Don't have an account?
Join the Best Live Fantasy Chat Community!

Lost password? [X]

Receive free daily analysis:

NFL    NBA    MLB

Already have an account? Log in here.

[X]

Forgot Password


[X]

Early-Season Surprises - RotoBaller Staff Buy/Sell Advice


It's hard to believe we're nearly one month into the 2019 Major League Baseball season already. Some players have wasted no time making their mark, namely Christian Yelich, Cody Bellinger, Jose Altuve, and Domingo Santana.

Does one of those names look out of place? It sure does, but Santana is far from the only player who has gotten off to a shocking start. We recently polled some of our fantasy baseball writers to get their take on which some of the biggest standouts, both positive and negative, and how to deal with them for the rest of the season.

Let's find out who our experts have pegged as buy-low or sell-high candidates based on their surprising early performances.

Editor's Note: Get any full-season MLB Premium Pass for 50% off. Exclusive access to our Draft Kit, premium rankings, projections, player outlooks, top prospects, dynasty rankings, 15 in-season lineup tools, and over 200 days of expert DFS research. Sign Up Now!

 

Which surprising hot hitter is most likely to keep it up in the coming months?

After a couple of middling seasons, Yoan Moncada appears to have figured out his game at the big league level. He's cut his K-rate down over 10% from last season, and he's upped his zone-contact percentage nearly 9% to a healthy 85.0%. Moncada has not only hit the baseball, but he's crushed it, barrelling up a tremendous 20.2% of balls in play. He also holds a top-15 Hard Hit% (53.1%) and a league-leading 96.8% Exit Velocity for good measure. Moncada's terrific start to 2019 has finally rewarded the scouts that have backed him for years and his early season breakout is here to stay.
-Riley Mrack

Peter Alonso's power has been the stuff of legends since his college days at Florida. With seven home runs and a .406 ISO through 80 PA, he's proving that last year's Triple-A numbers were more than a product of the PCL. While he won't maintain his current 60-homer pace, Alonso could still be one of the league's best power hitters in 2019.
-Elliott Baas

Pete Alonso. He has already shown he can overcome obstacles such as improving his defense and breaking camp with the team.
-Scott Engel

Michael Conforto is finally healthy and showing all his skills to the fullest. He will hit for power, average, and take plenty of walks. A few stolen bases are just icing on the cake. Honorable mentions: Austin Meadows, Domingo Santana.
-Ellis Canady

I've already officially declared Tim Beckham as a post-hype breakout, so it must come to fruition. Beckham didn't just have a great first week, he's mostly kept up his hot start and still holds a .293 average despite the Mariners crashing back to reality with a six-game losing streak. Their offense rebounded and Beckham is locked into an everyday job at shortstop, where he belongs. While I'd sell high on certain Seattle hitters, Beckham is one I'm holding onto.
-Pierre Camus

 

Whose hot start is unlikely to continue, making them a sell-high candidate?

Cody Bellinger has maintained a high K% and been wildly inconsistent in his first few years in the majors. He could come crashing back down to Earth soon despite the potentially massive HR ceiling.
-Kyle Ringstad

Dansby Swanson is an obvious candidate here. He's already hit more than 25% of his 2018 home run total. I need to see him sustain this success for several months before I believe in the change.
-Chris O'Reilly

Tim Anderson. While I believe in the power and speed combination, the batting average of .422 is not reliable and ready to drop off. If you can sell this young exciting bat as a complete package in exchange for a superior talent, he's gone.
-Ellis Canady

Trey Mancini is sure to see some negative regression come his way after a hot-start to his 2019. For a player who only hits a fly ball 20% of the time, his six home runs are a bit out of whack as a 30.0% HR/FB rate is rarely ever sustainable. Mancini's .338 average also won't endure as an inflated .367 BABIP is aiding this number. All of his underlying metrics are on par with his 2018 figures, so it's unlikely he'll wind up with much higher year-end stats than what we saw a year ago. The Orioles outfielder is undoubtedly a mixed-league asset but the time is now to try and sell high on Mancini's early season numbers.
-Riley Mrack

Clint Frazier. His value will never be higher than it is right now.
-Scott Engel

 

Which hitter offers the best buy-low opportunity due to a slow start?

