Performance Report: 7/31

Trade deadline moves create new opportunities

I’m not sure I can remember a more exciting trade deadline than what we experienced this week. As the deadline came down to the wire, it really seemed like anyone could be moved. The thing I love most about all of these trades, is just how great an impact these moves can have on playing time for both teams. The ripple effect will be felt for the remainder of the season, but the fantasy owner who can decipher how things will shake out now might have a large advantage.

One of the biggest edges you can have towards the back half of the fantasy season is to be able to accrue more plate appearances than your opponents. This is especially true as real-life baseball rosters begin to shuffle more pieces around and some of your reliable fantasy contributors who may have been seeing five games a week, instead start to see a decrease in at bats. As best you can, keep an eye on your player’s platoon splits, days off, but especially the state of their overall team. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, promising or young players on bad team’s have a higher likelihood to get a longer leash and therefore more playing time.

All that to say, I know for a lot of you the trade deadline is coming up rapidly. So this might be the last opportunity you have to go and bolster your squad. Let’s go ahead and dive in to this week’s batch of players.

 

Rowdy Tellez

 

The Brewers took a chance on trading for Tellez at the beginning of July in the hopes that he would bring a boost to the offense and challenge for the first base job. With Daniel Vogelbach being hurt and Keston Hiura just being horrible, it didn’t take long for Tellez to find himself with the opportunity to be the primary first baseman.

Tellez has been on a tear since coming to the Brewers, and my guess is before long his ownership percentage is going to skyrocket too. Since July 7th he has .357/.440/.690 slash line in 50 plate appearances. Within that stretch he has hit four HR with a walk rate of 12% and a strikeout rate of 16%. He does also have a .355 BABIP to go with this, meaning naturally that this Tellez will come back down to Earth at some point here.

I’ve always like Tellez because he is a guy who hits the ball really hard, consistently finishing at the top of the league in maximum exit velocity readings. This last year he has also made improvements in his plate discipline to go with that ability to smack the daylight out of the ball. The combination of these things point towards a player who might just cement himself as one of the more solid first base options in the league. Perhaps all he needed to achieve this was a change of scenery and a pathway to consistent at bats. It looks like he will be hitting in the heart of the Brewers order for at least the rest of this season.

So what should we be doing with Rowdy Tellez? Well, if he is on waivers in your league (which is possible if you are in a shallow league), then go get him right away. You could always try and trade for him too, which could be tough because of his hot streak especially this past week. I do worry a little about how much power he will get to in games for the rest of the year, but at the same time can the Brewers afford to keep his bat out of their lineup?

 

Verdict: BUY

 

Eric Haase

 

I usually have a hard time finding help at the catcher position in season, but I’m hoping this year will be different. Sometimes this is where I go and look on teams with seemingly (or actual) bad offenses to see if there is anyone who may be overlooked. Eric Haase has entered the chat

The Tigers have turned to Eric Haase as the primary backstop and he’s rewarded them with a so-so slash line of .246/.303/.547 in 57 games played, but more importantly with 17 bombs on the season. The guy can walk a little and strikes out a little too much at a shade over 30%, but the power really looks to be legit. He’s been destroying the ball in the month of July with eight of his HR while actually hitting a very respectable .266.

The sample size here is very small, yet very exciting. Certainly, I don’t think Haase is a 35 HR type, but could he possibly reach 30 by the end of the season? I think he could. The biggest variable with him will be his batting average. The Tigers have been bouncing him around the heart of the order, which is amazing for his counting numbers. However, if we see his average dip back down to where Steamer projects it to be rest of season (.214!) then Haase will lose any attractiveness he may have had. If he’s free on waivers and your catcher position stinks then go grab him, but the general uncertainty of his future would have me stop there.

 

Verdict: BUY – if on waivers

 

Paolo Espino

 

The Nationals were one of the bigger sellers at the deadline, and their roster right now resembles a great Triple-A team more than a competitive MLB club. Their pitching in particular took a huge hit with the departure of Max Scherzer, but getting Josiah Gray in the return was good for them.

All that to say, someone needs to put some innings up, and if you are desperate, you might want to take a peak at Paolo Espino. It is very possible that the return of Joe Ross and the addition of Gray might keep Espino out of the rotation, but he’s still worth keeping track of. While Espino doesn’t throw particularly hard and doesn’t strike out a lot of guys (6.75 K/9), he does limit the free passes and has had a respectable ERA in his spot starts. Just to reiterate, this is a play for innings mostly, but if your team is anything like some of mine, you may need it.

 

Verdict: BUY – if desperate for innings

 

Kyle Farmer

 

The Reds didn’t make any splashy moves at the deadline this year, but they do have a player on their team who seems to be going unnoticed in a lot of leagues. Kyle Farmer has gone from utility player who was fighting for at bats to a full-time regular and most recently has even gotten a couple starts batting out of the three-hole in the lineup. If we just look at July, Farmer has been on a quite the heater batting a ridiculous .382/.447/.658 with four HR and even one stolen base to boot. Considering his defensive chops, it would appear that Farmer might still get at bats even once Mike Moustakas and Nick Castellanos come off the IL to create a roster crunch.

As exciting as his success has been, I do need to throw a little cold water on the situation. Yes, Farmer has had a hot month, but his Statcast profile would indicate that there aren’t any big underlying skills to backup this mini-breakout as anything more than a hot streak. His baseball savant page tells a truer story of his abilities.

Noe of this is to say that he can’t be useful, especially if you picked him up and have been riding the streak. My advice here is to just keep riding that streak, or if you can find an infield needy team in your league, sell Farmer to them. Who know, maybe in a keeper/dynasty type league you could get a decent prospect out of him!

 

Verdict: SELL

 

Photo by Mick Haupt/Unsplash | Feature Image by Justin Redler (@reldernitsuj on Twitter)

Gabe Zammit

Gabe Zammit has been writing about baseball since 2017. He is a contributor on Pitcher List in addition to Friends with Fantasy Benefits. Outside of the baseball world, Gabe is a music director and producer and loves to chat about anything and everything music.

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