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Jason Johnson

Understanding Fantasy Baseball
Featured Pros: Buy Low, Sell High
Fri, Jul 6
Featured Pros: Buy Low, Sell High
What one player are you trying to buy low and what type of player would you give up to get him?
In many leagues, I've been trying to acquire DJ LeMahieu. The Rockies second baseman missed a chunk of time with a thumb injury, however has looked more like his old-self over the last couple weeks. It's not too late in the year to recover from a low batting average, and LeMahieu could certainly help the cause. I have been trying to sell where I have abundance, and a mid-to-high tier closer for example, could get get the deal done.

What one player are you trying to sell high right now and who would you want in return?
If the right buyer is out there, I would shop Max Muncy. Prospects that have a strong seasons tend to be a bit overvalued by fantasy owners, and right now, there is a lot of hype around the Dodgers phenom. If you could get an more proven player that's also performing, it could be a safer investment long term. Targeting a pre-season top 40 player would be a good starting point to open discussions with your trading partners.

Featured Pros: Under-the-Radar Waiver Pickups
Fri, Jun 15
Featured Pros: Under-the-Radar Waiver Pickups
What one hitter should fantasy owners look into picking up that is owned in less than 20% of Leagues?
Looking at the ESPN player pool, Jonathan Villar is only owned in 16% of leagues. At the same time, he's also just outside the top 15 2B in their player rankings for the season. While his runs and RBI production has been disappointing, he has a plus batting average, and is on pace to steal 25+ bases. He may not have the appeal and upside that a lot of other waiver wire targets do, but he is severely under owned for his positional production.

What one starting pitcher should fantasy owners look into picking up that is owned in less than 20% of Leagues?
With Yu Darvish on the DL, Mike Montgomery taken full advantage of his recent spot in the rotation. His last 4 starts have been nothing short of amazing, posting a 1.14 ERA and a mere .157 opponent batting average. While he could improve his K/9, his ability to keep batters off base more than makes up for it. If he continues to pitch close to this level, it's going to be difficult for the cubs to take him out of the rotation. Even if they do eventually, it's worth riding the wave while it lasts.

Featured Pros: Fact or Fiction
Fri, May 11
Featured Pros: Fact or Fiction
Which player who is greatly outperforming his ADP will be able to sustain his performance and why?
Odubel Herrera has had a very nice start to the year, and his performance can continue. His plate discipline has been a big factor in his early season success, sporting a much improved BB% and K%. Even assuming some regression occurs, he will still be far better than career and league averages. His .353 AVG may not be sustainable all season, however as that trends down, he still has opportunity to add value producing runs in the heart of the Phillies lineup. Assuming he continues to run as the opportunities present themselves, Herrera will continue to be a fantasy star the rest of the season.

Which player is destined for negative regression despite his early season success and why?
I understand the hype around Ozzie Albies' tremendous start, but I'm relatively confident he's not going to hit 60 HR's this season. His current .304 ISO is nearly double his career average, and while other metrics look 'normal', this power uptick is something that his fantasy owners cannot expect to continue. Albies will still be a fantasy asset leading off for the Braves, but his value will likely come from speed and runs scored as the season progresses. I view him as the perfect sell-high candidate before his power surge comes back to earth.

What one player do you expect to positively regress after a slow start to the season?
Looking at ADP, not many early round picks have disappointed as much as Anthony Rizzo. His .210 average and 13 runs scored aren't impressing anyone thus far. That said, there's room for optimism. His .202 BABIP coupled with his 3.4 walk rate are FAR below his career averages. Now, he needs to show more discipline at the plate to improve that walk rate, but much of the BABIP has been because of luck. His contract and hard hit rates are good, and as the season continues, he should positively regress. Just looking at his performance over the last week, we may be seeing him breaking out of this early season slump already. Owners should try to buy him now before it's too late.

Featured Pros: Buy Low, Sell High
Thu, Apr 19
Featured Pros: Buy Low, Sell High
What one player are you trying to buy low and what type of player would you give up to get him?
Carlos Santana is a player I'm trying to buy before he breaks out of his slow start. If you look at some of his underlying numbers, he has been very unlucky up to this point. His contact rate, hard hit rate, and launch angle all indicate that he should have much more success than he has had thus far. A few of names I'd try selling for Santana are Mike Moustakas. Matt Chapman and Javier Baez. All three players have started out well, but are likely over-performing thus far.

