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10 Players To Sell (2021 Fantasy Baseball)

Apr 28, 2021

Last week our writers discussed 10 closers to sell or stash. Today we’re sticking with the “sell” theme. Specifically, we’re highlight both hitters and pitchers who fantasy managers should consider offering up in trade negotiations this week.

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Q1. Who is your top hitter to sell?

Yermin Mercedes (UTIL – CWS)
This will be unpopular, but Mercedes may not be a part of league-winning teams by the end of the season. I can see his playing time getting squeezed as Chicago realizes that Andrew Vaughn needs to start 5 times a week, along with Eloy Jimenez hopefully returning in August. Beyond that, he won’t keep up his .455 BABIP, and every publicly available projection system on FanGraphs has him only being 3-5% better than the rest of the league for the remainder of the season. There is an outside chance that he can gain 1B eligibility, but the White Sox will likely prioritize getting Vaughn starts there. You can likely sell him for a top-50 starting pitcher, or package him with another player to get an elite SP that is off to a slow start, like Luis Castillo.
– Carmen Maiorano (@carmsclubhouse)

Joey Wendle (2B/3B – TB)
When sorting by leaders in BABIP, Wendle stands out. Through 69 plate appearances heading into the weekend, Wendle had three home runs, 16 runs, and 15 RBI with a triple slash of .354/.377/.600. Although Wendle’s 5.8% barrel rate and 48.1% hard-hit rate rank as career highs, he never hit more than seven home runs in his entire career. In 2018, Wendle hit seven homers with 16 steals and a .300 batting average in 545 plate appearances. Since he’s swinging a hot bat and holds that utility role, Wendle will continue to earn playing time for the Rays. Could he therefore have a career year in 2021 or will he regress closer to career norms? I tend to lean with the latter, though he projects to reach a career-high home run total. However, you’ll need to package Wendle with another player for an upgrade given he’s mostly relevant in 15-team leagues. A quick reminder to never trade someone away just for the sake of “selling high.”
– Corbin Young (@Corbin_Young21)

Tyler Naquin (OF – CIN)
You won’t be fooling anyone when you put Naquin on the block — fantasy managers understand the concept of “selling high” and they will recognize this tactic. Regardless, Naquin was the talk of the league for a few weeks, and he remains near the top of the home run leader board. Each time he puts a ball over a fence, the hope of a further breakout is reinvigorated. Really, the math says it’s almost impossible. For him to deliver even 28 home runs on the year, he would need to exceed his career season high of 14 home runs over the remainder of the year, while also doubling said career high. That’s simply asking too much.
– Mario Mergola (@MarioMergola)

Justin Turner (3B – LAD)
As great as he’s been, Turner’s track record and age say regression is near. Turner also hasn’t played more than 135 games since 2016. A .300 average with somewhere close to 25 home runs and 80 RBIs is the most you can hope for out of the Dodgers third baseman (and that’s pushing it). He’s on fire to start the season, but if you can score a player drafted in the first five or six rounds who’s off to a slow start, I’d jump on the deal.
– Austin Lowell

Byron Buxton (OF – MIN)
Buxton is ranked 30th overall in standard 5×5 leagues right now. He’s got a 26.8% barrel rate, 94.6 MPH average exit velocity, and .509 xwOBA. So why am I selling him? Simply put, his value will never be higher, and his injury risk is significant. Buxton has never played more than 140 games in a season. Since 2018, he’s played in 169 out of a possible 405 games (41.7%). He may not be stealing bases like he used to, with only four attempts since 2020 and the Twins only attempting 0.37 stolen bases per game (worst in the majors).
– Lucas Babits-Feinerman (@WSonFirst)

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Q2. Who is your top pitcher to sell?

Nathan Eovaldi (SP – BOS)
I’ve been off Eovaldi due to injury risk, despite the fact that he has a big fastball and has shown significant upside previously. Even with his hot start (top six in FanGraphs WAR), that injury concern hasn’t changed within six weeks. Eovaldi hasn’t pitched more than 124 innings since 2015, and barely topped 100 innings combined between 2019 and 2020. Further, despite the big fastball, his K% is still below average at 22.8%. Yes, his 14.5% swinging strike rate suggests that there is more in the tank, but he appears to be a league-average strikeout pitcher with good command. He’s bound to regress to the mean, and you can likely sell him for a slow starter or package another player to net a big return.
– Carmen Maiorano (@carmsclubhouse)

Carlos Rodon (SP – CWS)
I feel terrible even writing these words, but a pitcher to consider trading away includes Rodón. After an ongoing battle with injuries, Rodón threw a no-hitter with some ridiculous underlying metrics. In 19 innings, Rodón has a 0.47 ERA, 0.68 WHIP, a 32.4% strikeout rate, and a 10.8% walk rate. We know the minuscule ERA isn’t sustainable based on his .105 BABIP, 95.9% LOB%, and his ERA estimators. At this point, Rodón is either striking out or walking hitters. Yes, the four-seam velocity is up over two mph and the slider is filthy as ever. However, go ahead and dangle Rodón on the trade block to see what you might receive in return.
– Corbin Young (@Corbin_Young21)

Matthew Boyd (SP – DET)
Toward the end of Draft Season, I started drifting toward Matthew Boyd. He was impossibly bad in 2020, but “impossible” suggested that it wouldn’t happen again. I started to buy back into him, and I’m glad I did. As regression tends to go, however, Boyd’s return to fantasy relevance has been drastic. He now ranks in the top-10 for ERA among qualified starting pitchers. The problem? All of his other metrics are in agreement that he has over corrected, and worse days lie ahead. Boyd’s xERA and FIP are both more than one run higher than his ERA, and his xFIP is a concerning 4.93. In addition, his strikeout rate is a paltry 5.71-per-nine-innings, where he becomes a major liability if his ERA increases and he can’t strike out enough batters to remain fantasy relevant.
– Mario Mergola (@MarioMergola)

Danny Duffy (SP – KC)
If you can get someone to bite on Duffy, then pull the trigger immediately. We’ve all seen Duffy go through similar stretches where he looks unhittable one month just to revert back to throwing BP fastballs the next. So far, he hasn’t given up his usual number of home runs leading to a FIP and xFIP below four for the first time since 2017. There hasn’t been much of a change to his pitching approach other than an extra mile per hour on his fastball. He may have a productive season, but no way does he keep it going at this level. Sell ASAP before he blows up.
– Austin Lowell

Corbin Burnes (SP – MIL)
Burnes has emerged as one of the best pitchers in baseball. He’s got gaudy stuff, with great spin rates and incredible velocity. He’s pitched almost 30 innings this season and has yet to issue one walk. So why am I selling him? Very similar to Buxton, Burnes’ value is as high as it will ever be (he’s been anointed a top-five arm) and he’s got no track record in terms of innings pitched. Burnes set a career-high in 2018, throwing 116 2/3 innings across Triple-A and MLB. Last season he threw 59 2/3 innings. I’m worried that fatigue will take its toll on Burnes since his arm is not ready to pitch 200 innings in a season or that the Brewers will limit his innings in August or September. So if you can sell high on Burnes in standard redraft, do it!
– Lucas Babits-Feinerman (@WSonFirst)

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