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“The Cole Miner” Buys and Sells the End Of the Season

I won’t spend too much time going over the introduction for this week, as I have been crunching my time between hosting my own fantasy football league and preparing the outlooks for the players this week. I felt that the outlooks the last few weeks have been a bit on the lighter side, so I tried to include a bit higher volume in terms of number of players and the depth of player analysis.

I also spent this week primarily looking into the last 30 Days on the ESPN Player Rater and seeing what surprise players I could find in the top 100. Some of these players– even who is #2 on the Player Rater– might surprise some. Without further adieu, here are well performing players that you may not expect.

Player Rater Last 30 Days

Rougned Odor

In the last 30 Days, Rougned Odor is the #2 player on the ESPN Player Rater— and has been an absolute league winner down the stretch. He’s up to a .274 BA 17 HRs and 10 SBs on the season and we still have one more full month of baseball. Perhaps the most inspiring? After having a 3.0% BB% in his breakout year and a 4.9% BB% on his career, Odor is currently sporting an 8.4% BB%. If he truly has improved his plate Discipline, this could be a sign of an incredibly bright future for a player who is still only 24 Years Old and has 100 HRs and nearly 50 SBs on his career.

The problem is, at least on the surface, I don’t really buy into the change in plate discipline yet. Take the following chart as a guide:

O-Swing

Z-Swing

Swing%

2016

41.8%

71.3%

54.3%

2017

38.3%

73.6%

52.8%

2018

35.9%

63.1%

47.1%

Now on the surface, it can seem advantageous for his future projection to say that he’s now swinging less often. The problem is, he isn’t really chasing that much less— at least comparative to how much less he’s swinging in the strike zone. By this one metric on Fangraphs, Rougned Odor is swinging 2.4% less often outside the zone but 10.5% less often in the strike zone. This is of course a better approach then what he was doing last year, but I don’t yet believe that his batter’s eye has improved, or that he will continue to walk at this rate.

Going into pitch specific data, I also do not believe that Odor has improved his greatest pitch-specific weakness. In Rougned Odor’s career he has seen, via BrooksBaseball, 1424 Sliders and accumulated a .157 BA and .291 SLG. So far this year the SLG% actually doesn’t look too bad. His SLG% against Sliders has improved to a modest .400. But he’s still hitting .188 in terms of BA and has struck out 31 times in 80 ABs. He’s probably just been a bit fortunate on getting some long balls on sliders.

Verdict: Odor’s the type of player that I believe he can stay hot into September. But heading into next year in particular, I don’t see this fantasy hot stretch necessarily being the factor that pushes his value up, but the accompanying narrative that his Plate Discipline has improved might create an increased price for Rougned Odor. I’m not buying the Plate Disciplines. I’m not buying some of the improvements. I do believe that he can be a low BA, HR/SB option provided he continues to get playing Time in Arlington.

Two Hot-Young Shortstops

Willy Adames

Coming in at #24 on the last 30 Day Player Rater, unlike Rougned, Adames is still available in a number of leagues, being just 24.1% owned in ESPN leagues. In his first 20 August games, Adames has hit .364 and as a crucial part of Tampa’s future, figures to get every opportunity to build a floor around his potential upside.

Adames may not have the greatest upside of any player who you might be eyeing for your fantasy roster, but he does come with the ability to contribute across the board. His current counting stats average out to about 24 HRs, 18 SBs, 84 Rs, and 66 RBIs in about 620 PAs. He doesn’t have a great roster spot, but right now for Fantasy Purposes Adames is showcasing a near 20/20 skillset.

The biggest problem with Adames to date has been his K%, but in his recent hot stretch, the strikeouts have been going away. On the season, Adames still has a K% of above 30%, but since the All-Star Break, Adames has struck out just 25.7% of the time, with a 22.9% K% in August. And his 11.9% Whiff% suggests to me that it isn’t entirely unlikely that he can keep the K% down moving forward.

Verdict: Willy Adames is a crystal-clear buying situation. Talented players getting opportunity are pretty clear buying situation. Adames is on a season-long pace that would make him a top-100 consideration, but is currently available in 75+% of leagues.

