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Buy or Sell - Undervalued and Overvalued Players for Week 22


It's never too late to buy or sell from the plethora of talented players available in fantasy baseball waiver pools. Instead of trading assets with other owners, you can "buy" players that have been overlooked or recently discarded on the wire. In this case, think of it as a short-term investment that comes at a low cost (you did save at least a couple bucks of FAAB for the final month, right?)

Rather than trade candidates, I'll focus on players that appear to be trending up or down, but could soon be headed in opposite directions. In other words, we'll find some undervalued and overvalued players for you to target in free agency, or the trade market if your league still allows.

As always, 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 22

Mitch Garver (C, MIN) 6% owned

A strong offensive catcher is always a desirable asset, even if that value is short-lived. Garver is finally being handed primary backstop duties on the rebuilding Twins and has responded nicely with five HR and 24 RBI in his last 107 at-bats and a .293 average in the second half so far. Garver has been mashing righties to the tune of .301 this year, but is experiencing a reverse split, batting .179 versus lefties. Once he starts turning things around when facing southpaws, Garver could be worth starting in one-catcher leagues. Regardless, he should be a top consideration for those who now have to do without Buster Posey for the remainder of the year. Austin Hedges is another consideration, but he's prone to streakiness and could soon be headed for a downturn rife with swings and misses.

Eloy Jimenez (OF, CWS) 25% owned

Any day now... it's gonna happen. Jimenez has been scooped up by a quarter of fantasy players but is still widely available in non-keeper leagues. As the calendar nears September, a call-up could be imminent. There's always the chance the Sox play it slow with him, but at this point, they really have nothing to lose by giving him a cup of coffee. He possesses tremendous raw power and could be a boon to those lacking in the HR category. Jimenez is absolutely mashing minor-league pitching this year, hitting .347 and slugging .600 while striking out just 12.7% of the time. You obviously shouldn't drop a starting caliber player just to stash him, but those who need to play catch-up in the standings and can spare a bench spot shouldn't wait any longer.

Phillip Ervin (OF, CIN) 5% owned

With Adam Duvall gone to Atlanta and Jesse Winker on the DL, naturally, it was Phillip Ervin to stepped in to carry the Reds offense as we all suspected. Sarcasm aside, Ervin has been on fire, slashing .298/.355/.468 with four homers and four steals in his first 48 games. Not quite Juan Soto numbers, but Ervin is productive enough to warrant attention in 14+ team leagues. It should be noted that three of those steals have come in the last 10 days. He's been all over the lineup but has found himself in the fifth spot most nights lately. If you're streaming a fourth or fifth outfield spot or utility position and need some speed, Ervin is a sneaky add.

Trevor Richards (SP, MIA) 6% owned

Here we go again. Another young Marlins pitcher who looks sharp for a few starts before getting pounded back to the minors, right? Richards may be getting his first taste of the majors in 2018, but he's a bit more seasoned than some of his fellow rotation members at 25 years old. Scouts who follow the Marlins consider Richards to have one of the better long-term prognoses of the group despite not having overpowering stuff. He has a plus changeup and mixes speeds well while getting ahead of hitters (61% first strike rate). The spacious Marlins Park is a plus in his favor and he'll be given every chance to stick in the rotation through September and continue racking up strikeouts, as he's been doing with seven or more K in four of his last five starts.

 

Overvalued Players - Week 22

Brandon Belt (1B/OF, SF) 51% owned

I'm old enough to remember when people thought Brandon Belt was going to have a career year in 2018. I don't remember the exact week I put Belt on this list earlier in the year, but it came sometime in May when he was looking like an early MVP candidate and some fantasy owners legitimately believed he was on track for 30 HR. Fast-forward to today and he's hit a whopping three homers in the past three months (that's about one per 30 days, for those keeping score at home). Amid DL stints, his average has been even worse, teammate Buster Posey is out for the season, and the Giants are slowly crumbling in the second half. Belt isn't a fantasy starter in most leagues at this point, but he doesn't need to occupy space on your bench either. I'll take it a step further and say the only Giants position player worth rostering right now is Andrew McCutchen and he's barely an OF3 at this point.

Tommy Pham (OF, TB) 70% owned

So moving from St. Louis to Tampa Bay didn't prove to be a good thing, eh? It would be totally unfair to link Pham's departure with the Cardinals' sudden winning streak, especially since the Rays are hot too. Pham is not, though. He's collected base hits in only two of his eight games with the club and now is dealing with finger troubles that could keep him out of the lineup sporadically. His plate discipline has been excellent in this tiny sample size with the Rays (0.72 BB/K) but extra-base hits and, more importantly, steals have been conspicuously absent. It's hard to let go of someone who cost a significant draft capital but he has been a replacement-level outfielder all year and that doesn't figure to change now.

Vince Velasquez (SP, PHI) 42% owned

He'll always be a tantalizing talent thanks to a live fastball and high strikeout rate, which currently hovers around 10 K/9. Injuries and inconsistency continue to plague Velasquez, however, and he is yet to show enough growth to be a reliable option down the stretch. He's turned his changeup from a negative to a slightly above neutral pitch value, but the rest of his secondary pitches have yet to yield any gains. Over the past 30 days, Velasquez has posted an ugly 1.57 WHIP and has had trouble locating the ball anywhere near the zone in his last three starts. The strikeouts haven't been there either, with just seven K in those three starts. You could use the schedule as an excuse, but with almost 400 career MLB innings under his belt, we can't keep making excuses for him much longer.

 

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