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7 Players to Buy Low/Sell High (Fantasy Baseball)

Aug 12, 2020

Kyle Lewis is primed to regress over the rest of the season

With roughly a quarter of the season gone, there is no time to waste when it comes to putting your team in a better chance to succeed moving forward. If you’re at the bottom of the standings, you need to quickly embark on retooling your roster. If you’re at the top, don’t get caught sleeping, or else the rest of the league will catch up.

The ridiculously small sample sizes we’re working with here might make it difficult to assess which guys have the best odds for future success. With that being the case, looking at the data for what these athletes have done over full seasons in the past or recognizing how hitters and pitchers are performing across the league on average becomes even more vital in determining who can improve your squad or hold your team back. Our featured experts fully understand how important analyzing and questioning the data is when sifting through the wealth of weird, outlier numbers many players have right now in this shortened season. As a result, they have come to help you out by sharing their top trade candidates at this point based on their findings.

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Q1. What one player are you trying to buy low and what type of player would you give up to get him?

Matt Olson (1B – OAK) 
“Olson’s contact and strikeout rates are right in line with last season when he batted .267. He continues to produce handfuls of hard contact with a .397 xwOBA, and yet he’s batting .145. Chalk this one up to a small sample size and an MLB-wide tailspin in batting average. He’s drawing walks at an even higher rate than usual and has belted five home runs amid his early woes. Olson is still more than capable of heating up for an epic power binge, so try flipping a hotter starter drafted well behind him such as Michael Conforto, German Marquez, or perhaps even a two-for-one with Renato Nunez.”
– Andrew Gould (FantasyPros)

Jose Altuve (2B – HOU) 
“Altuve is off to a pretty awful start this year, slashing .187/.265/.333. His star had dimmed a bit heading into the draft season because of his three-year decline in stolen bases and batting average, as well as the sign-stealing controversy that engulfed the entire Houston team. Regardless, his strikeout rate isn’t going to stabilize at 20.5% (almost a six percent jump from last year), and he is on a 30-homer, 120-run, 20-steal pace for a 162-game season. I’d be fine to swap him for any borderline SP1 like Lucas Giolito, or even a bat like Anthony Rizzo or Kris Bryant, though I’d aim to give up less.”
– Dan Harris (FantasyPros)

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (3B/DH – TOR) 
“It’s tempting to think Andrew Benintendi will get it together and be a midseason steal, but he just looks broken. Instead, I recommend going after Guerrero Jr. while his price is depressed. Despite disappointing power numbers, his exit velocity is in the 85th percentile and his strikeout rate remains low at 17.2%. He hasn’t been overwhelmed by Major League pitching and hasn’t truly slumped at any point. A power surge could come at any time to propel fantasy teams in the second half of the short season.”
– Pierre Camus (RotoBaller)

Gleyber Torres (2B/SS – NYY) 
“There are better players that are struggling as badly as Torres, but I’m not convinced anyone would actually sell low on those guys. Torres has talent that can still sneak under the radar in some fantasy leagues, so you may be able to pull something off. The reality is, he’s really only had one bad week, and there’s no reason to think he won’t bounce back. I would offer up a talented middle infielder that has been performing well, but entered the season ranked a bit below Torres, like Keston Hiura, Manny Machado, or maybe even Whit Merrifield.”
– Tim Young (Brewer Rat)

Q2. What one player are you trying to sell high right now and who would you want in return?

Kyle Lewis (OF – SEA) 
“Lewis caught some buzz in summer camp and entered Wednesday’s action slashing .357/.430/.543 with four home runs, but he’s striking out nearly 30% of the time and hitting the ball hard just about a third of the time, below the MLB average this year of 34.7%. His average exit velocity is just 86.3 miles per hour and his launch angle is a mere 4.1 degrees, both of which are also well below league average. In other words, Lewis may have a fine season, but he’s playing over his head. I’d happily swap him for any comparable outfielder like Byron Buxton or Kyle Tucker, or, frankly, any closer with a lock on his role.”
– Dan Harris (FantasyPros)

Kyle Lewis has legit power and has earned everything he’s gotten so far with an expected slash line of .294/.378/.521 as of Tuesday. Still, he’s never been projected to bat over .300 and there are holes in his swing that pitchers can exploit once they see him a second time around. Last year, we saw rookies like Austin Riley and Aristides Aquino explode right away before falling hard. It’s best to deal Lewis now at peak value in order to get a player like Franmil Reyes, who is starting to heat up and can produce similarly to what Lewis is doing.”
– Pierre Camus (RotoBaller)

Trevor Bauer (SP – CIN) 
“Bauer is looking like a top-shelf ace once more, posting a 0.93 ERA and MLB-high 40.6% K-BB rate in three starts. Some may feel deja vu, as onlookers were also ready to crown him the 2019 AL Cy Young Award winner when he exited April with a 2.45 ERA. In a Twitter poll I ran on May 1, 2019, 20 of 39 respondents said they’d prefer Bauer to Gerrit Cole. Bauer gave up eight runs in his next turn and surrendered five or more runs in 10 more starts. While I doubt anyone could now obtain Cole for Bauer in a straight swap, try to exchange the highly volatile hurler for a slumping stud hitter such as Anthony Rendon, Gleyber Torres, or George Springer.”
– Andrew Gould (FantasyPros)

Fernando Tatis Jr. (SS – SD) 
“Tatis Jr. is on a track to becoming the best player in the game and he’s currently on a tear. That said, 21-year-old shortstops aren’t typically inside the top two in the league in home runs, even if they aren’t your typical 21-year-old shortstop. You could ask for just about anyone in return. Go after the best player at whatever position you need.”
– Tim Young (Brewer Rat)

Thank you to the experts for giving us their buy/sell candidates. Be sure to give them a follow on Twitter.

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