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Dynasty Hitters to Buy or Sell (Fantasy Baseball 2020)

by Brendan Tuma | @toomuchtuma | Featured Writer
Oct 9, 2020

Trading in fantasy sports is a lot like playing the stock market. We want to “buy” assets when we think their value will increase, and we want to “sell” assets when our research shows us that we should expect value to decrease. The key, then, is to find the right time to both buy and sell, and to ensure we are receiving proper value in return.

As an extreme example, would it make sense to sell Justin Verlander (Tommy John surgery) in a dynasty league right now? Potentially, but his value has already plummeted. It’s unlikely that we would get much in return for him right now. Instead, let’s focus on some more under-the-radar names throughout the offseason. As of mid-October, here are some players to buy and sell in your dynasty baseball leagues.

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Buy: Kyle Tucker (OF – HOU)

Entering 2020, the question about Tucker, a former top prospect, wasn’t about his skills. It was all about playing time, which is why fantasy managers were so frustrated with his lackluster start to the summer. Thanks to Yordan Alvarez’s knee issues, Tucker opened the season in a near everyday role. Through August 18th, however, he was hitting just .193/.227/.349. 

In 140 plate appearances from that point on, Tucker hit .317/.386/.619 with seven homers and five stolen bases. He simply needed some time to get his feet wet. Set to turn 24 in January, Tucker’s season-long numbers don’t highlight how impactful he was during the 2020 fantasy baseball calendar. This is a potential 30/30 hitter who could push for at-bats in the middle of a talented Houston lineup come 2021.

Sell: Jose Abreu (1B – CWS)

Up until their elimination in the Wild Card Series against the A’s, the Chicago White Sox were one of the most fun stories in baseball this year. A major reason for that was the play of American League MVP candidate Jose Abreu. The 33-year-old easily had his best season since his rookie campaign, playing in all 60 games and swatting 17 homers while driving in 60. Additionally, Abreu hit .317 with a .987 OPS. Based on his modest 2020 average draft position, Abreu was a league-winner this year.

The question now becomes how much he has left in the tank. Entering 2020, Abreu had the reputation of a “compiler” who seemed to be in decline. However, his hard-hit rate has actually been increasing every year since 2016.

Year Hard-Hit Rate
2016 39.4%
2017 45.2%
2018 45.2%
2019 48.2%
2020 53.3%

It’s clear that Abreu was in the zone over the past two months. What’s unclear is if this hot streak would’ve lasted during a full 162-game season. So much of 2021 fantasy prep is going to be reminding ourselves that 2020 was only two months, and that we shouldn’t overrate it when compiling rankings. 

Is there anything about Abreu’s profile that suggests he’s about to fall off a cliff? Absolutely not. Is this offseason likely the highest his value is going to be over the next couple of years? Certainly seems so.

Buy: Dominic Smith (1B/OF – NYM)

It was a small sample, but Dominic Smith was a different hitter this summer. The addition of the universal DH and the early-season opt out of Yoenis Cespedes gave Smith an opportunity that he fully seized. After receiving just 10 plate appearances during the Mets’ first nine games, Smith became a regular thereafter. The 25-year-old rotated between first base, left field, and designated hitter to play in 50 games this year. He hit .316 with 10 homers, 42 RBI, and a .993 OPS.

A quick glance at Smith’s Statcast page shows a lot of red, which is a good thing. His xBA, xSLG, and xwOBA all rated within the 92nd percentile. Does his hitting profile look perfect? No, but it does show a noticeably improved hitter from seasons prior. This is a former first-round draft pick who has continued to get better with more and more playing time. There are still those who view Smith in a negative light due to his early-career “bust” label. Don’t be one of them.

Sell: Adalberto Mondesi (SS – KC)

I was admittedly high on Mondesi in roto leagues entering the shortened 2020 season. The stolen base upside was immense — if Mondesi could just not kill us in the other categories the way Billy Hamilton used to, then he could be a fantasy cheat code. That didn’t happen, though. Mondesi did his part on the bases by leading baseball in steals (24), and he helped those in head-to-head formats by going crazy during the final week of the year, but he still wasn’t worth a top-50 draft pick. 

2020 was Mondesi’s age-25 season, and he played in 59-of-60 games. It’s important to note that because the concern with drafting him back in March was his health. Well, he stayed healthy. Power wise, he hit six homers to go along with 24 RBI. Mondesi also slashed .256/.294/.710. The reason he’s a sell is because he just hasn’t made the leaps as a hitter that we’ve needed him to. Perhaps someone in your league still believes. When it comes to his Baseball Savant page, a picture is worth 1,000 words.

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Brendan Tuma is a correspondent at FantasyPros. To read more from Brendan, check out his archive and follow him @toomuchtuma.

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