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Buy or Sell - Undervalued and Overvalued Players for Week 9


Swinging a deal for a superstar player that can make an impact on your team is easier said than done. It almost always requires a superstar player sent in return. The best way to fix a struggling fantasy team isn't always by adding one player. You may need to mix and match pieces to boost certain categories. That's why I usually advise fantasy managers to upgrade their teams by stats needed rather than just position. With Utility spots and multi-positional eligibility for so many players these days, you should have plenty of options at your disposal to build the optimal lineup.

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 9

Jesus Aguilar (1B, MIL) 54% owned

If he’s still available in your league, what are you waiting for? I understand that it’s hard to trust someone who was an unknown quantity heading into the season and only inherited a starting job due to injury. In fairness, Aguilar has always had the skills to be a starting first baseman, but has been blocked by Eric Thames’ massive forearms up until May of this season. Aguilar owns tremendous raw power, but his neutral fielding skills (-0.2 UZR) were enough to give Thames the edge. In half a season’s worth of playing time last year, Aguilar mashed 16 HR and drove in 52 runs over 279 at-bats. Quick and dirty math tells me that’s a 30/100 player over a full season. In 2016, he did in fact club 30 homers and drive in 92 at Triple-A Columbus, when he was in the Indians’ organization. His first tastes of the big league saw a strikeout rate above 30%, but he’s dropped that down to 22.7% this season and upped his Z-Contact% to 89.7%. Aguilar may not sustain a .324 average, but he’s not getting extraordinarily lucky on balls in play and his OPS is borderline elite, making him an easy must-add in leagues that count OPS instead of AVG. Thames will return in a couple of weeks, but Aguilar is a great streamer until then and surely has earned more playing time throughout the second half, so don't discount him as a flash in the pan just yet.

Franchy Cordero (OF, SD) 15% owned

As I wrote earlier this week, Cordero is crushing the ball. When he actually makes contact, that is. His 35% strikeout rate may be alarming, but is it really all that concerning in this era of baseball? I mean, if you can start Joey Gallo on a regular basis... Cordero is slashing an acceptable (for San Diego) .246/.318/.455 and now has seven homers to go with five steals after finally jacking his first longball of May. As I've said in the past about Matt Davidson, his average isn't as terrible as you may think, so it's an easy trade-off to go with the 30-HR upside. In Cordero's case, you'll get 20 steals as well. He may turn out to give you 2017 Wil Myers numbers when the season is done. Not ideal, but I'd take him over higher-owned players like David Dahl, Dexter Fowler, or Manuel Margot in a heartbeat. He may not be a future HOFer, unless you ask @NMariano53, but he can help you in roto leagues right now.

Jorge Soler (OF, KC) 47% owned

It's hard to dig any Royals player these days, but Soler may finally be benefiting from low expectations and a lack of pressure to perform. After a horrifyingly bad 2017 in which he finished with a slash line of .144/.245/.258 and a wRC+ of 32, Soler is starting to actually look comfortable at the plate. His 0.47 BB/K is back to 2016 level and his hard contact rate is back up to 38.6%. If he starts lifting the ball a bit more, some of his 12 doubles could turn to more homers. He may not ever be considered a high-contact hitter, but still it's a great sign that he's improving his plate discipline and finding ways on base. He won't wow in any single category, especially with his current lineup situation, but he's a solid fourth or fifth outfielder that is in prime position to breakout. He seemed to be hitting better once he moved to the #2 spot in the lineup, so it will be interesting to see if a move back to the fifth spot will provide more RBI opportunities. This is another recommendation based on upside and potential. While it's more fun to imagine adding a rookie like Dustin Fowler or Tyler O'Neill will pay off huge, they are not guaranteed a starting spot the rest of this season, whereas Soler is perfectly safe in the playing time department.

Tyson Ross (SP, SD) 48% owned

It's been a long road back for the former ace of San Diego's staff, but it now looks as if nothing has changed since 2015.

Season  IP AVG ERA K/9 BB/9 K/BB HR/9 K% BB% K/BB% WHIP xFIP
2013 125 0.221 3.17 8.57 3.17 2.70 0.58 0.24 0.09 0.15 1.15 3.43
2014 195.2 0.226 2.81 8.97 3.31 2.71 0.60 0.24 0.09 0.15 1.21 3.11
2015 196 0.235 3.26 9.73 3.86 2.52 0.41 0.26 0.10 0.16 1.31 3.15
2018 60.1 0.208 3.13 9.55 3.43 2.78 0.75 0.25 0.09 0.16 1.16 3.53

Ross hasn't shown quite the same ability to draw whiffs (10.5% K%), but he is finding ways to induce strikeouts. After a 10-game sample size, we can't keep claiming that his ratios are exaggerated by his near no-hitter. Ross has thrown seven quality starts and only once walked more than three batters in a game. That's a far cry from what we saw the last two years from him, but makes perfect sense when you look at his career norms. Ross is older, but also wiser as evidenced by his decreased dependence on the fastball, down 30 percentage points from his rookie year and 16 points from last year. He still plays in a favorable park as well. There aren't many Padres pitchers you can trust, but Ross is back to being a reliable starter.

