I don’t know if a single player can win a fantasy baseball league, but Troy Tulowitzki is beginning to make me think it’s possible. This season, Tulo has a 227 wRC+. That means that out of every other hitter in baseball, Tulo is creating 127% more runs! You just can't find production like this often in your drafts, let alone off the waiver wire.
For comparison, Carlos Gonzalez and Adrian Beltre (depending on the league, both potential first round draft picks) are combined for 44 R, 10 HR, 43 RBI, 2 SB, and are hitting .266. Tulo has 42 R, 13 HR, 35 RBI, 1 SB and is hitting .393. If that’s not good enough to win you a league, it’s pretty close. Enough of Tulo, on to week 8's buys and sells for fantasy baseball. Let's try and identify some potential sleepers to target in trades, and some candidates for regression going forward.
Fantasy Baseball Hitters To Buy
Pedro Alvarez (3B, Pirates)
Pedro Alvarez is well known and has to be owned in every league. His value, however, has diminished recently due to one of his notorious slumps (only 2 HR and 11 RBI in the last 30 days). He will explode out of the slump in a big way any day now and when he does, you’ll wish you traded for that diminished value now. For the season, Alvarez is hitting .209 with a .225 BABIP.
For his career, Alvarez averages a .233 BA and .292 BABIP. He is still sporting a 40.3% FB% and 16.7% HR/FB ratio, which will lead to a HR and RBI epidemic once his BABIP and BA catch back up. His slump is mostly due to a BABIP that is lower than normal for him. Furthermore, he is walking more, 12.2% this year, and striking out less, 21.5% this year, compared to his career, 9.3% and 29.8% respectively. He will bounce back in a big way, and soon.
Brian Dozier (2B, Twins)
Brian Dozier is what I consider a four-category hitter. The only category in standard scoring formats that he is not above average in is BA (he is hitting .257). Dozier has 40 R, 11 HR, 25 RBI, and 12 SB in the other categories that have created a huge 140 wRC+ for him. His BA does not hurt you (it just might not help you that much), but every other category more than makes up for it. He has great plate discipline, sporting a .79 BB/K ratio, which will continue to keep him on base the rest of the season. He is well on track to beat his career high 18 HR due to an impressive 19.0% HR/FB ratio, complimented well by a 44.6% FB%. He had an average draft position of 196 in ESPN leagues and can be traded for way below his actual value.
Brandon Hicks (SS/2B, Giants)
There aren’t a lot of statistics to compare for Brandon Hicks, so my decision to buy is based solely on this season. This year, he has a .229 BABIP and .195 AVG, but is hitting a nice 16.7% HR/FB ratio with 54.5% of his hits being fly balls. He is currently striking out twice for every walk but is still creating 10% more runs than league average with a 110 wRC+. I particularly like Hicks’ SS and 2B eligibility. Both positions tend to be shallow and to be eligible in both provides much needed flexibility in everyday lineups.
Fantasy Baseball Hitters To Sell
Alfonso Soriano (OF/DH, Yankees)
At 38 years old, Alfonso Soriano might have finally passed his prime. Since 2002, Soriano has finished only a single season with an ISO below .200 (and most aren’t close). This year, Soriano has a .183 ISO. He is still producing decent HR and RBI numbers of 6 and 17 respectively, but is mainly used in the DH role.
When the Yankees play at an NL stadium, expect Soriano to be used primarily as a pinch hitter. Soriano also has the lowest BB/K ratio of his career, .12, in seasons when he played more than 22 games. Weigh in his .89 wRC+ and you can see why I’d want to sell him to one of the Yankee fans in your league. There is always one.
Leonys Martin (OF, Rangers)
Selling Leonys Martin now will payoff big dividends at the end of the season, especially if your team is already set on SB. Basically, stolen bases are all Martin has been good for this season and 9 is the perfect amount to grab a desperate owner’s attention. Martin has an inflated .369 BABIP and .282 AVG compared to his career .325 and .260, respectively. His BA will begin to decline with the BABIP and a 23.4% K%. Also, his 88 wRC+ will be easily replaceable with the right offer and your team’s production should begin to rise.
Dee Gordon (SS/2B, Dodgers)
Dee Gordon has 25 stolen bases so far this season! That is nine more than Billy Hamilton who is in second place. Why sell Gordon? Sell him because he is the hottest thing in fantasy baseball and is worth his speed. Everything is pointing to him leading the league in stolen bases this year and possibly getting the elusive 100 stolen bases. With that type of speed from a waiver wire pick up, sell him for the moon. The darker side of Gordon is that Gordon is hitting .304 this season contrasting his .266 career batting average and his .354 BABIP contrasts his career average of .318. Both will come down, reducing his .344 OBP and more importantly, limiting steals.