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Buy or Sell - Undervalued and Overvalued Players for Week 4


We are nearly a month into the fantasy baseball season and it is a prime time to buy in on players whose production could be legit/should be better, or hop off the sinking ships while there is still some semblance of hope. As we all should know, baseball is a game of ebbs and flows. When there is too much good, expect some bad, and vice-versa.

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.

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Undervalued Players - Week 4

Anthony Rizzo - (1B, CHC)

98% owned

Anthony Rizzo's been pretty cold all year despite some decent run and RBI production. His batting average is abysmal and he only has one home run over the past two weeks, making right now the perfect time to buy. Rizzo struggled through March/April last season and proceeded to bounce back fine afterward. He has a long enough track record to trust that regression will rear the better side of its face soon. Wrigley Field is a cruel mistress at times, and April is especially rough on its hitters. Once the weather gets warmer and the wind starts blowing out more often, Rizzo will do what he has been doing over the past half decade.

He's had a ton of bad luck (.208 BABIP), possibly due to the fact that he has increased his fly ball rate but that should regress as the year goes on. His hard hit percentage has jumped above 40 percent for the first time in his career and he's pulling the ball a lot less. The power is still there, as displayed by his three home runs, but he could take a slight ding ROS if he continues to hit to the opposite field. The lineup is still great and so is Rizzo. It is probably harder to swindle him from an owner in an OBP league but if they are discontent with the lack of recent counting stats, take advantage of the situation. Snatch him if you can, it is always worth it.

 

Jose Martinez - (1B/OF, STL)

30% owned

This is more of a temporary add, but still worthwhile. Jose Martinez had been blocked from starting this year due to his garbage defensive abilities along with the addition of Paul Goldschmidt in the offseason. However, with present injuries to Harrison Bader and Tyler O'Neill, play time has opened up for Martinez.

In his five-game start streak since Bader's injury, Martinez has accumulated four runs, four RBI, a home run with a hit in every game. He is arguably the best hitter for average on the roster and is batting fifth behind a very talented top-of-the-order. He is in a position to continually score in runners over this next week or two. Although he is more of a stream, for the time being, Martinez is a definite hold in deeper leagues given that he could get traded to an AL team by the deadline to DH full-time.

He's a must-own in all formats while starting. Despite not taking a walk all season, he is probably still value in OBP leagues due to the high floor provided by his batting skills. If Martinez is dropped when he loses the gig, he is someone to keep an eye on if the rumor mill heats up.

 

Hunter Dozier - (1B/3B, KC)

45% owned

Right now, I would rather own Hunter Dozier instead of Brian Dozier. Not sure if that is much of a take or not, but felt like it should be out there. Hunter Dozier might be breaking out. It was probably better to get in on him from the ground floor a week ago, but he should still be available in plenty of leagues. Dozier is a former first-round pick who is finally putting it all together (from what it seems). He has cut his strikeout rate and raised his walk rate to respectable levels. There's no BABIP luck and he is mashing. Everything looks pretty legit.

The team context is bad and so is his home park, which is unfortunate. However, he is typically batting clean up to make up for these factors. Dozier is a must-grab player, although he is more speculative than star for now. If he does pan out though, his abilities allow him to provide value in all league formats. If this is all a fluke, he can be dropped without hesitation. Maybe pitchers adjust back to him, maybe they don't. The current production is worth finding that out.

 

Overvalued Players - Week 4

Corey Seager (SS, LAD)

97% owned

As a Dodgers fan, this one hurts to write. Seager had Tommy John surgery last season and missed a majority of the year. On top of that, an offseason hip surgery sidelined him even further. Although he is back to playing full-time, he just does not look the same at the plate. The discipline is better than ever to his credit, however, he is not hitting the ball as hard as he used to and with the increased launch angle, he is hitting more fly balls than ever. While his home run output could catch up to his career norm, his batting average will continue to take a hit if he sticks with this approach. The BABIP is slightly below his career rate, but around where it would be for a heavy fly-ball hitter with decent power.

Luckily, for owners in OBP leagues, his batting average is worthless, and the 13 percent walk rate he currently carries should be more than enough to keep him in the green. My worry is for owners in standard leagues. Seager never stole too many bases, and with a hit to his average, he is set to only provide three categories, rather than his typical four.

If Seager could be sold off to someone who expects his average to stabilize ROS, I would jump on that. Maybe a trade for the currently injured Jean Segura who should continue to outperform him when he returns from the IL.

 

Kyle Freeland - (SP, COL)

72% owned

If a pitcher has to play half of his games in Coors field, I am worried about their production. I do not care how talented they are, nor does it matter if they Freeland is a gifted starter and has had prior success at home. His ERA last season was a full point better in Coors than away. While that may be astounding, it is more than likely to remain an outlier in his profile.

Consistently pitching well in Denver's thin air is nearly impossible. Despite his pedigree as a former eighth overall pick, Freeland should struggle in various starts at home throughout the year. His performance against Philadelphia on Thursday at home was very impressive and could be enough to convince a league-mate that he's worth buying. Freeland's underlying numbers should remain very good all season thanks to his stuff, but the outcomes may be less than optimal. His K rate, K-to-walk, and SIERA have improved each of the past three seasons, and it still might not matter if he gets unlucky at home.

 

Wil Myers (1B/OF, SD)

88% owned

Call me a skeptic, but I do not trust Wil Myers to stay healthy all year. Since his first full season in 2014, he has played in more half seasons than full seasons. He has chronic arm issues that could be stemming from a wrist injury suffered in 2014 and has dealt with a medley of other injuries that have kept him on the DL/IL. Myers is now playing outfield fulltime rather than the infield, which could be even more detrimental to his health. If I owned him, I would be holding my breath every time he reached the warning track.

Regardless of the injury risk, Myers is striking out more than ever, walking less, and playing with a BABIP nearly 100 points higher than his career average. His home run and stolen base production through the first few weeks could give him decent trade value. Shop him around to OF needy teams, take any comparable upgrade in return.

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