Jose Ramirez. Some might say he hasn't hit well since last season. This is true but he still possesses the power/speed that few can match. Many will be surprised by the positive effect that the return of his double-play partner, Francisco Lindor, will have on him as a whole, including at the plate.
-Ellis Canady

Jose Ramirez is too good of a hitter to fall off a cliff for no apparent reason. He had a 15.2% walk rate in 2018, and he's nowhere near that to start 2019. A simple return to his old plate approach will get him back on track. It will also help to have Francisco Lindor back in the Indians lineup.
-Chris O'Reilly

Jesus Aguilar - Few hitters have gotten off to a more miserable start than Aguilar, who is hitting just .153 with a 22 wRC+ and no home runs through his first 70 PA. Aguilar has been so bad his owners probably have one finger over the drop button, but there is reason for hope here. His 27.3% line drive rate is about a 4% increase compared to last season. He's also cut his strikeout rate to 23% and upped his walk rate to 11.4%. He probably won't put up a full repeat of last season, but Aguilar costs nothing in a trade right now and should be a good run producer when he comes around.
-Elliott Baas

It's only a matter of time before we see Jesus Aguilar start mashing the baseball again. The slugger has a superb 34.1% line drive rate but only has a .160 AVG and .195 BABIP to show for it. His expected batting average of .242 is encouraging, and he is only just over a full MPH lower on his average Exit Velocity. Aguilar has also improved on his 25.3% K% and 10.2% BB% in 2018 to 16.4% and 13.1% respectively so far in 2019. Remember, Aguilar never hit a home run until April 21 last season and he still ended up as an All-Star with 35 HR and 108 RBI.
-Riley Mrack

I recently wrote an article explaining reasons to be optimistic about Ryan Braun (opportunity, potent lineup, low BABIP, impressive Statcast numbers). It's too early to be pessimistic about the former MVP.
-Kyle Ringstad

 

Which slumping hitter should you cut bait on now despite great expectations?

Get whatever you can for Joey Votto, if you still can get anything.
-Scott Engel

Jose Peraza was already walking a tight-rope in terms of his hit profile, with his low strikeout rate and speed helping him overcome his shortcomings at the plate. Well, his strikeout rate has more than doubled to 25%, his contact rate has fallen almost 10%, and he's swinging 12% more of the time. He also joined the launch angle revolution, with a 51.4% flyball rate and 18.4-degree average launch angle thus far, which is not what we want to see from a light-hitting speedster. Peraza's entire profile has changed for the worse, and either he's trying something different, pressing, or his swing is all kinds of messed up. Whatever his problem is, it's not worth riding out.
-Elliott Baas

I'm throwing in the towel on Brian Dozier. At least I would if I owned him anywhere. Dozier isn't just hitting well below the Mendoza line (.177 as of April 21), he's posting a 19/4 K/BB line and his .204 xBA is even lower than last year's .210 xBA, which placed him in the bottom 2% of all hitters. All of his six RBI this year have come via home run, three of them solo shots. Dozier's days as a fantasy asset seem to be over.
-Pierre Camus

I'm concerned about Charlie Blackmon. He's always been a much better hitter at Coors Field, and he only just hit his first home run of the season on April 19. That's certainly not what you signed up for if you drafted him in the first three or four rounds.
-Chris O'Reilly

It's sad to admit, but Francisco Mejia isn't finding enough at-bats to warrant a roster spot in single-catcher redraft leagues. The young backstop has only started seven of the Padres first 19 games and hasn't done anything with the bat to earn more playing time. Mejia's teammate Austin Hedges is surprisingly out hitting him so far and he is the clear superior defender on a team that needs to focus more on the handling of a pitching staff.
-Riley Mrack

More Fantasy Baseball Trade Advice




More Recent Articles

 

Bases Loaded Podcast - Relief Pitchers Preview

Mike Kurland (@Mike_Kurland) is joined by Jorge Montanez, Zach Braff and Mike Simione as they jump into their relief pitcher preview! Subscribe to the Bases Loaded podcast, part of RotoBaller Radio's Podcast Network. Like and Subscribe to the RotoBaller channel on Youtube to get all our latest podcasts and catch us on iTunes and BlogTalkRadio as well!... Read More


2020 Fantasy Baseball Sleepers - Jose Urquidy

It's been a tumultuous winter for the Houston Astros. Not only were they embroiled in a sign-stealing scandal (which has, naturally, progressed apace to unsubstantiated conspiracy theories about ever more sophisticated methods of cheating), but they watched staff ace Gerrit Cole sign a mammoth free-agent deal with the Yankees. Plenty of virtual ink has been... Read More


