Fantasy Baseball: Buy Low, Sell High: Hitters Edition

Fantasy Baseball: Buy Low, Sell High: Hitters Edition
Fantasy Baseball: Buy Low, Sell High: Hitters Edition

We have said this many times: fantasy baseball is all about value. If you buy low on a struggling asset with the potential to break out or get out of his funk, you would be maximizing value, thus helping your team.

Now, you have to know where to aim in this particular exercise. Targeting players with no track record of success or with no clear skills could be counterproductive.

Don’t worry; we will suggest three players target on the cheap. But on the other hand, we will also identify three players that might be performing over their heads.

Fantasy Baseball: Buy Low, Sell High: Hitters Edition

Buy Low On These Struggling Players

Alex Bregman, Houston Astros

Through his first 13 games, Bregman is hitting .196/.339/.333 with two homers and a 97 wRC+. So if his owner dares to make him available, by all means, get him.

He is starting to heat up. Yes, those numbers looked a lot worse two or three days ago, if that’s possible. Bregman, additionally, has a long track record of success. He is money in OBP leagues and is a lock to hit 20-25 home runs with 180 runs+RBI in that deadly Astros lineup. That average makes him an enticing buy-low candidate, but it won’t stay that low for long.

MJ Melendez, Kansas City Royals

Melendez is one of the Royals’ most promising hitters, and he even had a decent season last year with 18 homers and a 99 wRC+. However, this year, he is hitting a mediocre .190/.292/.333 with a long ball and a 73 wRC+.

People might be looking to deal or, even worse, drop him. You need to be alert in case he is made available, and a buy-low offer would be a good idea.

Here is why: Melendez is rocking an incredible 65.2 percent hard-hit rate and already has six barrels. He is murdering the ball. Yes, he is striking out at an alarming rate (39.6 percent), but that is bound to get closer to the mid-20s if his recent performance is any indication.

This is a player who had a 41-homer season in the minors in 2021 and hit 20 between all levels (including the majors) last year. So when all is said and done, a .230-hitting catcher with 25-homer power might look great in your lineup.

Jazz Chisholm Jr., Miami Marlins

Chisholm might be injury prone and hitting .229/.288/.417 with an 88 wRC+ (he was at 139 last year and is a career 105 wRC+ batter), but that shouldn’t dissuade you from pursuing him. In fact, if anything, it’s more incentive to buy low on him.

He was on his way to a career year last season (.254 average, 14 homers, 12 steals in 60 games) before suffering an unfortunate injury. However, he is young and hungry and will eventually pick up that pace again.

This is a player with a 20-30 ceiling, and it makes sense to see what his owner is asking for him.

Underdog Deposit Bonus

Players To Sell High

Luis Arraez, Miami Marlins

Before Thursday’s games, Miami Marlins infielder Luis Arraez was slashing .500/.558/.696 with a home run and a 237 wRC+. The man is on fire, and there is no denying he is an excellent hitter.

However, when the dust settles, he will likely be the same .310, 8-10 homer, 1-5 steals guy he was last year and the year before. Both his 2.4% barrel rate and 23.8% hard-hit rate are considerably lower than last year. His batted ball profile is also unchanged, and his BABIP is an unsustainable .537.

Arraez is an excellent hitter; if you want him for the average, that’s great. We are not encouraging you to give him away, but if you can get a proven star, do it. You could target a top slugger, base stealer, or arm, and it could make sense to deal with him in that case.

Jeremy Pena, Houston Astros

In the span of a calendar year, Jeremy Pena went from an underrated buy-low candidate – he was unproven as a Carlos Correa replacement – to a postseason hero to sell high poster boy. So yes, it has been quite a ride.

Pena is a fine defender and does have some power and sneaky speed, but his on-base skills are atrocious, postseason notwithstanding. He is taking walks at a 4.9 percent rate and striking out at a 27.9 percent rate, and that’s less than ideal.

The shortstop doesn’t hit for a particularly high batting average, either. He was at .253 last year and will be at .214 in 2023. So the 25-15 ceiling will be capped for as long as he continues his free-swinging ways.

If you find an owner enamored by Pena’s performance in the Championship Series and the Fall Classic, sell high.

Xander Bogaerts, San Diego Padres

Bogaerts represents a fascinating case. As an established performer and early-round fantasy pick, we wouldn’t be surprised to see him having such a stellar start to the season. He is hitting .327/.414/.633 and is already up to four homers.

Now, here comes the fun part: you can keep him and be completely fine. His floor is very solid in key categories. However, if you can get a power-speed stud or an ace for him or use him to target a top-five or top-ten pick, it wouldn’t be a bad idea.

The only time Bogaerts surpassed 23 homers was in 2019, with the happy-fun-ball (he hit 33). He is more of a 20-homer guy the rest of the time and hit 15 last year.

His batted ball data is just about the same as his two most recent seasons. He has similar groundball and flyball rates, hard-hit rates, barrel rates, and exit velocity numbers. Nothing has really changed.

 

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