Buy & Sell 5/30 – 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! This week’s theme is: Buy Giants and sell Mariners, apparently. Look, it is a thing that all the Mariners’ acquisitions have hit like garbage, and I would’ve added Jorge Polanco to the sell list too but then he got hurt. Maybe they’re drinking too much Seattle’s Best Coffee there… their white chocolate mocha made me sick so I really don’t want to try Seattle’s Worst. And while it’s not Rice-A-Roni (no relation to Randy Arozarena) we do get some San Francisco treats. On to the list!



Brenton Doyle (OF, Colorado Rockies)

Doyle Rules! Yes, it’s too easy, but I decided not to turn it into a pun with a fantasy-relevant version of P1V1 = P2V2… Boyle’s Law. He already stole three bases in the time it took you to read that pointless banter, which gets us to the point. In a somewhat similar manner to fellow breakout Brice Turang, he built on the speed-only package he showed as a rookie in 2023 with vastly improved (but still not good) plate discipline, with his 28% K% a big 7% improvement from his unsustainable 35% K% in ’23. With five homers and 14 stolen bases to go with a .263 AVG and solid .332 OBP, he’s been the kind of player we hoped to get from Jarren Duran in early April.

It seems the main catalyst for this change is an improved eye at the plate, with a lower chase rate (down 5% to 30%) while pairing that with more contact in the zone (up six points to 86% Z-Contact%). That’s a solid rate and helps him make more damage with his contact, so although his quality of contact is similar to last year’s on a per-BBE (batted ball event) basis, it’s been notably better per PA, which is what actually matters. Although Statcast says he’s been a bit lucky, it doesn’t take the Coors effect into account and once you weigh that in, I think it’s entirely possible for him to maintain this batting average and overall production.

But do I think he will? I’m leaning towards no. Mostly because unlike many minor leaguers who have low strikeout rates in the minors only for it to become a problem in the majors, Doyle has a loooong track record of 30% rates in the minors, and I’m not sure he can keep that hidden from the regression monster under the floorboards forever. Still, on the Rockies, he’ll continue to play, and with his xwOBA in an upswing, you have to ride out the 15-45 power/speed upside as I believe there are simply few speedsters that can provide the well-rounded production in the other categories. Add in all leagues unless you’re already 1st in stolen bases (and can’t make trades, I guess).

Honorable Mention: Matt Chapman (3B, San Francisco Giants)

Just as the news about his superb bat speed questioned the narrative on his terrible season, Chapman’s bat woke up with a .314/.407/.586 line with four homers and two steals in 70 AB the past two weeks. Although the barrels and the hard contact are down, he suddenly looks to be on track for a productive year as he’s on pace for 24 homers and 15 SBs and nearly 200 R+RBI over a full season. Given the sorry state of 3B, he should be rostered in 10-team OBP formats and 12-team AVG leagues while he’s riding this hot. Crazy change in outlook, huh?


Patrick Bailey (C, San Francisco Giants)

I’m a drinking an Irish Coffee as I write this, so I know life is sweeter with Baileys. Though I also recall cutting him in TGFBI when he got hurt, so perhaps bittersweet. Still, he hasn’t missed a beat since his return, hitting .299/.352/.477 with four dingers and two nabbed bags in 123 PA. Although his sample is smaller than some others and less stabilized, the peripherals suggest building on the kind of player he was in the first half of last year, and his peripherals suggest that not only did he earn these numbers, but he may even be unlucky.

His Statcast xBA of .312 is 96th percentile, and his Pitcher List xAVG is a whopping .338, good for best in the majors. Although his 21% K% suggests that’s not projecting such an average going forward, it certainly helps that he’s among the elite in IPA (Ideal Plate Appearance) with a 36% mark that’s seventh-best in the majors, a 92 mph eV that’s 91st percentile. But what’s perhaps best is his sweet spot, which is also 100th percentile yet still a league ahead of Gorman with a crazy 52% Sweet Spot%, meaning he is hitting more than half of all of his contact at ideal launch angles. Given that fact it’s odd his 5% Barrel% is so low, and perhaps a sign that if he can stave off regression, it should climb higher.

