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Buy or Sell - Undervalued and Overvalued Players for Week 3


Week three is upon us and madness has officially ensued. Daniel Vogelbach is a hot waiver add and the Yankees are starting a Triple-A roster. Left is right and down is west. The early season struggles to hop on the train before it leaves a particular station is always interesting to watch. Everyone wants the "next" this or that but ignore who they drafted and completely forget why.

The phrase Buy or sell is a bit looser than it typically would be mid-season or closer to fantasy playoff time. The players covered, for the most part, are guys I am either wary of or tentatively interested in. We are walking a fine line here in the first month. Various factors play into good/bad season starts such as tough schedules with rough ballpark (or vice-versa), nagging injuries, poor team performance, and even the weather.

You still want to be as ahead of the curve as possible, and I am here to help with that. Let's take a look at what we've seen thus far in week one.

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Undervalued Players - Week 3

Xander Bogaerts - (SS, BOS) - 98% owned

Weird to see a universally owned player in an "undervalued" list, yet here we are. Bogaerts is a beast and has taken a significant leap into unlocking power. He displayed it last year with a career high in home runs and doubles within the confines of the fewest plate appearances of his major league career (2013 call-up excluded).

Bogaerts has played very well in 2019 but the counting stats are lacking. It is very possible that an owner would not be too attached to him given that most of his production has been getting on base. His strikeouts are the lowest they have been since 2015 and his walk rate has steadily increased since that year to a now astronomical point for his standards. Bogaerts' 18.2 percent walk rate will decrease in the near future but even maintaining double-digits would be huge for his value. The more he gets on base, the more opportunities there could be for steals. The Red Sox are very conservative when it comes to swiping bags so someone like Bogaerts who bats in the middle of the order needs every opportunity he can get. He is 46-for-53 on the bases since 2015. They will come in due time.

Not only is speed on the way, but power is as well given that he is just 26. He should be capable of not only repeating last season's slugging numbers but also maybe topping them. Bogaerts and the most of the Red Sox roster will pick it up as the season goes on. The World Series champions are still young and loaded on offense. There is no better time to buy than now.

 

Carlos Carrasco (SP, CLE) - 98% owned

Carlos Carrasco is off to a horrible start. Two starts out of three with six earned runs, one of which ended after an abrupt two outs in the first inning. For Carrasco owners from 2017 and 2018, this is simply run-of-the-mill Cookie. He has bad stretches, it is the deal with owning him. His SIERA is fine and his xFIP is a little higher than usual but that's what happens when you give up 14 runs in 10 innings.

With such a small sample, most ratios can be extremely skewed. However, his strikeout rate and walk rate both fall in line with his career averages. Just looks like he's getting unlucky. A .613 BABIP is incredible. I have never seen it that high anywhere. Luckily, it is unsustainable, as is his 55 percent LOB rate. The defense behind Carrasco might be an issue right now with Lindor still shelved, and the team in general slumping.

As long as he stays healthy, Carrasco should be fine. He may not be AS dominant as he has been in the past given that he just turned 32 and has struggled so mightily this early on, but it should be good enough to enjoy owning. Don't doubt what a fed up owner would do with guys like this. Send out a few low-ball feelers and see where it takes you. The schedule is not pretty in the coming weeks, so if his owner does not want to sell now, wait until after the Seattle and Houston matchups, maybe he will have changed his mind.

 

Kevin Kiermaier (OF) - 26% owned

The Rays are, uh, good. It does not really matter where you bat in the order, they are going to hit and score runs. Kevin Kiermaier has been a key cog in this process as he has been producing from the bottom-third of the order all season. Kiermaier has two home runs, three steals, 10 runs and 8 RBI on the year. He is hitting well and walking. What more could you ask?

The BABIP is a little high and so is his ISO. While both should drop in due time, Kiermaier should remain productive. He has always had great per-600 PA numbers, the only problem has been that he typically cannot reach that threshold. KK's biggest concern every year is his health. Guy bangs into walls and lays his body out for balls which often lead to unfortunate, unpredictable injuries.

