Welcome back to Buy & Sell, where this week’s theme is “returning to the well”. Sure, some of these prospects are exciting, as has been the case all season, but there are some guys who just got cut once they cooled off but are surging back in a big way. You need to stay on top of this to get the leg up if you’re in playoff matchups right now, so let’s dive in and get on to the list!
Burger’s getting reheated but it’s still tasty (and free of nasty bacteria!). Since joining the Marlins, Burger’s power had taken a big dip at the expense of batting average, but for the first time he’s starting to show promise that he can put the two together. The 27-year-old is hitting .333 with 5 beefy blasts over the past 3 weeks, but 4 of those homers came in the last week.
If that weren’t enough, in many leagues he now has 1B and 2B eligibility as he’s played 5 games at each. He’s a must-add in 10-team batting average formats who cast him off when he landed with the fish. Fish burgers are still better than sock burgers.
The two S’s in his name are for how sizzling hot he is. I often am the wet blanket on prospect call-ups, but for him, I have my blow dryer out because this can carry you like a flying carpet.
The Martian is weirdly underrated as a 20-year-old who had an excellent minor league season (especially in terms of stolen bases), especially accounting for age relative to level. He’s currently hitting .235 with 2 homers in 17 AB, and the excitement has cooled off a bit since the back-to-back games with a homer.
It’s true that while he’s currently rocking a high Hard Hit%, he hasn’t backed it with a screamer yet, with his hardest-hit ball clocking at a modest 103 mph. However, he still did hit 2 barrels, and the fact that one of the homers was to the opposite field gives me some confidence that the raw power is there.
In the early going, he’s actually made great contact when the ball is on the plate (95% Z-Contact%) but whiffs when it’s not (35% O-Contact%). While he’ll have to improve something there to avoid getting taken advantage of, I think here he could still be one of the most dynamic offensive producers on the wire and you need to bet on that massive upside.
The Mets may be a joke, but with Ronny’s exit velocity, he’s no joker, Mauricio will launch them to space, cowboy. He’s only had a handful of at-bats but showing good things in all the right places, with a .421 batting average and 3 stolen bases. The latter is especially encouraging as there were some serious doubts that the power/speed dynamo was actually going to be able to translate his stolen base success to the majors.
Okay, there still is some doubt he can keep it up, as his sprint speed is surprisingly low at the 35th percentile, but I think his results are the most important thing for the short term. As if that weren’t enough, he’s already smacked a ball 117 mph, which is a 99th percentile exit velocity, and a very good sign for his future power that he hit a ball that hard this early.
The biggest downsides of his game seem to be Brett Batyitis, in other words, hitting the ball hard but into the ground, and also wild plate discipline that can nullify his decent contact skills, though he’s managed to avoid that so far with his strong 16% K% rate.
The fact that he’s already, in such a small sample, displayed such elite upside (even though he hasn’t yet homered) makes me consider him a viable stream in all 12-team leagues and an upside flyer for 10-teamers looking for bottled lighting.
Polanco took a few weeks after his second IL stint to get his groove back, but since then, he’s been playing a hamstring of pearls. Jazzy Jorge has rocked the ball to the tune of .356/.474/.689 with 4 homers and a stolen base in the past two weeks.
However, what’s most encouraging (and surprising) is his plate discipline over this stretch. In those 45 AB (56 PA), he has 11 walks and just 9 strikeouts. It’s easy to overlook that last year, despite a lackluster year, Polanco actually did have a 14% walk rate, and his current 11% walk rate isn’t as high, but it’s still a fair amount better than any other point during his career.
He can do it all and should be added at least while this hot in 10-team formats, especially OBP.
Nelson’s exit Velazity remains as high as ever. The 24 year old had a bit of a cold stretch after I last wrote him up a few weeks ago, but he’s snapped out of it in a big way, hitting .304 with 3 HR and 7 RBI in 23 AB over the past week.
He’s still striking out some but has certainly improved a bit in that regard, with just 15 Ks in his past 60 PA (25%), and this week he finally drew some walks, with his 3 walks this week being nearly half of his total of 7 total walks in 100 AB.
Statcast still loves him and his hard-hitting ways with a .270 xBA and .574 xSLG, all thanks to his phenomenal 21% Barrel%. He should be added in all 15-team formats as well as 12-teamers looking for a power boost.
I learned from Soul Calibur that bo is a kind of big stick that can deal big damage, and this Bo is no exception. He’s easily overlooked because of his early struggles, but he’s actually been on fire lately, hitting .333/.432/.833 with 4 dingers and a nabbed bag in 30 AB (35 PA) over the past 3 weeks.
He’s also achieved this with much-improved plate discipline, with 5 BBs and 7 Ks over that span. Given how badly he struck out in his debut, a 20% K% and 14% BB% over that span is certainly a good sign that he’s ready to hit with authority.
Somewhat unlike his Guardian brother Josh, Bo hasn’t displayed the same raw power, but like him, he has displayed surprisingly good plate skills, with a fantastic 24% CSW%. He’s a must-add in 15-team formats but also certainly a viable streaming option in 12-team formats.
