Buy & Sell 7/4 – 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: Fourth of July edition! So what’s different about this article? You must read it while eating a hot dog, that’s what’s up. I believe that waiver wire savvy is what saves seasons, which would explain why I’m 8th out of 420 teams in The Great Fantasy Baseball Invitational (TGFBI) but in draft-and-hold formats where I can’t add in-season, I’m struggling with the bottom of the pack. Granted, I drafted different players, but still, now is a time when trades will happen and if you’re not making any, you’re falling behind your competitors. So trade with that in mind and know when to buy low and sell high. I’m sounding too generic, so on to the list!





Marcus Semien (2B/SS, Texas Rangers)

He may seem washed up, but things may not quite be as the Semien. Yeah, I roster him in a few leagues (just traded for him in one) and so I’m trying to convince you not to panic, but also myself, of course. Because it’s been rough, y’all. He’s hit just .152/.212/.190 with no homers in 79 AB the last three weeks, which has been terrible. And this week it’s been .074, which has been horrible! Wait, what’s the difference between terrible and horrible? .078, that was a math question.

So why am I calling him a buy? Because it’s trade season, and his owners are likely panicking, and you can exploit this panic for profit. Yes, it’s possible he’s still reeling from that earlier injury, which is likely the narrative, but it’s also worth noting that his season-expected stats are virtually identical to last year’s. Same 7% barrel%, same .263 xBA (okay last year’s was .262, and while his HardHit% dropped mildly from 37% to 35%, his K% improved slightly from 15% to 14%. Now to be fair, his xSLG is down a bit, and perhaps last year he got really lucky and this year is just luck regression. Also, he seems to be done stealing bases, as he only has 3 successes with 2 caught stealing, and I think both of those make it clear it’s not a priority for him or the team.

But as bad as the recent clip has been, it’s not really reflected in his expected stats, as he has a .287 xwOBA over his past 100 PA and .277 xwOBA over his past 50. Sure, over his past 250, he has been one of the biggest decliners, from .373 to .291, so maybe that’s not great, but there’s nothing glaring in the underlying numbers that suggest a decline like this is deserved, with such similar peripherals. And even with these struggles, he’s still on pace for nearly 200 R+RBI being in the leadoff spot, so as long as he keeps that (not guaranteed) he’ll rack up fantasy value. And he could be the next George Springer, suddenly coming alive and making us feel silly for doubting the metronome. If you have him, hold him, and if you don’t, now’s a great time to try to inquire at a healthy discount, since he doesn’t need SBs to still be a high-tier second baseman.

Honorable Mention: James Wood (OF, Washington Nationals) – Wood hasn’t yet lit the world on fire since his promotion, but in the tiny sample he’s already hitting the ball super hard and hasn’t yet whiffed at a single strike. That said, I have some concerns he’ll be too patient and hurt himself with looking strikes. Add for now anywhere and anywhere he’s available until we have more data.

Honorable Mention: Alec Bohm (3B, Philadelphia Phillies) – He’s still my preferred Alec B over Mr. Burleson, and he doesn’t get enough respect for increasing both his hard contact, launch angle, and K% (now just 14%) for a second consecutive year. Like it or not, he’s a Top 7 third baseman if not Top 5.


Francisco Alvarez (C, New York Mets)

He doesn’t credit, but he’s been the one making opposing pitchers Grimace. Many feared Alvarez would miss most of the season after his hand injury, but he not only came back earlier than the more optimistic timelines but also showed no ill effects from the time off, as the 22-year-old has surged to the tune of a .382/.453/.691 line with 3 homers and 15 RBI in 55 AB. And Statcast must agree, because… oh, that’s odd. They actually think he’s pretty mediocre. They give him a paltry .236 xBA and .376 xSLG, a far cry from his .301 AVG and .513 slugging. Pitcher List’s directional metric is more generous, but only gives him a .257 xAVG, and he scores terribly in IPA% with a 21% mark that rates 321st in the MLB.

