Buy Low and Sell High: Starting Pitchers for Week 7

Joe Gallina breaks down some MLB starting pitchers (SP) to either buy low or sell high on for fantasy baseball. These players should be targeted in trades.

Joe Gallina - RotoBaller

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Knowing when to pull the trigger on a trade is tough. You might get agitated when you offer a trade and it gets rejected. On the opposite part of the spectrum you question yourself when an offer you’ve made gets accepted too quickly. Have you given up too much? In order to help you make trades that are in your favor I’ve analyzed the pitching spectrum and found some players who are under performing and should be bought now. I’ve also found a couple of pitchers whose value is way too high and should be traded as soon as possible. Buying low is not for the faint of heart but remember no matter how high a pitcher’s ERA or WHIP is, they will get a fresh start on your roster. It is important to sell high. There is nothing worse than watching a player who busted out of the gate eventually fade and drag your team down in the process. I wish you the best in all your trading endeavors. Remember, sell high and buy low.

 

Buy Low

David Price (Tampa Bay Rays)

rotoballer-fantasy-baseball-advice-david-priceDavid Price has been baseball’s version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. In one start he gives up just one run to the Reds in their hitter’s ball park and he follows that with a clunker, five inning in which he gave up six runs to the New York Yankees. Is an ERA over 4.5 and a 1.25 WHIP truly all that we can expect from Price this year? Fear not, Mr. Price’s season will turn around.

Why am I optimistic? If you look beyond the traditional stats you find that Price is throwing 73.3 % of his first pitches for strikes, the highest rate of his career. That has helped his swinging strike rate (how often a batter swings and misses) to increase to 10.4%, well over his 8.6 career average. Price has also shown impeccable control, walking just six batters while striking out 58 in 53.2 innings. He still throws a fastball in the low 90’s and pitches for a team that always competes for their division title so take advantage of his grumpy Fantasy Baseball Managers and trade for him while you can. You may be able to grab yourself a bargain.

 

Cole Hamels (Philadelphia Phillies)

Why is Cole Hamels, who has a career 3.41 ERA, having such a tough start to the season? If you consider that he is a notoriously slow starter with a 4.05 career ERA in April, and throw in the fact that he began the season on the DL, you can kind of understand why his ERA currently sits at 7.02. I believe that Cole Hamels will see better days. Need some proof? Last season, Hamels went 4-11 with a 4.05 ERA before the all star break and 4-3 with a 2.97 ERA the rest of the way. Hamels’ BABIP of .415, the highest in his career, shows that in some respect bad luck has contributed to his woes this season. Keep an eye on Hamels’ progress. His exasperated Fantasy Baseball Manager may just agree to a trade that will help your team make a late season run at a fantasy baseball title.

 

Homer Bailey (Cincinnati Reds)

Do you believe in Homer Bailey? By giving him a 6 year $105 million contract extension the Reds showed the world just how much they believe in him and how has Bailey paid them back? He has paid them back by pitching to an ERA that is well over five and a bloated WHIP of over 1.6. Bailey’s season is bound to improve. Over 51% of his pitches are thrown in the strike zone and his lively 94 MPH fastball makes batters who face him to swing and miss at a rate of 9.5. A wise man once told me that ground balls have a high frequency of turning into outs. If that is truly the case then his above average ground ball rate of 52.8% will help him put up better fantasy numbers. I still believe in Homer Bailey and since he is probably sitting on the sale rack in your fantasy league you can probably work out a deal that won’t cost you much.

 

Nathan Eovaldi (Miami Marlins)

Nate Eovaldi is having a phenomenal year for the Marlins thus far. At just 24 years of age he is averaging just under a strikeout per inning, he has an ERA of 2.86 and a WHIP of just 1.11. The best part of it all is that other than his Fantasy Baseball Owners Eovaldi is still flying under the radar. Not many realize just how good this kid is. If you look inside the numbers he has all the qualities that can make him one of the elite starters in the game for years to come. He gets ahead of batters by throwing 65.4% of his first pitches for strikes, top 5 in the MLB. His pitches are in the strike zone 62.4%  of the time, also top 5 in the MLB.   Hitters have a tough time putting the bat to the ball since they swing and miss at 9% the pitches that he throws for strikes. Add in his 56.3% ground ball rate and you’ve got a pitcher that you need to acquire before his asking price becomes too high. He has tremendous value, especially in keeper leagues.

 

Sell High

Aaron Harang (Atlanta Braves)

Aaron Harang has been one of the feel good stories of this young 2014 baseball season. He has put up some amazing stats that have allowed the Atlanta Braves and their decimated starting pitching staff to remain at the top of their division. So many have asked how has a pitcher who no one drafted and had a 5.40 ERA just one season ago become such a dominant force at the age of 36? If you look at Harang’s overall numbers the only significant change is that batters are swinging and missing at 9.8% of his pitches this season as opposed to only 7.8% last season. The only other thing Harang has going for him this season is that he’s got a better defense playing behind him. Other than that, velocity, groundball rates, they have all stayed the same which leads me to conclude that eventually Harang will stop pitching like Cy Young and pitch like…well, Aaron Harang. His fall from grace is coming soon, his 4/30 start in which he was bled for 9 runs in 4.2 innings is proof of that. Luckily he followed that start with a good start so maybe your fellow Fantasy Baseball Owners didn’t notice the “glitch in the Matrix”.

 

Mark Buehrle (Toronto Blue Jays)

For the past several seasons Mark Buehrle has been a perennial .500 pitcher but if the season ended today he would be one of the favorites to win the AL Cy Young. What has happened to turn this mediocre pitcher into a machine that has six wins, an ERA that is hovering around the 1.9 mark and a 1.17 WHIP? No one knows and quite frankly it doesn’t make sense. His groundball rate is 5 points less than his career average of 45%, his swinging strike rate has dropped off slightly and he has even lost a mile or so off of his fastball. He is relying on his two seam fastball and curveball more this season but can that explain why he has been so dominant? Will his success continue? Buehrle has always been a dependable starter who flat out knows how to pitch but he is in way over his head right now. News Flash: Buehrle will not be the AL Cy Young award winner this season. Sorry, but it is not going to happen and if you can find a trading partner who places that kind of value on him, trade him and trade him fast.

 




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