Early season stats can be unreliable. Good players that are suffering tend to rise and players on incredible hot streaks tend to find equilibrium sooner or later. In the meantime, plenty of owners have a hand poised over the panic button, ready to wheel and deal.
Over the next month I will roll out some players that gotta go (SELL HI) and others that gotta come (BUY LO). The objective is to offer a cross-section of the obvious and even some obscure options. This early in the season the back of the baseball card and preseason rank hold some credence. As the weeks go by that will change causing more panic and a what have you done for me lately mentality that will conceivably translate into better deals in the HI/LO marketplace. To those seeking a ton of sabermetric – see at the bottom to the link for Fangraphs.
SELL HIGH OPTIONS-PITCHERS
Cole Hamels, Cubs-#40 SP/ADP 146
(as of 4/24 stats- 3-0 record in 31.1 IP)
I was always a fan of this smooth thrower but unfortunately missed out in the five chances I had to grab the lug. Surely, the change of leagues has been a blessing thus far. Last year’s stats as a Cub (3.42 ERA and 1.00 WHIP) testified that he’s far from done.
Career marks of 3.66 ERA and 1.17 WHIP make him a way better than average hurler even taking into consideration some major mileage (2,553 innings prior to this year). In terms of overall health he’s a solid A- having missed about 10 starts in 12 years! So here he stands now raking in another $20 million on a team far more likely to make the post season than the Rangers were. He’s ready. The early season success has been phenomenal and it will take major stones to let him go but if there is ever a SELL HIGH opportunity this is it.
Jake Arrieta, Phillies-#52 SP/ADP 175
(as of 4/24 stats- 3-2 record in 34 IP)
A classic case of name recognition and early season good fortune creating a SELL opportunity. Pure and simple this is a player that has been going downhill for a few years. Durability is not an issue, in the four previous years he’s missed four starts- that will appeal to any owner besieged by the injury bug. Even at 33 and on the downside he’s an improvement over the legions of pitchers getting early season whiplash. The last plus is that he’s on the Phillies and they are gonna win 90+ games. What you don’t want to mention is that he conceivably will pitch half his games in Citizens Bank Ballpark or that he’s been very lucky early on. I’m doubtful that you’d fetch the prizes you’d get for Cole Hamels but you never know…
Shane Greene, Tigers-#31 RP/ADP 246
(as of 4/24 stats- 0-1 record in 13 innings)
Incredible starts by mediocre players are the PERFECT STORM for players of the HI/LO. Greene’s track record as a closer is okay, not notable. In fact, this year Joe Jimenez (4.31 ERA/ 1.20 WHIP/ 11.2 K/ 9) was rumored to finally be getting a shot as “THE MAN” after Greene’s 2018 (5.12/1.37 but did have 32 Saves). And then 2019 rolled around and Greene started nailing down saves with a vengeance. The Tigers downright stink but that doesn’t mean that 45 saves is not within reach for their closer. That is the line that you need to stick to when putting Greene on a trading block the size of Texas. It’s not easy parting with a lights out closer but A. it probably won’t last and B. even if it does last we’re talking a one category wonder type of guy. SELL before the Tigers go in the tank AND/OR he has a meltdown.
FOR THE RECORD: in 2018 the average MLB team gathered 41 Saves which means that in 50% of games a save was awarded. The record for the highest percentage of SAVES/WINS by a player is held by Francisco Rodriguez when he registered a save in 62% of his teams wins for the season. Thus far Tigers WINS=12 and Greene SAVES=10. If you believe that he can continue to save 82% of Tigers wins this year I have some fine New Jersey swampland and a fleet of Yugos for sale at a reasonable price….
BUY LOW OPTIONS- ARMS
(2019 stats through 4-24)
Plenty of good pitchers have taken a detour to the woodshed in the early going. Unlike with hitters, owners may be a bit more jumpy to give up on a pitcher considering their actual time on the field. Be aggressive when targeting struggling pitchers- three or more poundings in a row will piss off most owners.
Jack Flaherty, Cards– SP #16 /ADP 64
It’s been a fluke-like start to the season for a lot of MLB starters and not in a good way. Sale/ Kluber /Buehler/Nola/Thor, to name a few, haven’t lived up to lofty expectations. Add Flaherty to that list. This is a guy that many touted as a Cy Young sleeper. The early season debacle is very traceable to the long ball- seven in 24 innings. Keep that up and he’ll be in the wrong end of the record book and back in AAA. I’m betting on the opposite, an adjustment here and an adjustment there will get him back to respectability and beyond very soon. Strike now.
Eduardo Rodriguez, Bosox-SP #39/ADP 139
On draft day it often comes down to “the list”. In the case of E-Rod I could have snapped up Quintana, Folty or maybe even Glasnow. This kind of faith in a player yet to crack 137 innings in a season was all about the P word (potential). When he’s right and healthy, this is a young, dominant pitcher on a team that will wake up soon. You might get lucky and wait for some owner to exile him, or you can get proactively creative and make a three for three with Rodriguez as a spare part.
