Buy & Sell 4/13 – Identifying Who to Add and Who to Drop

Ben Pernick recommends the hottest and coldest hitters to add and drop.

Welcome back to Buy & Sell, and what another crazy week it has been! With all the high-end prospect talent, the FAAB dollars have been flying—but this is also a key time to take advantage of small samples as overconfidence and panic set in based on nearly meaningless surface stats. So although I often think of this list in terms of add/drop, this week there are definitely some in the buy low and sell high category. Also, I added some honorable mentions to the buys this week I like but just don’t have the time to write about yet. Anyway, on to the list!






Jarred Kelenic (OF, Seattle Mariners)


I’m ready to stop saying that I’m ready to be hurt again. Now he seems focused on just hurting the baseballs. In hindsight, we look kinda silly for being so bearish on him, with an average ADP of 212, considering that he’s still just 23, has shown massive raw power, and his contact rate of 75% and 70% aren’t even that bad for a power hitter. It was really just the sub-.200 batting average that had us abandon logic. Well, he’s certainly doing better now, hitting .333/.405/.636 with two HR and two SB in his first 10 games (37 PA). I think this time, the breakout is upon us.

It’s simple really… it’s the batted ball quality, stupid. Sorry for calling anyone stupid, it was a 90s political reference, but a kinda mean one at that. In 2021-2022, Kelenic showed off impressive raw exit velocity (hitting 114 mph last year), but his HardHit% was below 40%. Now, it’s a ludicrous 61%, with his average EV of 94 mph up 8 mph from last year. Given his good exit velocity, I think his current 13% Barrel% could likely rise, even with inevitable HardHit% regression. He’s also making more contact than ever—with a career-best 78% Contact%—and even though it’s primarily driven by a rise in O-Contact%, he still has a nice 10% Swinging Strike% and 26% CSW%. For someone with his kind of power and speed, that’s more than enough contact to be a fantasy monster.

I get that it’s easy to be skeptical given that he’s burned us before, but again, he’s just 23. I think that with the confidence this hot start has given him, combined with the fact that there may have been a fair amount of bad luck in play in the two earlier big cups of coffee, he should have league-winner potential at his ADP, putting up a season quite comparable to Tyler O’Neill’s 2021 in terms of the excellent power and speed making up for a relatively high K%. If he’s on your 10-team wire, go grab him now, but if he’s not, I think you’d be well-served trading for him and letting the other owner think they “cashed in while he’s hot” as you laugh all the way to the bank. Add in all formats, and flush out your previous associations of his crappy production with a Jarred Colonic.


Cal Raleigh (C, Seattle Mariners)


Well, what better way to lead to me talking about my favorite nickname in baseball: Big Dumper. I was bullish on Raleigh all offseason, pushing back against claims by some of my favorite writers/podcasters in the industry that Raleigh was “Mike Zunino 2.0″ due to his high K rate. For one, he actually had an excellent low K rate in Triple-A prior to his 2021 callup and quietly improved it even more in the second half of last year. And now, despite a so-so 2023 line of .250/.318/.425 with one HR in 44 PA, the quiet improvement is continuing—but soon those results should be loud.

For one, the barrels are blowing up even bigger at a huge 21%. Given that he’s already nearly hit last year’s max exit velocity with a ball hit 113 mph, much like Kelenic, the raw power is not to be trifled with. That being said, unlike Kelenic, his HardHit% is surprisingly low at 35% due to an unsightly percentage of poorly hit balls with a 28% Soft%. Still, I think that will level out, and I think it’s probably also a good thing he cut back on flyballs with a 35% mark, a big drop down from his extreme 56% mark in 2022… especially since most of that contact has gone into a 31% line-drive rate that’s double last year’s rate. But I’m burying the lede somewhat as what impresses me more is that his contact has also improved with a 78% contact%, up a good deal from last year’s 71% mark and mostly coming from a strong 87% Z-Contact%. Does that remind you of Zunino?

