Buy Low, Sell High: Freddie Freeman, Charlie Morton, Randy Arozarena (2021 Fantasy Baseball)
Each week in this column, we will continue to look at players through the lens of advanced metrics and various statistical trends to discover which players are underachieving or overachieving in the hopes of identifying potential trade targets or those worth selling at peak value.
Some of the data can be used to acquire a player at a lower price point because he has lost value or sell players when they peak in value for a larger return on your investment.
Find stats showing that a player’s value is actually on the upswing and acquire that player at a fair price, knowing his value is almost sure to keep increasing anyway. Conversely, sell players who hold widely held perceived value but for whom underlying stats show may be on the verge of seeing the floor collapse and get out now.
Thus far, the data sample remains small, but we have enough to know what to look for, at least.
Always remember, every ball hit and thrown still tells a story, and if you want to review previous Buy Low, Sell High suggestions from prior weeks, you can view them here.
Freddie Freeman (1B – ATL)
There may not be a better buy-low candidate than Freddie Freeman. He’s hitting just .232, but that can largely be attributed to a .178 BABIP. Freeman’s xwOBA (.503) ranks as the sixth-best in baseball. Freeman’s five home runs probably have his owner committed to holding him, but if the average is at all a concern, now is the time to make an offer. Get your “Fredrick” share now!
Anthony Rizzo calling out Freddie Freeman during a run-down:
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) April 19, 2021
Joey Votto (1B – CIN)
Joey Votto will be a Hall of Famer one day, but his late-career trends have been largely inconsistent at best after a prime that saw him regularly post on-base percentages over .400 with 25+ homers every year. At age 37, Votto finds himself in this space because his 10.9 Brls/PA% ranks top 10 in baseball right now. Votto is still a more complete and experienced hitter than other late-round darts at the position, such as C.J. Cron or Andrew Vaughn, and most projections have him hitting 20 home runs with an OBP north of .360 going forward.
JOEY VOTTO INTO THE COVE ON THE DAMN FLY pic.twitter.com/DGP2UBPcek
— Jared Carrabis (@Jared_Carrabis) April 13, 2021
Mark Canha (OF – OAK)
Mark Canha had quite a bit of hype entering 2020 after hitting .273/.396/.517 with 26 home runs in 2019. Unfortunately, his 2020 was a disappointment as he proceeded to hit just .246 with five home runs. The late bloomer is probably best served long term as a 4th or 5th OF in most leagues, but a 9.5 Brls/PA% suggests he may deliver something closer to his 2019 stat line, especially if he continues to get on base and score runs atop the Athletics lineup.
Charlie Morton (SP – ATL)
Charlie Morton is averaging a healthy 94.6 mph with his fastball, and his 2.97 xFIP suggests he should be having a solid start to the season. Morton is sporting an electric 11.12 K/9. The highly misleading 4.76 ERA paints a different picture, and now would be the time to buy him if his manager thinks that picture is clear. Go get him.
Evan Longoria was mentioned in this space before. Now 35, his torrid start to the season has cooled slightly, but his 12.5 Brls/PA% ranks sixth in all of baseball, making him a prime sell-high candidate while he’s still healthy and fresh. No projection system has Longoria hitting more than 17 home runs or batting above .260 this year.
Randy Arozarena (OF – TB)
Randy Arozarena had one of the most memorable playoff surges in recent memory in 2020, and it led to many drafting him in the early rounds with the hope of a 20/20 season. However, out of the top 125 players thus far, Arozarena’s Brls/PA% ranks 95th. His BABIP appears stable (.333), but he’s hitting just .246/.317/.386. He will almost certainly turn it around some, but I question if he will actually return the value necessary to justify his ADP. It’s still early enough to ship him off to a believer who missed on the chance to draft him. There’s also the fact the Rays are still gonna Rays.
Can someone tell me why we had Brett Phillips hit for Randy Arozarena?
Im assuming for defensive purposes maybe in the bottom of the 9th?#RaysUp
— ????ChrisGoatwin???? (@Chris_Goatwin) April 20, 2021
Xander Bogaerts (SS – BOS)
Xander Bogaerts is hitting an insane .386 right now, but that’s largely bolstered by an unsustainable .489 BABIP. He has yet to hit his first home run of 2021, and his BB% (8.1%) is the lowest since 2016. Moreover, his K% (19.4%) is the highest since 2014. Those numbers still have lots of time to stabilize, and his Max Exit Velo (113.6 mph) suggests he’s still hitting the ball as hard as ever. However, a paltry 4.8 Brls/PA% helps explain the power outage. There are enough signs here to suggest that Bogaerts may fetch a healthy enough return that moving him now is justifiable.
Taylor Widener (SP – AZ)
Taylor Widener is off to a stellar start this year with a 1.59 ERA. Unfortunately, his xFIP (5.18) is the second-highest rate in baseball, meaning the bubble should be bursting any day now. Add in the low K upside (5.82 K/9), and you have a prime sell candidate. He’s the perfect add-in to a larger package.
If you want to dive deeper into fantasy baseball, be sure to check out our award-winning slate of Fantasy Baseball Tools as you navigate your season. From our Lineup Assistant – which provides your optimal lineup based on accurate consensus projections – to our Waiver Wire Assistant – that allows you to quickly see which available players will improve your team and by how much – we’ve got you covered this fantasy baseball season.