It’s true that right now there are a lot of good offensive catchers out there, such as Connor Wong and Danny Jansen, but what makes Bailey a cut above is his stellar defense, which should keep him in the lineup more frequently than his more frequently platooned league-mates. I could definitely see Bailey hitting for double-digit homers with a batting average of .290 or higher with a handful of stolen bases, which isn’t too far off from the standard contributions of former boy wonder Joe Mauer. Batting average is hard to find at the position, which is why I’d add in 12-team formats.

David Fry (C/1B/OF, Cleveland Guardians)

He’s joining other great single-season campaigns like Jake Burger, Chili Davis, and Sammy Soda– I mean Sosa. Look, we all realize that Fry can’t keep this up, but if it seemed unsustainable before, it’s at least seeming more legit. He’s hitting an impossible .357/.492/.622 with seven HRs and four SBs in 128 PA (98 AB), making him at-bat for at-bat one of the best hitters in baseball.

Even though Statcast says he’s been very lucky with a .276 xBA, it’s worth noting that Pitcher List’s more advanced metric xAVG gives him a .312 mark, which is still the 13th-best xAVG in the MLB. And with his crazy 17% walk rate, his .464 wOBA ranks #1 in the MLB. Sure, it’s better than his .430 xwOBA, but that mark is still fourth-best in the MLB. From a journeyman who happens to have perhaps the most unique C/1B/OF eligibility in the game.

Will he keep these rates up? Highly unlikely. But we’re one-third of the way through the season, and between the struggles of incumbent catcher Bo Naylor and call-up Kyle Manzardo, Fry should be playing just about every day for the Guardians, and his combination of moderate power, speed, average and high walk rate give him plenty of ways to provide value. While he may seem like a stretch as a starter in a shallower format, his versatility makes him at the very least a perfect add as a current starter who can become a three-in-one utility asset on the bench. Go on a Bender and add Fry in 10-team OBP formats and all 12-team leagues while he stays this hot.

Honorable Mention: Nolan Gorman (2B, St. Louis Cardinals)

It’s been a rough season with a 35% K% and a big drop in hard contact, but slowly but surely his peripherals are getting closer to his 2023 numbers, with a similar 16% Barrel%, a .234 xBA and a 100th percentile Launch Angle Sweet Spot% (48%) in baseball. This could be the start of a big heater.


Matt Vierling (3B/OF, Detroit Tigers)

I was planning on writing him up anyway before the Kerry Carpenter injury, but this has my plan Viering off course. I’ve recommended Vierling earlier in the year, as I simply love the potential of his above-average raw power with decent plate skills and a touch of speed.  Vierling splashed back on fantasy radars after several weeks of mediocrity with a two-homer outburst against fairly lousy pitching, but although his overall production here has been boring, I think there’s a chance he becomes the player we wishcasted Ke’Bryan Hayes to be, at least from a fantasy perspective.

The big change is that the typically groundball-happy Vierling has substantially raised his average launch angle, up from nine degrees last year to a much healthier 16 degrees. This has helped him to a career-best 38% LA Sweet Spot%, which may help explain his career-best Barrel% of 7% (career 5%), though it still seems lower than it should be. What is harder to explain is how he has the best swing decisions of his career, with a career-low O-Swing% of 23% and a career-high Z-Swing of 67%, yet he has a career-worst walk rate of 4% and a three-year high K% of 22%. SOMEBODY MAKE THAT MAKE SENSE.

I’m betting on the combination of a good process and a good opportunity, and I wish the Tigers would give him another chance to run with his great 89th-percentile sprint speed, though his 50% success rate in 2023 does at least offer a logical explanation. In any case, that speed should at least help him leg out more hits and keep hitting at a perfectly solid .265 15-homer pace with sneaky potential in OBP formats. His versatility makes him a nifty add in 15-team formats.