He is clearly making big approach changes and reducing his aggressiveness, though I hope he pulls back on this somewhat as I think someone with his power profile can benefit with an elevated level of flyballs and aggressiveness. Statcast thinks to this point he’s been rather unlucky, with an xBA of .288 and xSLG of .513, which is unusual territory for a catcher.  The 26-year-old was likely passed over for other options in 10-team single-catcher leagues, and now’s the time to grab him at a relatively low cost. 2022’s catcher home run leader might not end up the big-boy slugger he was last year, but I think his team and yours might enjoy the more well-rounded Raleigh 2.0.


Honorable Mention: Ryan Mountcastle (1B, Baltimore Orioles)




James Outman (OF, Los Angeles Dodgers)


In shallow and casual formats, he may still be available in your waiver pool for a limited time, though if your league has sharks, he’s probably already out, man. It’s wild to think that just two weeks ago we were seriously fading his chances of regular playing time due to the presence of checks notes Jason Heyward. Now that we’ve moved onward, let’s just admire this beautiful small sample the 25-year-old has provided:  A .300/.462/.800 line with three HR and two SB, with eight R and nine RBI in just 39 PA (30 AB). It probably won’t stay this good, but enjoy this for what it is: found value and a great boost that should keep providing value. But let’s also be real and realize that a few good weeks doesn’t mean he’s the next Mookie Betts or even that he’s guaranteed to help those in the shallowest leagues.

You should notice that the 30% K% is quite high, although a 20% BB% definitely eases the pain. Both of those seem rather legit, as he’s rocking a wonderfully stingy O-Swing% of just 21%, way down from his 30% mark last year. But it’s a good thing he’s laying off most balls, because he’s been terrible at the ones he’s swung at, with a 33% O-Contact%, which drags his overall contact% to 63%.

But now back to the good part: the barrels! He’s amazingly already hit five barrels for a league-leading barrel% of 28%. Thanks to that, Statcast doesn’t think his performance is very fluky at all, with an XBA of .299 and an xSLG of .686. An elite barrel rate can make up for deficits in other areas better than almost anything else, so if he’s available, I think you have to ride it, especially on a Dodger’s offense. But on the bright side, he does have a 94th-percentile sprint speed, so he can rock an even more elevated BABIP and get a bunch of steals as well. Although he’s looking pretty three-true-outcomes, that’s some big fantasy upside.

That being said, I do think that if you’re thinking long-term, his value probably won’t be higher than it is right now, so he’s a viable sell-high candidate. Even with the great barrel rate, I don’t expect him to sustain it with a merely good 44% HardHit% and league-average max exit velocity of 108 mph. He reminds me a bit of an early-career Springer or Meadows, or some other very April-y name. Despite the warts, you should still add James Hitman in all 12-team leagues and 10-team OBP.


Logan O’Hoppe (C, Los Angeles Angels)


For those who drafted him on the upside alone in a timeshare only for him to take over as the starter, O’Hoppe day! O’Hoppe was drafted at a solid discount with a March ADP of 248, and has already provided huge returns on that, hitting .258/.314/.677 with four, count’em, four homers. Compared to José Ramírez’s homer output so far this year, that’s infinitely more homers!  The good news is they weren’t cheapies, as he also has four barrels for an 18% Barrel% and strong 48% HardHit%. In some ways he looks like he’s doing what Cal Raleigh did last year with an extreme 57% FB% and extreme 65% Pull%, so I’d expect plenty more homers.

The reason that I actually have Raleigh ranked above the hotter O’Hoppe is due to his contact rate. Currently, it’s a middling 64% Contact% with an 18% SwStr%, thanks to an unsightly combo of mediocre 36% O-Swing% with a downright bad 41% O-Contact%. While I love the pulled flyball-heavy approach, that lack of discipline can help pitchers adjust and exploit this as a weakness. That could lead to a second-half production dropoff like we saw from MJ Melendez last year.

Still, the fact of the matter is he’s on a rather loaded lineup and showed off the prowess of his bat in two organizations in the minors, and could potentially overtake the aforementioned Melendez as the catcher to roll with while he’s seeing the ball like this and hopefully making counter-adjustments. I think 20-25 HRs is a fairly safe bet even with a low batting average, which frankly is about as good—if not better—than what people were hoping for from the brothers Contreras. Add in 12-team AVG leagues and a short-medium-term stream in 10-team formats.


