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Too Hot to Hold: Sell-High Candidates


Now that we've flipped the calendar into September, we have only one month left of baseball. It was a perilous journey, but we somehow managed to get here, so it's time to stop wondering if the season will continue as planned and give yourself over fully to managing your teams. For those of you who are thinking that you're already out of it, remember that the remainder of the season isn't too much shorter than what we've already played, so there is always a chance to make up ground. Today we're going to look at some overachieving players that could be traded for max value at the right time before they slump.

When thinking about making trades for the back half of your season, it's important to remember not just to "get good players," but to get players that fit your team's needs. Look at the categories where you are under-performing but also where you can make up ground. If you're already last in Runs and 30+ behind the team above you, that may not be the best target to make up ground. Aim to add talent in categories where there is an easier climb for you up the standings.

Remember that the idea for these players below is that they're playing at a level where you can get MAX value for them. This is not a list of players you NEED to move on from. If you have any of these guys and are near the top of the standings in categories where they have been an asset, maybe try to see if you can trade one of them to get reinforcements in places where you are weakest, but, again, don't force it.

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Mike Yastrzemski, OF, San Francisco Giants

(Current Yahoo rank: 25th)

Yaz the Younger has already started to cool down from his hot start, but his ranking in many redraft leagues has yet to be impacted. So far, he's compiled a .280/.399/.568 triple slash with seven HR, 30 Runs, 24 RBI, and two SB. He's second in the league in runs, hitting atop a surprisingly spry San Francisco lineup. However, with Austin Slater hurt and Donovan Solano also beginning to cool off, the runs have dried up a bit with only two in the last week of games.

His weak contact (38th-percentile Exit Velocity) and .243 xBA finally caught up to him as he's only 12-for-50 over the last two weeks, his GB% is a 40.4% (almost 7% higher than last year), and he's seen his K% rise pretty drastically.

If you want a cherry on top, the San Fransisco Giants play their last two games in Coors Field on September 1 and 2, and then their only other road games will be in San Diego, Seattle, and Oakland, which are not parks that favor left-handed power. He may still be a decent source of runs in games where the Giants' streaky bats wake up, but if you can still sell him off of his early-season dominance, now might be the time.

 

Kyle Lewis, OF, Seattle Mariners

(Current Yahoo rank: 13th)

Yes, I know that Kyle Lewis simply hasn't stopped hitting, posting a .339 average with a.973 OPS, 8 HR, 29 Runs, 21 RBI, and two SB. But I also know that he leads the league, among qualified hitters, with a .422 BABIP and has a 20th-percentile Whiff%, 39th-percentile K%, and 29th-percentile Exit Velocity. He's overperforming all of his x-stats with a .339 average despite a .274 xBA and .542 SLG despite a .493 xSLG.

He's done a good job in reducing his K%, although it has started to trickle back up of late, has significantly cut down on his O-Swing%, and has improved his BB% by leaps and bounds, but his overall profile does not match up with the current results. He's pulling the ball less than he has in the past, hitting the ball in the air less than last year, and not making a lot of hard contact.

He's a young player who has clearly improved, but I think you're going to see the K% keep moving back upwards, the average steadily decline, and those counting stats are going to be impacted by losing Austin Nola in the lineup around him. I'm not suggesting that Lewis is bad or a pretender, but in redraft leagues, I would be looking to see if somebody is all the way in on his August performance and willing to give up something akin to a top-20 or 30 asset.

 

Dansby Swanson, SS, Atlanta Braves

(Current Yahoo rank: 20th)

There were many people pushing their way onto the Dansby Swanson Hype Train in the offseason and that has proven to be a very comfortable ride as of now; however, I'm expecting travel to become a little more turbulent in the coming weeks. Let's start with the good: Swanson is hitting .303 with five HR, 29 Runs, 20 RBI, and four SB. He's playing great defense for Atlanta and is locked into the top of their lineup, which keeps his run totals safe. However, there is a glaring concern:

Those numbers are not moving in the direction you want them to be in. Overall, Swanson is swinging 4% more than he did last year, but that also leads to a 2.2% increase in O-Swing%, and a 3% increase in SwStr%, which is fueled by a near 6% drop in Z-Contact%. Despite becoming more aggressive, Swanson has dropped his Pull% by 7% and increased his GB% by 4.4%. Hitting the ball on the ground isn't bad for a guy with 90th-percentile sprint speed, but being less patient could be coming back to bite the shortstop a bit now. His .389 BABIP indicates that he's getting lucky on a fair amount of his in-play contact and his xBA has started to decline over the last few weeks as that BABIP has regressed a little closer to the mean.