Heliot Ramos (OF, San Francisco Giants) –  I think he may have the edge over Luis Matos for PT, as he’s impressing with his elite 76 mph bat speed to go with a 13% Barrel% and 56% HardHit% making up for the 31% K%. The floor is lower than Matos’ but the higher ceiling makes him worth the spec add to see if he can maintain this.

Honorable Mention: Edmundo Sosa (3B/SS, Philadelphia Phillies)

He’s been remarkably consistent at hitting for a high batting average, hitting .385 this week with two homers this week,  and .325 with three homers and two SBs in 80 AB on the season. He’s also been barreling the ball hard at 14% and Statcast supports the breakout, perhaps because he’s lifting the hard-hit balls much more this year. If he could finally use his elite 98th percentile sprint speed he’d be a slam dunk 12-team add, but for now he’s a 15-team guy who could be like an Alec Bohm-lite with dual eligibility.

Honorable Mention: Trevor Larnach (OF, Minnesota Twins): I get that he’s been in a tailspin for the past few weeks and hasn’t been playing much, but his rolling xwOBA actually keeps going up, thanks to his combination of low K rate and tons of hard contact (94 mph eV, 53% HardHit%). Buy low while you still can.

Deep Leagues

Elehuris Montero (1B/3B, Colorado Rockies)

I know it might seem crazy to recommend a player who showed promise last year but has hit peanuts this year, but an elehuris never forgets. Even though he’s hitting .223 with just three homers in 173 PA, I’m banking on him finding his stride as the raw power is still there (114 maxEV and 90th percentile bat speed) and he’s rocking a perfectly solid 20% K% and 8% playing half his games in Coors. He’s a process add, and I think the surge will come.

Honorable Mention: Miguel Andujar (OF, Oakland Athletics) – He was a popular under-the-radar sleeper in spring training after going a long time without striking out and then went down with an injury, but he’s back now and hitting .333 with a homer with what seems to be a secure lineup spot at cleanup.



Yainer Diaz (C, Houston Astros)

With the lack of power, he’s giving me first-year fantasy league flashbacks to Einar Diaz. Yeah get the almanac, boys, I drafted him in his sophomore year, my first year of fantasy baseball in 2002, meaning my fantasy tenure is old enough to drink. Yainer isn’t bad at all, and perhaps should be better; After all, he’s sporting a big improvement in his K% to 15%, and his HardHit% is actually up to a fantastic 51% (92nd percentile). So why is his performance, hitting .251 with three homers, so lackluster? Because he took his batted balls and threw them on the ground, Lonely Island style.

It might seem surprising for that alone to have such a big impact, but the 54% groundball% despite good exit velocity and contact actually reminds me a bit of the 2023 version of Matt Vierling, and an elite fantasy player he was not (Vierling was considerably faster too, something that matters more when you have to leg out more grounders). So his 2023 strong Barrel% of 12% has been nearly halved to 7% (hey, like Vierling!) Yes, if he can fix that launch angle bugaboo, he can be great. But also consider that with his 44% Pull rate, a lot of these groundballs are pulled for easy outs, and last year the only thing holding his production back was playing time. With a third of the season already done, I think you’d be wise to sell low on him or if you can’t, pivot to someone like Patrick Bailey who has similar rate stats but with elite launch angle. He should still be better than Einar, though. Cut in 10-team leagues and consider dropping in 12-team OBP.

Dishonorable Mention: Alex Bregman (3B, Houston Astros– I’ve never been big on Breg, but even though he’s always a slow starter, a deader ball hurts his wall-scraper ability, and his career-worst .218 xBA and .336 xSLG suggest the floor is low. Also, the career-worst walk rate and a thinner lineup don’t help.


