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Josh Shepardson

FantasyPros
Featured Pros: Buy Low, Sell High
Fri, Jun 8
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?
Yonder Alonso stands out as the play who I'm most interested on buying low. He currently checks in 18th at first base, but I view him as a top-10 first baseman the rest of season. He's hitting just .240/.312/.444 with 11 homers, a 9.2% BB%, and 22.0% K%, but the Statcast data indicates he should be posting better numbers. Out of 223 players who have a minimum of 100 batted ball events this year, Alonso ranks tied for 17th in Barrels/Plate Appearance, per Baseball Savant. According to their Expected Stats Leaderboard, Alonso should be hitting .271/.343/.532. I'd be willing to treat him as a top-10 first baseman and deal a starter up the middle of top-35 OF or SP for him, depending on team need. However, he can probably be had cheaper than that.

What one player are you trying to sell high right now and who would you want in return?
The days of dealing the BABIP-lucky hitter for a massive haul are over, so it's all about finding slight edges where they're available. With that in mind, I'd look to sell some future uncertainty and move Scooter Gennett. He's not only validating last year's breakout with the Red Legs, he's building on it. Having said that, the Reds are in a full-fledged rebuild, and Gennett is one of their better trade chips. Since last year, Gennett has played extremely well on the road with a .310/.353/.509 slash and 17 homers in 399 plate appearances. However, he's hit for more power in his homer-friendly home park with a .312/.355/.584 slash and 22 homers in 343 plate appearances. He's slugged five more homers in 56 fewer plate appearances at home, and there's the rub. There aren't many ballparks as homer-friendly as Great American Ball Park (sixth in park factor for homers), so it's likely any team he's dealt to will play their home games in a park where it's harder to reach the seats. Gennett currently ranks second at the keystone position and 14th overall among hitters. After his strong showing last year, he shouldn't be a tough sell. I'd treat him as a top-5 second baseman and expect a return commensurate with such a lofty ranking. The beauty of trying to "sell high" on a player like Gennett is that you're not selling high based on him being a ticking time bomb who's going to turn into a pumpkin, so you can hold if the market undervalues him.

Featured Pros: Bold Predictions
Tue, Mar 27
Featured Pros: Bold Predictions
Please give us one fantasy related bold prediction with the season about to start that owners should keep in mind.
J.D. Davis is breaking camp with the Astros, and I believe he'll force manager A.J. Hinch to continue to find playing time for him even after Yulieski Gurriel returns. With more playing time than expected, Davis will finish as a top-25 third baseman. In 461 plate appearances in the upper minors (Double-A and Triple-A) last year, he popped 26 homers with five stolen bases, a 8.7% BB%, 23.4% K%, and .282/.345/.527 slash.

Featured Pros: Spring Training Risers & Fallers
Tue, Mar 20
Featured Pros: Spring Training Risers & Fallers
Who has seen their fantasy stock rise the most for you based on spring training?
I'm among Matt Olson's biggest believers among the experts, and his spring has done nothing to dissuade my high ranking (65 overall). After becoming the everyday first baseman for the A's in early August last year, he hit .283/.365/.725 with a reasonable 24.4% K% in 156 plate appearances, per FanGraphs. The slugger's 13.2% SwStr% was high, but he was able to keep his strikeout rate in check with a stellar 27.8% O-Swing% and aggressive approach in the zone (69.9% Z-Swing%). Every reputable projection model I've come across pegs a notable uptick in punch outs for Olson this season, but in 47 plate appearances in Spring Training, he's fanned only 10 times (23.3% K%). He has elite power, and his spring suggests that the strikeout rate he closed 2017 with might be the real deal.

Who has seen their fantasy stock fall the most for you based on spring training?
While I could go with teammate Shohei Ohtani, I'll instead opt for Blake Parker. He's been bombed this spring, and he finds himself behind Cam Bedrosian -- and perhaps others, at this point -- in the saves pecking order for the Angels. Parker has pitched so poorly in Spring Training that gamers in leagues using holds shouldn't be comfortable immediately slotting him into their active roster.

Featured Pros: MLB ADP Stock Watch
Thu, Feb 22
Featured Pros: MLB ADP Stock Watch
What one hitter stands out as being drafted too early based on consensus ADP standings.
Cody Belllinger's ADP as the 20th hitter selected and 25th player selected overall is too rich for my blood. The sophomore's rookie season was phenomenal, but there are some cracks in the surface that should provide pause, namely his swing-and-miss issues. Overall, his 26.6% K% in 2017 was palatable and didn't destroy his average (.267), but his 77.0% Z-Contact% was the third lowest among qualified hitters, per FanGraphs. Furthermore, he tallied a 28.3% K% from September 1 through the end of the regular season before punching out in an astounding 43.3% of his plate appearances in the postseason. I would't go crazy downgrading Bellinger, but he belongs on par with fellow sophomore Rhys Hoskins, who's 30th in hitter ADP and 43rd in overall ADP.

What one pitcher stands out as being drafted too early based on consensus ADP standings.
Jake Arrieta was arguably the best pitcher on the planet in 2015, but he's currently a free agent and coming off of a season with a number of red flags. His 3.53 ERA bested his 4.16 FIP, 4.11 xFIP, and 4.15 SIERA as well as his 4.24 DRA, per Baseball Prospectus. The veteran righty's SwStr% dipped to 8.7%, a mark that was below the league average of 10.4% as well as his 2016 mark of 10.5%, and hitters weren't fishing out of the zone as often with just a 27.9% O-Swing% (29.9% league average in 2017 and 29.6% in 2016 for him). The lack of fooling hitters and avoiding bats accompanied a massive drop in velocity. Brooks Baseball credited him with an average fourseam fastball velo of 94.32 mph and average sinker velo of 94.44 mph in 2016, and those averages dropped to 92.67 mph and 92.48 mph, respectively, in 2017. Arrieta looks more like a fringe top-50 SP than his ADP as the 28th pitcher off the board on average.

MLB Prospects to Stash
Wed, Jan 24
MLB Prospects to Stash
Q1. What pitching prospect should owners target as a draft-day stash even though he may not begin the season in the big leagues?
Michael Kopech entered last year as one of the top pitching prospects in baseball thanks to his overpowering stuff -- namely his fastball that sits in the upper-90s and routinely hits triple digits and his slider. He spent most of the season (22 starts) at the Double-A level and concluded the year with three starts in Triple-A. He offers major strikeout upside, but I'm most encouraged by his second half control gains. In 12 starts after the Southern League All-Star Break (split nine in Double-A and three in Triple-A), Kopech totaled 68.1 innings in which he dominated hitters to the tune of a 2.37 ERA, 7.7% BB%, 31.5% K%, and 1.05 WHIP, according to FanGraphs.

Q2. What hitting prospect should owners target as a draft-day stash even though he may not begin the season in the big leagues?
The likely most popular answer to this question is -- understandably -- Ronald Acuna. In the interest of providing a different option who will almost certainly be available much later, I'll opt for Nick Senzel. The second pick in the 2016 MLB Amateur Draft has wasted little time shooting up the minor-league ladder and slashed .340/.413/.560 with 10 homers, five stolen bases, a 11.1% BB, and 18.3% K% in 235 plate appearances at the Double-A level last year. The tool grades for Senzel at the reputable outlets for ranking, grading, and scouting prospects match his scintillating upper-minor's numbers from 2017. As an added bonus, the right-handed hitting third baseman's power will get a lift from the homer-friendly park factors at Great American Ball Park.

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