Amed Rosario

Like Adames, it may surprise some readers to learn that Amed Rosario is the #54 player on the ESPN Player Rater over the past 30 days. Rosario is ever so slightly more owned at 24.5%, but as a whole is still a player who’s had a near-top-50 stretch left on the Wire in about 75% of leagues.

Like Odor, perhaps the biggest problem with Amed Rosario is that he isn’t much of a walker. He does make good contact, and has gotten his K% to just over 20% this season, but he has an absurd 39.9% Chase% and his subpar 5.3% BB% is a marked improvement over his 1.8% BB% over his first 170 PAs in 2017. I don’t think it is very hard to sell people that Amed Rosario, at least right now, is not as polished or good of a hitter as Willy Adames.

But he has way more speed. And speed is a valuable currency in Fantasy Baseball. His speed numbers on the season aren’t jaw-dropping by any means, but Rosario is a player who you would expect to add 20-30 SBs per season on your redraft roster. The question is how good of a hitter is he, other than the 10 HRs. If, similarly to Rougned Odor, he can deal with the bad, make the most of the mistakes, and keep his BA around .240, he should be a player with playing time that is excellent for Fantasy Teams, and should be far more than 24.5% owned.

Amed Rosario does fall for some of the typical problems you find in hitters who have poor plate discipline. His Hard% isn’t exactly great. Same with his slightly elevated Soft%. There’s nothing about his batted ball profile that screams that he’s a very good hitter. But can he hit enough? With his speed I do believe it is possible, but he’s not someone I feel as comfortable with the floor.

Verdict: Not as high on Rosario as I am on Adames. Adames, to me, has proven a lot more as a hitter for me to believe that he has a long term future in this league. Rosario I’m not as sold on, and if it weren’t for the speed I wouldn’t be as interested, but he does have speed and he should be more than 24.5% owned. If he’s available and you need speed, he’s a player that has a chance to continually produce like a borderline top 50 player and could be a true fantasy impact ROS.

Alex Cobb

This may come to a shock as anyone who has not been watching the formerly promising Righty, but Alex Cobb is actually the 74th best overall fantasy player of the last 30 days according to ESPN’s Player Rater.

Cobb has not given up more than 3 ERs in a start since a July 8th Clunker, and has only given up more than 2 ERs once in this current 8-start run. Totaling his numbers for the 8 Starts, Cobb has pitched 52.1 Innings (6+ Per Start), 34 Ks, and 13 ERs (2.24 ERA). While the Ks haven’t been quite ideal, in terms of fantasy value it is really the Wins (or lack there-of) that are holding Cobb back at this point.

In evaluating Cobb, the most important factors to me come down to the repertoire. “The Thing,” his self-dubbed Splitter/Change-Up mix, was a pitch that has mostly eluded him in the past year and a half.

Over this 8 start stretch, it appears “The Thing” might actually be back. It has generated a 15.66% Whiff%, the highest amongst his offerings, and has completely suppressed damage allowed. In the 82 ABs in this sample that have ended on a Splitter, opponents have hit just .183 with a non-existent .012 ISO and a modest K rate with 21 Ks. Compare that to 2017, where the Splitter, formerly his best pitch, allowed a .310 BA and .505 SLG. It is easy to get swept up in small samples, but this is just a bit too much to ignore.

Verdict: Alex Cobb is a player whose bright future was knocked around a bit by injuries and struggles to stay healthy. The calling card of his struggles has been the loss of his greatest asset, pitch, and weapon: “the thing.” It appears to be alluding him no longer. This is a small sample change, but it is one that makes me think that the future for Cobb might not be that dull. He is a guy I’m willing to go out and get in most shallow league formats and am willing to take the chance on getting some impact value from Cobb, believing that the risk is mitigated so long as he looks and continues to look like the Cobb of old.

Others Receiving Votes:

I did player outlooks on the players in the top 100 over the past 30 days that I felt could have the most fantasy relevance. Here are the rest of the players I considered writing up, occasionally with a brief message:

Miguel Andujar (PR: 6): Andujar probably deserves more space on this article. He’s showing every sign of being a .300 Hitter, and while I’ve never been the highest on his other tools, it is the hit tool that sets the stage for everything else, including the power he has seemingly tapped into.

