Hitters to Buy and Sell for Your Fantasy Baseball Team
Week 6 is upon us and don’t we all wish we had drafted Dee Gordon. It’s not like the guy came out of nowhere, but no one could have expected him to be hitting .344 with 19 SB already. Yes, you read that right. I had to double check as well.
Additionally, you have some veteran guys struggling and with almost 1/4 of the season over. The time has come to either trade for whatever you can still get, or begin planning for life without them.
If your team is doing well and you can afford to hang on to some of these guys slumping, I hope they work out for you. I really do. For the rest that are starting to hear the clamors of, “Mr. Fantasy Irrelevant”, here are the guys you need to start targeting in trades and some that I am selling for anything I can get.
Buster Posey (C) – Giants
Buster Posey isn’t a fantasy unknown by any means. He had a slow start to the season but he is starting to hit like the Buster we expected to see. He currently has a .292 AVG, which is great, but that is only good for eighth place among catchers.
As I write this article, he has a .286 BABIP which is far below his career average. His very impressive 148 wRC+ tells the story of a very high end fantasy hitter. What I am buying here is his 25.6% and 33.3% LD% and FB%, respectively. With him hitting that well, his average should climb an additional 25 to 30 points.
Another great sign for Posey is his 23.3% HR/FB ratio. Given that he has already showed impressive power this season, he doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon. We wouldn't be surprised to see Posey hit close to .320 with 20-25 HR this year and right now he can be bought for less than that.
Neil Walker (2B) – Pirates
Neil Walker falls under the unlucky category so far this season. His BABIP is .255 but he still has a decent .260 AVG. I am buying Walker because among second basemen, his 6 HR is good for second and his 18 RBI is tied for fourth.
If Walker can continue to increase his average, which will happen when his BABIP climbs, his HR total will begin to climb also, shown by his .187 ISO (isolated power) which is very good for a second baseman. Also, his FB% is right where you want a power hitter’s to be, 41.1%. Even more impressive is his low 10.6% K%.
Walker has consistently been hitting in front of Andrew McCutchen and Pedro Alvarez. He will produce a ton of runs if he can continue getting on base and as his BABIP starts rising, so will the BA, HR and RBI. Buy Walker now before he heats up and it's too late.
Nick Castellanos (OF/3B) – Tigers
Nick Castellanos is my waiver wire pick up of the week. He is owned in only 26.6% of ESPN leagues and should still be available in most other leagues.
Castellanos has been unlucky so far with a .239 BABIP and even worse .232 AVG. However, he is swinging a big stick with a .186 ISO, a 34.3% LD%, and 40.3% FB%. His 14.8% HR/FB ratio is sixth among 3B so far and his 18 RBI is tied for ninth.
Expect Castellanos’ AVG to climb a ton and his RBI total to continue to impress. As you may have noticed, he has OF and 3B eligibility. He is the perfect pick up to have waiting in the wings and filling in for guys taking nights off at both 3B and OF, and he may be good enough soon to be a full time fantasy starter.
Matt Adams (1B) – Cardinals
Matt Adams can sure hit the ball, but that seems to be the only thing he can do and is getting lucky even at that. It is not entirely his fault, though. The Cardinals, despite their record, are 25th in runs scored this year.
There is a bad trend brewing with Adams. He has a .409 BABIP, but a 21.6% K%. One of those two are going to take over. My money is on the K%. Eventually, that BABIP will come down regardless, and so will his AVG. If he can’t find a way to produce in R, HR, or RBI, he will find himself on the bench on most teams.
He has an impressive 31.9% LD%, but that hasn’t equated to fantasy stats this year, other than AVG. The real issue with Adams is that he seems very unlikely to hit for both power and average. Since he's starting using all fields to combat aggressive shifting, his power has all but evaporated. His AVG alone will keep him fantasy relevant for a while, but don't expect more than 15-20 HR if he keeps hitting over .300
Xander Bogaerts (3B/SS) – Red Sox
Xander Bogaerts hasn’t hit for any of the power he was predicted to by most fantasy experts. His .093 ISO is not unusual for guys with 15 SB this year. Unfortunately, Bogaerts has only the lone stolen base so far to match his lone HR.
Bogaerts's 1.03 GB/FB ratio is not a good sign and neither is his .377 BABIP. Expect the BABIP to come down, and his BA along with it. He still does have a lot to learn in his rookie year and may be able to turn it around later in the year. However, by that time it could be too late for fantasy owners. Bogaerts still has name value and you might be able to extract a nice piece for him that is more useful in the short term.
Everth Cabrera (SS) – Padres
Everth Cabrera was a risky draft pick this year after being suspended for PEDs last year. Most fantasy owners were still hoping to get their 30 SB from him, but a knee injury has hampered him so far this year. If it continues to bother him or if he reinjures it, fantasy owners will be looking for steals elsewhere.
Cabrera is only 4 for 7 in SB attempts this year. His lack of production on the base path has lowered his wRC+ to only 71. It is quite alarming that a guy known for stealing bases and scoring runs is creating 29% less offense than the league average. Also alarming is his 25.2% K% and .277 OBP.
Cabrera still has value because most owners will look at his 81 SB over the last two years, including a 50 game suspension. Sell high now while some inattentive owners are still looking at years past.