Welcome back to Buy & Sell, and this week’s edition is especially fun, as it’s the post-trade deadline edition! And there is a lot of great value to be found in new playing time situations, as well as some high-octane prospect call-ups. So without further ado, let’s check out the players to add and drop this week… and some more terrible baseball puns. You know you love to hate them. Or at least that’s what I tell myself to sleep at night. Whoops, sorry for the further ado!
Amed Rosario (SS, New York Mets) – Hallelujah, Amed! Owners prayers for his call up had gone unanswered for too long, but he’s finally getting his chance after hitting .328 with 7 HR 66 R, 58 RBI and 19 SB in Triple-A. That would be impressive for any hitter, but as a 21-year old putting up those numbers, fantasy leaguers are understandably giddy about his immense all-around offensive upside. While there is always risk inherent with prospects, Rosario’s lower K rate gives him a better chance of initial success, and in all leagues is worth at least speculating on. I avoided making a joke about praying the Rosario, but I’m ruining that by mentioning it now.
Ozzie Albies (2B, Atlanta Braves) – Welcome to Ozzfest, but this Ozzie does much better things with a bat head. The diminutive second sacker who is best known for his terrific defense showed more power in his 2nd run through Triple-A, hitting .285 with 9 HR and 21 SB in 448 PA, and while those numbers aren’t quite as exciting as Rosario, he’s doing this as a 20-year old. He may still lack Rosario’s upside projection due to his side, but I’d like to think Betts and Altuve have taught us some lessons on that. His K rate did go up from 15% in 2016 to 20% this year, so he could stumble in his first cup of coffee, but should get full-time at-bats and is worth the gamble in 15-team and 12-team leagues.
Eduardo Nunez (SS/3B/OF, Boston Red Sox) – He’s putting the EZ in NUNEZ since joining Boston, hitting .500 with 2 HR and 2 SB, and hitting .400 over 70 AB the past 3 weeks. It seemed that he might’ve had difficulty finding regular playing time with Devers at the hot corner, but Pedroia hitting the DL gave him his opportunity, and with how he’s hitting, there’s no way he’s losing it now. I wouldn’t expect much more in the power department, as his 1.7% Barrel/BBE is extremely low, but Boston is a good hitter’s park for batting average and run production. Especially with his positional versatility, he should be owned and started in all leagues.
Lucas Duda (1B, Tampa Bay Rays) – Always a hit with the Camptown Ladies, Duda has been hitting for some terrific power, with 20 HR and a career-best .307 ISO in just 308 PA. xStats believes the performance is mostly real, and so does his excellent 12.8% Barrel/BBE. He’s always streaky, but he’s homered in 3 straight games, but with his hot streaks this hot, it’s worth taking the bad with the good. So if he’s on your 12-team mixed or even 10-team OBP league wire, taking a flier on him is something you should do, duh.
Robinson Chirinos (C, Texas Rangers) – Many people are seeing the Lucroy trade to the Rockies as primarily a boon on Lucroy’s value, but I think Chirinos is the real winner. He’s deserved full-time at-bats for months, with a still-excellent 14.7% Barrel/BBE (though it’s been trending downward). The lack of playing time was the only thing seeming to stop him from surpassing 20 HR, and while the average might stay low, he should be among the AL’s most powerful catchers. He’s worth adding in 15-team and deeper 12-team formats.
James McCann (C, Detroit Tigers) – Speaking of catchers that suddenly find themselves with full-time at-bats, McCann is another catcher with opportunity ahead. Unlike Chirinos, who deserved the full-time gig, McCann was in Avila’s shadow, but still hit .246 with 10 HR in 203 AB. And like Chirinos, it was no fluke, with a strong 10.8% Barrel/BBE, though for McCann it’s a career-best. He was originally thought of as a low-power guy, but it’s time to rethink that, as catchers develop slowly and he’s still only 27. Add him in He’s worth adding in 15-team and 12-team OBP formats, and you may find yourself having trouble remembering which McCann you have.
