anyone has been able to successfully move Hiura for a useable piece in return, but I take my hat off to you if you did. Hiura has not looked any better and it’s pretty clear there is something wrong with his swing. He’s batting just .167 on the season and that simply won’t work if your team is expecting you to start at first base. Things got bad enough that the Brewers have been giving Jace Peterson starts over Hiura and then went out and traded for Rowdy Tellez recently as well.
Honestly, I think Hiura could be a total loss and may just be done in the majors, period. He strikes out way too much and he can’t provide any sort of defensive value. And yet…. I find myself drawn back to his 2019 when he hit 19 HR, stole nine bases, and hit .303 (yes, I know with a crazy .402 BABIP). If I was in a dynasty league and I was rebuilding, I actually think I would inquire on Hiura right now. After all, if you can get him for next to nothing then why not take the chance. Worst case scenario is that you drop him if he continues to be terrible right?
Verdict: HE GONE!
Photo by Mick Haupt/Unsplash | Feature Image by Justin Redler (@reldernitsuj on Twitter)