Okay, so you can probably guess right off the bat that I won’t be recommending Brandon Nimmo for the THIRD straight week. I really don’t comprehend at all what the Mets are doing here, but I won’t spend too much time on that. And I’m clearly not just on an island either. A couple of lighter recommendations also happened to find themselves on the DL (Morales, Healy), so perhaps we’ve gotten out of the gate with a bit of a stumble.
Never say die, right?
Revisiting Week 1
Maybe I swung and missed a few times, but there’s quite a few calls from last week I still feel confident about. Jose Pirela, who was simply an under-owned fantasy asset deserving of more respect, is the National League leader in Hits through April 11th. He’s still playing every day and still batting in the top 4 of the line-up everyday, and while he has recently doubled his ownership%, it has gone from about 7.5% to 15.0%. Pirela to me is someone who should be owned in virtually every league, and certainly any league where you start more than 3 Outfielders.
Matt Davidson, a recommended Sell, is still an absolute undeniable FIRE SALE guy to me. Davidson has struggled against both the Curveball and the 4-Seam Fastball in his career, and neither of those things have changed thus far in 2018. Davidson to me is Bryan LaHair. If you’re lucky you can get a bit more value before the wheels come off, but I’d be willing to trade him for most offers and could probably find someone on the wire that I prefer to Matt Davidson in most leagues. I think Davidson’s closest comparison is Chris Carter.
I also still believe that Kevin Kiermaier and Justin Bour will rebound nicely, that there’s some legitimacy into the breakout of Joe Panik, and that you shouldn’t be that interested in anyone with a part-time role in Philadelphia— (I suppose unless, unlike me, you perceive that one of those players is considerably more talented and likely to produce enough to supplant his teammates. Logan Morrison is one player that I’m not necessarily backtracking on, but whereas really plenty of these players would be candidates again this week, I definitely do not feel confident enough in Logan Morrison to double down. I still think he should be a fairly cheap source of fairly good power, but I’d like to see a sign of life.
Buying and Selling After Week 2, 2018
(Again, like last week, many of these trends are going to be based on changes in Ownership%. Also if you’re confused by the terminology of Buying HIGH and Selling LOW, review the Miner’s Code #002 from Last Week’s Piece)
Buying Low: (Kevin Kiermaier and Justin Bour), Orlando Arica, Byron Buxton, Dexter Fowler, Domingo Santana, Wilson Ramos
I won’t spend any time covering Kiermaier or Bour. The point of placing them here is not to invoke more discussion, but to emphatically state once more that I have not been shaken in my confidence for these two. If you dislike that I’m sticking to my guns here, that’s fine, but I believe in these two strongly.
Orlando Arcia has some problems, namely that even when he plays and plays well he usually bats around 8th, but this is a potential 5-Category player who has a whole lot of talent. Teammate Domingo Santana isn’t someone I expected to write about, but his 7.7% reduction in Ownership% on ESPN is pretty substantial for a player who was previously over 90% owned. There’s some players in shallow leagues that have limited upside so dropping quickly is understandable. Domingo Santana is not one of these players. He has power, speed, and I believe the ability to hit for a decent BA. Buy if someone’s selling, and add if you’re in a shallow league where he was dropped.
Byron Buxton is off to a bit of a rocky start in terms of batting average, but arguably baseball’s best athlete is striking out under-30% still and hasn’t had the BABIP success yet that I would expect him to as we get into the year. I still expect Buxton to hit borderline .250 and steal 35 Bases, which makes him a very valuable commodity. Dexter Fowler is a case of a player who is just too good to continue to be so bad. Even if Fowler doesn’t have as good of a year as expected (which is not what I’m advocating here), I think Fowler would still likely be a somewhat valuable depth OFer with multiple category contributions.
And then Wilson Ramos was a bit of a surprising drop to me. For what Catcher are people shucking aside Ramos, one of 2016’s Elite Catchers, after a couple of weeks? Not many Catchers possess Ramos’ upside, or have a team willing to play them at DH as well.
Buying High: Potentially no one. (Andrelton Simmons)
Buying High is a more tricky situation because you have to firmly believe in breakouts and situations for them to be someone you recommend someone pay more than they would’ve expected to get. I love Chris Owings’ bit of power with more than a bit of speed, but I do wonder what the Diamondbacks intended playing situation is for him. Plus you can’t believe in that current Batting Average, though again I’m interested because of the 21 SBs in 2016 and 12 HRs and 12 SBs in 2017, both in partial seasons.
I like Asdrubal Cabrera and Dansby Swanson, who are both skyrocketing up in terms of Ownership%, and both were players I ranked very highly going into 2017, so I do believe in the talent here. But these are guys that right now I’m kinda wishing I got before they heat up, and not now, while I have to pay more. Same with emerging potential star Matt Chapman. I like him, but don’t think that you’ll get a price right now worth paying.
I’d be willing to buy Collin Moran at the right price, as I like him quite a bit, but David Freese is still stealing PT, and I’m not sure how Moran will perform against big league lefties his first time through even if he gets the PT.
