I’ve written about fantasy baseball for a while, but I’ve never had the opportunity to release a weekly column prior to this year. There’s a lot you get to learn and evaluate in your process when you do a column like this. For one, while I have a pretty firm grasp of who I’m touting and who I’m throwing shade on, I’ve never had a recorded history of touts such as this before. Your calls really stare you in the face. I feel good about my Nimmo, Pirela, and Davidson calls made with conviction in Week 1. Kevin Kiermaier tanking two different fantasy teams, being written about in roughly 50% of my articles, and now not even being healthy? Yeah. That’s right in my face too. Time to take a look back at a couple previous calls and then move forward onto the Week 3 Buys and Sells.
A Look at Past Touts:
It is becoming an obligation to me to continually start my articles with an update on one of my favorite, under-heralded player in Mets Outfielder Brandon Nimmo. This article series has chronicled Nimmo and his plight to be respected from the first day of the season. All the Mets have done is demote him, promote him, and keep him on the bench primarily as a fifth outfielder. All Nimmo has done is rake, to the tune of a .330+ BA, .500+ OBP, and 1.200+ OPS. While he only has 1 HR, he also has 1 2B and 2 3Bs already this season. 25 Years Old, former First Round Pick, and no excuse justifies this move. My prediction when he was demoted was that he would still be the everyday Lead-Off hitter by the ASB. He’s still a luxury add because of the current play time, but he’ll be a top 30 OF from the moment he gets everyday playing time.
Matt Davidson is the guy who I’ve been on the complete opposite side of the fence on. His three-HR start has gotten him a lot of fantasy run but as the numbers continue to dip I think the “fun” part of owning Matt Davidson is already pretty much over. Yes he’s likely to park a ball or two over the fence in Chicago, but I don’t think that he profiles well in terms of BA or OBP. Specifically, I’ve documented Davidson’s struggles with 4-Seamers and Curveballs before, the former of which I think is a hole in Davidson’s game so large that it will result in him being a career minor leaguer. Sell High opportunities have likely passed. It’s time to just sell— i.e. drop. There’s nothing to see here.
Buying and Selling After Week 3, 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 the Week 1 Edition.)
Like all buying and selling information, it obviously depends on how the owners in your league feel about their situation and how prone to patience they are. A patient owner who really wanted Acuna is not likely to make this an easy purchase. However, a lot of people play in redraft leagues and with random strangers that they do not know. Someone expecting or needing production might be looking to move a player who’s not even in the majors right now, which was something widely considered all-but a sure thing. He’s being dropped in at least some leagues. Fantasy prospects are a stock market. Even if you don’t believe in Acuna fully, nabbing himfrom a frustrated owner can easily net you excess value when his stock rises prior to call-up. Many Acuna owners will stand pat, but at this point of the season, it is worth giving that owner a text, gauging their frustration, and seeing what it would take.
This one will be short, sweet, and to the point. Desmond has a tool-kit that is built for fantasy teams. There’s a reason he went 20/20 for an extended period of time in his career. The concern is batting average. But you know what’s really hard to do in Coors? Hit for a bad batting average. I think Desmond will be fine in this category and so I believe Desmond will be fine all around as a fantasy asset in 2018.
And lastly, another that plenty of owners will say “No way that’ll happen,” but at the end of the day, the 2nd leading vote getter in the NL MVP is currently outside the top FORTY first base eligible players. Votto has been the #2 First Baseman in fantasy for three consecutive years. Like Acuna, it is worth the price of admission to ask.
Other Buy-Low Types: Manny Margot (injury return), Yonder Alonso, Domingo Santana, Evan Gattis
DJ LeMahieu and Didi Gregorius
This isn’t necessarily buying “high” so much as it is taking a look at two players who have had success doing something we didn’t exactly expect and have given us reason that it may continue to some extent. For example, I’m not saying DJ LeMahieu hits 43 HRs, which was his pace last time I looked, but if he hits 5 more than we expected with his BA, that will go a long way. And then Didi Gregorius’ plate discipline is not something I’m fully bought into, but at this point I think, like Acuna and Votto, I’m at least asking and seeing what it would take. Seeing if the other owner is willing to give me a “probably a fluke, but I’m getting more than I paid for” type price.