Honorable Mention: Jorge Soler (OF, Miami Marlins)




Mauricio Dubón  (2B/3B/OF, Houston Astros)


In Hebrew, Dubón means “little bear,” and he sure has been like a little bear in how he’s been invading bases. Dubón may not have developed the power or speed upon which we once dreamed, but he’s become a hit machine, leading the majors with a 3% K% that makes even Luis Arraez jealous, with an incredible 15% CSW% that leads all of baseball by a significant margin. His 92% Contact% is elite, yet he rarely draws a walk thanks to his ultra-aggressive 46% O-Swing% and 75% Z-Swing%. But when you can make contact like that with so many pitches, can you blame him?

He’s currently hitting a quite unique .361/.395/.444 with zero HR and zero SB in 38 PA and started to earn regular reps in the back half of the Astros lineup above the likes of David Hensley, Yainer Diaz, and others, and with how he’s been, it’s unlikely he gives it up until Altuve returns at least. He’s still not hitting the ball very hard with a 29% HardHit%, but with a 3% K%, he’s still hitting a lot more hard-hit balls than most, and his 18% FB% helps improve his BABIP since liners and even grounders help batting average more.

It’s possible he’ll start adding a few homers like Luis Arraez did last year, and it’s rather surprising with all of his time on base and past reputation as a stolen base sleeper that he hasn’t attempted a single swipe when guys way slower than him have gotten the green light, but the batting average alone makes him worth a category stream since he could give you what you hoped for from Michael Brantley (but with multi-positional eligibility). So pick up Mauricio little bear now like you’re Maurice Sendak.


Matt Carpenter (1B/3B, San Diego Padres)


There’s no time like Easter to celebrate the resurrection of a Carpenter. After an improbable and nearly impossible 2022 in which he hit .305/.412/.727 with 15 HR in just 154 PA for the Yankees before going down with an injury, few believed there could be a second act, with a ridiculously bearish ADP of 590, behind even Kerry Carpenter. So far, on the surface, the bears look to be in control, as his current line of .200/.355/.360 with just one HR in 32 PA isn’t wowing anyone. But I’m a believer in what I see when I dig deeper.

He actually is hitting for a better barrel rate than he did with the Yankees, with a strong 18% Barrel/BBE% and 35% HardHit%. He’s somehow going even more extreme with pulled flyballs, with a current career-low GB% of just 13%. Given his high rate of pulled flyballs, even in his more pitcher-friendly confines, he probably deserves better than his 11% HR/FB%, a far cry from his 2022 HR/FB of 30% (Yankee Stadium’s short porch sure helped, but still). Although his plate skills took a step back and his contact on pitches off the plate has fallen off the table with just 39%, he’s somewhat compensated with a great Z-Contact% of 96%. Although it’s too early for it to be reliable, it’s a bit of added validation that Statcast gives him a higher xBA and xSLG than 2022, with an xBA of .247 and xSLG of .557 that are his best rates since 2018, a year in which he hit 36 taters.

His sample size is still rather small due to being in a righty/lefty platoon with fellow overlooked vet Nelson Cruz, but he’s still getting the lion’s share of playing time and can contribute a bunch of homers and runs produced with a strong OBP in a hurry. He’s probably chilling unnoticed on most 15-team rosters and makes for a savvy pickup for those looking for power upside. Add in all 15-team OBP formats and hope he hammers some homers for you.


Honorable Mention: Luke Raley (1B/OF, Baltimore Orioles)


Deep Leagues


Bobby Dalbec (1B/3B, Boston Red Sox)


If I told you in pre-season 2022 that I had to consider if suggesting Dalbec was too deep to be a deep league add, you’d probably pour some Sam Adams on me and throw me in the Boston Hahbuh. But here we are. Looking at how we overreacted to the low batting averages of Jarred Kelenic, Adam Duvall, and Patrick Wisdom, especially in this suddenly less dead ball environment, I’m betting Dalbec fights his way back into the lineup and into our minds and hearts.