I do think, if there’s one name that is a buy high for me, it is Andrelton Simmons. Currently leading the league in hits, I was high on Simmons coming into the year, and I think we’re seeing that subtle skill-set that keeps him undervalued playing out well so far in 2018. Maybe not a Buy High exactly, but especially if you’re suffering from the loss of Elvis Andrus or are otherwise struggling at the Shortstop position, I would tab Simmons as my number 1 target in terms of a player I think I could acquire for a price I was satisfied with.
Selling High: Matt Davidson, Preston Tucker, Maikel Franco, Jed Lowrie, Eric Thames
Like Kiermaier and Bour (though on the opposite side of the fence), while Davidson and Tucker were the primary candidates last week, I have to emphatically state that I would again be looking to sell either one if at all possible, and based on their still rising Ownership%’s they are perhaps the most relevant two for this discussion. This article doesn’t afford me the length to discuss all of Davidson’s problems, but suffice to say he has struggled to hit Curveballs in his career and I’m very concerned with his Whiff% against 4-Seam Fastballs. I’m of the opinion Matt Davidson is still more likely a Quadruple-A / Career Minor League type player more-so than a fantasy asset. A player whose likely outcomes to me range between Bryan LaHair and Chris Carter. And then Preston Tucker is all about PT. There’s simply only three full-time roles between Inciarte, Acuna, Markakis, and Tucker, and whether you believe Tucker will be prioritized as 3rd or 4th, he certainly won’t be in the top two and he will certainly be splitting his role with someone else.
Maikel Franco has had a few good games but still isn’t an every day player for the Phillies as of right now. If you really believe in the bounce back I have no problem letting it ride. He was relatively inexpensive. I just don’t buy into the bounce back really. Jed Lowrie is also off to a hot start, but between Marcus Semien and Franklin Barreto, who does figure to play IF and OF, I think Lowrie loses a few more ABs coming up here soon, and I think that’ll knock his value. And finally in that same vein, Eric Thames was clearly looking to lose some PT from the rotation, but isn’t losing any now. But, Christian Yelich will likely return and while perhaps Braun or someone else does get injured and open up more playing time, I’m a bit of a skeptic on the overall talent as-is.
Selling Low: Stephen Piscotty, Chris Davis, Randal Grichuk, Ryan McMahon
(AKA: Players that are okay to drop)
Unlike last week, which was subtitled “Abandon Ship”, and was more based around decently drafted players who I believed had significantly changed in value for the worse since draft day, “Players that are okay to drop,” is much more about struggling players who I don’t have a ton of confidence in turning it around, and wasn’t too high on to start with.
Stephen Piscotty’s move to Oakland was a positive for playing time, but for someone with already questionable power the move for Oakland was a bit scary. I think Piscotty rebounds a bit, but the upside just looks so pedestrian at this point that I think it would be worth it to just drop Piscotty and go after someone with a bit more Risk/Reward upside.
Chris Davis and Randal Grichuk are both struggling mightily, but both are players who have struggled quite a bit over the course of the last year+. Owning Davis and Grichuk at this point is just about trying to not-own them at all during the majority of the season but getting lucky and putting them on the team right before they catch fire. I’d be willing to take a shot at a player who won’t make me claw my eyes out on a nightly basis.
Ryan McMahon is not someone, like the rest, who I’m knocking for skills of course. Ryan McMahon is the exception to about everything I’ve said about the Sell Lows to this point, except for the fact that he’s probably the one that needs to be dropped the most in a redraft format. And it is not just who is playing over him now (Gonzalez, Parra, Blackmon, Desmond), it is the fact that Tapia and Dahl are also biding their time for a shot.
Final Hitter Notes:
I don’t have too much of a conclusion today. The number-one guy I’m buying who’s widely available is Jose Pirela again, but I covered that already.
I would suggest keeping an eye on, as ridiculous as it sounds, Rajai Davis’ playing time in Cleveland. Again, it sounds ridiculous, but even at 39 Years Old Davis already has 3 Steals this season and hasn’t been caught yet. Two years ago in Cleveland he stole over 40 Bags. If he does that again he’ll be viable even in a 10-Team context. I’m not saying it’s very likely, but Davis is the only player I can think of who combines an ownership below 1% (while on an MLB roster), and the has ability to steal 30 bases.
And finally, to end with a bang, Matt Duffy is another player who I think has a very good chance at being a subtly valuable fantasy asset in 2018. He is currently “platooning” his spot in the batting order between Lead-Off v. LHP and Fifth v. RHP, but overall he has, like Pirela, been given a clear stamp of approval as an everyday player and a somewhat key part of an albeit lackluster line-up. Duffy has a bit of pop and an underrated bit of speed that could make him a solid all-around contributor who also happens to have SS/3B eligibility and, where relevant, CI/MI eligibility
Until next week,
Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio Show: Join Corey D Roberts, and Kyle Amore live on Thursday April 12th, 2018 from 8-9:30pm EST for episode #114 of Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio. We are a live broadcast that will take callers at 323-870-4395. Press 1 to speak with the host. We will the latest information in the world of fantasy baseball.
Our guest this week is Joe Iannone. Joe is a writer with majorleaguefantasysports.com. He focuses on spot starting pitchers for the coming week. His articles publish every Sunday morning at 7 am EST. One of our most popular writers so be sure to check him out.