2020 Fantasy Baseball Sleepers - Mark Canha

Mark Canha had a solid 2019 campaign and is one player that probably deserves more attention heading into 2020 than he is currently receiving. He finished the season hitting .273/.396/.517 with 26 HR, 58 RBI, 80 R, and 67 BB in 410 at-bats. It was a very productive line for a guy that played in... Read More


Four Prospect Sleepers for 2020 Redraft Leagues

Recently, Rotoballer launched a list of the Top 50 MLB prospects for the coming year. The top of the list was populated by names such as Gavin Lux, Luis Robert, and Brendan McKay. These players, among others, feature a promising combination of talent and favorable playing time projections to suggest they’ll be the cream-of-the-crop among... Read More


ADP Cost Analysis – Robbie Ray vs Trevor Bauer

With fantasy baseball draft season in full swing, those of us who partake in this joyous game are now looking through as much draft data as possible in a bid to find players we love who have lower average draft positions (ADP) than we believe they should. All this to eke out as much draft... Read More


2020 Keeper Value Rankings - Second Base

Keeper Value Rankings are intended for Keeper Leagues in which a fantasy owner must forfeit a designated draft pick in order to keep a player into the upcoming season. These rankings are based on Keeper "Values". In the marketing world, Value can be defined as "the extent to which a good or service (player) is... Read More


2020 Fantasy Baseball Sleepers – C.J. Cron

As another fantasy baseball season approaches, we once again have the chance to discuss C.J. Cron as a fantasy sleeper. Cron will be playing for his third team in three seasons. It is tough to wrap one's head around the idea that a player of Cron's talent continues to be undervalued by professional and fantasy... Read More


2020 Starting Pitcher Rankings - H2H Points Leagues

Points leagues may seem like a slight variation from traditional 5x5 category scoring leagues but you must approach draft day with a very different strategy if you wish to truly compete. All preseason long, RotoBaller has you covered with the latest rankings for all fantasy baseball league types. Here we present our points league rankings... Read More


Second-Half Improvements: Buy Into These Starting Pitchers

The second half of the season is always put under a microscope for starting pitchers. Fantasy players have a love for the second half of the season, as the belief is that pitchers who take a step forward could carry over that success the next season and perhaps even build upon it. But, as we... Read More


How to Attack RP in SV+HLD Leagues

No position has seen as much evolution in recent seasons as the relief pitcher. Gone are the days where starters were expected to go seven innings as most teams have embraced the idea of "super-bullpening" and try to fit as many pitchers that can throw 95+ MPH into their bullpen as they can. Many fantasy... Read More


Using Sabermetrics for Fantasy Baseball: Pitch Info

One of the most fundamental questions in fantasy sports is if a player's current performance is sustainable. More than any other sport, baseball has a slew of statistical measures that can be dissected in numerous ways to analyze player performance. Pitch Info is a publicly-available pitch tracking system that provides a lot of different data to... Read More


2020 Fantasy Baseball Staff Rankings

Below you will find RotoBaller's 2020 fantasy baseball rankings, tiers and auction dollar values for the 2020 MLB season. Our Ranking Wizard displays our staff's rankings for various league formats, all in one easy place. Here's what you'll find: Mixed, Head-to-Head, Points, AL/NL Only, Two-Catcher Top 2020 prospects, Dynasty leagues, Keeper values Export the rankings easily... Read More


Mock Draft Review: Best Late-Round Targets

Last week, some members of the RotoBaller staff completed a 12-team mock draft for standard 5x5 format. After the draft, we each broke down our strategy and some of our favorite picks, which can be found here. However, I want to take a closer look at one portion of the draft in particular. Since we know that... Read More


Faster and Furious: Pitchers with Rising Velocity/Performance

Welcome fantasy baseball players! I’m sure that you, like me, are anxiously counting down the days until your drafts and Opening Day. While the fantasy season may not start for several weeks, there are plenty of things we can do to start preparing for a successful season. One of those things is to take a good... Read More


James Karinchak Is A Relief Pitcher To Know in 2020

One of the lesser-known players that intrigues me for the 2020 MLB season is Indians relief pitcher James Karinchak. The former Bryant Bulldog was drafted by Cleveland in the ninth round in the 2017 draft and went on to have one of the most outrageous statistical seasons in minor league baseball history. As someone who... Read More