Last week, we explored some potential buy-low trade targets for your Scoresheet team. In a shocking twist, this week we examine players we’d consider selling. We break these sell-high candidates into two groups: ones to market to the non-BP crowd and ones you should trade to owners with a BP subscription who foolishly skipped over this article.
For the Traditional Crowd
Please note that we aren’t using the term “traditional” in any sort of derogatory sense. Much of Scoresheet operates based on the principles of batting average and ERA, and some owners are comfortable building their teams around these statistics. While we wouldn’t expect you to be able to fleece any of these types of owners, you might be able to turn a profit by marketing the players below to them.
As a classic sell-high candidate, Jarrod Saltalamacchia is riding a month of posting a walk rate and an isolated power level that would each rank with his career highs if he keeps it up, a combination he’s never before been able to sustain. Unless you believe that his rate of swinging at or making contact with pitches outside the strike zone is making a material change at this point in his career, most of his other performance indicators are in line with his career norms. He’s definitely going to beat his pre-season PECOTA projection of a .227/.293/.395 triple-slash, line but he can’t sustain his current pace for much longer.
Jake Peavy is currently sporting a shiny sub 4.00 ERA, but his peripherals indicate he’s gotten lucky to allow so few runs, thanks mostly to a career high walk rate (over 5.0 BB/9, as of this writing, over 13 percent of batters faced). Quickly, before it’s too late, peddle Peavy to a contender looking for solid innings that may not know that his FIP is over a run higher than his ERA. He's healthy so far and that's also unlikely to continue throughout the year, so if you get a reasonable offer, don't be too stingy.
On a team of surprises and breakouts, Charlie Blackmon has already doubled his career HR total this year, doubled his career WARP, and is posting an OPS he’s only once matched throughout the minors. Coming into the season as a guy that looked like he might end up as having marginal major-league value—which is an upgrade over visions of a classic Quad-A kind of guy—he’s managed to suppress his strikeout rate by making contact with over 95 percent of the pitches he swings at inside the strike zone and ride an incredible HR/FB rate to a tremendous output of .342/.375/.597. Both are unlikely to be sustainable, so if you can find takers willing to give you a return that approximates something close to the upper limits of reasonable expectations—something like a .900 OPS—take the deal and be happy knowing that you cashed some of that value.
Jose Abreu. He’s pretty great, right? We think it’s worth considering thanking your lucky stars that you drafted him and moving him along, however. Even given his prodigious talent, he’s likely performing at the top of his ability, and no one has as of yet seen him fail. Once that insanely high home run to fly ball ratio comes back to earth a bit, he’ll likely settle in as an average or above average starting first baseman. As we’ve discussed before, we feel that’s generally a luxury for a Scoresheet team, and you can best find value elsewhere. It may be worth dangling Abreu to a contender in need of offense or some sort of spark in search of a more stable player elsewhere in your lineup.
While he does normally sport above average BABIPs, there’s no way Justin Upton will be able to continue his .380 pace, especially while he’s walking less and striking out significantly more than career norms. There’s no question he’s still a very valuable player who can help virtually any Scoresheet team. But some owners may read his output this season as Upton finally reaching that elite tier his potential has always promised. We don’t see him quite at that level, so you may be able to profit by trading him to someone who thinks he has taken that leap.
With plenty of name recognition and a not too shabby 3.22 ERA, Shelby Miller is another guy some might see as finally showing signs of being the player once touted. His peripherals, however, suggest his ERA should be 1.50 to 2.50 runs higher, which is an entirely different story. He’s walking nearly 5.5 guys per 9 innings and not striking out much more than that. All signs point to bad things in the near future.
For the Sabermetric Set
Many owners are well versed in reading peripherals and will be able to spot a likely candidate for regression about as well as you. Trading with these owners therefore often follows a different path. We recommend trying to find solid players whose hype, for any number of reasons, has likely boosted perception of their value beyond what should be reasonably expected.
One of the easiest ways to accrue value in fantasy baseball is not to play. Teams have had to deal with injuries and disappointments to their real shortstops, and all the while, Stephen Drew remains out there, like the green light in the distance. It’s an open question as to how much of Drew’s 2013 spike will be retained, and so while your mileage may vary, we’d prefer to cash him in now before the answer arrives. Because he’s not playing for anyone right now, but he hasn’t zeroed in on a team, he’s more easily moveable, and you could either get a marginal piece for 2014 if you’re contending, or a shiny bounty if you aren’t.
