Featured Image by: Journal Sentinel Photo
Written by Sam Gubner
Th 2017 fantasy baseball season is well underway and gives rise to many questions. Multitudes of players are racking up points out of nowhere, while others are slumping severely and making you question why you even drafted them. This article will give you reason as to what to do with these players.
Buy or Sell?
(If you don’t know certain stats look at the glossary on http://www.fangraphs.com/)
Jonathan Lucroy – Texas Rangers – C
Jonathan Lucroy is uncharacteristically hitting bad against righty pitching this year at a .172 clip. This is horrific compared to the .310 batting average he had against righties last year. Lucroy has consistently been an elite catcher and is just in a rough patch right now. He’ll eventually get back to being his normal self and put up the great numbers we are used to seeing. You can probably get him for a low price, so trade for him while you still can.
Eric Thames – Milwaukee Brewers – 1B/OF
Eric Thames was a mediocre player in the major leagues before signing in the Korean leagues. In Korea, Thames was unstoppable and even earned the nickname “God”. Thames continued his resurgence in the major leagues hitting 11 home runs, 19 RBI, and a .345 batting average in the first month of the season. But now, Thames is struggling hitting .125 with no dingers. Thames is starting to get adjusted to by major league pitchers and it is his turn to adjust back. I personally wouldn’t take the chance that he finds a way to adjust and would just trade him for a more established and less risky fantasy option.
Ryan Zimmerman – Washington Nationals – 1B
Ryan Zimmerman is only behind Bryce Harper and Freddie Freeman in on-base-percentage. He is also leading the entire MLB in batting average and slugging percentage. In essence, he’s getting on base at an extremely high clip, while hitting for large amounts of power. This is the holy combination of fantasy baseball, but is also the one that almost never continues for long periods of time. Especially an old and injury prone player such as Ryan Zimmerman can’t continue such a torrid pace. Many will be enticed by Zimmerman, so use that to your advantage and upgrade before Zimmerman starts to regress or get injured.
Cody Bellinger – Los Angeles Dodgers – 1B
In the Logan Forsythe trade with the Tampa Bay Rays, the Dodgers refused to give up Cody Bellinger and are now reaping the benefits. Bellinger recently got called up to the majors and has earned his keep, hitting for a .342 average and 9 RBIs. Not to mention he has tremendous power and can steal lots of bases with his surprising speed. Trade for Bellinger while people still don’t get how great he can become. Adrian Gonzalez’s fantasy successor has come.
Edwin Encarnacion – Cleveland Indians – 1B
Edwin Encarnacion was expected to bring a power bat to the Cleveland Indians and fill the gap that led to their tragic Game 7 World Series loss against the Cubs. Surprisingly, Encarnacion has not lived up the hype only hitting five home runs, which only amounted to a measly .170 isolated power. In addition, Encarnacion is not being able to get on base, with the lowest on-base-percentage ever since his breakout year in 2011. Edwin is 34 years old and it looks like he’s in the decline of his career. Trade him before people realize this isn’t just an extended slump.
Rougned Odor – Texas Rangers – 2B
Rougned Odor is extremely talented, and even started out the year very hot, but has started to cool off substantially. So much so, that his batting average is now under .200. But the reason for this is because Odor’s BABIP is at an extremely low clip of .203. This stat will surely go up and in turn all of his other fantasy-related stats. Many are more than happy to trade Odor, so you should be the smartest of the bunch and snatch him up for cheap.
Trevor Story – Colorado Rockies – SS
Trevor Story came out of nowhere last year, bashing 27 home runs in under 500 at bats with a .296 isolated power. But now his isolated power is .227 and his batting average is at .155. Trevor Story simply hasn’t been able to put the bat to the ball. The only reason you should buy is because he is cheap, and in the chance that he bounces back, his numbers will be amplified by playing half his games in Coors Field.
