Buy & Sell 5/4 – Identifying Who to Add and Who to Drop

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

Welcome back to the first Buy & Sell of May! We had a wild April, with more prospect promotions than ever in recent memory, at least for pitchers. For those in you in FAAB leagues, I hope you didn’t burn through half your budget in the first month, because guess what? We still have five months to go! So, if your team is looking bad, don’t give up, just be like White Sox ownership and shake everything with your roster up. Getting these guys would be a good start, so let’s get onto the list!




Jonah Heim (C, Texas Rangers)

His stock keeps going up, and perhaps it hasn’t even reached its Heim Watermark. I’m sad I didn’t have more shares of him coming into draft season (although I did have a few, but reached too often for Danny Jansen… ouch), because everyone was spooked by his second-half collapse. Which, in hindsight, perhaps feels a little silly, as it was someone catching full-time for their first year and probably got fatigued like most rookies do in the second half. He’s hitting a splendid .300/.380/.575 with five HRs and a 164 wRC+ in 92 PA. I think he’ll keep the good times rolling (and make them continue to wonder why they ever acquired Mitch Garver).

Heim surprised many last year with his newfound hard contact skills, with a maxEV of 112 mph, but it hardly translated to barrels with just 7%. But this year it’s doubled to 14%, not to mention a 52% HardHit% that’s superior to his 40% from last year. These kinds of numbers would be exciting for an outfielder or first baseman, but remember, this is a catcher. While he had more trouble against righties last year, hitting just .210 against them, this year he’s hitting a solid .277 with four of his homers against them, so he’s unlikely to be platooned even when Garver returns. Perhaps most impressively, he has tapped into power without sacrificing the contact rate at all, as he actually has a slightly better chase rate, in-zone contact rate, and CSW% than last year. I promise he’s a valuable must-add in all formats, or my name’s not John Jacob Jonah Heim-er Schmidt.

Ryan Mountcastle (1B, Baltimore Orioles)

Although he was a Top 175 draft pick in most leagues, too many are loading their trebuchets to send Ryan flyin’ from the Mountcastle (I am NOT getting into a trebuchet vs. catapult argument today). He is rostered now in only 76% of ESPN leagues, below the likes of Alec Bohm, and I think that if he’s available in your league, regardless of your 1B situation, you should scoop him up post-haste. He’s hitting a solid .256/.275/.504 with eight homers after a double-dong day on Tuesday. But he’s only scaling up from here.

Last year’s numbers may seem similar, as he hit in the mid .250s as well, but with 22 homers. But also he was rated the unluckiest hitter in the majors last year… and it’s happening again this year. Statcast says he deserved much better with an xBA of .318 and xSLG of .652, which are 97th and 98th percentile in MLB, respectively. But why, and why is he underperforming Statcast again? Well, one is definitely the home park, but I think also this year is a smaller sample and its effect is overstated for someone like Mountcastle who now has the power to muscle balls out of any park, Brent Rooker style. His Barrel% is up to 17% and his HardHit% up to 50%, and I’m more encouraged that he increased his Contact% by five points. Granted, he’s chasing more, but still, I think this year he could hit 35+ homers with a .270 average and enter 2024 as a Top 75 overall pick.

Honorable Mention: Brent Rooker (OF, Oakland Athletics)


Isaac Paredes (1B/2B/3B, Tampa Bay Rays)

He may not be hitting as well as Bogey, but he’s still hitting above Par-edes. He’s not on any kind of crazy run, hitting .260/.330/.438 with four HRs in 96 AB, and hitting .409 with a homer and seven RBI this week. I felt the golf pun was necessary just because of how many golf swings he’s taking, with a 43% Flyball% and a 57% Pull% that’s even more extreme than last year’s attempt to do the same thing, trying to maximize pulled fly balls. In March, much was made about Brendan Donovan being a contact guy who was adding lift, but Paredes was cheaper and already doing it.

Some things are better than last year, but not everything. I do like that he’s lowered his GB% from 42% to 36% and upped his LD% from 12% to 21% since he’s slow and this helps him have a better batting average. That being said, his Barrel% is surprisingly down to just 4% from last year’s 6%, but pulled flyballs are the best way to homer without barrels. His HardHit% says it’s down from last year’s 38% to 24%, but I wouldn’t panic, as the other hard contact metric, Hard%, says he actually improved from 28% to 31%, with a slight reduction in Soft% as well. He does have a somewhat elevated infield fly rate, but he makes up for it with a great contact rate of 87%, and I love that all of the improvement came from a big jump in his Z-Contact%, up from 90% to 96%.