Miles Mikolas (SP, STL) 84% owned

I regret not advocating more vocally for Mikolas early on, because now it just looks like an obvious bandwagon call. Mikolas showed absolutely nothing in his previous MLB experience that indicated he might suddenly morph into Greg Maddux lite. He did overseas, however. Mikolas spent the last three seasons in the Japanese Pacific League, walking exactly 23 batters each year over a total of 424 2/3 innings. Translated into English, that's less than two batters walked per nine IP and results in a combined WHIP under 1.00. This year, he decided to do better. He's got a 2.5% BB%, which is less than one BB/9. Don't play in a league that counts WHIP? His 2.24 ERA and 6-0 record isn't bad either. The only problem is a lack of strikeouts, as he's just under league average at 19.4% K%. That's a perfectly fine trade-off in this case. Don't let lack of track record scare you off - he's been pitching this way for a while, just not in 'Murica. In our updated MLB rankings, I've got Mikolas as a top-40 SP and top-200 overall player, but that even seems too low for him. Treat him as a solid SP3.

 

Overrated Players - Week 9

Kyle Seager (3B, SEA) 82% owned

First Robinson Cano, now Dee Gordon. Seager wasn't lighting the world on fire with a .228 average, but he is fifth among all third baseman with 30 RBI. Now he'll have to contend with Guillermo Heredia and Andrew Romine in the lineup instead of the aforementioned All Stars. Seager has seen his plate discipline dip quite a bit, as his 0.32 BB/K is exactly half of what it was two years ago. That was prime age (28) Seager at his best. It's safe to say we won't get that version this year, but the idea that pitchers might be able to work around him a bit more is troublesome as well. If we're playing Third Baseman Arbitrage, I might prefer to trade away Seager and take a chance on a young player like Matt Chapman, Matt Davidson, or Christian Villanueva who could give me comparable numbers.

Zack Cozart (2B/3B/SS, LAA) 54% owned

Switching leagues can be tough for a hitter at first. Cozart hasn't been living up to his new contract so far, but it is still early so we'll cut him some slack. Or you could consider cutting him outright. Cozart offers positional flexibility and plays in a potent lineup, but where he hits might make all the difference. After leading off much of the year, he's recently been moved back down to the seventh spot again. With Ian Kinsler back healthy and Andrelton Simmons still hitting like he is, Cozart could easily settle at the bottom of the pack along with Kole Calhoun (what happened to that guy?). Cozart is actually posting a career-high 37% Hard Contact rate and has a low .259 BABIP, so there could be some turnaround in average. That said, his 24-HR season from last year could in fact be the outlier it appears to be on his resume, rather than the start of a new trend. Without any speed and less promise of runs scored at the bottom of the order, he becomes more of a liability at the middle infield position.

Seranthony Dominguez (RP, PHI) 23% owned

Full disclosure: I picked up Dominguez in three of my leagues this week. Let me explain! One was an Ottoneu dynasty league where you have to start five RP and saves don't count as a category, one was a holds league where I swapped him for a nondescript middle reliever, and the other is a Sv+Hld league where I own Hector Neris. Now, I believe in "Sir Anthony" the player, but I don't believe that he has somehow inherited the closer job. His run is impressive, but Neris really hasn't done anything to lose the job and there is also Edubray Ramos to consider. If the situation is right, then you can make him a speculative add or stash, but don't get carried away in assuming he is going to rack up 20 saves this year.

All Blue Jays relievers (RP, TOR)

Tyler Clippard has already imploded, blowing two of his first four save chances as the closer. Pick up Seung Hwan Oh? Take a chance on Ryan Tepera? No and don't. You should recall that Oh is in Toronto because he was shown the door by the Cards after going 1-6 with a 4.10 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, and four blown saves last year. Tepera has been great in middle relief, but he has three saves in four Major League seasons and has never faced the pressure of being the last man standing. John Axford hasn't been a closer for three years and posted a 6.43 ERA last season. Roberto Osuna will be back eventually, but is almost certain to miss 15-30 games once his sentence comes down. That won't come until sometime after June 18, when he goes to court, so realistically he won't see the field before the All-Star break at the earliest. With no clear quality candidate in-house, this is a situation to avoid altogether, unless you have faith that Oh can once again level up to "Final Boss" form.

 

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