Dynasty Players to Buy, Sell, and Hold (2019 Fantasy Baseball)
This piece is part of our article program that features quality content from experts exclusively at FantasyPros. For more insight from Kyle, head over to kmillsports.com.
The MLB All-Star break may not be the season’s official halfway point, but it’s a good time to take a step back and evaluate your dynasty team. With most of the league out of action until Friday, you can dive deep on your players and make sure you’re taking the right ones into the stretch run.
Deivi Garcia (SP – NYY)
The Yankees’ top pitching prospect saw his rapid rise through the minors kick into high gear Sunday night. He started the Futures Game for the American League, collecting a strikeout in one perfect inning. Shortly after that outing, it was announced that he’s heading to Triple-A to start the second half.
Garcia’s work in the first half spanned two levels, producing a 3.01 ERA with 114 strikeouts in just 68.2 innings. He may be a diminutive presence on the mound physically, but his 5’9″, 163-pound frame shouldn’t fool you. He throws absolute gas and uses a nasty curveball to put hitters away. Garcia checks in at number 72 in Bobby Sylvester’s Overall Prospect Rankings on FantasyPros, but I’m even more aggressive. I just added him in a 12-team league that only has three minor league spots. Garcia is a potential strikeout monster for the Yankees in 2020 and beyond.
Blake Snell (SP – TB)
Trading for the reigning AL Cy Young winner while he has a 4.70 ERA through 90 innings isn’t exactly rocket science. Buying low on Snell is something countless fantasy managers have attempted over the last few months, but I’m willing to bet that most were met with rejection. Snell is still producing an elite strikeout rate, so why the bloated ERA?
Well, for starters, his immaculate 88% left-on-base rate from 2018 has regressed to 68.8%. He’s also allowing an inflated .351 BABIP compared to just .241 last season. His home run to fly-ball rate (HR/FB) sits at 18.1% as opposed to 10.7% from 2018. While Snell is not a 4.70 ERA pitcher, he’s also not the 1.89 ERA pitcher from last year. Everything broke his way in 2018, and everything is going against him this year. I feel confident saying Snell is the pitcher his xFIP has shown the last two seasons. In fact, the 3.16 in that magical 2018 is currently being bested by his 3.12 this year. He’s actually improved his 11.01 K/9 in 2018 by over a full strikeout. This is a top-five starter, and I’m willing to pay full freight — not a low-ball offer — to own him.
Michael Chavis (3B – BOS)
After just 16 major league games, I declared that dynasty owners should sell Chavis in this very space. At that point, he was hitting .293/.423/.638 with six homers, but the Statcast data (albeit in an extremely small sample) suggested it was fluky. Since then, he’s hitting just .255/.304/.420 with a 35.2% strikeout rate. He managed to smack nine long balls in that 52-game span, but everything else was ugly.
So why is Chavis showing up on this list again? Statcast data on Baseball Savant shows that he’s still got a long way to go to find his floor for 2019. His .263 batting average is backed up by just a .222 expected batting average. His .467 slugging percentage is backed up by a .405 xSLG. Things are going to get worse before they get better for the rookie infielder. If I’m a Chavis owner in a dynasty league, I’d look to target a player with worse numbers but better peripherals like Keston Hiura.
Madison Bumgarner (SP – SF)
Bumgarner is putting up his best strikeout season since 2016, but he’s also pitching to the worst ERA of his career. In 2019’s hitting climate, a 4.03 ERA isn’t going to kill your fantasy pitching staff, though. Especially not when it comes with a 24.8% strikeout rate. His 11.9% swinging-strike rate suggests that this strikeout resurgence is for real, too. His BABIP allowed is about 20 points over his career mark, coupled with a HR/FB rate that’s 4% higher. He’s gotten quite unlucky thus far in 2019, but I don’t think that luck will correct itself anytime soon.
Now is the perfect time to trade Bumgarner while pointing out those peripheral stats. A free agent following the season, San Francisco is likely to trade him to a contender later this month. When a pitcher gets traded from a bad team to a good one, his perceived fantasy value jumps because he’ll theoretically win more of his starts. The problem is that a move away from San Francisco’s Oracle Park will bring far greater negative ramifications to Bumgarner’s value. The 29-year-old southpaw has the 21st-highest fly-ball rate among qualified MLB starters while pitching in the best home park a hurler can ask for. Imagine taking that skill set to a hitter’s haven like say, Milwaukee’s Miller Park. Or Yankee Stadium. He doesn’t have the trade value he had back in 2016, but the time is now to unload Bumgarner while he still has positive stats to point toward.
Lourdes Gurriel Jr. (2B/SS – TOR)
In 2017, Gurriel made his United States debut at the age of 23 for Blue Jays’ High-A affiliate. He quickly rose up the minor league ranks and made his MLB debut in 2018. Upon that promotion, he hit a respectable .281/.309/.446 with 11 long balls in 63 games. All he’s done for an encore in 2019 is slash .303/.355/.626 with 16 home runs and three steals in just 53 games.
Gurriel is having a monster breakout season for the Blue Jays, and it’s been just what they needed. My favorite part of his development is his 7% walk rate, up from 3.4% in 2018. The power is sure to slow down, though, as he has an unsustainable 25.8% HR/FB rate. His other peripherals don’t look that fluky, so I think he’s a stud moving forward. While he’s going to regress a little the rest of this year, Gurriel is exciting enough that I want him to find that floor on my team.
Lance Lynn (SP – TEX)
Would you want to own a pitcher with a 2.98 FIP and 9.63 K/9 so far in 2019? Of course, right? What if I told you he was 32? What if I told you he had a 3.91 ERA? What if told you his name was Lance Lynn? Okay, okay, relax. I know it’s not pretty, but 2019 Lance Lynn is a good pitcher!
Lynn’s value heading into the season was at an all-time low after tallying a 4.77 ERA in 2018. After being traded to Yankees, though, he posted a 4.14 ERA (2.17 FIP) and 10.10 K/9. That’s a good sign that Lynn figured something out in his time in the Bronx. Much to the Rangers’ delight, he’s brought that something with him to Arlington. He’s old, and the Texas heat will likely result in Lynn giving up a few more homers down the stretch, but he can be the finishing touch to a championship team.