He’s already made a good if not unusual impression since his callup in the wake of Duvall’s fractured wrist, as in seven PA he hasn’t hit a homer but is hitting .300 with… a stolen base? Obviously, there’s not much of use to be gained even from looking at contact rate in seven PA, but I will say it is impressive that he already has three hard hits, including one that went 114 PA. Given the sad state of Boston’s offense, he’s even a candidate to play some games at shortstop, and it’s worth noting in Yahoo leagues that he did play one game in 2022 at second base. It’s a bit of a stash since he hasn’t yet earned a regular lineup spot, but it’s in the team’s interest to give him a shot at redemption, especially given that his 2022 contact rate of 67% and CSW% of 33% wasn’t even that bad for a slugger.

Right now he’s mostly a play in leagues with daily lineups and as a bench stash, but I expect it to be a matter of weeks if not days before he fights his way into the conversation just like my suggestion for last week that had redditors mock me, some schlub named Franchy Cordero. Add Dalbec as a Dal-spec in AL-only and deeper 15-team formats.


Edmundo Sosa (SS/3B, Philadelphia Phillies)


Sosa probably didn’t deserve the opportunity to play semi-regularly, but after Rhys Hoskins went down, and after Hoskins’ replacement Darick Hall went down… they told him, “Well, uh, here you go”. I hoped Sosa could be a power/speed sleeper upon his debut with big exit velocities and speedy sprint speeds, and that never came to fruition, but he’s still relatively powerful and fast, and more importantly, he actually can earn at-bats. He’s currently hitting a solid .286/.304/.476 with a homer and five Ks in 21 ABs, which is certainly solid enough to keep getting looks.

I think he can be a solid stolen base sleeper, as last year he had his highest stolen base rate, with six stolen bases in just 190 PA and only once caught stealing. Now with more generous baserunner rules and a team that is desperate to produce runs, Sosa should get the green light more and hit double digits SBs with regular playing time, even if he hasn’t gotten one yet. He’s also pretty good at triples for you weirdos who play with that as a category. He’s probably one of the most likely NL-only waiver wire finds to go 10/10, so get Edmundo before he gets noticed by todo el mundo.


Honorable Mention: Willie Calhoun (OF, Yankees)






Manny Machado (3B, San Diego Padres)


Do not drop him! I repeat! Don’t take this to mean I am telling you to drop him! One of you probably will, but you’re also the same guy who shares articles based on the headline without reading, so you probably deserve it. That being said, I do think right now Machado appears more or less fine since despite no homers, he’s hitting .276. Which is why you should trade him now, even if it means flipping him for 95 cents on the dollar. Because it could be going just downhill from here.

Sure, this sounds alarmist, just as most concerns for first and rounders do… just look at the Corbin Burnes panic before his last start. Machado, on the other hand, has a reputation for being rock-solid bankable production, and it’s claims like that that lead me not to trust the banks. In one of my 10 Bold Predictions, I said he would finish outside the top seven third baseman due to concerns about his quietly backsliding barrel rate, hard-hit rate, and contact rate. Well, in the early going, that backsliding has turned into a back-plummeting. His hard contact rate is just 27%, with a puny barrel% of zero. In case you thought maybe he’s just trying to trade off power for contact, well, sorry, but that’s gone down the pipes too.

None of this is to say that things will stay this bad, and I doubt that they do. I do, however, think this exacerbation of a worrisome trend is something nobody is talking about, and they should. But since they’re not, why not trade him for a player of similar draft-day value without this overlooked hidden bust risk? In addition to the statistical argument, there’s the soft argument that it’s the first year of a contract year, and whether he’s pressing or living up to his older reputation for “lack of hustle”, I just think that there are a lot of factors shaping up for this to be his worst year in some time, and you can still easily use a trade to rid yourself of the potential headache. So in 10-team formats, you will likely benefit if you don’t wait to find out and find someone who thinks all my concerns are Machado about nothing.




Danny Jansen (C, Toronto Blue Jays)


I’ll keep this quick and painful. Last year, Danny Jansen did some great things. He cut his K% to 15%, had one of the best barrel rates in baseball, and finished the season strong despite injuries. So I predicted that if he could keep some of those gains, he could be a breakout. But instead, he broke out like my face the day before my high school prom, and the results are not pretty. He’s posted a putrid .045/.087/.045 over his first 23 PA, and I’m afraid it’s more than bad luck.