There is another player who also has a similar profile, as a bad-body infielder with good power despite a low barrel rate thanks to combining a high contact rate with lots of pulled flyballs. That would be Jose Ramirez, who this year is comparable to Paredes on every metric except his excellent baserunning ability. Paredes still hasn’t reached the same MaxEV this year but it’s still early enough for that to change, and I expect that as the weather heats up, he’ll pile on homers in a hurry. And the most important thing is that he’s playing most of the time. Add in 12-team formats as a useful utility piece with pop.

LaMonte Wade Jr. (1B/OF, San Francisco Giants)

Late Night LaMonte has new skills to flaunt. His numbers may not initially jump off the page with a .260 AVG and six homers, but that power output is great for him. Oh, and then there’s also his .441 OBP. That’s right, his walk rate is double-double digits, currently at a ridiculous 21%, thanks to an elite career-best 18% O-Swing%. Granted, I’d be more excited about that if it didn’t also come with a commensurate drop in Z-Swing%. But still, between that and his excellent 16% Barrel%, he is currently tied for sixth-best wOBA in baseball with… Paul Goldschmidt. Yeah, I’d say that’s good company.

It’s not the first time that he’s posted strong hard contact rates, and I would expect some regression, but I am encouraged by his setting a new high in MaxEV at 112 mph, a whole tier above his previous best mark of 109 mph. He could continue to be a Max Muncy-esque option at 1B/OF with a great OBP and handy dual-eligibility. Despite the lack of big-time name recognition, he’s a must-add in 12-team OBP formats, and he’s available in most of them. You should add him in all 15-team formats as well as streaming in 12-team OBP, and then we can tally the dingers like the Count of LaMonte Cristo.

Honorable Mention: Josh Jung (3B, Texas Rangers)


Alec Burleson (OF, St. Louis Cardinals)

He’s putting on quite the show for us, revealing what he can do with full-time reps just like an Alec Burlesque. While it’s dressed up in a drab .228/.282/.430 line with three homers in 89 PA, his line gets more attractive when you look under the surface layers. For one, he increased his maxEV from last year from 109 to 111, which isn’t so surprising given that 2023 is a larger sample, but it’s still good to see he has the above-average raw pop as advertised. Not only that, he’s lifting the ball considerably more, bringing his GB% from 50% to just 36% while raising his FB% from just 29% to 41%. This bodes well for more homers coming soon, and so I expect that oddly low 4% Barrel% to rise closer to the 10% from last season. Ooh la launch angle.

But what really intrigues me here is not about the contact quality, but the contact itself. His Contact% has jumped an astounding 10 points from a decent 78% to an elite 88%. Thanks to his rather aggressive plate discipline, he has a 21% CSW% that’s sixth-best in the MLB, and is the only one of those six with an ISO over .200 (his is .203, and the next highest was Jeff McNeil at .137). If he can maintain that elite contact rate to go with his solid power, I think he can actually edge out the other Cardinals outfielders, who all have their own flaws this year. He’s a bit more of a speculative add, which is great since it doesn’t cost much FAAB, but I think he’s an underrated add in 15-teamers in which he’s still on the wire.

Edward Olivares (OF, Kansas City Royals)

He’s making sure he’s not going to be sent down again and has earned his letterman jacket from the Olivarsity squad. He’s hitting a solid .276/.330/.460 with two HRs and three SBs, which seems right in line with the pace we all hoped for him, but maybe there are greener pastures ahead, with a .300 xBA and .515 xSLG. I know what the Royals are thinking right now… What’s the way to have him realize those expected stats? Send him to Triple-A!

I like the narrative of how he improved, in that he’s making more contact specifically on pitches in the zone, raising his Z-Contact% from an average 85% to a strong 94%. That’s allowed him to finally tap into hard contact at the major league level, with a 10% Barrel%, mostly fueled by an increase in launch angle to a poor seven to 13 degrees, with a 41% FB%. He should quietly accumulate value in all 15-team batting average leagues.

Honorable Mention: Austin Slater (OF, San Francisco Giants)

Deep Leagues

Gavin Sheets (1B/OF, Chicago White Sox)

The White Sox just took out their dirty laundry, but Sheets is still clean. The flurry of moves that had fellow outfielder Oscar Colás sent down likely benefits his playing time situation some, as he now has room to hit in the middle of the lineup and has been fairly productive this year, hitting .280 with two HRs in 57 PA. Due to the lack of playing time, it’s hard to analyze the numbers too heavily, but I do like that he’s managed to improve his previously poor plate discipline two-fold, with a lower O-Swing% of 34% and a higher Z-Swing% of 66%. That also pairs nicely with his significantly improved and career-best Z-Contact% of 95% and CSW% of 25%.