If you are getting him for free on the wire, it does not matter much. Drop him if anything happens to him. While he is out there on the field, he should be owned. Kiermaier does a little bit of everything and is in no position to lose playing time during a slump given his elite defensive capabilities. He will get the occasional off day against lefties but that is nothing new.

Don't trade too much for KK but definitely add him if you need an extra/replacement OF.

 

Overvalued Players - Week 3

Jake Arrieta (SP, PHI) - 83% owned

Get off this ride as fast as you can. Arrieta has outperformed the hell out of his peripherals thus far and it is only because he has faced some weak competition. The Marlins stink and the Twins lineup he faced was missing Nelson Cruz and Eddie Rosario. He deserves credit for pitching relatively well against the Braves but he might not be so lucky next time if he decides not to walk everyone.

While three-game sample sizes are noisy, it is important to note that Arrieta's strikeout rate has been steadily declining since 2014. His current rate of 18.5% is the lowest it has been since 2013 (when he was not the Jake Arrieta folks grew to own). Looking at what is in front of us, it is clear that Arrieta is working with what he has got, and that might not be too much at age 33. He has a quality start in each outing thus far which should keep his value high, but yeesh, a 90 percent LOB rate and .212 BABIP point to regression soon.

He has a mixed bag of matchups coming up. Two games against the Mets and a rematch against Miami at home. Citizens Bank is not a friendly home stadium. If he gets tagged by the Marlins, it will be too late to abort. After that matchup, the next three out of his four are against Washington, Chicago and St. Louis.

Owning Arrieta will be a game of chicken going forward. Do you want to ride off the cliff or get close and jump out before it is too late? The choice is yours.

 

Peter Alonso - (1B, NYM) - 80% owned

(Disregard in any form of keeper leagues)

I hate to write this because I legitimately love watching Alonso's at bats. The dude hits fat dingers, what more can you ask out of a guy? The only reason I am putting him here is because...there is no way he keeps up an average over .300 given that his BABIP is .458. On top of that, his ISO is .522, nearly double what he was posting in the minors.

Alonso is a prime regression candidate with "shiny new toy" appeal for the time being. He's entertaining at the plate so fellow owners may be more inclined to deal for someone they would love to own while watching. The rookie wall is a real thing and will come for Alonso eventually. Maybe not this month, or the month after, but he will get figured out. Alonso profiles as a .240 hitter. His power should be fine all year, but someone striking out over 30 percent of the time will not have as many opportunities as he has had to crush the ball.

His walks should keep him afloat in OBP leagues, where I would consider holding on. This sell is primarily for roto and H2H leagues that value average. In some leagues, Alonso could net owners a top-25 starting pitcher or a more proven, consistent bat that could help them in the fantasy playoffs.

 

Shane Greene (RP, DET) - 81% owned

Shane Greene and his 0.00 ERA have carried plenty of fantasy teams through the first two weeks of the season. That is fine and dandy but it is more than likely that he does not keep this up. Greene's pitched well to his credit. The underlying statistics (xFIP, SIERA) all show that he is playing some of the best baseball of his career. Unfortunately, it is not so much better that he is an altogether different pitcher than the past.

His walk rate is down to a career low, and he has not allowed any home runs yet (obvious with the 0.00 ERA but still worth noting). However, he has left 100 percent of runners on base and is allowing a .105 BABIP which is a far cry from his .310 career average.

While he may have made adjustments to make himself a better pitcher throughout the offseason, he still does not possess elite stuff and is not necessarily in the future plans for Detroit. It is very likely that he gets moved at the deadline for young assets to a team that may already have a closer in place. In standard leagues that do not value holds, his value will crash. Joe Jimenez is viewed as the closer of the future, and regardless of his early season struggles, the job is probably his if/when Greene's gone.

Sell high on Greene while you can.

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