Whereas he had a great 47% HardHit% last year, right now he’s at half of that, at just 23%, without a single barrel. His groundball rate is also up by 20% points. If this seems extreme, remember it’s because this is 23 PA. But it’s also not encouraging that his contact rate is down to 70%, and his SwStr% is up to a career-worst 16% from just 9%.

Now, anything can happen in 60 at-bats, and maybe he’s fighting off a nagging injury or shaking off rust or something like that. But on a competitive Jays team with Alejandro Kirk performing much better offensively, he needs to hit soon to prevent his opportunities from drying up. Perhaps the one thing saving him from being a 15-team drop is that Brandon Belt is arguably struggling even worse, which buys him some extra time before the Jays acquire someone through trades or their minors/bench to get DH reps, and he still plays good defense. But 12-team formats have no reason to wait and see, since there are plenty of options who I’d rarher roll with including the aforementioned O’Hoppe, Christian Bethancourt, and maybe even Shea Langeliers.


Myles Straw (OF, Cleveland Guardians)


I call him paper straw… Good in theory, but if you use him too long it gets kinda gross. It’s great to see for him that he’s gotten a hot start and rebounded from an abysmal 2022, yet at the same time, I don’t think much has really changed. This year he’s hitting .308/.449/.359 with six SB, putting him among the league SB leaders with other stats that also look pretty good. But it’s all about the BABIP, baby.

He’s currently rocking an entirely unsustainable .414 BABIP, and maybe that’s why his expected stats look so much worse, with an xBA of .232 and xSLG of .261. When a player’s expected slugging is below their actual batting average, you might want to consider trading him for whatever you can or drop him for some real talent.  His 23% HardHit% is actually worse than the past two years, and so is his 91% Z-Contact%. So if you’re okay with him being the 2022 version of Straw going forward (though perhaps with more SB, though perhaps less relative SBs), go crazy, but otherwise realize that his name is an advice anagram: SEL MY WARTS.




Trevor Larnach (OF, Minnesota Twins)


With his strong start, he has violated our expectations, but I’m not laughing at this Larnach nach joke. Sure he has prospect pedigree and his numbers look great, with a .283/.389/.391 line with a homer in 51 PA. With a 15% walk rate and playing everyday, what’s not to like? His .444 BABIP. That’s what not to like.

Take that BABIP away, and you see he’s still far from being worthy of his elevated add rate. While it’s true he draws walks at a high clip, his contact% is roughly the same as last year at just 64%, which is still quite lousy even for the best power hitters. As for the power, he’s actually rocking lower batted ball quality than last year so far, with a career-low 4% Barrel% and 39% FB%. Although they are merely descriptive and not predictive, given his early data, I’m fairly confident that his mediocre xBA of .221 and xSLG of .319 are closer to what to expect going forward than his current surface numbers. Sell if you can and don’t be afraid to drop.


Deep Leagues


Mike Zunino (C, Cleveland Guardians)


Zunino has rewarded fantasy leaguers hoping for some short-term late-round gamble on the powerful and extremely strikeout-prone backstop. He’s hit a surprising .308/.438/.615 over his first 32 PA, and it’s as surprising to see him with an under 30% K% as it is to see him with an 18% walk rate, given that’s more than four times his rate from last year. So enjoy it, but know it probably won’t last much longer than the mp3 player that was set to take the world by storm, the Zune.

While Zuni may seem to be seeing the ball especially well, it doesn’t add up. His contact% of 35% is actually a career-worst. So how about his plate discipline? While his 27% O-Swing% is a career-best, it’s by a small margin, and meanwhile, and here’s the big takeaway, his contact rate is just 61%, a career-worst. So now would be a great time to flip him for whatever scrap piece you can get, and see if you can scoop up shares of Bo Naylor before getting lost in Zubat’s Cave. Yes, before you ask, compared to him, I would also prefer the bat of Jake Cave.

Ben Pernick

I've been writing for Pitcher List since the beginning, and have been a fantasy baseball addict now for 20 years. I grew up as a Red Sox fan in New York, but now I declare allegiance only to my fantasy teams.

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