As with Kyle Lewis, I don't think Swanson is a bad player to have on your team, but I think the new, more aggressive all-fields approach will lead to less power and more inconsistency with his average. If you can find somebody who truly believes Swanson is a top-40 player, it might not be a bad idea to swing a deal.

 

Anthony Santander, OF, Baltimore Orioles

(Current Yahoo Ranking: 31st)

You'll have to move quickly on this one because Santander is already starting to cool off, like the Orioles themselves. The left-handed hitter came out of the gates swinging, racking up 10 HRs, 28 RBI, and a .585 SLG so far, despite just a .257 BABIP. He's hitting the ball hard, and his Statcast page is filled with red. Everything at first glance seems to support a similarly strong second-half, but some of the approach changes have already been to rear their heads.

For starters, Santander has decreased his Pull% from 46% to 36.9%. That's a drastic drop for a power-hitter. He has raised is FB% to 48.2%, which you like to see, but his Infield Fly Ball% has also jumped to 17%, and that has a lot to do with this:

Santander currently has a 24.7-degree launch angle, and it's been climbing steadily. Over that same period of time, you can see an inverse impact on his xSLG:

His K% has also risen from the lowest point of 8% on August 22nd to 24% on the 30th, which has bumped his season-long number to 16.6%. So you have a power hitter whose no longer pulling the ball as much, has a launch angle that has overcorrected too far, and an increased strikeout rate and SwStr% driven by a slightly more aggressive approach and less overall contact (maybe due to the extreme bat path through the zone). Santander still plays in a hitter's park, so he'll notch a few more HRs under his belt, but if you can find somebody to buy into him as a consistent power threat, it's the time to move him for a player who can help you more consistently in other categories.

 

Luis Robert, OF, Chicago White Sox

(Current Yahoo ranking: 15th)

That rage you feel building up inside of you as you read the name above, that's why you should put out feelers for a trade. Remember, we're talking about selling "high," so none of these players are playing poorly. Robert is an elite dynasty league asset, but in redraft leagues, there are signs that he may hit some regression in September.

The rookie has been great in his first season with the White Sox, hitting .298 with 10 HR, 22 Runs, 24 RBI, and 4 SB. He has 96th-percentile Barrel%, 92nd-percentile xSLG, and 86th-percentile Exit Velocity. However, there are a few red flags. Robert has a 32 K% and only a 7 BB%, and he's currently rocking a .366 BABIP. His FB% (40.3%) and GB% (37.7%) are near identical, with the FB% being much lower than his AAA numbers, and the GB% being almost 10% higher. While his contact metrics are leveling out, his lack of plate discipline continues to plateau.

This is typical of a young player who could get taken advantage of by Major League pitchers as he begins to see the same pitchers time and time again in this short season. It's already been mentioned that hitters have less access to film this year than in years past, so as pitchers face Robert more, they'll get a better understanding of how to throw to him, and he may struggle to catch up. What it comes down to for me is that Robert is an extremely high profile name who has produced up until this point. He also has an inflated BABIP and concerning plate discipline metrics. You should by no means force a trade, but I think he's a great name to float and see if you can get a player who could help you in categories where you're struggling.

 

Kevin Pillar, OF, Colorado Rockies

(Current Yahoo ranking: 160th)

This one is relatively short. Pillar has been hitting well this year, with a .274 average, four HR, and 20 Runs. However, he was playing every day in Boston and will now likely be a platoon bat against left-handed pitching in Colorado. Also, the narrative that he "crushes lefties" is overblown. For his career, Pillar hits .281/.315/.459 against left-handers with a .178 ISO and .254/.290/.388 against right-handers with a .134 ISO.

He's not going to be a lock to produce every time the team faces a lefty and with him likely sitting on the bench most of the time against right-handed pitching, he loses a lot of value. See if another team in your league sees the move to Coors Field as a boost in value and try to get Pillar off your hands.

 

Lance Lynn, SP Texas Rangers

(Current Yahoo Ranking: 19th)

Fantasy owners with Lance Lynn were likely cursing at their screens on Monday when he wasn't dealt to a contender. The right-hander has been a huge success this season, compiling a 1.93 ERA and 27.7 K% in 51.1 innings and a 4-1 record across eight starts. While the surface numbers are elite, and the four wins are solid, Lynn has benefited from a .197 BABIP and has currently left 88.4% of runners on base after registering a 74.4% mark last year.

