Week 3 – MLB 2012 Season: Sell High and Buy Low Candidates in Fantasy Baseball
Monday April 23rd, 2012
Peter Stein (Fantasy Baseball Analyst – MLB reports): The name of the game in fantasy baseball is sell high and buy low. This is the best method to improve your team. But it takes careful consideration and analysis to determine who is legit and who is fluking. As we are approximately 16 games through the season, remember that you are playing for a 162 games of stats and thus we are only 10% through the 2012 season. Trust the preseason predictions, and make an upgrade whenever possible. Therefore, in this week’s fantasy focus, I highlight which guys to target and which guys to sell.
Josh Hamilton is currently playing t-ball (.418/7/17/1). We have seen Hamilton go on stretches like this before, but we know his expected 162 game season still places him outside of the top-ten. Furthermore, we simply cannot expect a full 162 games out of Hamilton. Perhaps he was undervalued heading into this year, and he is playing for a contract, but his hot start has the potential to net you a safer option in one of the buy low candidates listed below.
David Freese I talked about last week, because he will not keep up his current pace (.333/3/15) and has plenty of name recognition after last October. Furthermore, he is prone to prolonged absences due to injury and offers nothing in the stolen base category. He is certainly an above average fantasy third baseman, but you might as well try to capitalize at his peak value.
Chase Headley is an ideal sell high candidate after his red-hot start to the 2012 season .293/4/13/2. I do love Headley’s skill set, and he can be an asset at the third base position for average, runs, and stolen bases. However, there is not a whole lot of power here, as he had just four home runs in 113 games last season. Petco caps his power ability, so try to sell him to an owner hoping for an unrealistic 20/20 out of Headley.
Josh Willingham, who I also talked, about last week, is off to a great start as well: .328/5/12/1. However, Target Field will suck away a lot of his power, so its hard to expect 30 home runs and he certainly wont hit .300 on the season.
Kyle Lohse is continuing to have success after a surprise season in 2011. With a 3-0 start and ERA and WHIP’s under 1.00, surely someone will overpay. Lohse proved last year that he is capable of contributing to the WHIP and ERA categories, but he has just 16 strikeouts in 27.1 innings. Not only does it mean he pitches to contact a lot, which means some regression is due, he is actually going to hurt you I nthis category in 5X5 roto. Use his absurd ERA and WHIP for the start of the season to net you a safer and more well-rounded option if possible.
Bartolo Colon is a ticking time bomb. It is only a matter of time before he breaks down, as he did last year. That said, he is a great option for the time being, especially when pitching in Oakland or Seattle. A great guy to spot start for the time being, but also try to capitalize on his hot start which surely cannot be maintained throughout the entire year.
Ryan Braun’s slow start looks like this: .255/2/7 and 3 stolen bases. Although he went throw a rough patch before Saturday’s breakout performance, I am sure he has had several 15 games stints such as the start of his 2012. Even if he continued at this pace, we are looking at 20 home runs and 30 stolen bases. The talent is still there, and owners might be scared by links to PED’s and willing to sell a little low. It is also understandable if Braun has been pressing a little bit at the plate to begin the season with all of the controversy surrounding him. However, in my mind there is no reason not to expect Braun to finish the top season as a top-five player when it’s all said and done.
On April 13th of last season, Albert Pujols through 11 games produced a stat line of .229/1/6. This year, through sixteen games, it’s even worse: .246/0/4. However, he has looked pretty solid at the plate despite his lack of production and we all know how he finished his 2011 season. The stats will come, despite the unexpected initial struggles with the transition to the AL. If you own Pujols, the frustration is understandable, but if not, it’s an opportunity to buy low. Just point to Adam Dunn’s 2011 season to build a base that AL pitching is far superior. While this might be true to a degree, Pujols has proven that he is the best, and I expect him to also finish as a top-five player when all 162 games have been played.
Carlos Gonzalez is off too a slow start as well, but also had a tough time getting going in 2011, producing a .228/1/14/3 statline in April. Gonzalez seems to heat up as the weather does, and is a rare five-category stud. If you are looking for a case to drive down Gonzalez’s value in trade talks, point to the home/way (.999 to .757) and right/left (.942/.778) OPS splits.
I am really high on Alejandro De Aza, who has begun this season with a very well rounded game from a fantasy perspective: .268/14/3/7/2. He is not going to blow you away in any category, but he will steal enough bases to make up for his lack of power. He will quietly produce in all five categories and you should try to get him before he becomes too established of a name. He is a great fourth outfielder type of guy to own.
Third baseman Mark Reynolds and Aramis Ramirez are also great buy low candidates at the moment. However, their owners probably paid a decent price for them. We know the average will be miserable with Reynolds, but he has gone through stretches like this before and will eventually start slugging home runs. It will be interesting to see if he will still steal bases. Chances are Reynolds and Ramirez owners are looking for other options, and both guys can probably be had at a cheap price.
***Today’s feature was prepared by our Fantasy Baseball Analyst, Peter Stein. We highly encourage you to leave your comments and feedback at the bottom of the page and share in the discussion with our readers. You can also follow Peter on Twitter (@peterWstein)***
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Posted on April 23, 2012, in Players: Fantasy Baseball Articles and tagged adam dunn, albert pujols, alejandro de aza, aramis ramirez, bartolo colon, baseball, buy low, carlos gonzalez, chase headley, david freese, fantasy baseball, josh hamilton, josh willingham, kyle lohse, mark reynolds, mlb, ryan braun, sell high, statistics. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.