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Buy or Sell - Undervalued and Overvalued Players for Week 14


We all suffer from recency bias, whether we realize it or not. It's easy in this day and age. Highlights and long-winded articles about who you should add, drop, or trade color our perception even more, but the numbers tell the true story. If any sport demands that we step back and take a macro view of things, it's baseball. 162 games define a season, but in the fantasy world, each day brings about change. While blasts from the past may not be as exciting as the recent rookie call-up or young starting pitcher who strings together a couple of quality starts, but in the long run they could prove more valuable.

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 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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Undervalued Players - Week 14

Steve Pearce (1B/OF, BOS) 2% owned

Pearce's name has come up before, but mainly in Statcast-based articles because he's tearing the cover off the ball this year, whether you realize it or not. Recently acquired by the Red Sox, that alone is a boost to his value. If he plays against lefties in a platoon with Mitch Moreland, effectively taking over Hanley Ramirez's role, then he is definitely fantasy relevant. His slash line of .291/.349/.519 is good, but the fact he is second in the league in xSLG and 15th in Barrels shows how much better he could be with regular playing time. That won't happen without an injury, but owners in daily lineups that have the chance to play matchups should insert Pearce whenever possible.

Avisail Garcia (OF, CHW)  22% owned

Garcia is up to a nine-game hitting streak, modest as it may be. He's gone deep twice in the last week too, so it doesn't appear it will take him any longer to round into form. Garcia isn't a power play, but a guy who hit .330 last year and bats near the top of the lineup is worth a roster spot. Many are skeptical of last year's breakout because of an inflated .392 BABIP that suddenly surged and the relative lack of homers. Keep in mind that he's 27 years old and was a highly-regarded prospect out of Venezuela, so the breakout could have been very real. He's on another one-year contract, so despite the fact he's on a rebuilding team, he has plenty to prove an could potentially find himself in a better situation soon. Add him if you can, even in keeper leagues where he can be counted on for years to come.

Keon Broxton (OF, MIL) 4% owned

Ah, my favorite sleeper from last year that didn't pan out. Broxton made a statement that he wants to change all that with two homers, four RBI, and a stolen base in his third game since being recalled. He's always had a tantalizing power/speed skill set that he showed last year by going 20/21. He also hit a dead even .220 and struck out 37.8% of the time. It remains to be seen whether he can make major improvements in that area, but his upside is too good to ignore. He had strong walk rates in the double-digits at Double-A and Triple-A levels for a couple of years, so the biggest hope is that he is able to transfer those skills to the Brewers' lineup, even though he didn't last season. With Lorenzo Cain on the disabled list and Christian Yelich day-to-day, now's the time to take a chance.

Marcus Stroman (SP, TOR) 57% owned

My first flip of the year, Stroman was listed as overvalued by me way back in April, before it became obvious something was wrong with him. I mentioned on the Champions Analysis Podcast that he needed to hit the DL, even if it wasn't an apparent injury, just to recover his strength and get right mentally. If you cut bait then, congrats. Now it's time to take him back. Stroman was obviously not fully recovered from a shoulder issue that plagued him before the season began and needed an extended DL stint to get right. He looks like his old self again, allowing just two runs on five hits through seven frames on Friday night against the Tigers after going five scoreless in his first start back. Stroman's stock will stay depressed a bit longer while cautious owners wait to see if he's fully healthy, but his buy-low window won't be open much longer.

 

Overvalued Players - Week 14

Brandon Nimmo (OF, NYM) 67% owned

It's always a tricky proposition when it comes to dealing away a player who is blazing hot because you don't want to miss out on continued production if it comes. Players like Ozzie Albies and Jed Lowrie are still playing fairly well, but the home runs have predictably dried up for Albies while Lowrie's average is below .300 and his RBI total for May/June are still less than April alone. In Nimmo's case, he received an extra hype boost from the New York market, but he is also ready to plummet back to reality and it may already be happening. He hasn't homered since June 18 and is stuck in a 7-for-33 rut. I'm not worried about the pinky finger issue, but regression can sometimes be just as hurtful as an injury. Nimmo is a talented player, but plays for a team that is now in the cellar of the NL East after losing to the Marlins and falling below them in the wins column. Help isn't on the way, so Nimmo will be reliant on his own power to generate fantasy points. If you own him, it may be best to deal him for a player with a better supporting cast and track record, such as Matt Kemp or Shin-Soo Choo.

Rick Porcello (SP, BOS) 89% owned

A week ago, Porcello spun a gem against the Twins, tossing seven scoreless innings with just one hit allowed. I know because I was there. I can also tell you that Eddie Rosario was out that game, Miguel Sano was (is) toiling in the minors, and Byron Buxton is still on the DL. The Twins' lineup included Ryan LaMarre, Ehire Adrianza, and Bobby Wilson that day. Don't get me wrong, Porcello has been good all year, especially to start the season, but will remain a good, not great pitcher who is largely dependent on wins to propel his value. Porcello's 3.60 ERA is fully supported by a 3.80 SIERA, but that ranks 30th among all qualified starters and he strikes out less than a batter per inning. Some players delivering similar value that weren't drafted this season: Tyson Ross, Junior Guerra, Kyle Gibson. Porcello won't be viewed as an ace in any fantasy league, but his name recognition and ownership level will fetch you a better return than those other players who are still available off waivers in many leagues. Porcello owners could try acquiring a bat for him and then replacing those stats with one of the aforementioned SP options.

Hector Rondon (RP, HOU) 49% owned

He's the closer for the World Champs and he needs to be owned, but for how long? Rondon was unceremoniously stripped of the closer job for the Cubs following their championship season and found himself in an ideal situation behind Ken Giles this year. He's now posting the highest strikeout rate of his career at 31.2% and is holding a 1.50 ERA over 33 appearances. If you need saves, he's a great short-term add, but I'm wary about the second half. Last year it was Giles or bust in the bullpen and he delivered to the tune of 34 saves. In 2016, the Astros had three pitchers save between 12-15 games each. A.J. Hinch has shown that he'll mix and match closers at times, but while that has benefited Rondon this month, it could hurt him later on. Giles is just as likely to regain the role at some point as Rondon is to keep it. He hasn't been terrible, after all, posting a 3.23 xFIP. He technically doesn't have a blown save this season, melting down twice in non-save situations and otherwise pitching fairly well. There isn't much of a trade market for Rondon yet, but it could develop closer to the All-Star break. Either way, don't hang your hat on him as a reliable closer option.

 

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