When you dig further in, you see that Lynn is allowing 6% more fly balls, inducing 2% fewer swings outside of the zone, and his fastball pVAL has dropped from 20.4 to 8.2. The last number is what concerns me a little bit. Lynn throws his fastball 57.6% of the time, and so far it's performed close enough to last year, despite minor dips in Whiff% and PutAway%, and a drop in velocity from 94.6 mph to 94 mph. However, the high fly ball rate, slight dip in fastball effectiveness, and inflated LOB% and BABIP have led to a 3.97 SIERA and 4.15 xFIP.

With six road games coming up in Houston and three in Anaheim, Lynn is going to be pitching outside of the friendly confines of Texas' dome, and it's possible that the regression could lead to some rough starts. I'd be inclined to offer Lynn and a bat to a disgruntled Mike Clevinger, Walker Buehler, Jack Flaherty owner, or see if you can flip him alone for an elite bat.

 

Adam Wainwright, SP, St. Louis Cardinals

(Current Yahoo Ranking: 83rd)

Most people weren't buying into Adam Wainwright at the start of the year, even though the 39-year-old was coming off of his best season since 2014. Wainwright has found success going more curve-heavy and is currently sporting a 3-0 record with a 2.65 ERA and minuscule 0.88 WHIP. He has an unimpressive 19.1 K% but during his best season in 2014, he had a 19.9 K%, so perhaps he's at his best when he's not pitching for strikeouts.

The issue I see this season is that Wainwright has upped his cutter usage to 27%, and it's perhaps not as good of a pitch as it's been so far. Batters are hitting .194 against it with a .287 SLG as opposed to the .282 xBA and .416 xSLG. Now, x-stats aren't always an indication of where a player will end up, but when the difference is so jarring, you need to take notice.

So, we know that Wainwright is overperforming with his cutter, and he's also gone to his sinker more often, so it's clear that the veteran is trying to get batters to hit the ball on the ground and use his elite infield defense behind him. Yet, he actually has a lower GB% than last year and his FB% has increased by 9% to 37.9%. What's happening is that his HR/FB% has shrunk to 8.3% from 15% last year and his BABIP is a crazy .202. His career BABIP is .298 so that is absolutely going to regress, even with his elite defense, and some of the increased fly balls he's allowing and going to start leaving the yard.

The Central is one of the weaker hitting divisions, but I see some blow-up outings in the future for Wainwright. Considering he threw a complete game against the Indians with nine strikeouts in his last outing, I think now is the time to try and trade him. It's possible the Cubs do a number on him in Wrigley this weekend.



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NextGen Stats - Quarterback Breakdowns and Takeaways

It's been a month since the last time we took a look at our beloved quarterbacks. Numbers are numbers, and numbers don't lie. You can twist them, but looking at them objectively, numbers say that no matter what, rushing the ball is almost always a worse option than passing it in today's game. That's why... Read More


Fantasy Football Risers and Fallers - Week 7

Whether due to their own play, the play of others, or injuries, players' stock increases and decreases on a weekly basis. Perhaps more than any other, the NFL is a league that experiences ups and downs at a rapid pace. With only 16 games, there’s little room for error and seemingly endless opportunities for improvement.... Read More


Coaching Matters: Offenses That Will Improve From Week 6

This series continues into its sixth week of where I dive into offensive areas that will improve or decline based on coaching in order to glean insight as to fantasy football value. In Week 6, we saw performances such as Ryan Tannehill throwing for 364 passing yards, the Houston Texans running backs combining for 66 rushing yards, and the New... Read More


Tape Tells All: D'Andre Swift's Week 6 Performance

Welcome to another edition of Tape Tells All. I've been thinking of rebranding as just TAPE. All-Caps like that. Probably wouldn't be a good idea for SEO purposes, right? Anyways, this week we'll be discussing Detroit Lions rookie running back D'Andre Swift. Swift set a lot of career highs this week, with bests in carries... Read More


Week 7 Waiver Wire Pickups & Adds

Week 6 was like the 2020 of fantasy football weeks. All those great matchups meant nothing, those studs let you down, and your bench likely went crazy. The good news is that we didn't have any season-ending injuries to running backs or games canceled due to COVID, so in retrospect maybe we shouldn't complain. The... Read More