Ernie’s brother must be Jermaine because when it comes to Clement’s bat, it’s business time. He also has his business socks on.
This pick is admittedly more under the radar than most of my other picks, which feels weird to say for someone hitting .410 with both a homer and a stolen base in 39 AB. Still, he’s overlooked due to a disappointing debut and sophomore campaign, and I think he’s a sleeper breakout candidate.
For one, he hit for more power in the minors this year than ever before, with a .339/.395/.533 and 11 HR and 12 SB in just 305 PA in Triple-A. If the .193 ISO which was about double his previous minor league rate wasn’t enough, it’s even more exciting that he managed it with a 5% strikeout rate.
His major league sample suggests this newfound contact ability may not have been such a fluke, as he’s currently rocking a stellar 97% Z-Contact% and 91% Contact% overall, though he’ll probably need to improve on his hyper-aggressive 50% O-Swing% to make the most of that.
Sure, he still isn’t hitting the ball hard but he can be a poor man’s Arraez which is valuable for teams needing batting average for the stretch run. Add in all AL-only formats and consider in 15-team leagues with daily lineups or a deep bench.
He’s essentially the polar opposite of the contact-heavy Clement, as Arias is showing big power but until recently, hadn’t hit for average. But in the past 2 weeks, he’s hitting a cromulent .304 with 2 HRs and a stolen base in 36 ABs, giving hope that the 23-year-old former prospect is starting to figure things out.
My interest is mostly piqued by a single hit of his. Much like “Who Let The Dogs Out”, I can enjoy that hit and ignore the rest.
That hit is one that clocked in at 114 mph. Of course, his launch angle is too low at just 3 degrees, but it’s still a feat in itself to hit it that hard, and it makes me more optimistic in my thinking that he could develop into an impact regular if he can just bring that K% down below 30% as he did in the minors, which is still entirely possible for a 23-year-old.
He could certainly hit .250 and pop a few dingers with a stolen base in the final month with regular or near-regular playing time and some newfound position eligibility (for those needing 5 or even 10 games to qualify, he’s now a 1B, 3B, SS and OF. Add in all AL-only formats and 15-teamers in need of a utility bat/bench bat.
How many homers does it take to heal these scars to my batting average? Not enough, methinks. Sure, you’re probably looking at the fact that he’s hitting .333 with a homer this week and deciding you need to hold, but I think he’ll ultimately let you down if you’re still contending.
His expected batting average has plummeted, and his xBA of .211 is in just the 4th percentile, and more importantly, his xSLG of .417 is just .46th percentile. You probably didn’t expect a power-hitting phenom with 22 HR in 369 PA to deserve slightly below-average slugging, but here we are.
I still think this is an excellent, excellent season for any rookie hitter, and certainly for a 21-year-old rookie catcher no less. But I think there are simply better catcher bats to chase right now, and I go as far as including Yainer Diaz, Mitch Garver, and Bo Naylor among them.
Of course, if you’re in a dynasty league or need a miracle to contend, you can hold him and hope for an explosion, but I think catcher is surprisingly good right now in the top quadrant, and you can afford to explore in 10-teamers.
It seems it’s a thing with McMahons and leading to an exodus of team talent, though Ryan didn’t deserve it like Vince. McMahon very well be the poster child of “streaky in the short term, steady in the long term”, as he’s alternated between being unable to hit a lick and tearing the cover off the ball, yet barring major changes, he’s going to finish the year with a quite similar line to previous years, as he’s currently hitting a decent .247 with 22 HR and 5 SB.
While it is true, that he’s on pace for a career-high in homers, he’s also on pace for a career-high in strikeouts, and his current line looks a lot weaker in today’s offensive environment than last year’s.
Given the fact he’s been caught stealing as often (5) as he’s succeeded, he’s unlikely to get more green lights, and I’d rather gamble on a more realistic power-speed upside of upstarts Zack Gelof and perhaps even the mustachioed Davis Schneider. Cut in 12=team formats with juicier options to squeeze for the stretch run.
Ezequiel Duran stars in “The Quest for the Missing Power”. After a blazing hot May and June, Duran’s power has all but completely dried up for two months now, and he’s not running either, which puts a lot of pressure on the batting average even if Jung’s injury did give him an opening.
His high MaxEV and general hard contact make me love him as a buy for next year, though I should also note that he shouldn’t be counted on for more stolen bases.
While he has elite sprint speed, he has some of the worst baserunning instincts in the game, though I’m hoping at some point Texas can coach him better there, For now, he’s just a muti-positional space-taker who provides an empty batting average from the bottom half of the lineup, meaning I’ve moved on in 12-teamers and would consider even moving on in shallower 15-teamers depending on your wire options.
Lately, Castro has been Rodawful. He’s making me embarrassed to say that I actually liked him earlier in the year. He’s been in one of baseball’s biggest offensive nosedives, with a .197 xwOBA over his past 100 PA, the 5th biggest decline in xwOBA over that span.
It’s left him with an xBA of .186, which tells you everything you need to know regarding the viability of rolling with him even in an NL-only league.