So why am I calling him a buy? Well, the main thing is for some crazy reason he’s on your wire, add him. But in a redraft league, maybe you want to trade him while the hype is so out of control. So why are his numbers looking ho-hum? Well, remember, the samples are still small, but he had struggled before the injury. However, over his last 50 PA, he’s the biggest xwOBA with a .408 mark compared to a .183 xwOBA in his previous 50. A .408 xwOBA is great, but not that it’s only the biggest gainer because a .183 xwOBA is flat-out putrid, and out of the 8 biggest xwOBA gainers behind him, they all had higher actual xwOBA’s than .408, and it’s the likes of Andres Gimenez, Matt Chapman, Spencer Horwitz… Not exactly MVPs.

Still, if we want to compare to last year, in which he popped 25 homers, while he has a lower barrel rate so far, he does have a similar HardHit at 44%, and a better K% of 23% backed by a better contact% of 74%. He still has excellent raw power, with a career-best 115 mph MaxeV that puts him in the upper echelon of all hitters and certainly the upper echelon of catchers. Slugger Cal Raleigh has never surpassed 114 mph and hit just 111 MaxEV this year and still has 14 dingers. Then again, there is a difference between game power and raw, and I wouldn’t be shocked if he cools off and people move on like the Ivan Herrera hype (which I jumped in on) earlier this year. But with the lineup being so hot, I think he’s worth the chance if you lack an elite option at C.

Honorable Mention: Paul Goldschmidt (1B, St. Louis Cardinals)

I guess the lesson learned is never to worry about a bad Goldschmidt start, ever. The xwOBA is rising ever closer to his career levels, though his K% in June was still 26%, still above career levels, with a walk rate of just 5%. so we at least need to accept a lower average is likely, and a lower OBP as well.

Honorable Mention: Byron Buxton (OF, Minnesota Twins

His xWOBA is suddenly skyrocketing, which could be a sign that Buxton is finally healthy. I wouldn’t count on stolen bases, but he could be in for a few huge power weeks and be a fragile yet fearsome poor man’s Royce Lewis.


Michael Toglia (1B/OF, Colorado Rockies)

Mr. Toglia, a sub-Mendoza line batting average doesn’t make anyone want to ogle ya. Yes, although I’m not entirely sure that I lost my mind, I am still saying that you should regardless add him despite his ugly .182/.245/.424 line with 9 HR and 3 SB in 147 AB. Why? Well for one, because he’s been one of the hottest hitters in the past few weeks, with a .425 xwOBA that is higher than Francisco Alvarez… and Statcast doesn’t fully account for playing in Coors. Listening now?

Toglia is quite interesting to me as the rare Rockies hitter who is actually underperforming his expected stats, with a far superior .245 xBA and .502 xSLG that suddenly seem fantasy viable, especially considering the thinness of both positions right now. Toglia’s been not only hitting for power but also cutting down on Ks the past two weeks, with 4 of his homers, 2 of his 3 SB, and also a solid 6/13 BB/K in his last 42 AB (48 PA). I called him a deep league sleeper earlier this year as I expected his strikeout rate would improve thanks to his solid plate discipline (26% O-Swing%) and surprisingly passable 72% contact%. Meanwhile, the 16% Barrel% is truly elite, and perhaps most importantly, he’s playing every day (something I can’t say any more for the guy I mistakenly recommended last week, Hunter Goodman).

Toglia is still in his prime at 25, and between his above-average power, high-flyball approach, decent plate skills, and playing half his games at Coors, I’m expecting his second half to look a lot closer to June than his terrible April and May. And while I don’t think he’ll steal many more bases, he does have slightly above-average sprint speed, so hey it could happen. He’s a must-add in all 15-team formats he’s still available, but I’d recommend him for power-starved teams even in deeper 12-team formats, at least for as long as he keeps this up.

Honorable Mention: Jose Miranda (3B, Minnesota Twins) – The recent playing time cut led him to get cut in some deeper formats despite production when on the field, but with Lewis seemingly down again, he has a fairly clear path to PT.

Honorable Mention: Jhonkensy Noel (3B, Cleveland Guardians) – He’s an all-power, low-contact guy, so you’re hoping for another Heliot Ramos with him, though the 50% K% will need to improve. Still, he also hit a homer at 115 mph, so if he actually plays more, his power production could be massive,

Honorable Mention: Ben Rice (1B, New York Yankees– The early results haven’t been so encouraging, but don’t lose hope, as he has displayed excellent plate discipline with a 13% K and 13% BB%, and his .303 xBA and .508 xSLG have me targeting and adding him in all AL-only and most 15-teamers.