Randy Arozarena (OF, Tampa Bay Rays)

He must be cursed, someone pray the Arozary. It feels weird to feel like I need to explain myself as to why I’m dropping a player in 12-team leagues a third through the season who is hitting .159. No, eight homers and seven steals don’t make up for .159, Cedric Mullins has a better average than that with similar power/speed and he’s fighting for playing time. While Arozarena’s xwOBA has been improving, he’s still hitting just .154 with zero HRs and zero SBs over the past two weeks. He’s always been streaky, but he’s never been this bad. What gives?

It seems the real issue is mostly around his plate skills, which until this year seemed to be trending in a positive direction. This year, though, he’s fallen apart, with a dreadful 68% Contact% and a surprisingly passive approach on strikes leading to an ugly and career-worst 20% called strike rate%, giving him a terrible 33% CSW%. He’s also been hitting more fly balls, which hasn’t helped the batting average either, especially since it’s been at the expense of line drives which are a career-low 12%. I think he can still easily end the season 20-20 and be a net negative for you to roster him in shallow formats, especially considering you can probably get a similar but better version of that from Daulton Varsho, heck, maybe Kevin Pillar or Jake Bauers (crazier things have happened, okay?). Accept that every Aroza has its athornas and find a less painful flower to pick in 12-team formats.

Dishonorable Mention: Max Kepler, (OF, Minnesota Twins) – If you haven’t been paying attention, you probably thought Kepler has been doing great, but the suddenly platoon-happy twins have been limiting his at-bats so his .286 AVG carries less impact, and his four homers don’t have any either. Fair chance that Larnach is the better fantasy asset going forward.


Luke Raley (1B/OF, Seattle Mariners)

It’s a shame the Mariners traded away Jake Fraley since they missed the chance to have Raleigh, Raley and Fraley. But much like with Fraley, the offense in Seattle is hard to come by. Yes, he did just have a recent hot streak until this past week, and still has a .313 AVG with three HRs and three SBs over his past 21 days. But it was never supported by the peripherals and the jig seems up, as he’s hitting .063 with eight Ks in 16 ABs this week.

Much like a few others on this list, a sudden penchant for groundballs in in part to blame, as a power hitter can’t do much when he’s hitting 51% wormburners, and this dropped his Barrel% from 13% in 2023 to just 5% this year. Although he still has intriguing max exit velocities, given the fact that he was a fringe major league starter when firing on all cylinders and he’s now 30, I think he’s slipped back into role-player territory, and the only reason he’s still playing is a current lack of healthy alternatives. Flip him for whatever you can or cut for something with a higher floor (and ceiling) in 15-teamers… Heliot Ramos for example.

Dishonorable Mention: Jonny DeLuca (OF, Tampa Bay Rays) – I struck out on this one, as his small-sample stats were a mirage, and the mask being torn off revealed a terrible Hard Contact% and playing time that may still be unreliable even with Josh Lowe out again.

Deep Leagues

Mitch Garver (C/DH, Seattle Mariners

My name must be Jon, because Garvield emptied my fridge and stole the neighbor’s lasagna. He’s been the third-biggest dropper in xwOBA over the past 250 PA, with a pathetic .291 xwOBA after a .389 xwOBA in his previous 250 PA. He’s always been streaky and you can argue he’s warming up (at least in terms of xwOBA) but it’s mostly due to the fact he has five walks this week. He still benefits from the fact that so many other Seattle hitters are also struggling, but even with his catcher eligibility, I think I’d rather roll the dice on a Korey Lee or even Freddy Fermin, as I can at least count on them to not cause so much pain in batting average. Cut in all single-catcher formats and AL-only.

Dishonorable Mention: Jacob Hurtubise (OF, Cincinnati Reds) – Look, I support anthophila, so I was furious when I heard Jacob hurt two bees. That’s it. That’s the column. (Okay fine, also TJ Friedl is back so he won’t play much).

Adapted by Kurt Wasemiller (@kurtwasemiller on Twitter / @kurt_player02 on Instagram)

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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