FAB Bidding - Week 7 Waiver Wire Targets

Whether it's injuries, bye-week blues, or simply poor performance, we've got the waiver-wire cure...but it just might cost you! Alongside our famous waiver wire pickups list and our weekly waiver wire columns by position, this column focuses on suggested waiver wire bidding percentages for fantasy football owners in leagues using a Free Agent Budget (FAB). In... Read More


Waiver Wire Express - Week 7 Lightning Round

Week 6 was relatively healthy and had no coronavirus delays, so let's just take a moment to bask in that. That said, we still saw Miles Sanders (knee) and Zach Ertz (ankle) go down, while Mark Ingram (ankle) has a bye to get healthy. Week 7 byes are Baltimore, Indianapolis, Miami, and Minnesota. Let's get... Read More


Running Back Waiver Wire Pickups - Week 7

Fantasy GMs are to be commended for rising to the unique challenges that have unfolded during this regular season. Injuries to critical players is an unwelcome reality that occurs every year. This is also the case for backs that were expected to operate as RB1s, but have been relegated to committees. However, this season has... Read More


Wide Receiver Waiver Wire Pickups - Week 7

Six weeks of NFL football are behind us, aside from a pair of Monday games, including a late afternoon game between the Bills and the Chiefs. In terms of wide receiver production this week, we didn't have the huge breakouts like we had in Week 5. Chase Claypool didn't score four touchdowns. In fact, only... Read More


More Recent Articles

 

Dissecting Contact Quality In Search Of Fantasy Bargains

Of the 1,015 hitters sampled(1) between 2015 and 2019, there were only 14 instances of hitters making more productive contact against pitches outside of the strike zone than against pitches inside of the strike zone based on xwOBAcon. Based on the same sample, the average hitter was a whopping .116 points better against pitches inside... Read More


Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 23rd, 2020

RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 23rd, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


Lineup Order Risers and Fallers: AL West 2020 Review

It’s the offseason and there are about to be a bunch of moving parts. This allows for speculation in terms of players gaining or losing playing time, moving up or down a batting order and much more. The idea here is to highlight some lineup situations for each team and some potential winners or losers... Read More


2021 1st & 2nd Year Players with James Anderson - Benched with Bubba (Episode 317)

Bubba (@bdentrek) is joined by James Anderson (@RealJRAnderson) on episode 317. The guys will go over 30+ first and second-year players. They will discuss their current ADP's in the 2 Early Mocks, what to expect of the players in 2021, and much more. They also go over some listener questions, compare Juan Soto to Mike... Read More


Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 21st, 2020

RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 21st, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 20th, 2020

RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 20th, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


Bubba and Bat Flip 54: 2 Early Mocks APD Player Debates - Benched with Bubba (Episode 316)

Bubba (@bdentrek) is joined by Bat Flip Crazy (@BatFlipCrazy) to take a deeper look at the 2 Early Mocks ADP. They go over some of the positions and look at players with similar ADPs and debate. Going around the diamond discussing some players people are high on and some they are down on with a... Read More


Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 18th, 2020

RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 18th, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 17th, 2020

RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 17th, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


2021 Early Mock ADP Values & Reaches: WPC+ Videocast

Pierre Camus and Nicklaus Gaut prepare for the 2021 fantasy baseball season with a look at early mock draft results from the RotoBaller Expert mock. Like and subscribe to the RotoBaller channel on Youtube to get all our latest podcasts and catch us on iTunes and BlogTalkRadio as well! Be sure to also tune into RotoBaller... Read More


Statcast Season Review: 2020 Barrel Leaders (Hitters)

The 2020 MLB season will always be one for the record books, even if everything that took place will have multiple asterisks attached to it. Evaluating Statcast numbers is a nice way to find hot and cold hitters, as well as underachievers and overachievers. Now that the regular season is over, let's reflect on the... Read More


Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 16th, 2020

RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 16th, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 15th, 2020

RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 15th, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 14th, 2020

RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 14th, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


Bubba and Bat Flip 53: 2 Early Mocks APD Trends & More - Benched with Bubba (Episode 315)

Bubba (@bdentrek) is joined by Bat Flip Crazy (@BatFlipCrazy) to take a deeper look at the 2 Early Mocks ADP. They dig into trends, some interesting risers/fallers, and much more. They also go over some listener questions at the end to keep the Fantasy Baseball information coming even in the offseason. Be sure to subscribe... Read More