Now, to be clear here, I’m not nearly as negative in my portrayal of Christian Villaneuva as I am with Matt Davidson. To me, Davidson was like a ship with a bunch of holes in it. Just because it seems to be staying afloat doesn’t mean it can keep from sinking forever. Christian Villaneuva is more like a boat that hasn’t really had a good inspection yet. Maybe she sinks, maybe she floats, we just don’t really know yet. And with a skyrocketing value, that may be a vessel you’re looking to cash in on. I also worry about his defense in a long-term playing time projection. Early reports are that he is a butcher at the hot corner. Maybe wait out this Coors series (Mon-Wed) and then flip.
Perhaps not the highest price range or potentially valuable trade chip, but Matt Kemp is both playing and raking early on in the season. I think Matt Kemp can be a really solid player for the full season, but there’s some red flags here. In particular, the fact that it just was so unexpected for Kemp to get this much playing time in the first place. There are arguably as talented Left-Handed outfielders trying to get that right-handed playing time. If Kemp struggles, they will likely get a chance. Both these sell highs I’m not willing to just move for any price, but think that I could find an owner willing to give me the right price.
Other Sell-High Types: Jed Lowrie, Hanley Ramirez (risk of injury)
(AKA: Cutting Bait)
Let this fish off the hook. Whiff%, K%, and career SLG% v. 4-Seam Fastballs are all AWFUL. This has not changed nor did it ever appear to be changing in his hot streak. This isn’t a small sample size argument either. It is a scouting report argument. I see this as a flaw. I watch him play and I see it being exposed in his game. This is an unavoidable unmanageable flaw. Could he improve it? Certainly. But he hasn’t, and that’s why he’s a AAA talent to me right now regardless of what he’s done so far this season.
I struggle with this one and league context will be king. Maybe he’s been a bit banged up and the manager just wants to get his head squared away, but about the moment Owings decided to stop hitting the manager decided to stop playing him. Ketel Marte seems more cemented. They seem to value Nick Ahmed’s glove too much, as with Jarrod Dyson. And there is at least one talented Outfielder (Souza Jr.) who we haven’t seen yet who will add himself to this messy playing time situation. Again, context is king. If you’re in a super deep league and are just trying so squeeze out a 10/10 player, Owings is worth a hold as a super utility man. If you’re looking for your everyday starting fantasy player, particularly in a weekly league, then you need to find an option that provides more consistent volume.
Final Hitting Notes:
Jose Pirela was, alongside Nimmo, my first feature on my Final Hitting Notes. He’s taken a sharp turn down in recent games after getting off to a red-hot start. I’m not too worried though. He seems to have the all around fantasy tool-kit that should make him a valuable Eddie Rosario type and he does so while consistently batting at the top of his line-up. I mentioned that the Padres enter into Coors this week on Villaneuva’s portion. I think Pirela turns it up in Colorado too.
And then, to turn up the sex appeal in this article, Asdrubal Cabrera is a largely unheralded veteran of the sport that has been a fairly consistent fantasy contributor throughout his career. He’s off to a hot start, and is, due to the idiocy of the Mets stance on Nimmo, leading off for his team. Not a league winner, but a safe and solid middle infield option? Yes, please.
That’s all for this week guys. If you’re interested in a couple of my takes from the pitching side, check out my latest twitter (@cj_freel) release, Hot Young Thangs, which evaluates three young fantasy SPs that I’m buying into and why. A follow-up piece “Objectifying Fantasy Starters” will be due out sometime Wednesday.
Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio Show: Join Corey D Roberts, and Kyle Amore live on Thursday April 19th, 2018 from 8-9:30pm EST for episode #116 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 guests this week are Tim McLeod of prospect361.com and Cole Freel. Cole is one of the newest writers with the majorleaguefantasysports.com and one of the more popular. Cole’s articles publish every Saturday at 1pm EST and his focus is Buys/Sells from the hitters side of the ball. Tim is one of the most respected minor league scouts in fantasy baseball. Be sure to check out his website linked above.
Major League Fantasy Baseball Show Episode #145, 3/17/2019 Host Brian Roach, Jr., Co-Host Cole Freel TOPIC: BULLPENS/Catchers
Major League Fantasy Baseball Show Episode #146, 3/24/2019 Host Brian Roach, Jr., Co-Host Cole Freel, Guest Kevin Bzdek
📷 (via “Gehlbach on the Farm” - 2019 Draft Day Bargains, One for the Road) tmblr.co/ZtzYOp2h1RPx_