Oh, we definitely think Derek Norris is for real. This is the player we expected to see back with the Nationals, finally healthy again after a series of hand, head, and body injuries. While the balls aren’t going to fall into play nearly as much as they have over the past month, he’s in all likelihood going to settle in the .240-.250 batting average range, which when combined with his secondary skills makes him a clear starter. So why is he here? Because we’re guessing that he didn’t go into the season as your starting catcher, which means you probably can afford to lose the at bats more than most. This puts you in a prime trading position, especially when considering the aforementioned lengthy injury history. Don’t sell him at cost, but if you can get April baked into the trade return, it’s time to pull the trigger.
So you may have heard one or two things about this guy Gregory Polanco. We certainly don’t doubt his jaw-dropping ability or that he’ll be a perennial keeper. But here’s the thing. While he’s down in the minors working on his home run trot or whatever it is the Bucs claim he’s doing, baseball people of all types are working themselves into a frenzy over his imminent arrival in the bigs. Trading Polanco will hurt, for sure, but you should be able to turn him into quite a bounty from a starry-eyed trade partner.
The Seattle Mariners face two of the more generous pitching opponents in baseball this week, as they first travel to Arlington before heading home to face Houston. That said, there aren’t that many Mariners who should be playing for your team under any circumstances at this point. While you may want to promote DustinAckley or Michael Saunders if desperate, Smoak is probably one of the few players who could even be an occasional impact bat in a soft week, if you don’t have a solid DH or first baseman already. Keep in mind that he is a switch hitter who plays like a mild left-handed batter, so he should be benched versus lefties in almost all scenarios.
In contrast to the Mariners, the Giants have any number of players who should be in and out of lineups. Many of you have probably moved Morse into your starting lineup to capitalize on his hot start, but his poor batting eye and suspect defense probably make him worthy of being on most benches. This week, though, a visit to Coors Field and three games at home against Minnesota mean full speed ahead for most Giant batters. Although the injury to Brandon Belt is unfortunate, there’s a chance that Morse draws a first base rating in a few weeks that makes him more playable there than in a corner, so keep monitoring that situation.
A case of the movable force against the stoppable object; Phil Hughes leads his homer-prone righty staff into Petco Park for the week. Hughes has been pitching well lately, and looks more like the third/fourth starter he can potentially be for a while to come, even if his ERA is at the higher end of acceptability for 2014 starting pitching performance. The park should mitigate his greatest weakness, and the Padres, even with Carlos Quentin back, should help the rest. He’s also coming off a hot streak, which is notable for luck balancing purposes if he’s been a consistent member of your rotation to date.
Wait, you sat him already? As long as Milwaukee doesn’t pull the plug on him, this offseason sleeper candidate shouldn’t be totally written off, no matter how lost at the plate he looks. His plate discipline was always going to be a trainwreck, but the hope is that it normalizes slightly while his home run/fly ball rate matches his power potential. He’s less far away than it looks. That said, even a good Khris Davis shouldn’t be playing every week, and with four starts against the toughest pitching staff in baseball, and another three in Miami, you probably don’t want to bet on him putting it together yet.
The joke isn’t funny anymore, and it may have been in poor taste to begin with. Hamilton was always a better bet for fantasy and for real life than this Scoresheet format, and his somewhat predictable struggles mean that he should be far away from your starting lineup in most weeks, such as this one against St. Louis and Washington pitching. The league-leading times caught stealing render him unplayable in this format, even as a late-game defensive replacement. Hopefully it’s just a case of him spinning his wheels a few times in the early going, as it would be truly depressing to have to change that “Y” in the Steals? Column to an “N.”
We’re optimistic about Montero’s potential as a regular rotation fit in both the short and long term. Although he’s been a little wilder than we expected in Las Vegas, he’s held his own in that ballpark as well as anyone, including the more heralded Noah Syndergaard. Depending upon the quality of his first start, which hadn’t taken place as of press time, he’ll likely step in as a Mets regular. It’s always a crapshoot, but we anticipate immediate success. That said, while both Arizona and the Dodgers offense seem to be underperforming, their lineup potential against righties may mean that you should hold off a little longer before inserting Montero into your lineup straight away.
In the podcast:
This week, the Outcomes mourn what could have been, as Jose Fernandez is lost for the season in front of their eyes. After briefly discussing what the Tommy John cluster means for Scoresheet owners, the Outcomes bring back the mildly beloved Best Thing They Saw This Week, which is not a potential Jose Fernandez start. Then, the Outcomes settle in to name a few players who they would rather see on another team instead of their own, none of whom are Jose Fernandez, who they would rather see on any team. Ask not for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for Jeffrey Loria.