Dynasty Players to Buy, Sell, and Hold (2019 Fantasy Baseball)
We’re reaching the part of the season where it’s really time to start assessing where your team is in your league’s pecking order. Finding trades that help you and your league mate at the same time can be a good way to gain an advantage in future years. A trade can look fair for 2019 but you want to win that trade in 2020 and beyond. If you decide to give up future assets for success this season, make certain you’re getting the best of it right now.
AJ Puk (SP – OAK)
Puk was one of the highest ranked pitching prospects in the game before undergoing Tommy John Surgery prior to the 2018 season. The 6-foot-7 lefty out of the University of Florida has a sidearm delivery that has drawn comparisons to Randy Johnson. In his last healthy season in 2017, Puk had a ridiculous 184 strikeouts in just 125 innings across two different levels of the minors. That kind of strikeout upside is what fantasy pitching dreams are made of. He’s finally back on a professional mound after making his 2019 debut at High-A in a rehab start. There’s talk of Puk helping the A’s out of the bullpen upon his call up but I’m not ruling out a rotation spot. The time to buy Puk is right now; before he takes the hill for his big league debut and strikes out the world.
Cal Quantrill (SP – SD)
Padres fans and team executives alike have to be bit disappointed in the player they took eighth overall in the 2016 MLB Draft. Quantrill has reached the majors this season behind an improved strikeout rate though and his arrow is back to pointing upward. Since his breakout performance in High-A in 2017, Quantrill had not cracked a 20% strikeout rate until this season. He’s currently sporting a 23.9% rate in that category, showing he can be very useful fantasy starter in time. He’s throwing harder than ever this season and his control has improved over last year in Triple-A. While I’m not suggesting Quantrill be owned in every dynasty league, he needs to be owned in the deeper ones. Even if yours is shallow, keep this former top prospect in mind when scouring the wire for pitching.
Elvis Andrus (SS – TEX)
Andrus had never cracked double-digit home runs until 2017 when he smoked 20 over the fence. He followed that up with just six homers in an injury shortened season in Texas last year. The traditional speedster is having a season that’s eerily similar to his career year from a couple years ago though. The major difference with Andrus now from a dynasty perspective is his age. There’s a three at the beginning of that number now and which is never a good thing for big time base stealers. There’s also StatCast evidence on Baseball Savant that shows decent regression is likely coming for Andrus. His .307 batting average isn’t supported by this data, as his expected average is .272. The same can be said for his slugging percentage where he’s posted .466 and .379 number respectively. Whether you’re contending or not this year, now is the time to trade Andrus and get younger.
David Peralta (OF – ARI)
On the surface, Peralta is backing up his breakout 2018 season with a very solid 2019. He’s slashing .298/.348/.520 with nine home runs in about a third of the season. His plate skills remain similar to 2018 but I’m very concerned about some peripheral stats in his profile. His BABIP is over 30 points higher than it was last year, indication that his .290+ average is not as legitimate as it was in 2018. StatCast data further supports this as he has just a .252 expected batting average. While I was very leery of Peralta’s power breakout last season, that part of his game seems for real these days. Still, 30 home runs doesn’t mean what it used to anymore since balls are flying out of the park at a record pace. Batting average has always been Peralta’s calling card so with that expected to drop in the near future, sell the 31-year old Peralta while you still can. Target a younger player with power on a team that needs batting average. You may just come out on the positive side of both stats by the end of the season.
Chris Paddack (SP – SD)
It may seem odd to see a stud rookie pitcher on this list at first. No one needs to be told to hold onto Chris Paddack after his elite start to the season, right? Well, the Padres decided to send Paddack down to High-A on Wednesday to manage his innings workload. In reality, this was always going to happen for Paddack in 2019 because of his age and the fact that he’s just a couple years removed from Tommy John surgery. I actually think it’s a good thing that he’s being sent down now as opposed to getting his innings up to 150 and shutting him down in September. If you’re currently contending in your dynasty league, you’ll want him in your rotation for the stretch run. No matter what your current position in the standings is or how few bench spots you have, don’t let Paddack slip through your hands because of a two-week absence from the rotation.
Mitch Keller (SP – PIT)
The Pirates’ top pitching prospect has an extremely bloated big league ERA through his first two starts that’ll likely get him sent back down to Triple-A for the second time this season. But it’s certainly not the end of the world for his owners. All you have to do is look at the 23-year old righty’s minor league stats to see how bright his future is. His sparkling 3.10 ERA is backed up by an 11.48 K/9. He’s still walking too many hitters but the strikeout potential is undeniable. He’ll be back in Pittsburgh soon enough, and likely for good. Unlike Paddack, the decision to keep a demoted Mitch Keller isn’t a no-brainer if you’re in a shallower dynasty league. If you have a plethora of bench spots or a minor league system, I’d do anything you can to keep him around.