What one player are you trying to sell high right now and who would you want in return?
Gerrit Cole is a player I would be trying to sell. Don't get me wrong, I like Cole and expect a strong season from him, it just seems like the hot start coupled with recent hype is driving his value through the roof. A 15+ K/9 is unsustainable for a starter, and I do expect a few AL teams to hit him as the season progresses. He will get his wins on the Astros, and should have a good year, but I think Cole owners could get a nice return if they sell soon. A struggling Jansen, or even Greinke could be nice targets in trades before their value returns to normal.

Featured Pros: MLB Last-Round Fliers
Sun, Mar 18
Featured Pros: MLB Last-Round Fliers
What hitter should fantasy owners target with their last pick as a final-round flier?
With a current consensuses ADP of 456, C.J. Cron could easily be snagged with the final pick in most formats. That said, I love his upside for this year. In the last 3 seasons, Cron's playing time was limited, never exceeding 407 AB's. With a fresh start in Tampa, and seemingly no competition for playing time, I expect to see a reasonable increase across the board in all counting stats. The AVG will not be fantastic, however 25 HR and 80+ RBI are very possible targets for a full season of production.

What pitcher should fantasy owners target with their last pick as a final-round flier?
With a consensus ADP of 525, J.C. Ramirez is not getting drafted in most leagues. He has looked very good this spring, continuing to maintain a 95+ mph fastball and an improved K/9. The Angels overall have improved this off-season and should give him a chance to win some games. After Richards and Ohtani, there isn't much talent that should challenge him for a spot in the rotation, and if he starts the year strong, he could see a full season of work. Absolutely work a late-round flyer.

Players to Avoid
Wed, Mar 7
Players to Avoid
Who is the one hitter inside the top 30 in hitter ADP you are avoiding the most and why?
Avoid is a strong word. I would draft almost anyone at the right price, however I would be unlikely to draft someone based upon my rankings vs ADP. For me, Aaron Judge is a guy I likely won't have any shares of this year. While I'm projecting him for 40+ HR and 100+ runs and RBI, there won't be much speed, and I also expect to see a drop in AVG. Overall, I think he will certainly be in the top 30 hitters, but he is going too high in drafts for my taste.

Who is the one starting pitcher inside the top 20 in pitcher ADP you are avoiding the most and why?
I will very likely not own Shohei Ohtani in any of my leagues this year. Even if he has a strong spring training, he is simply too much of an unknown for me. I understand the success he has had thus far in his career, but MLB hitting is at another level. What I have seen from him has been impressive, but there are other, more established pitchers I would take over him.

Early Undervalued Players
Thu, Feb 1
Early Undervalued Players
Which hitter outside the top 60 in our consensus rankings is the most undervalued and why?
In 2017, Eddie Rosario got a chance to play an entire season for the Twins, and he did not disappoint. The 26-year old outfielder was a waiver wire claim in virtually all leagues last year, and provided solid 5-category production for his fantasy owners. Fast forward to 2018, Rosario is still extremely undervalued. He is currently ranked 102 among batters (155 overall), and realistically could slash: 80/25/80/10/.280. In his couple of seasons at the MLB level, he has improved his K%, BB%, ISO and HR/FB%. He took a huge step forward in 2017, and even if he doesn't take another step forward, his current ADP could be a tremendous value for his potential.

Which pitcher outside the top 60 in our consensus rankings is the most undervalued and why?
There aren't many pitchers outside of the top 60 with the potential for a K/9 above 9.00 and an ERA below 3.50. Drew Pomeranz has done exactly this for two consecutive seasons. While the 29-year old southpaw pitches in the AL East, he has proven that he can still be an effective fantasy option. As a category, Wins can be volatile, however the Red Sox should provide enough run support to give Pomeranz a chance for victories. While his BB% isn't great, his ability to limit home runs has been consistent throughout his career, leading to a somewhat disproportionate WHIP and ERA. Pomeranz may not win the Cy-Young, but he can help his fantasy owners in 3+ categories with minimal draft day investment.


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