Fantasy MLB: Sell High & Free Agent of the Week
By Michael Jokinen 5/1/13
(Thank him for the good times, then ship eem out!)
For all the attention drawn to keepers and drafting ability, in-season management is the single most important component to determining team success. It encompasses so much: lineup optimization, free agents, trades, and streaming the back-end of your rotation like a mad-man. Championships are sculpted in the nitty-gritty of mundane everyday managing. The most active managers are often the winningest. I’m the sort of fantasy manager that blows up your cell phone at all hours with trade ideas. The time is always ripe to trade. A trade might be on the table today that won’t be there tomorrow. If you ain’t getting better, you’re getting worse. Here are some guys I’d sell high on, and the time to strike is now!
– SELL HIGH –
SP – Matt Moore, Rays: It’s not that I don’t like Matt Moore, because I do. It’s just that I think he’s fairly overrated, and because of his blistering start (5-0, 1.13 ERA), there’s no better sell-high option in all of baseball right now. He’s a glamorous name, and it’s time to cash in on the overblown hype. His name has always outweighed his actual production through his young career, but now the iron is hot and you must strike … trade him! Moore’s xFIP and SIERA were both above 4.00 last year, significantly higher than his 3.81 ERA. He’s been tremendous in 2013, but I’m not buying that he’s taking “the next step.” He’s benefitting from a perfect strand rate, a .149 BABIP, and he still hasn’t gotten a handle on his walks (4.22 BB/9). He’s still not consistently going deep into games, and couple that with the mediocre Rays offense, and I don’t see him as a candidate to make a run at 20 wins. I was able to trade him with Zack Wheeler for Cole Hamels in my league, and I’d recommend doing something similar if you’re a Moore owner – if you can convert him into a Bumgarner, Hamels, or Lee, I strongly suggest you pursue that avenue.
RP – Chris Perez, Indians: Another guy whose name is bigger than his bite. Chris Perez is never short on visibility, but he’s not all that great. He rarely has been. It seems like every year he does just enough to keep his job. His strikeout rate (10.1 K/9) is more than a full strikeout-per-inning better than his career mark, an unsustainable clip that’ll regress to its pedestrian norm. Perez, like Moore, has been good so far in 2013, but has clearly been aided by a fluky strand rate and lucky BABIP. Throw in the fact that this free-agent-to-be is a probable mid-season trade candidate, and there’s too much downside to Perez for me to invest. With Vinny Pestano waiting in the wings, many expect the Indians to trade Perez before the deadline. Maybe he’ll be a closer wherever he lands, maybe he won’t. He’s playing over his head and there’s risk going forward – trade him.
C – Carlos Santana, Indians: Did you know that Carlos Santana is top-5 in the majors in BABIP? His absurd .389 batting average (career .247 hitter coming into this year!) has been fueled by an equally absurd .434 BABIP. Santana, bless his heart, is not a player blessed with great foot speed or contact skills as a hitter. Or in other words, the BABIP isn’t even close to maintainable. His BABIP is over 100 points higher than both his career mark and his xBABIP. Moreover, better than 20% of his fly balls are clearing the fence. He’s a great young talent, but he’s not as polished a hitter as the surface stats would indicate. Like Moore, it’s a great time to sell on this “rising star” under the false presumption that his game is going to another level.
– FREE AGENT OF THE WEEK –
SP – Andrew Cashner, Padres: A must-own in even the shallowest of leagues. He was a fantasy afterthought for 2013 after he wasn’t named to the Padres rotation and was subsequently placed on the DL. People were quick to forget the former first round pick with a power arm. But here he is, fresh off the DL and inserted in the Padres rotation, this time for good. Remember, he was a super hyped prospect that was the centerpiece of the Anthony Rizzo trade. Since his move to pitcher-friendly Petco Park, Cashner has a sub-4.00 ERA and better than a strikeout an inning. His transition from the bullpen to the rotation has been a seamless one, and he’s well positioned to continue excelling in the short term. Not only has he been sharp through his first two starts of the season (10 IP, 1 W, 2.70 ERA, 10 K), but his next two starts are against the Cubs and Giancarlo-less Marlins. I’m fully on board.