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Mario Mergola

Sporfolio
Featured Pros: Under-the-Radar Waiver Pickups
Fri, Jun 29
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?
Joe Panik - 2B - SF - I am always surprised by Joe Panik's ownership numbers, but I suspect it has to do with his lack of flash. He won't threaten for the Triple Crown, nor will he give a full season of production - his career high in games played is capped at 138, and he is already guaranteed to miss that mark. Panik's fantasy appeal sits entirely in the combination of quiet production at a thin position. His current batting average is roughly 30 points below his career's trend, and we should enjoy a positive correction.

What one starting pitcher should fantasy owners look into picking up that is owned in less than 20% of Leagues?
Zach Wheeler - SP - NYM - I would imagine his most recent outing caused a surge in his stock price, but I would have condoned buying into Zach Wheeler anytime over the past month. He essentially "won" a job in the rotation after originally being ousted, and he is an intriguing risk-reward candidate every fifth day. His pitches border on untouchable, at times, but this has a tendency to seep into poor control and the occasional bad inning. Still, his strikeout rate almost always sits around one-per-inning, and it is never surprising when he twirls a gem.

Featured Pros: Buy Low, Sell High
Fri, May 25
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?
Brian Dozier - We've seen this show. Twice, actually. Brian Dozier has fallen into a reliable - albeit frustrating - pattern of struggling out-of-the-gate, only to finish strong. In the first half of 2016, he batted .246 with 14 home runs in 83 games, and in 2017's first half, he hit 13 home runs with a .242 average in 81 games. The second halves of these years produced a .291 average with 28 home runs and a .304 average with 21 home runs, respectively. It should not cost much more than a similarly struggling hitter to acquire Dozier, and getting his value at second base makes him that much more appealing.

What one player are you trying to sell high right now and who would you want in return?
Gerrit Cole - For the record, I love Gerrit Cole. His dominance is not surprising. But, the extent of his dominance is. Basically one-third through the season, Cole is pitching to an unsustainable 1.86 ERA. One-point-eight-six. That's almost half of his career total (at least, with Pittsburgh), and it's below a threshold of 2.00 that we rarely see. The last two ERA leaders were Corey Kluber and Kyle Hendricks. Hendricks led the two with a 2.15 ERA. Regression is about to strike. Fantasy owners love quality pitching, and it's possible to get someone to overpay with a top-5 hitter.

Featured Pros: Under-the-Radar Waiver Pickups
Fri, Apr 13
Featured Pros: Under-the-Radar Waiver Pickups
What one hitter should fantasy owners look into picking up that is owned in less than 25% of Leagues?
Franchy Cordero (SD) and Nick Senzel (CIN) - I have basically spent the past few days running around with a sign over my head that reads, "Add Nick Senzel and Franchy Cordero. Now!" Yes, I'm cheating by listing two players here, but they piggyback nicely off one another. Cordero is what Senzel should be soon: a fantasy asset with major upside ready to contribute. We may have to wait a short while longer for Senzel, but the recent injury to Eugenio Suarez opened the door, and it isn't closing. Cordero was destined to hit with the Padres but had his season debut delayed by an injury. Now healthy and immediately slotted atop the lineup, his exit velocity and raw speed make him a dual-threat whose stock will rise rapidly. Buy now.

What one starting pitcher should fantasy owners look into picking up that is owned in less than 25% of Leagues?
Nick Pivetta (PHI) - It's easy to overlook Phillies pitchers - between the hitter-friendly ballpark and generally lower expectations for 2018 - but this phenomenon has led to a fantastic start flying under-the-radar. Nick Pivetta may only have a single win on his record, but his first three starts of the season are nothing short of outstanding. He has allowed only five earned runs in total over 16.2 innings, is striking out more than one batter-per-inning (he did the same over 26 starts, last year, so his strikeout rate has lasting power) and, if you buy into FIP and xFIP, he is actually under-performing with his sparkling 2.70 ERA. Remember, that same ballpark that benefits hitters will give his own lineup a boost and put him in a position for more wins.

Featured Pros: Must-Have Players
Tue, Mar 6
Featured Pros: Must-Have Players
Who is the one hitter outside the top 30 in hitter ADP you are targeting as a must-have on all your teams
Christian Yelich - Milwaukee was extremely busy this offseason, not holding back before adding to an already-crowded outfield. The one they most recently added, however, is arguably the most impactful from a fantasy perspective. Christian Yelich is likely going to lead-off in a solid lineup and a hitter's ballpark. The potential for 20-20 is there, and it might be closer to his basement than ceiling.

Who is the one starting pitcher outside the top 30 in pitcher ADP you are targeting as a must-have on all your teams
Michael Kopech - I'm all for taking an aggressive approach in drafts, and grabbing the player other owners covet is a nice way to drive up an already inflated price. Michael Kopech may not be starting for the White Sox anytime in the near future, but his blazing fastball keeps making headlines. The hype will continue to build and, if you aren't one for patience, draft him late and flip him for an immediate need. Otherwise, sit-and-hold. He will be worth owning shortly.

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Mario Mergola

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Mario Mergola is a fantasy sports expert at Sporfolio.


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