Bradley Zimmer (OF, Cleveland Indians) – You can’t flim-flam the Zim-zam! Zimmer has been an absolute beast at both the plate and on the basepaths, with 8 HR, 13 SB, and a .284 AVG in just 231 PA. The 10.1% Barrel/BBE suggests the power is as real as his speed, which ranks 2nd best in the league, though it feels weird with him being so tall. He may lack the refinement and contact of a Benintendi, but his tools could put Phillips out of business. He should be added and started in all leagues as his fantasy upside may not have yet been fully tapped.
Manuel Margot (OF, San Diego Padres) – The past few weeks, fantasy owners may have missed him Margot nuts, as he’s hitting a ridiculous .500 over the past week and .357 over the past 3 weeks, to lift his season average to .281. He also has 3 homers over that span, with 8 on the year to go with 11 SB. He lost a lot of hype earlier on for not contributing massive speed as owners hoped, but with the ability to hit for some decent power and average too, the floor is very high for such a young player. He should be owned in all 15-teamers and 12-team batting average leagues for that combination of floor and ceiling that will serve you Man-well.
Marcus Semien (SS, Oakland Athletics) – Coming back from a wrist injury, there were performance concerns, but it’s Semien like he’s alright. He’s hitting .352 with 3 HR and 2 SB over the last 2 weeks, with both the power and speed encouraging owners that he’s 100%. He’s also managed to keep the strikeouts mostly at bay, with 11 Ks and 5 walks in 59 PA over that span. He’s back to being underrated for his power-speed abilities, as he was only owned in 9.6% of ESPN leagues last week and is still up to just 20.2%. Don’t leave him on your wire in 15-team and even 12-team, or come September, you’ll be Marcussing at yourself.
Randall Grichuk (OF, St. Louis Cardinals) – Just like the Mighty Ducks, here comes a triumphant return for the Grichuklepuck! He’s now up to .234 with 13 HR and 5 SB in 280 PA. Now, that may not look so nice, but consider that since his call-up, he’s hitting .342 with 4 yaks in 38 PA.The K/BB rate indicates that BABIP regression may be in store, but his 15.8% Barrel/BBE indicates his potential for a massive power streak down the stretch run, and is well-worth streaming in 18-teamers, 15-teamers, and even deeper 12-team formats if you need some pop. He might be Grich that stole Christmas, and your league title.
Jonathan Villar (2B/SS/3B, Milwaukee Brewers) – Villar ranks up there as one of the top destroyers of fantasy teams this year, as despite his high pick draft status, he has also strung owners along with juuuust enough fantasy upside that you’re too afraid to cut him. But after hitting just .067 this past week and .188 with 0 HR in 48 AB over the past 3 weeks, I’d think you’d come to terms with it and cut your losses. His 20 SB are alright, but with 7 CS, his speed really doesn’t make up for the terrible average and K rate and fringy power. In 10-team as well as 12-team leagues, it’s time to stop fantasizing he’ll help you in your virtual reality world and take off your Villar Goggles.
Brad Miller (SS/2B/1B, Tampa Bay Rays) – Why the crap is Bad Miller still owned in 15.9% of leagues? Before this week’s drop, he was up to 19.6%, which is laughable when you consider that this was higher than Marcus Semien, despite not showing an ounce of any of the fluke magic he possessed last year. Duda’s arrival has added emphasis to pushing him out of playing time, but pray for those 15.9% of ESPN owners who must have been in a coma since April. Cut him in all non-bizarro leagues.
Jonathan Lucroy (C, Colorado Rockies) – I wrote him up last week. I’ve written him up several times before. But this is my last stand, perhaps my hill do die on. Because now, you may actually find a taker for him… and by golly, you should. Many casual fans think that playing half his games at Coors will be some magic remedy and suddenly he’ll hit .290 at a 20-homer pace from here on out, but first ask yourself… would you expect the same from a speedless Nori Aoki? Because in terms of contact, and exit velocity, that’s exactly what he’s been, if not worse. As he’s also been the worst defensively of all catchers this year, including backups, he’s probably masking an injury, and you should trade him to a pollyanna sucker if they don’t realize that. If you can’t find a taker, in anything shallower than an AL-only, it’s time to Losecroy.