HI/LO takes on many shapes and forms. In the past six weeks I’ve intentionally mixed it up in hopes of covering all angles (links below).
To get to this weeks article scroll down for SIX players to target.
By the time you read this at least a quarter of the season will be gone. Pre-season ADP’s are nothing more than testimony as to how volatile predicting results can be. As each day goes by players that have impressed gain value and those that are mired become readily available. Today I am going to downsize the scope to a handful of players to either seek or swap. Next week I will compose a team of early season stiffs that are worthy of a week eight BUY LO swap.
HI/LO 7: SEEK’EM
Mallex Smith, Mariners
It was a perfect storm this spring for the guy I not so lovingly call Maalox (after the acid indigestion medicine). Hindsight being what it is, there was a series of unfortunate events for the speedster.
First, was the trade from Tampa Bay to Seattle. I guess you could say that the Rays pulled a SELL/HI on Smith based on the 40 stolen base breakout (13 in September alone). Oh, and he hit .296 (minors .294 lifetime) and had a solid .773 OPS (minors .771). Speed is without question the key ingredient. If you can swipe 258 bases in 456 minor league games you will get a shot to play in the big leagues.
Second, was a preseason elbow injury doing the long toss that set him back and remaining in the United States when the Mariners opened the season in Tokyo. Nonetheless he did play shortly thereafter and it wasn’t good. Actually it was bad as testified by a .165 batting average and .502 OPS in 110 plate appearances prior to his demotion to Tacoma in late April. The good news for the 26 year old is that he’s stinging the ball in his first nine games at the Farm (.350 average/ .895 OPS) as well as stealing bags (7). All told he’s stole 15 (of 16) in 36 games total this year.
Thirdly, was the Dee Gordon reemergence in 2019. Coming off a dreadful, for him, 2018 season when he batted .268 with a paltry .637 OPS. Similar player to Maalox as far as wheels being the key. Last year he stole 30 bags but was thrown out 12 times. It was questioned if the then 30 year old lost a half step.
And then the 2019 season started with Smith batting leadoff and Gordon batting ninth. Not exactly ideal but the Mariners were happy with this kind of table setting speed hitting back-to-back; and then Maalox was issued a wakeup call and sent to AAA. In the meantime Gordon has regained the “Flash” and swiped ten sacks (caught twice) and is batting .304. He even has 19 RBI already after mustering only 36 all of last year. Chances are that Maalox was either reserved (most likely) or just plain waived. Either way, even if your team is strong in SB’s, MAKE A PLAY FOR HIM NOW.
Mike Foltynewicz, Braves
What a mighty fall from Cy Young consideration (8th) to the current abyss for Folty. The fact of the matter is that the preseason arm injury drove his draft day cost to, on average, the 41st SP taken and an overall 13th round slot. That tells you right there that this was a leap of faith type pick. Pitching elbow bone spurs are a big problem and many times an “evacuation” is necessary. In the case of Folty the Braves took the conservative approach of a few weeks of rehab and rest and then on April 4 started a game in AAA, Gwinett. He started a total of four games and was unimpressive (6.11 ERA) but was brought back to the majors and pitched on April 27th. So far he’s pitched in four games and the results have been horrendous (8.02 ERA/ 1.59 WHIP). Gopher balls are out of whack- he’s allowed eight in 17 innings already (last year 17 allowed in 183 innings). Ineffectiveness with the slider has been labeled the culprit. In a nutshell his command sucks.
This is a triple-whammy situation for owners, first, the guy gets hurt and second he hasn’t regained last year’s breakout form. And let’s not forget, third, is the elbow “better”? Three really compelling reasons to SELL. Gambling a return to relevance defines the essence of BUY LO. You guess right and you’re smiling- you guess wrong and you move on…
Matt Carpenter, Cards
QUARTERPOLE stats (40 games)= 4 HR/ 9 RBI/ 42 k’S
No one expected Carp to hit another 36 homers this year but to fall off the table with a grotesque .654 OPS, that is nightmarish. Especially in leagues that use OBP or OPS, now is the time to try to take the Redbird off their hands. There’s a lot of 1B/3B options and Carpenter owners have got to be getting antsy especially since he’s a one position pony these days. Expect a rebound to the realistic 25-75 RBI range, if you can, spring a quick deal before he rejoins the planet with a blaze of glory.
HI/LO 7: SWAP ‘EM
Jon Lester, Cubs
Hasn’t missed a start in over four years, why is this guy so underrated? Maybe it’s the fact that he’s in his 14th year? Maybe because it burns you to see an MLB lefty that doesn’t even have a pickoff move?
It doesn’t matter this guy is gritty and still very valid. Of course, not as valid as the tremendous quarter of a season or so run. The one kink was that during start #3 on April 8th when he left the game with a strained ham hock. But the results after missing two starts, and 17 days later, have been impeccable (3-1 record/ 1.16 ERA/ 1.11 Ratio). In the past four efforts Lester has allowed one earned run in 24.2 IP while only walking two and striking out 25! Hard to argue with that kind of success. But I will anyway, if I was an owner I’d be willing to listen to offers. On the other hand, if I am not an owner I wait for a couple batterings and try to subtly pick the bastid up.
George Springer, Astros (16 HR / 40 RBI/ .320 avg/ 1.051 ops)
Tremendous start to his age 29 season for the soaring Astros (29-15). And by far and away Springer has been an MVP type. Career highs in R/HR/RBI/AVG/OPS are in sight for this underrated ball player. Actually he has performed better in the post season (32 games) where in 130 at bats he’s clobbered 11 homers (20 RBI) and had a 1.026 OPS!
But then there’s the meteoric start of this season that makes one wonder is this the year Georgie goes 100 (runs) and 100 (RBI)? Answer that in two seconds with a YES- keep him on your team. If the answer is NO- SELL for the Kings Ransom only.
Bear in mind that there are only two other 100/100 members: Darin Erstad, Angels in 2000 in the midst of a 240 hit display and, most recently, in 2017, Charlie Blackmon, Rocky Mountain Oysters.
Hyun-Jin Ryu, Dodgers
To be clear the Monster (nickname listed in Baseball Reference) can be a very good pitcher. Last year’s stats – 1.97 ERA and 1.01 ratio – were superlative in the 81.2 innings he pitched. That was a major workload compared to 2015 and 2016 when he pitched, not a misprint, 4.2 innings. Now 33 years old the results this season have been astounding: 5-1 record/ 1.72 ERA/ .189 OBA and an 18:1 K:BB rate. You’d be a real dolt to trade this guy right? Not really. There are the normal “worries” that could lead to a SELL HIGHER THAN THE CLOUDS situation. Think about it , what are the odds of Ryu who hasn’t pitched over 150 innings in five years to go to the post 32 times and keep his ERA and other stats Cy Young worthy? Two words, slim and none. I’ll admit trading #99 requires big rocks. Even if you’re pitching is outstanding get a decent arm back in addition to a solid top 50 hitter. The stock is that high right now.
Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio Show: Join host Brian Roach, Jr, and Cole Freel live on Sunday May 12th, 2019 from 8pm-9:30pm EST for episode #159 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.
Our guest this week is Kevin Bzdek. Kevin is a writer, editor, league owner, and frequent guest on majorleaguefantasysports.com shows.
Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio Show: Join host Cole Freel, and Kyle Amore live on Thursday May 16th, 2019 from 7:30-9pm EST for episode #160 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.