Although he’s still likely to only play against righties right now, statistically he’s been better on a per-plate-appearance base than Andrew Vaughn, and I expect the Sox to play him more if for no other reason than to flip him, since the team could do a full teardown in the coming months after this laughingstock disaster of a year. But in the meantime, with his homer-happy home park, he could surge with some homers with his career-high 48% FB%, and a career-high 47% pull%… dang. I was going to recommend him for AL-only, but I’d argue that he’s not far from Burleson and worth a stash in 18-team leagues and deeper 15-teamers as well.

Chad Wallach (C, Los Angeles Angels)

Who? It’s a shame that until this season, nobody even gave him a real Chadce. Sorry, I have a cold. I hadn’t realized he’s been in the majors since 2017, since he never accrued more than 66 PA in a single season, with a career total of just 295 PA. Granted, it’s easy to understand why, since in prior stints he never hit better than .250 or hit more than a single homer. So he’s at least already cleared that hump! The real reason he’s valuable now is playing time, with O’Hoppe going under the knife, and Thaiss’ catcher defense causing manager Phil Nevin to put his eyes under a knife. That means that despite what RosterResource says (still love them though) that Wallach is the primary catcher, and that alone has some value. But I think there may be more than just empty at-bats.

While the sample is indeed still tiny (just 24 PA), Wallach has managed to pop two dingers with a 15% K%. It’s not all smoke and mirrors either, since although his mediocre 73% Contact% is in line with career norms, he’s seemingly improved his plate discipline substantially, one of the earliest rates to stabilize. His current O-Swing% of 18% is elite and he upped his Z-Swing% to 76%. And just for fun, Statcast gives him an xBA of .306 and xSLG of .622. I don’t think that’ll last, but I do think he can be this year’s Jose Trevino as a waiver catcher who will ultimately surprise you with decent production. Add in all AL-only formats and two-catcher leagues and you’ll be glad they have him the starting GigaChad.

Honorable Mention: Emmanuel Rivera (3B, Arizona Diamondbacks)



Eloy Jiménez (OF, Chicago White Sox)

If you’ve been preparing to drop one of your top players, it may be time to gird your Eloyns. That one was so bad, I bet Eloy slapped his knee, which would definitely send him back to the IL. He’s off to a slow start interrupted by yet another (minor) injury, hitting .226/.293/.381 with three HRs in 92 PA. He reminds me of another hugely hyped former prospect, who had a bad body but big power and the promise that he’d put it together with a batting average someday but was also injury-prone… Come on down, Miguel Sanó! Now I’m not saying he’s that bad, and he’s certainly still young enough to turn it around. But the early signs give me the Jimé-jeebies.

Why would I say such a thing? First of all, other than a vote of no confidence for the White Sox general managing, managing or coaching after this horrific start, he’s not hitting dingers because he’s trying to kill too many worms. His 58% GB% is a career-high and worse than pre-2023 Yandy Díaz levels. Meanwhile, his LD% is down to 12%. However, unlike Yandy, his plate discipline is terrible. His O-Swing% of 42% is a career-worst, which is especially concerning given that his O-Contact% is also at a career-worst 50%. So even though his overall 80% Z-Contact% is unchanged, his overall Contact% dropped from 71% to just 64%. That’s below Joey Gallo! And many others!

If we think it’s safe to say he’s likely to be a batting average liability with a sub-70%, much less sub-65% contact rate, then really, since he’s injury prone and has no speed, you just have him for power. And with the groundball rate, you’re probably not getting enough of that to make up for the opportunity cost of holding him hoping for better days as other 10-team surging hitters are being taken left and right. So I think he’s a definite cut in 10-team OBP and likely in 10-team average leagues as well. If you can’t stash him on a bench, you might need to start readying the axe in 12-team soon as well.

Dishonorable Mention: MJ Melendez (C, Kansas City Royals)


Brendan Donovan (2B/3B/SS/OF, St. Louis Cardinals)

Donovan’s Statcast has lately been looking so blue and emaciated, it looks more like the Donno Party. He seems to have cannibalized his exciting spring performance with four homers and a huge launch angle boost, quietly reverting to the same guy he had been, if anything worse than before. Although his improved launch angle and improved Barrel% seem to indicate better times ahead, his overall launch angle is just six, the same as last year, with a similar GB% of 52%.

One of the positives from last year was a high floor with a big OBP, but he’s fallen off the wagon, veering from a strong O-Swing% of 23% in 2022 to a mediocre 35% O-Swing% this year. Maybe I’d be happy about this if it resulted in more swings at strikes, since last year’s 57% was way too low, but it’s only risen to 59%. So basically, he’s a multi-position eligible guy with uncertain playing time with potentially average batting average and potentially average power. Yeah, I think I’d much rather have Isaac Paredes (more power) or Ezequiel Duran (more speed), thank you very much. In an intense playing time battle in St. Louis, it might not be long before he is Donovanquished.

