Buy Low/Sell High: Cedric Mullins, Franmil Reyes, Eric Hosmer (2022 Fantasy Baseball)
Most MLB teams have only played three or four games, but that does not matter, as many fantasy players will overreact to the good and bad. Each week, this article will target some players to buy low or sell high due to their recent performances. Some may have some sneaky underlying stats that may lead to a breakout (buy low), or some may be overachieving in a big way (sell high).
As we gain more data, it will make finding these players to target a bit easier, but for now, we will go with the small sample size we have and try and get ahead of the curve. So here are some of the players that you may be able to buy low or sell high on in your fantasy leagues.
Cedric Mullins (OF – BAL)
Cedric Mullins is coming off a monster 2021 season where he joined the elusive 30/30 club. Due to that success, his fantasy price on draft day soared to the second and third rounds. Some were still on board with the draft-day price, while others expected some regression in 2022.
Unfortunately, the regression is hitting a big way to start the season. Over Mullins’s first four games, he is hitting .188 with only three hits. It worsens as he has no home runs, no steals, and has struck out nine times (50% K-rate). It is hard to believe Mullins will continue to struggle this much all season. He has yet to record a barrel but does have a 50% hard-hit rate, and his time will come. Another 30/30 season is likely out of the question, but 20/20 or even 25/25 could happen. If someone in your league is already growing nervous with Mullins, take advantage and buy low.
Franmil Reyes (UTIL – CLE)
The “Franimal” is off to a slow start to the season. He is hitting .263 (thanks to a 2-5 game on Monday), with no home runs and seven strikeouts. So far this season, Franmil Reyes’s plate discipline has been poor. His O-swing is 45.5% which is way more than his usually 25-29% rates. Reyes’s contact rates are also down, with his Z-contact sitting at 62.5% compared to his usual 76%. However, it is very early, and Reyes should be fine, barring a hidden injury. Buy low on a 30+ home run bat in Reyes.
Randal Grichuk (OF – COL)
Many were very excited when Randal Grichuk was traded to the Rockies, and rightfully so. Unfortunately, he has not lived up to the hype over his first few games, with only two hits and two RBI. Sure, that is less than ideal, but there are a few positives. Grichuk has stolen a base early this season, and he has only struck out one time. That’s a whole lot of balls in play. It does not take a rocket scientist to know that is a good thing, but it is excellent when his home games are in hitter-friendly Coors Field.
Grichuk will be just fine this season, and he should find his way to 25+ home runs and 10+ stolen bases. I have already had some ask about dropping him, so buy low while you can, as he has an excellent four-game series at home this weekend where he may remind people how fantasy-relevant he will be this season.
Joan Adon (SP – WAS)
Joan Adon was a strikeout monster in 2021 between Triple-A and the Nationals. He showcased that in his last start of the season as he went 5.1 innings, allowing two runs, and striking out nine versus the Red Sox. Adon got the call over the weekend versus the Mets, and it was a mixed result. He threw 4.1 innings and cruised until he gave up a grand slam to Pete Alonso. He ended with the four earned runs with four walks and three strikeouts.
Adon allowed some loud contact with a 95% Z-contact and only a 4.7% SwStr. These are all things that are not the norm for Adon. Some fantasy managers may be nervous with the rough finish to a decent outing. Take advantage and buy low on the Nats’ young starting pitcher.
Triston McKenzie (SP – CLE)
Some fantasy managers may have been nervous when they saw Triston McKenzie come in relief of Shane Bieber on Opening Day. The Guardians planned this as McKenzie was still stretching out as he was not fully ramped up this spring. He threw three innings, allowing two runs, and striking out only one. It was not a fantastic outing, but he did not allow a barrel and limited the hard contact to 33%.
McKenzie is coming off a 2021 season where he had a 27.5% strikeout rate and could be ready to take the next step. He will make his first start of the season later this week, so buy now before he puts together a strong outing and the price goes up.
Eric Hosmer (1B – SD)
Many fantasy managers wrote off Eric Hosmer heading into the 2022 season. He fell in drafts or was undrafted between uncertain playing time and inadequate production. Well, he has come out on fire to start the season. Over his first three games, he is 6-12 with two doubles. Some may see the overall stat line and think Hosmer may be getting it going, and more importantly, he is playing nearly every day.
However, looking deeper, this may not be the case as he has zero barrels, no home runs, and still has a 50% ground-ball rate. Therefore, it is time to sell very high on Hosmer before the decline comes in a big way.
Kyle Farmer (SS – CIN)
It has been an outstanding start to the season for Kyle Farmer. He has hit safely in three of four games for a .357 batting average. He has a double, four RBI, and even a stolen base. That’s a great start, but he is still hitting eighth in the Reds lineup, and the overall power production is lacking. He has a .071 ISO with zero barrels and an 18.2% hard contact rate. Farmer’s success is good, but the bottom will drop out eventually. Sell now.
Chas McCormick (OF – HOU)
Chase McCormick has started in three of the first four Astros’ games and has hit safely in all three games. He has two doubles over that time but not much else as he hits at the bottom of the batting order. When digging deeper, McCormick’s success is partly due to his .500 BABIP. He also has a 33.3% strikeout rate to go with zero barrels.
McCormick is a good outfield streamer from time to time but not an everyday player. Sell now before he falls back to earth, and Jose Siri finds more playing time in centerfield.
Justin Steele (SP – CHC)
Justin Steele has been outstanding to start the season. In his debut, he threw five shutout innings with five strikeouts versus the Brewers. He had a 22.2% K-BB with zero barrels, a 33.3% hard-hit rate. ‘
This is all great, but there was a downside. Steele could only force swings out of the zone 15.4% of the time and only got swinging strikes 5.2%. Steele is a young arm that is streamable throughout the season but not an every-start fantasy option at this time.
Brad Keller (SP – KC)
We have been down this road before with Brad Keller. Yes, he was great in his first start, throwing six shutout innings while striking out five. Keller even had an O-swing of 43.6% and a solid SwStr of 13%.
There are two concerns for me. First, he faced the Guardians, which will be a great matchup all season. Second, Keller has teased us before, and let us down, as well. He will not rack up many strikeouts and have problems outside of some excellent matchups like the Guardians. People will believe it is real this time, so take advantage and sell.
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.