We made it to the MLB All Star Break. Where does your fantasy baseball team stand? You should know if you are a buyer or a seller at this point of the season.
Yes, you are looking for guys coming off the DL and maybe you can pluck a guy from the waiver wire who has been under-performing, but this is the time to target owners who are out of it. Look for the guy who has no chance to get into the money and see if he is interested in trading an established player in his late twenties for a few young up-and-comers for next season.
Don’t be one of those fantasy owners that are in full-blown panic mode. Other than teams sitting comfortably at the top of your fantasy league standings, most owners are now willing to make major moves in order to plug roster holes.
Still, wise owners should focus on obtaining value at this point in the year, even if value-based moves unbalance your roster. With MLB teams at the midpoint in their schedule, there is still plenty of time for players to have big upswings in production. Here are some fantasy baseball buy-sell candidates.
The Phillies closer situation is a little muddy right now. Seranthony Dominguez hasn’t done a whole lot to lose his closer gig, but it looks like Victor Arano is dipping into Dominguez’s chances. The last two weeks saw Philadelphia give some save opportunities to Arano, earning the first three saves of his short career.
Arano has a 10.03 K/9 and a 3.09 ERA. As good as those numbers look, Dominguez is even better with a 11.50 K/9 and a 1.60 ERA. Dominguez pitched a save opportunity last Thursday, but it looks like there is no clear cut favorite.
I would wager that both will continue to get save chances, but Dominguez should get the bulk unless someone falters. Since it looks like a mix-and-match situation in Philly, Arano is well worth a waiver pickup if available. In all likelihood, you will need to trade for Dominguez and make sure you point out that he has been passed over for the last two save ops and was even an eighth inning setup man on Sunday to get the price lower.
Gregory Polanco had a breakthrough season in 2016, where he showed power and speed. His 2017 season was marred by injuries that lead to developing bad habits. That saw him lose his swing first and then his starting position. Polanco’s 2018 started out with more of the same until he backed away from the plate a little and rediscovered that swing. Since June 15, he has hit .317 with 8 homers, 19 RBi, 15 R and has been moved into the number three slot in the batting order. I would say Polanco is back on track and the owner who can trade for him should reap the rewards.
Jon Lester is playing with fire. Lester is a big name and when dangled in a trade, will get anyone’s attention. Make sure you point out his sparkling 2.58 ERA and 1.19 WHIP, not to mention a nifty 12 wins.
But, Lester’s 2018 is an illusion that will likely be not as magical in the second half. His K/9 is considerably lower than his career average (7.09 compared to 8.44), his BABIP is almost 60 points lower than his career average (.253 compared to .306), and LOB% is more than 10 points higher than his career average (83.6% compared to 73.7%).
SIERA sees him as a 4.64 pitcher and not the 2.58 he is sporting. In other words, MLB hitters aren’t taking advantage of an aging Lester. If he continues to pitch like he is, hitters will catch up to him and make his second half miserable.
Kyle Barraclough has been the Marlins closer for a few weeks now and his numbers look great, but unsustainable. His 1.28 ERA and 0.97 WHIP are partly due to his .158 BABIP and 92.8% strand rate. Those numbers are smoke and mirrors and SIERA says his ERA should be 3.88.
Considering that he also closes for one of the worst teams in baseball, the saves won’t be readily stacking up for him. Don’t get me wrong, he’s a good pitcher and occupies a valued position that can help a contender win. If you are in sell off mode, he’s the perfect player to trade away to bring in talented youth for next year.
Kolten Wong put up back-to-back double-double seasons in 2014 and 2015. As a young second baseman, Wong was looking like a power-speed threat to ride for the next decade. Then injuries and back luck hit him and the shine disappeared.
His 2016 was miserable and 2017 saw him post a good batting average, but little else. He found some playing time recently and has made the most of it hitting .325 with 5 RBi and 2 SB since June 30. This might be your best chance to unload him to someone desperate for help at MI.