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9 Players to Buy Low & Sell High (Fantasy Baseball)

Apr 30, 2021

Fantasy sports is similar to investing in that the goal is to have the most profitable portfolio for the lowest possible cost. The most successful investors are those who buy the FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt) and sell when they determine their asset has reached its peak value. This is akin to dumping an overachieving athlete with less pedigree for one with a strong track record that is in a slump. Once he turns his season around, you stand to profit in the long term.

With that said, we know it’s hard to identify who to buy and sell after just one month into the season. That’s why our featured pundits are here to lend a helping hand and share their favorite trade candidates below.

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Q1. What one player are you trying to buy low and why? Also, who are you willing to give up for him?

Kyle Tucker (OF – HOU)  
“Tucker enters the weekend with a paltry .185/.220/.380 triple slash line. However, fantasy managers should be comforted by the fact that he’s showing many of the same skills that he displayed in his breakout 2020. Tucker’s xwOBA and xSLG are actually higher than they were last summer and the quality of contact that he’s making thus far suggests he has been unlucky. A dreadful start for the 24-year-old likely has fantasy managers second-guessing their decision to use an early-round pick on him back in March. Now is the time to capitalize by using the strength of your own team to swing a deal for him. Kris Bryant and Austin Meadows are a couple outfielders I like less than Tucker.”
– Brendan Tuma (FantasyPros)

“I would buy low on Kyle Tucker. He’s hitting the ball hard and getting unlucky. He has a .169 BABIP and his xBA, xSLG, and xwOBA all indicate his stats should be better. Even with that, he has five home runs and two steals, but a .187 average and a .222 on-base percentage could have someone looking to deal him. I would trade Eduardo Escobar for Tucker.”
– Adam Ronis (Fantasy Alarm)

Kyle Hendricks (SP – CHC) 
“It’s been a ridiculously poor start for Kyle Hendricks, and despite his lengthy track record of success, fantasy managers always seem to be looking for a reason to get away from him because his stuff isn’t overpowering. But come on, now. He’s just 31 years old and there’s absolutely no reason for him to suddenly walk more than three batters per nine innings or have a 35.7% HR/FB rate. His SIERA is still just 4.52, so consider this just a rough early stretch (and don’t forget he was sick before one of his starts and his routine was off), and buy him where you can. I’d try to swap him for an overperforming pitcher right now like Kevin Gausman, Tyler Mahle, or Trevor Rogers.”
– Dan Harris (FantasyPros)

Ozzie Albies (2B – ATL) 
“Albies is one of the biggest underachievers based on expected statistics early in the season, posting a .322 xBA in the 93rd percentile yet batting just .226 so far. His hard-hit rate is at a career-best 41.4% while his strikeout rate is back to its previous levels after spiking in 2020. The steals will come once he starts reaching base at a higher clip and he is a safe bet for 20-25 HRs by season’s end. Hard as it may be, I would offer up a scorching Byron Buxton, given his injury history, to acquire a premium player like Albies at a thinner position.”
– Pierre Camus (RotoBaller)

Eugenio Suarez (3B/SS – CIN) 
“In 2019, Suarez hit 49 HRs and drove in 103 runs. However, in June of ’19, he slashed .185/.265/.304 and that line looks quite familiar to his current 2021 slash of .125/.228/.272. I would be buying Suarez everywhere. I think part of his struggles lies in adjusting to playing shortstop. Suarez will settle in eventually, and I would offer Evan Longoria or Kyle Seager for Suarez rest of season in a heartbeat.”
– Joe Pisapia (FantasyPros)

Q2. What one player are you trying to sell high right now and why? Also, who would you try to get in return?

Alex Reyes (RP – STL) 
“I would gladly deal away any closer to a fantasy manager in need of saves, but Reyes, in particular, is someone to put on the trading block. He has locked down ninth-inning duties in St. Louis, gaining six saves without yielding an earned run yet. Under the hood, we see a 19.2% walk rate, a minor loss in velocity from last season, and an xwOBA that is .126 higher than his wOBA. While his actual ERA is 0.00, his xERA is 5.22! The Cardinals have Giovanny Gallegos and Jordan Hicks ready to pounce in case Reyes gets blown up or injured (again) so it’s best to recoup value from Reyes now before it’s too late. Offer him in exchange for an underachieving starter like Kenta Maeda or Jesus Luzardo or take a chance on Max Fried.”
– Pierre Camus (RotoBaller)

Randy Arozarena (OF – TB) 
“One of the quickest ways to identify players you should be buying or selling is to look at the difference between their wOBA and xwOBA on Baseball Savant and Arozarena currently has the second biggest contrast among hitters. This is especially concerning when you notice that Tampa’s postseason hero has a bottom seventh percentile strikeout rate and a fourth percentile whiff rate. Arozarena is still hitting the ball decently hard, but he enters the weekend with a 66.1% ground ball rate. I recognize that we aren’t exactly selling that high on him, but I worry that his perceived value is only going to decline as we get further away from the 2020 playoffs. Look to trade him for a mid-range SP or a hot bat that’s on the rise.”
– Brendan Tuma (FantasyPros)

Matthew Boyd (SP – DET) 
“I would sell on Boyd. He is getting fewer swings and misses. The strikeout rate is too low and the swinging strike rate of 9.1 percent is a big drop from 2019 when it was 14 percent. A .220 BABIP has helped and a fly-ball percentage of 45.5 percent will result in more home runs down the road. He has allowed one home run and has a career 1.63 HR/9. If someone believes in his 1.82 ERA and 0.84 WHIP is leading to a breakout, sell. I would trade him for Anthony DeSclafani.”
– Adam Ronis (Fantasy Alarm)

Eduardo Escobar (2B/3B – ARI) 
“Escobar is off to a .830 OPS in April with seven HRs and 15 RBIs. However, Escobar has a ton of swing and miss in his game, low OBP skills, and can be very streaky. April has been a respectable streak. That means a downturn is right around the corner. If you could get Matt Chapman or Eugenio Suarez back for Escobar, make it happen.”
– Joe Pisapia (FantasyPros)

Fernando Tatis Jr. (SD – SS) 
“Tatis Jr. is prime on my sell-high list right now because it feels like fantasy managers are watching his outstanding and quick return and assuming he’s good to go for the rest of the season. But from everything I’ve read from medical professionals, his shoulder is far from stable and there’s a good chance he’ll need surgery before the year is out, especially given that he plays at 100% at all times (which he should). It’s pure injury, not performance, so I would sell him for any top-20 player, and would personally make the switch for someone even lower, like Xander Bogaerts.”
– Dan Harris (FantasyPros)

Thank you to the experts for naming their trade candidates. Make sure to give them a follow on Twitter for more great advice all season and check out our Leading Off Podcast every single day for quick-hitting takeaways and advice.

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