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

May 7, 2021

Now that the season is over a month old, we’re starting to get a better picture of how these players will perform throughout the year. While more time is necessary to truly understand what we’re working with this season, a strong enough sample size has developed to help us confidently make decisions. As such, our featured pundits are back to send you into the weekend with some extra knowledge of which buy-low candidates are primed to step up and which sell-high guys have unsustainable production based on their pedigree and current output.

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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/DH – HOU) 
“I am buying low on Tucker wherever possible. In 2020, he hit .268 and drove in 42 runs in 58 games. He also produced what would have been a 20-20 pace over a full season. A cursory glance at Tucker’s statistics suggests he has taken a step back in 2021. So far this year, he is hitting just .179 with 15 RBIs through 31 games. However, his batted ball profile is right in line with last season’s. In fact, he has made slight improvements on his hard-hit and strikeout rates as well as his barrel percentage and average exit velocity. The difference is his BABIP. Last season, Tucker posted a .303 BABIP, which is right around the league average. He enters the weekend with a .173 BABIP, good for 158th of 159 qualifying hitters. Simply put, Tucker has been unlucky so far in 2021. I still believe he is a top-25 hitter who will approach 100 RBIs when all is said and done this season. As much as I love Byron Buxton, I would rather have Tucker going forward, especially given Buxton’s injury issues. I would also be fine giving up a starter in the Jack Flaherty/Clayton Kershaw range for Tucker assuming you have a surplus of pitching at your disposal.”
– Mick Ciallela (Fantrax)

Francisco Lindor (SS – NYM) 
“Lindor is pressing. There is a long documented history of great players transitioning to big markets with big contracts and struggling out of the gate. Lindor is an All-Star caliber talent and will eventually come around. Chances are he was a second-round pick in your league and that leaguemate is very frustrated with that return. Take advantage of that and reap the benefits of the good stats yet to come. It’s also worth noting, Lindor is a .259 hitter for his career in April with a .767 OPS. He is also a career .284 hitter with a .824 OPS. See where I’m going with this? Maybe Isaiah Kiner-Falefa and an SP get it done.”
– Joe Pisapia (FantasyPros)

Alec Bohm (1B/3B – PHI) 
“Oddly enough, I’m trying to buy low on Bohm, a player I had no interest in prior to the season. But the price on him has dropped significantly thanks to his uninspiring .219/.250/.351 slash line. The thing is, Bohm’s Statcast data has been exceptional so far this year, as he’s got a .277 xBA and .486 xSLG, and ranks in the top nine percent of the league in average exit velocity and hard-hit percentage. I’d look to trade someone overperforming a bit like Mitch Haniger or Freddy Peralta.”
– Dan Harris (FantasyPros)

Mookie Betts (OF – LAD) 
“Give me all the Betts shares. He was a consensus top-five pick in fantasy drafts thanks to his elite five-tool ability, but he’s off to a slow start this season thanks to a bruised forearm sustained a few weeks ago. The 28-year-old is bound to catch fire any day now, which makes him a prime buy-low candidate. I’d be willing to cash in on Ramon Laureano’s hot start along with a mid-tier pitcher to acquire the superstar outfielder.”
– Jacob W. Dunne (New Life Fantasy)

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

Randy Arozarena (OF – TB) 
“I am becoming increasingly concerned about the long-term outlook for Arozarena. His surface numbers (.264, 18 runs, three home runs, 12 RBIs, four stolen bases) are fine, but his underlying metrics are a bit worrisome. Last year’s postseason phenom has struck out in over a third of his plate appearances in 2021. His 34.4 strikeout percentage is the sixth-highest among qualified hitters, and his 34.5 CSW percentage (called strikes plus whiffs) is second-highest. What is perhaps even more alarming is what is happening when Arozarena does make contact. Of 159 qualified hitters, he ranks 155th in both line drive and fly ball rates, and his 3.14 ground ball/fly ball ratio trails only Nick Madrigal. That has led to a wildly inflated .406 BABIP, the seventh highest in baseball. Arozarena’s expected batting average this season is just .194. If you can find a manager in your league who believes in what he did last fall or even one who believes that his career .273 batting average is the norm, I would try to sell high while you still have the chance. I prefer Byron Buxton, Trent Grisham, and Teoscar Hernandez over Arozarena going forward, and I would also rather have Jose Altuve and Giancarlo Stanton than Arozarena, though acquiring them may depend more on your roster construction and categorical needs.”
– Mick Ciallela (Fantrax)

Nate Lowe (1B – TEX) 
“Lowe has been terrific this season, totaling six home runs, 24 RBIs, and four stolen bases with a solid .284 batting average. It’s safe to say, Texas made out like a bandit when they traded for him over the offseason. While Lowe has the power, talent, and opportunity to be solid for the rest of the year, fantasy managers should expect his batting average to level out somewhere between .284 and last season’s .224 mark. If you can swap Lowe for a struggling Freddie Freeman or upgrade your pitching staff with Hyun Jin Ryu, I’d take the deal in a heartbeat.”
– Jacob W. Dunne (New Life Fantasy)

Giancarlo Stanton (OF/DH – NYY) 
“I’m selling Stanton, really for two reasons. The first is that he’s in the midst of a torrid stretch, during which he’s hit safely in 12 straight games and hit six home runs with a 1.469 OPS, which is exactly when fantasy managers are willing to buy high. The second is because I always look to sell high on players with a checkered injury history, and Stanton is an injury risk even as a DH. I’d be more than happy to keep him all year, but I’d be looking to see if I could get a king’s ransom for him, such as a top-15 pitcher like Brandon Woodruff or Clayton Kershaw.”
– Dan Harris (FantasyPros)

Byron Buxton (OF – MIN) 
“As much as I want to take a victory lap on Buxton after touting how undervalued he was this draft season, his value is now at an all-time high. He’s battled through some injuries already and is due for some regression. If you can get Alex Verdugo or Ramon Laureano and a solid starting pitcher (like Kevin Gausman or Pablo Lopez) I would consider it. If you could also deal him for Juan Soto, who’s had a rough opening to the 2021 season, I would also do that in a heartbeat.”
– Joe Pisapia (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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