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Buy or Sell - Undervalued and Overvalued Players for Week 12


Injuries suck. We've always known this, but the move to a 10-day disabled list last year along with numerous injuries to high-profile players this year have slapped fantasy owners in the face with the hard, cold hand of reality. Injuries can cause huge shifts in value for fantasy players, so it's always wise to assess when the time is right to buy or sell accordingly. This week, we'll focus on some players who have recently dealt with nagging injuries to see whether they are worth pursuing in the open market.

Scouting players who may be undervalued and re-assessing players who may be overvalued is a weekly exercise that you should constantly pursue as a dedicated fantasy baseball manager. Fortunately, I have you covered. Here are a few players who are good buy or sell candidates based on their current performance compared to ownership levels. This could mean scooping them off waivers if possible or actively seeking a trade to acquire or discard certain players in order to maximize value.

I will typically include at least one player at each key position group (infield, outfield, pitcher) and will never advocate that you buy or sell a player if I wouldn't follow the same advice myself. Now, time to assess some fantasy values.

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Underrated Players - Week 12

Yan Gomes (C, CLE) - 11% owned

The Indians fooled us into getting excited about Francisco Mejia's call-up for 24 hours before sending him back to toil in Triple-A a bit longer. Roberto Perez has been inept all year, but his role as the light-hitting backup seems secure as long as he's healthy. That leaves Gomes to take the bulk of the at-bats and he's done a decent job. He's posting a career-best .204 ISO, boosted by three homers in the last week alone. Maybe those footsteps coming from top prospect Mejia lit a fire under him. His plate discipline has taken a backseat, as he's lifting the ball more than ever while also striking out more. If he can keep up his 43% Hard Contact rate, that's just fine. Gomes is now fifth in homers and 15th in RBI among all catchers, which makes him startable in 12-team leagues.

Matt Carpenter (1B/2B/3B, STL) - 77% owned

Carp went deep again on Friday night, bolstering his recent resurgence. He looked completely done after a miserable start to the season where he batted .145 with an uncharacteristic 25 strikeouts in 23 April games. This followed up last year's injury-plagued season where he finished with a career-worst .241 average. His shoulder and back issues seem to be behind him now and it's showing up in his batted-ball profile; Carpenter is limiting his Soft% to just 7.6% with a career-best 48.4% Hard%. His season-long slash line of .232/.335/.418 looks disappointing, but those who have been paying attention can see that the Carp of old is back.

Adam Eaton (OF, WAS) - 69% owned

Does everyone not realize that Eaton is back at the top of the Nats lineup? This is a player that was drafted as an OF3 in most leagues as the 41st-ranked outfielder in terms of ADP. He's already making a habit of crossing the plate, scoring three times in his first three games off the DL. While most competitive leagues won't see his name on the waiver wire list, there is still a buy-low window from owners who are nervous about his health. This is a legitimate concern since an ankle injury could be problematic for a player somewhat dependent on speed, but the team didn't rush him back and he appears to be 100%. You shouldn't count on him to steal 15+ bases any longer, but he could be an elite run-scorer the rest of the way. Eaton has scored 37 runs in 34 games with a .318 batting average since joining the Nats last year - the only thing missing is a higher AB total.

Joey Lucchesi (SP, SD) - 66% owned

Joey Lucks, as I and nobody else refers to him (no relation to Rick), just threw a rehab start where he touched 96 mph on the radar gun and looked sharp enough to take the mound in Petco once again. Lucchesi made a great initial impression with 25 K in his first 21 2/3 innings pitched compared to just four walks. He then got bit by the home run bug, allowing six bombs in his last four starts, before hitting the DL with a hip strain. Lucchesi is not a fly ball pitcher and excelled at keeping the ball inside the park in his brief minor league career, so that shouldn't be a major concern going forward. He needs to improve his secondary pitches, especially his curveball which is essentially a show-me pitch at this level, but if you've seen the movement on his fastball then you know he'll get by for now. A 2200 RPM spin rate is middle of the pack, but Lucchesi knows how to place his pitches in the lower half of the zone. Lucchesi has maintained strong K rates and has a pitcher-friendly environment for half his starts, so he is one rookie pitcher worth the risk.

 

Overrated Players - Week 12

Justin Turner (3B, LAD) - 83% owned

If there is one injury that's especially hard for a batter to fully recover from, it's a wrist injury. So much pressure is applied to those joints that even the slightest discomfort can subconsciously affect a batter's grip and/or bat speed. Turner missed less time than expected, but may have returned too soon. He looked strong in his first three games back, going 6-for-13, but he has just four multi-hit games and a .212 average since then. He took a four-day hiatus from the lineup last week, indicating he is still experiencing soreness. A larger issue might be the Dodgers lineup as a whole, where inconsistent Yasiel Puig and Joc Pederson are suddenly the ones carrying the offense. How long will that last? If Turner isn't 100%, then he's best left on your bench until he recovers fully or traded for something of value.

Ender Inciarte (OF, ATL) - 81% owned

There are career years and then there are career years. Inciarte is leading the majors in steals and is two SB away from his own personal best over a season with just under 100 games left to play. Is he on pace for 40, even 50 steals? Much like we shouldn't expect Ozzie Albies to finish with 40 homers, we can't project too lofty numbers for Inciarte. His two-steal game the other day represent his only thefts in the last 30 days. The Braves offense as a whole is coming back down to Earth, but Inciarte specifically is showing signs of negative regression across the board. He isn't owned for his power, so let's focus on his two most important categories: average and speed. You can see that his average has dropped each month and he's now getting caught stealing nearly as much as he's successful.

Inciarte may call 2018 his career year when it's all said and done, but it will largely come off the strength of his tremendous start. If you reaped the benefits, do yourself a favor and don't hold on too long.

Joakim Soria (RP, CHW) - 52% owned

You're never too old to make adjustments. Soria had a rough patch that led to him losing the closer gig before regaining it early in June. With six saves in the last two weeks, he is likely considered a pickup/buy-low candidate by many. Let me remind you that he will not be saving games into August, as he will almost surely be traded to provide bullpen depth to a contender. The rebuilding Sox have no need to keep an aging reliever in the final year of his contract when they have Nate Jones, Juan Minaya, Jace Fry and others waiting in the wings. If you held on or scooped up Soria in a league where closers are at a premium, you'd be wise to flip him sooner than later.

 

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