Deep Leagues

Derek Hill (OF, Texas Rangers)

He may be 28 with no major league track record, but that doesn’t mean he’s over the Hill. He certainly had a nice 2023 MLB debut, as the speedster walloped a pair of homers, and is now hitting .259 with 3 HR and 2 SB in just 29 PA. At first, I assumed this must be a fluke, but then I noticed he showed more power in the minors, hitting a career-best .350/.415/.631 line with 8 HR, 7 SB, and a .280 ISO in 176 PA. He always had recent raw power with a 110 MaxEV, so maybe he unlocked something since he already has 3 barrels, more than half the total than the 5 barrels he racked up in his biggest stint in 2021 in 150 PA. Given the fact he has 99th percentile speed, he’s a must-add in AL-only but an interesting 18-team and even deeper 15-team spec add. 

Alejandro Kirk (C, Toronto Blue Jays)

Battery-mate Danny Jansen becoming a dad gives Kirk a bigger chance this week to get noticed, and he’s been the better catcher in terms of xwOBA over the past month, with better peripherals. He’s a solid defensive catcher now, and he could start overtaking Jansen soon given the latter’s massive slump.





Jazz Chisholm (OF/SS, Miami Marlins)

Is Jazz overrated? Yes, I’d say, but then again, I was a punk rock saxophonist attending Berklee College of Music. I lied when I told the other saxophonists that I listened to Charlie Parker, okay? Anyway, Jazz is actually in a funk (in this case not a good thing), hitting just .184/.225/.211 with no homes and 1 SB in 38 AB, and what’s worse he was caught stealing thrice. His season stats look fine, as he’s hitting a solid .256/.321/,417 with 10 HR and 14 SB, which if you do the lazy half extrapolation would give him 20 dingers and 28 SB on the year. But let’s face it, who expects him to play a full year with his health track record?

The bigger issue is that it seems he might’ve had luck on his side to get here. Although fast players sometimes get unfairly dinged by Statcast, it’s at least a bit concerning that his xBA is worse at just .239. On the flip side, my biggest concern when I made a Bold Prediction that he wouldn’t be a top 25 outfielder (which is looking incorrect so far) was his over 30% strikeout rate, and he’s cut that to a healthier 26%.  Still, he’s near his total plate appearances from last year, and then he hit 19 HR and stole 22 SB in 352 AB (383 PA).  The idea was that if healthy, he’d produce enough that even baking in losing a month or so from injury, he’d still be electric enough when on the field to make up for that. While the 14 stolen bases thus far have been nice, it’s definitely concerning that he’s been caught 7 times, for a sub-optimal 66% success rate, and over the past 3 weeks, he’s been 2 for his last 6 attempts. That’s how you get a red light.

It’s of course not easy to read what the Marlins will do since they’re so far out of contention, but it’s within the realm of possibility that between the low success rate and injury risk inherent from stealing bases Chisholm will run about 50% less often. Needless to say, this would make his game highly dependent on his power, since his run production in Miami isn’t so great and he’s never been a batting average asset even at his best with a career .249 AVG.

So, should you drop him? No, don’t be silly! Because there’s always someone who will buy the Chisholm hype and he should still fetch a strong return in a trade since on the surface his production looks solid still. You could certainly land an Arozarena who is starting to heat back up, perhaps even a Langford or another more reliable power/speed outfield option. Sometimes it’s important to sell medium and not wait until the bottom drops out and you’re selling out of desperation.


Noelvi Marte  (3B, Cincinnati Reds) – 

He’s finally back from his 80-game PED suspension, and now his numbers look PEDestrian.  Not, like, average, I mean they look like numbers that a pedestrian pulled off the nearest cross-street can put up. It’s a tiny sample but he’s hitting just .150 with 0 HR in his first 21 AB, and nobody reasonable is holding that against the young phenom. Which is why you should flip him now because maybe they should.