Dishonorable Mention: Tyler O’Neill (OF, Kansas City Royals) 


Andrew Benintendi (OF, Chicago White Sox)

He promised us he’d be trying to hit for more power, but I had a feeling he wouldn’t succeed at that even if it wasn’t Benintended. Even in the hitter-friendly confines of the south side of Chicago, he doesn’t have a single homer, hitting a ho-hum .277/.330/.327 with zero dingers and four SBs. If that seems nice to you, ask yourself why you hesitated to roster guys like Myles Straw. Because he’s becoming more and more that kind of player by the day… minus the elite speed.

It’s not just bad luck, as Statcast gives him a weak .258 AVG and .333 xSLG, and I wonder if that’s even optimistic. Why? Look no further than his 3% Barrel% and 24% HardHit%. That’s way down from his 38% mark last year and even worse than the 26% mark he put up in his hideous 2020 season with Boston in which he hit just .103. So he must be trying to go all-in with a high-contact approach then, right?

His plate discipline is also a career-worst, with an unsightly 35% O-Swing% and a disappointing 67% Z-Swing% below his career rate. So despite an 83% Contact% rate, that’s the best since his glory days, his overall CSW% is 24% which is actually the worst he’s had since that terrible 2020.

So even though he’s stolen four bases (zero CS) I doubt over the year he’ll steal enough bases to make up for it given his 49th percentile sprint speed, at least not enough to make up for the wet noodle bat. I think he’s probably a straight-cut in 12-team leagues and 15-OBP, but if you can manage to trade him for pretty much anything in 15-team batting average leagues, I’d gladly make the exchange because I think he’s cooked like an Andrew chicken-tendie.

Dishonorable Mention: Nick Pratto (1B/OF, Kansas City Royals)

Deep Leagues

Francisco Mejía (C, Tampa Bay Rays)

Given all the successful Rays reclamation projects breaking out this year, it makes me think that you have to be a pretty bad hitter if not even they can fix you. After being one of the Top 5 prospects in baseball at one point, he’s teased improvement here and there but has just looked like a weak hitter overall, with an anemic 3% Barrel%, and a 48% O-Swing%, which add up to a sad .200/.260/.311 line with one HR in 50 AB.

While perhaps Zunino’s departure meant an opportunity for Mejia to take over, Bethancourt has taken the role and run with it, turning a former timeshare into knocking Mejia to a backup role. You’d probably be better off closing your eyes and rolling the dice on a random AL-only or 20-team catcher, so it’s time to say “See ya, wouldn’t want to Mejia”.

Dishonorable Mention: AJ Pollock (OF, Seattle Mariners)

Featured Image by Ethan Kaplan (@DJFreddie10 on Twitter and @EthanMKaplanImages 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.

8 responses to “Buy & Sell 5/4 – Identifying Who to Add and Who to Drop”

  1. Eric says:

    Great article, Ben! Would you consider dropping Cal Raleigh for Heim?

  2. Haggy says:

    I understand the reasoning behind dropping Eloy as he has been bad to start the season overall, but it seems like it would be bad to drop him right as he is trending up, no? Over his last 4 games he is batting .500 and has 6 singles, a double, a HR, and 5 RBIs with only 2 strikeouts and improved his season OBS by .129 in that span.

  3. San Diego Daddies says:

    So, are we trading or dropping Tyler O’Neil? if so, who’s a good target for trade?

  4. Tyrone says:

    what can we do with Melendez? He does play everyday and looks to have a lot of power. just having trouble w contact. i read somewhere that the royals are cutting back his time at Catcher, which may help him? or should we just cut bait w Melendez? i have him in 5×5 roto

  5. Omar says:

    10 team weekly 6×5 -standard + OPS

    Give: Carroll + Cease

    Get: Strider

    Oneil Cruz also coming back with Strider, though that doesn’t move the needle much. It’s a 10 team weekly OPS league, with 3 keepers for one year. I almost never keep pitchers (but I might reconsider if Strider keeps ascending). Current keeper options are Riley, Harper, Jazz, & Carroll. Would be spread thin at OF; would grab Ward or Duran to fill the void left by Carroll if I accept. Thoughts?

    Staff is Cease, Rodon (IL), Musgrove, T. McKenzie (IL), Greene, Snell, GrayRod, Lodolo, Bassitt, Cobb, Ed-Rod, Bibee, Mason Miller, Logan Allen. Punting saves, and would probably replace one or two of the above with bats if I nab Strider.

  6. Jeff says:

    Love these articles, but Eloy has been en fuego.

  7. Aaron says:

    I disagree with dropping Eloy just based of his rolling charts and the fact that he hasn’t played enough to really see if the change will come due to injuries. Seems like when he’s healthy for a long time in a row he trends up eventually but then it gets cut short somehow and he has to work his way back up. He only has about 2 1/2 full seasons worth of at bats…

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