Yusei Kikuchi, Mariners-SP #46/ADP 168
1-1 record, 32 IP/4.68 ERA/1.32 WHIP/ .294 opponents batting average
The Mariners are off to a hot start and will need this guy to be Ace-like in order to make a playoff run. West coast players can be overlooked at times, don’t be that guy. Won’t be a 180-200 innings workhorse but has good stuff and command. Has been taken deep a lot early on but actually has three quality starts (50%); expect adjustments and overall improvement at a Walmart type price.
SELL HIGH OPTIONS-STICKS
Tim Anderson, White Sox-SS #14/ADP 140
|2018||.240||.687||every 28 ABs||.289||+18|
|2019||.383||.985||every 20 ABs||.443||+9|
The last few years the power/ speed mix emerged but on-base ability was a big issue. This year, as testified by the stats, he’s been nothing short of phenomenal. In the era of launch angles, more K’s than hits and the slow death of the running game Anderson has risen above. Imagine your good fortune if in a twelve team league you had picked a SS and then got this 25 year old meteor. That would make him more expandable in theory, especially if you look at the stats table above showing an impossibly sustainable situation.
Obviously in a dynasty league It’d be hard to pry him loose but in a redraft league this is a platinum nugget that is begging to enter highest bidder prevails territory.
Joc Pederson, Dodgers-OF #72/ADP 274
|2018||.248||.843||every 18 ABs||.253||-4|
|2019||.263||1.078||every 9 ABs||.196||0|
Last year he set a career high with a .522 slugging percentage. Other than that, no growth. Pederson entered the season with a batting average of <.230 and a K rate a miserable 24%. The glimmer of hope going into the season was the exodus of Matt Kemp and the move of Kike Hernandez to the infield, which opened two spots in the OF. This was make or break time for Joc- and thus far he’s making a bit of a statement. Forget about stolen bases (he’s a bewildering 15/32 lifetime) but the power has been tremendous. Chances of besting the career high in homers (26 as a rookie All Star) looks very doable- in fact a lock is what non-Pederson owners are thinking. It’s always discouraging when a player is in the “Gallo Zone” of hitting more homers than singles (10 homers and eight singles!) Expect a return to the planet we live on soon. Don’t let a seemingly guru-like pick get ahold of your ego- be happy with those ten quick bombs he hit and SELL .
Christian Walker, D’Backs- 1B#74/ADP 644
Goldies gone but there’s another strapping, 220 lb power hitter in town. The only people on this guy, even in the deepest league, had to be the minor league numbers nerds that saw a powerful (125 HRS) and solid hitter (.285). Predicatively the K rate was high >25%. But in this day and age, no biggie.
It had to be frustrating playing behind arguably the best overall 1B in the game. He must have learned something watching based on the early season thunder as testified by a sweet .341 average, 7 homers and a tremendous 1.092 OPS. Bear in mind that this encompasses a measly 93 AB stretch. But this is the unusual go either way player, I’d definitely sell at a profit OR as a buyer take a flyer in a multi-player deal for the 28 year old lumberjack.
BUY LOW OPTIONS- HITTERS
Jose Peraza, Reds-SS #13/ ADP 103
Last year was a true bust out for the speedy youngster. Only 24 now, look for a rebound once it warms up and Reds disappointing rookie manager, David Bell, realizes that this is a top of the order guy and not some lousy #8 hitter. Quantum leaps like the one that Peraza took often are the catapult to several strong years. Rock bottom starts like this are big opportunities since the price is as low as a snakes belly- strike cheaply and fast.
|2018||.288||.742||every 45 AB’s||.307||+17|
|2019||.157||.409||every 70 AB’s||.192||+1|
Starling Marte, Bucs-OF #13/ ADP 28
Good ballplayer who is simply off to a bad start, and then he got trashed in an outfield collision. Unless the injuries are serious he will bounce back to cog-like form. Marte is streaky and exciting. One of the few guaranteed speed threats in the game with 20+big fly power. GET HIM.
|2018||.277||.787||every 28 ABs||.312||+19|
|2019||.203||.623||every 37 ABs||.222||+2|
Kris Bryant, Cubs-3B #6/ ADP 28
Total disappointment last year appears to still be struggling to regain All Star form. Perplexing situations like this drive owners to want to get rid of a guy. Worth a gamble but seek a decent discount based on this pitiful two year swoon. Bryant was overpriced to start after last years mess but he’s very popular and after all has an MVP and not long ago had prodigious power. Take a run at him now before the weather heats up in Chi-Town and he starts launching the ball into adjoining neighborhoods.
|2018||.272||.834||every 35 AB’s||.342||-2|
|2019||.232||.729||every 82 AB’s||.295||+1|
Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio Show: Join host Cole Freel live on Sunday April 21st, 2019 from 8-9:30pm EST for episode #153 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. You can listen live on blogtalk, majorleaguefantasysports.com, or download the podcast on I-Tunes or any Android podcast app. We will discuss spot starters for the coming week, plus a weekend update, and look ahead to next week.
Major League Fantasy Baseball Show: Join host Cole Freel, and Kyle Amore live on Thursday April 25th, 2019 from 7:30-9pm EST for episode #154 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. You can listen live on blogtalk, majorleaguefantasysports.com, or download the podcast on I-Tunes or any Android podcast app. Cole and Kyle will discuss the latest happenings in the world of MLB and fantasy. They will take a look back on the previous few days and a preview of the coming weekend. Including spot starts, bullpens, offense, and minor league players.