See, it’s pretty rare for a player who struggled as badly as he did on his minor league rehab assignment to get called up to the majors, so I think this is more than just a small sample fluke. His power was virtually nonexistent in Triple-A, hitting just .151/.151/.170 with 0 HR, a 0% BB%, a 28% K%, and a .019 ISO over a larger sample of 53 PA. Generally logic would dictate if you can’t hack it in the minors, you’re probably not a great bet to suddenly thrive in the huge leap to major league pitching. Even the projections, which mostly haven’t weighed any of this, give him a fairly bland projection of a mid-.250’s average with 5 homers and 6 SB in over 200 PA in the second half, which isn’t exactly Elly De La Cruz.

If you hold him a few more weeks to see if he turns it around, and he fails to do that, he will be essentially worthless and you’ll likely have to cut bait in shallow formats. But you can probably still trade him now for a pretty penny and I think given my concerns, you’d likely be better off with your safer, less, flashy asset.

Matt Vierling (3B/OF, Detroit Tigers)

He seemed on track to a good fantasy season, but now it seems he’s Viering off the road. Fine, he hasn’t been that bad, but hitting .211 with just 1 homer over the past two weeks is not what you want. He’s certainly not bad, but given the dearth of talent at the hot corner, he had been looking like a poor man’s Alec Bohm with enough power and average to sustain you at the position. But more and more his line is showing us the old “he is who we thought he was” with a similar .267 xBA to last year, though his barrel rate is still double previous years.

On the other hand, he’s seemed to stop stealing bases entirely, which is rather strange given that in the 2023 preseason he was identified as the exact kind of “fringe” speed player who could really increase their output with the new Stolen Base rules. Last year he only stole 7, but that’s still something! But I mean, this year he’s only attempted to steal ONCE (and failed). That puts a lot of pressure on his batting average, given his lower run production on the Tigers and average power. I still think he’s a fine position filler for 15-team formats, but 12-teamers should move on, as I’d rather have someone with more things to get excited about like Matt Chapman.


Keibert Ruiz (C, Washington Nationals)

I call him Q-Bert Ruiz because he’s one of the most frustrating games I’ve had to deal with. The former top prospect is hitting just .212/.250/.300 with 4 HR and 1 SB in 232 PA and seems to be hitting the ball softer than ever, with a hideous 24% HardHit% that’s in the bottom 3% of the league. I don’t think it’s a fluke either with just 2nd percentile bat speed, and there’s a point where even making lots of contact doesn’t matter because it’s all finding gloves. And when you have 6th percentile sprint speed, it’s not like you’ll be beating out many grounders. I’d rather have just about any filler catcher like Jonah Heim, Korey Lee or even Jake Rogers over Ruiz at this point, so cut in 15-team formats.

  Nick Senzel (3B, Washington Nationals)

His name is fitting because he’s always getting nicked up and I couldn’t send money on Zelle because it was always malfunctioning. Senzel had a hot week or two I didn’t come close to trusting, so although 7 HR in 199 AB doesn’t seem so bad for deeper leagues, it’s long past time to abandon ship on yet another National. He’s hit just .140/.183/.211 with just 1 HR and 2 RBI in 57 AB over the past 3 weeks. Given the fact that his contact% is unexceptional and his 84 mph average EV is so bad it’s 1st percentile%, it’s hard to see what you’re hoping from him. He at least used to be a serious stolen base threat, and between all the injuries, he’s stolen just 1 base, and perhaps that was also too much

Deep Leagues

  Dylan Moore (2B/OF, Seattle Mariners)

Moore does this thing every year where he’ll start the year being completely unusable, and then seem like the greatest hitter on earth before immediately losing the magic mojo and quickly sliding back into his small-side platoon-only role, with still enough homers and stolen bases to sucker the occasional fantasy owner falling for the Mariner’s siren song. If you’re not trying to stream him based specifically on matchups for the week, you’re doing it wrong.

Ben Rortvedt (C, Tampa Bay Rays) – 

He’s been among the hottest hitters at catcher the past two weeks, but absolutely none of it is sustainable. He’s a guy you roster if you just want a warm body to fill the position (Alex Jackson poses a much smaller threat to PT than Rene Pinto did) since the offensive ceiling is fairly limited. His .263 AVG and .374 SLG% are belied by an ugly .206 xBA and .324 xSLG, so I’d take my chances on other misfits like Bo Naylor and even Kirk over him.


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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