Zack Wheeler (PR: 7): A potential Deadline mover, Wheeler stayed with the Mets and continues to showcase why he was once one of the more talented pitching prospects in baseball. Wheeler has still had his highs and lows, but at his best this season he has shown the distinct ability to throw two above average breaking balls— a rare feat for most pitchers.

Mallex Smith (PR: 12): We discussed Mallex a few weeks ago as a potential impact bat, but now on the DL Smith figures to see his stock drop again. This notation of Smith being 12th is a reminder how valuable speed is in this game and how much of it Mallex Smith has if you can get him in your roster for those SBs.

David Peralta (PR: 21): I was all over Peralta as a forgotten sleeper last year, but my comparisons were more to teen/teen hitters in terms of HR/SB, not one who I expected to dip into this well of power. Peralta looks THICK though, and if he’s not doing anything he’s not supposed to, I do believe in a player with a hit tool like this in a favorable park situation tapping into a bit more power and evolving as a hitter. I love Peralta as perhaps the next (not quite this in fantasy) Charlie Blackmon-esque late-career breakout.

Cole Hamels (PR: 23): Situation is everything for the pitching position sometimes. NL. Out of Arlington. Better defense. Competitive Environment. Cole Hamels seems locked in.

Mike Fiers (PR: 42): Already having a great season, the move to Oakland has seemed to give Fiers even more of a boost. I’m not against buying depending on the price, especially considering that getting to call Oakland home should theoretically help balance out the risk on a per-start basis as long as he’s starting at home.

Aledmys Diaz (PR: 63): Diaz was as left for dead as they get by most fantasy owners after he moved to Toronto. And he didn’t prove them wrong either— at least at first. Now Diaz has quietly put together a top 70 performance on the PR the last 30 days. While I don’t believe it continues, Diaz is a player with some great tools to build a successful future major leaguer on, including his fast hands that seem to make great contact and generate great, above average power against fastballs.

Final Notes for the Season: The Big Shutdown

This is just your friendly reminder to keep an eye out for innings limitations that any of your starters may be on. Some of the most prominent names to be aware of are the aforementioned Zack Wheeler, some playoff contention players like Marco Gonzales and Lance McCullers, and virtually any young pitcher on a poor performing team.

That’s all I have for now.

Cheers.


Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio Show: Join host Brian Roach, Jr, and Cole Freel live on Sunday August 26th, 2018 from 8-9:30pm EST for episode #134 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. This will be our final fantasy baseball show of the 2018 season. Come join us to give our final thoughts on the season as well as the fantasy playoffs and roto league strecth runs.

Our guest this week is Bryan Luhrs. Bryan is a writer with majorleaguefantasysports.com. Bryan focuses on the minor leagues and he also is the owner of Real Deal Dynasty Sports.

Major League Fantasy Football Radio Show: Join host Corey D Roberts live August 16th, 2018 from 8-9:30pm EST for episode #89 of Major League Fantasy Football Radio. Call in number is 323-870-4395 press 1 to speak with the host. This week we will take a close look at some possible ADP steals in our drafts this season.

My guest this week is Andy Macuga. He is the former Head Football and Baseball Coach for Borrego Springs H.S. out in the San Diego area. Andy is also a 6 year veteran of Major League Fantasy Sports leagues and a frequent radio guest.

Bachelors in English and History from Indiana University. Borderline-Obsessed Fantasy Baseball Writer who also dabbles in Football, Basketball and Combat Sports.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. jfazz

    September 9, 2018 at 4:20 pm

    great one cole

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Major League Fantasy Baseball Show Episode #134, 8/26/2018 Host Brian Roach, Jr., Co-Host Cole Freel, Guest Bryan Luhrs

Major League Fantasy Baseball Show Episode #134, 8/26/2018 Host Brian Roach, Jr, Co-Host Cole Freel, Guest Bryan Luhrs

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