Buy High/Sell Low: Byron Buxton, Shane McClanahan, Kris Bryant (2022 Fantasy Baseball)
We have made it through another week of the season, and that means we have another set of players to buy high or sell low based on their Week 3 performances and a full-season approach.
It is still challenging to get a great feel on a player as many underlying metrics have still not had enough time to develop fully. That said, let’s look at a handful of players that you should buy high or sell low.
If the season were to end right now, there would be a valid argument that Byron Buxton should be the AL MVP. He has been crushing baseballs all season. After week 3, Buxton has hit .351 with six home runs and a stolen base. Buxton is barreling the ball 33.3% of the time with a near 50% hard-hit rate; the pure definition of crushing the baseball.
He missed the first part of this past week, recovering from an injury. He returned and played in three games, racking up seven hits, including three home runs. Buxton is the real deal, and it all depends on health. I would be willing to take that risk and buy him wherever I can.
Are you ready to get Jazzy with it? I know I am. The season began with Jazz Chisholm Jr. hitting at the bottom of the order and getting some days off. But those now seem like a distant past.
Chisholm Jr. has reached the leadoff spot he deserves and has been flourishing. This past week, he hit two home runs, stole four bases, and hit .273. Chisholm Jr. barreled the ball 20% of the time last week and finished the week hitting leadoff in the final four games. Yes, he is striking out over 30% of the time, but that is who he is. He is also a player with a 25/25 upside, and that is someone you should buy now.
Jesus Sanchez continues to rake, and if you have not already, you should be buying now. Sanchez hit safely in three of six games last week, and in those three games, he had multiple hits in each game. In addition, Sanchez hit a home run to go with a 50% hard-hit rate. This past week Sanchez also did strike out more than he had in recent weeks, but there is no denying his overall talent and what could be ahead for a monster 2022 season. Buy now as another strong week is ahead.
The reports of Eric Lauer increasing his velocity this spring have been confirmed. He showcased that increased velocity this past week in his two dominating starts. Lauer threw six innings in each start, allowing one run, and striking out 18.
He is pumping his fastball in the high-90s and appears to be ready to shove this season. Last week, Lauer had a 33.3% K-BB with a 13.5% SwStr. Lauer pitches in the weak NL Central, and the gains look legit. Buy now as he could be the next Brewers’ pitcher to make that leap to an ace-level pitcher.
There were some high hopes for Shane McClanahan entering the 2022 season. Through four starts, he has backed up all those hopes. Over the past week, McClanahan made two starts, throwing at least six innings in each start, allowing two runs in each, and striking out 16.
McClanahan racked up a 2.08 ERA to go with a 1.60 FIP and 1.20 xFIP, so even the ERA estimators suggest he may have been better. McClanahan is mixing up his pitches to start the season, which was in full display last week on his way to a ridiculous 19.3% SwStr. McClanahan is going deep into games and dominating. He has the looks of a full-blown ace.
Sure, it’s early, but Kris Bryant has had some great matchups to start the season and a handful of games in Coors and is not performing. He is hitting .281 but has no home runs or stolen bases through three weeks. Last week, Bryant hit .158 with a .000 ISO, 0% barrel rate, and 21.4% hard-hit rate. Bryant will not be this bad all season, but he is not the MVP many thought he would be when he signed with the Rockies. Those who believe Bryant will still be great immediately sell him to those fantasy managers.
The 2021 season was an excellent story for Rafael Ortega, but 2022 could not have gotten off to a worse start. He is only hitting .205 with no home runs and no steals. In addition, Ortega has been platooning from time to time, which affects his fantasy value. This past week, Ortega played in all six games, starting in only three and collecting three hits. With Ortega not playing every day, he is an immediate sell.
The only way the 2022 season could be worse for Adalberto Mondesi is if he had no steals. He is hitting .125 on the season with no extra-base hits, but at least he has stolen five bases. Mondesi is only barreling the ball 3.6% of the time with a 28.6% hard-hit rate.
Looking at his Statcast page, you get the Mr. Freeze look due to all the blue. This past week, Mondesi had two singles on his way to hitting .095 to go with a 45.5% strikeout rate. If someone in your league is panicking for steals, sell Mondesi to them immediately, as things won’t get better this season.
Jake McGee has been decent this season, racking up a couple of saves to go with a win, but the whole season outlook is looking bleaker for fantasy purposes. Before the season started, Gabe Kapler said McGee would be the closer, but that has not been the case. Instead, Camilo Doval has been the man, as he has four saves and has been the locked-in closer in the last few opportunities. McGee will have his chances from time to time, but he is not the leading man, so you can sell now.
Most said leaving Coors Field would be great for Jon Gray. However, through two starts, Gray is struggling. Last week, Gray allowed four runs in five innings pitched with four strikeouts. He allowed a 14.3% barrel rate, 80% contact rate, and only a 9.1% SwStr. Gray isn’t fooling many early on and will need to turn things around quickly, or a long season is ahead. I am not a major Gray believer, and I would be selling to those that still are believers.
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.
Brian Entrekin is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Brian, check out his Twitter @bdentrek.