Your Gooaaalll Is To Stay One Step Ahead
I know it has been hard for most of us to sit and watch a baseball game with all of the heart stopping World Cup action happening. The good news is that your league has most likely done the same. Be alert during the next few days and weeks while everyone is distracted. The World Cup could give you a great opportunity to snag a guy off the waiver wire or buy low on a nice fantasy baseball sleeper.
As Frank the Tank would say, “We’ve got to keep our composure!”
Fantasy Baseball Hitters To Buy
With 69 games now under his belt, Brian McCann is beginning to show signs that he can survive in the AL East. All of his stats have been affected by the adjustment to a different league and are still not looking too pretty for fantasy owners.
The good news though, is that McCann has actually lowered his GB% this year to 35.6% from his career average of 37.4%. In return, he has increased his LD% to 22.9% compared to his 20.1% career average. With McCann hitting the ball better than in recent years, his .226 BABIP will begin to creep more towards his career .285, and his average will begin to creep back towards his .274 career batting average. As his BA creeps up, so will his R, RBI and HR - he's a great buy-low candidate for the second half.
David Ortiz always heats up after the All-Star Break. He is having a great season thus far, but his .252 batting average leaves something to be desired. Ortiz is only hitting with a .250 BABIP, and I say only because his career average of .303 is quite a bit higher. Of course his power has been there all season (.223 ISO and 17.9% HR/FB ratio), but his everyday value will begin to rise along with his batting average, as he will begin to get more H, RBI, R, etc.
Boston is only eight games out of first place, right now. As they tend to, I expect them start making a push towards first after the All-Star Break. At the center of that action will be Big Papi, as he always is.
Almost all of Albert Pujols’ hitting statistics have declined since he’s joined the Angels. At first it was alarming, but now it is hard to watch. Don’t get me wrong, he is still putting up pretty solid numbers as far as fantasy is concerned, but they are a far cry from what they have been in the past.
His BABIP the past three years has averaged .260 compared to his career .303 (including the Angels years) and his BA has averaged .261 compared to his .319 career average (also including the Angels years). This season, however, he has reached what has to be his rock bottom.
This year, Pujols has a 46.9% GB% and only a 16.7% LD%. Those numbers are shocking for one of baseball’s purest hitters. Even more surprising is his lack of plate discipline (.64 BB/K ratio). I wouldn’t count on him to continue hitting this way the rest of the season. His .240 BABIP is due to him being more unlucky than it is due to his declining skills. Once he begins to make solid contact with the ball again, expect that BABIP to rise and Pujols to start putting up numbers close to where they were three years ago.
Here is why I’m buying J.D. Martinez when everything is suggesting sell him high. For one, he has a cool 13 game hitting streak, which has grabbed the attention of his manager, which is reason two. Brad Ausmus will continue to find a way to get Martinez in the lineup each night if his hitting continues.
With his impressive power upside (8 HR in 127 AB), the only thing I would suggest selling Martinez for is his hot start. His .367 BABIP will inevitably drop, as will his BA. What has me high on Martinez, however, is his reduction in GB% from his career average of 44.9% to 37.9%. Martinez has appeared to finally understand major league pitching, and it putting the ball in the air more and driving it further, and for that, I’m buying.
Fantasy Baseball Hitters To Sell
Jose Abreu will have to regress at some point this season, right? There is no way he can carry a .333 ISO and .607 SLG for a whole season, can he? He is striking out 25.5% of the time, which suggests that his .274 BA is too good to be true. He is also hitting a low FB% of 35.1% for a power hitter. However, the market for Abreu has exploded this year, which will allow a trade for any of the top fantasy players in the league right now.
Melky Cabrera hasn’t had a single year in his nine (I’m not going to count his 19 AB in 2005) big league seasons with more than 20 HR. He is on pace this year to eclipse that mark for the first time, but watch out.
Even though he has lowered his GB% (not by much) to 47.9%, he is still only hitting a 29.9% FB%. His career ISO is .129, but his ISO this year is a career high .172. Also, this is his second year in a row with a lower BB/K ratio than the year before. Those aren’t great signs for him to eclipse the 20 HR mark.
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