Chase Headley – New York Yankees – 3B
Chase Headley is on a torrid pace to start the season with a .302 batting average. But there is simply no way he keeps this up, as even in his prime he couldn’t reach .290 for the entire season. In addition, he isn’t hitting for power with only three home runs and is not driving in runs with 9 RBI as the Yankees don’t have many good offensive players around Headley and Aaron Judge. Sell Headley for some good pieces before his hot start comes to an end.
Todd Frazier – Chicago White Sox – 3B
Todd Frazier is having trouble at the start of this year in all facets of hitting, with a horrific .178 batting average along with only three homers. But don’t sell just yet, Frazier has characteristically done bad at the start of the year and heated up later on. So just be patient and if he isn’t on your team, get Frazier for cheap as he will start mashing in the second half of the year and fantasy baseball playoffs.
Kyle Schwarber – Chicago Cubs – OF
Kyle Schwarber is an amazing talent for the Cubs, and after being called up he hasn’t done much to warrant being in your fantasy baseball lineup with a .193 batting average and .174 isolated power. Schwarber is young and will eventually become an elite commodity in fantasy baseball, while people are selling cheap is when you should get him. It isn’t a question of if he breaks out, but when.
Jose Bautista – Toronto Blue Jays – OF
Jose Bautsita came out of nowhere in 2010 to become one of the elite sluggers in baseball, but now it looks as if Bautista’s career is in a sharp decline of production. Bautista’s isolated power dropped by over 50 points last year and his batting average was at a mediocre .234. This decline has continued this year .180 and a horrific .090 isolated power. For reference, in his last productive season in 2015, his isolated power was .285. Sell low for Bautista as he’s falling back into obscurity.
Aaron Judge – New York Yankees – OF
Aaron Judge has showcased the power that had the Yankees organization salivating, slugging a league-leading 13 homers. Judge is a towering figure at 6’7″ and 275 pounds, and is able to launch homers left and right. There really isn’t anything else to it, Judge can simply hit the longball better than anybody in baseball right now. It may take a lot to acquire Judge but it would be worth it.
Ervin Santana – Minnesota Twins – SP
Ervin Santana is on fire. Out of nowhere, Santana has risen to become one of the fantasy baseball elites, garnering the third most points among all starting pitchers. A major factor in this is Santana’s extremely easy schedule, with the Rangers being the only team inside the top 15 of team runs scored this season. Santana has never had this type of production before, and at the age of 34 don’t expect it to continue.
James Paxton – Seattle Mariners – SP
James Paxton, year after year, showcases his ability to be one of the elite pitchers in fantasy baseball. And year after year, Paxton gets injured and stops these talks entirely. This is never more aparent then the start of this season where James Paxton had an incredible 1.43 ERA and 1.52 FIP. Sadly this production was yet again stymied by injury as Paxton just landed on the 10-day disabled list with a forearm strain. Trade Paxton, and if nobody is willing to give up much then just hold on to him and pray he doesn’t get injured again.
Antonio Senzatela – Colorado Rockies – SP
Antonio Senzatela burst onto the MLB scene, with a 2.84 ERA and in turn lots of fantasy points. What is even more interesting is Senzatela has pitched very well at Coors Field, the field that is in most pitchers nithgmares. But even though Senzatela is currently performing well at Coors, the way he pitches simply doesn’t coincide with the stadium he plays in. Senzatela is a contact pitcher and doesn’t get many strikeouts, and this simply does not coincide with success at Coors because it is much easier to get better contact at such a high elevation. Trade Senzatela while he is still valuable.
Greg Holland – Colorado Rockies – RP
Greg Holland has been an elite closer in real life and fantasy since 2013, and has moved from being the shutdown guy for the Royals to monster in Denver. This has been clearly displayed as Holland currently leads the major legues with 12 saves. The fact that Holland is a strikeout pitcher, dominating in Coors, and has a pedigree of being a great closer indicates he’ll have a great season. Trade for Holland and you’ll have an elite fantasy closer.