Welcome to my first Buy/Sell column of the year!
If you haven’t read my April Strategy article I would recommend clicking on that before making any moves from this post.
My generic idea behind Buy/Sell strategy is buying low and selling high (Revolutionary stuff I know!). The key is recognizing what “Low” and “High” actually mean. I don’t think we (myself included) spend the necessary time understanding that before attempting trades. You don’t just wanna go around snagging the slow starters and sending away those actually performing. What you want to do when evaluating a rival player’s value is assessing how much he is worth to his current owner compared to how much he is worth to you. If you have player A rated as 20th overall rest of season and his owner has him as 30th overall, that presents an opportunity to improve your team. Vice versa when attempting to sell a player high.
(A Little N*Sync inspiration before we get started)
There are three important things to keep in mind when making trades:
- Owners normally overvalue their players. They own them so they must be special!
- When faced with an “even” trade owners tend to stand pat. You have to make it worth the gamble.
- While generally people are stupid, no one wants to buy high or sell low. You have to find openings and let the media conversations guide your moves. The best time to buy or sell a player is once the media starts talking about their slump or breakout.
Another thing to note is that slumps mean different things to each player. Kris Bryant has started out pretty slow but I doubt you could even trade someone drafted directly after him (like Harper or Arenado who are hot out of the gate) for them 1 for 1. However, Miggy is probably making his owners a little anxious thanks to his age. Though it’s still too early to get much value out of trading for Miggy, a couple more weeks and maybe an article titled “Will Miggy’s Early Season Struggles Continue?” written by someone on ESPN would be perfect timing. It’s also important to keep an eye on the blurbs that your site uses. If the updates are mostly negative or positive they will strongly affect the opinions of the owner as it’s the first (sometimes only) news most people see.
I’m not going to post many of the low ownership guys. That’s for places like waiver wire suggestions, while this is geared more towards trading. Also, this is heavily skewed towards redraft leagues. Keeper league strategy is a rabbit hole I’m not prepared to go down.
Greg Holland: Rockies closer is off to a hot start which tells me he could be fully back from 2015 TJ surgery. 2013-2014 he was as elite as they come posting sub 1.5 ERA’s with peripherals to match. Still only 31 years old. Between the home ballpark and Rockies projecting to be 0.500 ball club rest of the way, save opportunities won’t be ideal. I’d gamble on him being a top 10 closer rest of season with potential to join top 5 again. Owner likely took him late and may not realize what they have.
Gerrit Cole: Terrible end to 2016 and a bad start to the year but the 26 year old former #1 overall is only 1 year removed from a 2.60 ERA campaign. Velocity numbers look fine and I’m guessing you can get him for next to nothing. Worth the gamble.
Greg Bird: 0.063 start to the season looks pretty ugly but that’s only a 4 game sample. Missed 3 games in a row due to foul ball off of an ankle and now the flu bug that Mookie sent to Yankees stadium. Projections have him part time at around 105 games still hitting 20+ HRs, 60+ R, and 60+ RBI. That is 30/90/90 over a full season, which he should get since he isn’t part time. I’ve seen a number of owners ready to jump ship and his ownership #’s are dropping. You can get him for next to nothing but gotta act quick.
Trea Turner: Slow start, short track record, and an injury concern already. Some owners know better than to part ways with their 2nd round pick but others may get antsy and want to bail. If you can send something like your 3rd round pick to snag him that’s likely to be a net positive on the year.
Dylan Bundy: Been the waiver wire SP talk of the week. High upside, low downside since his price is so cheap. If someone beat you to him on the WW I’d consider trying to get him as an add on in a trade.
Marcell Ozuna: 2 of 3 full time seasons he’s gone 23/70+/70+. Still just 26 years old. This guy has major upside and his price is always cheap.
Travis Shaw: Hitting every day in the middle of an under the radar offensive team Shaw has gone from one of the worst parks for left handed batters parks in Fenway to the best in Milwaukee.
Ryan Zimmerman: Like Bundy you can’t read one of these lists without seeing his name. He’s hot, bats in the middle of the best lineup in the NL, and supposedly has adjusted his launch angle which should improve results. If he stays healthy he should contribute in a big way to your team.
Aledmys Diaz: So far he is putting up numbers nearly identical to last year. He got drafted after guys like Tulo and Russell but I wouldn’t be surprised to see him just outside the top 5 SS’s at the end of the year. Would be a good opportunity to buy before the owner knows what they have.
Miguel Cabrera: Like I said before too early to buy for most owners. I’d still send out a feeler since he’s 2/17 with a 0/0/0 currently. Had health issues in last couple years and is 33 so his perceived value will fall quickly with an extended slump.
Nelson Cruz: 40+ HR’s 3 years in a row. His age will make people overreact, take advantage.
Edwin Diaz: One atrocious 4 ER outing has people freaking out. He was a consensus top 5 closer for a reason. He will be fine so you should try to target a reactive owner. He had a 15 K/9 last year! 15!!!!
Danny Salazar: I think he flew under the radar this offseason thanks to Cleveland’s potential lineup, Kluber, Carrasco, Miller and Allen. His first start looked rough on paper but his stuff is still there and may even be better than last year. I’m thinking a low 3 ERA with 10+ K/9 on a team that will win 90 games. I’d trade for him before his next start.
Steven Matz: I’m always looking for a good hurt player gamble and Matz is presenting some nice value. He has top 10 pitcher upside and if he can wait to fully heal his strain he will be back in a month. With all the news being “negative” about him he can could be had at a nice price.
Nomar Mazara: Great start and trendy name Mazara looks like one hell of a smart draft pick by you! Except the small fact that he can’t hit lefties. We’re talking 44 wRC+ (100 is average) for Mazara against LHP in 2016. Only 21 so I’m sure that will only improve but I think selling is the right move if you can find someone that believes.
George Springer: You likely drafted Springer pretty high in your draft and are loving the quick start. If you are anything like me you have been hearing about his power/speed combo for years and drafted him as such. Problem is that he doesn’t seem to have that speed we expected. Going back to last year he’s 9/21 in SB attempts and 0/2 this year and I doubt he hits 10 SB’s this year. He’s batting lead off which limits his RBI potential, so instead of 100+ RBIs from his power we are looking at 80. His BA will likely hover around 0.260 and a projection of 30/100/80 is a pretty safe bet. You are literally looking at Mark Trumbo(0.260/30/80/100) if he hit lead off, but he went about 60 picks later. Sell Springer while he is hot and recoup that value before others figure it out.
Jake Arrieta: With a strong first 2 starts and Cy Young level name recognition you could get a hefty return on selling him now. He was trending in the wrong direction before this small 2 game sample so I wouldn’t let it fool you. If you can trade him like a top 3 arm I would do it in a heartbeat.
Hishashi Iwakuma: RUN!!! Peripherals trending in wrong direction for years and currently has a 7.08 FIP with a 2.25 ERA. If you own him put him in a trade now before it’s too late. Return won’t be high but could be a nice throw in to get a larger trade accepted.