Fantasy Baseball 2013: Week 11 Buy Low, Sell High Trade Advice
If you sold high on injury-prone starting pitchers Brandon McCarthy and Jake Peavy while they were pitching well in recent weeks, had Mariners prospect Nick Franklin stashed on your bench or took a flyer on Phillies utilityman Freddy Galvis, you probably don't need my advice. You're probably doing pretty well on your own.
If you're having trouble finding those hidden gems or identifying which players have already peaked for the season, you've come to the right place. Here are five "sell high" and five "buy low" recommendations for Week 11 of the 2013 MLB season.
Kyle Blanks, 1B/OF
Initially diagnosed with a hand contusion, Padres first baseman Yonder Alonso tweeted the news that his hand was, in fact, broken:
No fun having broken hand... But ill be back soon !!! Big things ahead !!! Great W tonight for the @padres— Yonder Alonso (@YonderalonsoU) June 7, 2013
As far as him being back soon, doesn't every injured player think he'll return soon? Still, I wouldn't count on it.
Blanks is his replacement, although he wasn't in the lineup on Thursday because he was initially sent to Triple-A in order to make room for Cameron Maybin.
Now the 26-year-old, who is 6-for-his-last-17, will get to play regularly in Alonso's absence for at least the next few weeks. His power potential combined with an improved contact rate makes him a fantasy sleeper over the next month.
Lance Berkman, DH, Texas Rangers
The 37-year-old has quietly become a hitter who is no longer the home run threat he once was—he has six homers in his last 268 at-bats. As long as he's getting on base and hitting doubles, though, his numbers will be fine, but even that part of his game has suffered lately.
Berkman's in a 7-for-36 slump with no extra-base hits, two walks and 12 strikeouts. I'm not saying he's done; I'm just saying that you should try to trade him to a leaguemate that doesn't realize he stopped hitting homers a couple years ago.
Jarrod Dyson, OF, Kansas City Royals
Dyson steals bases, which is very important in fantasy baseball. If he can hit enough to play regularly, he will become extremely valuable.
While he hasn't hit much during his career, he was off to a strong start this season (.847 OPS, 6 SB) before an ankle injury knocked him out of action in mid-May.
The Royals offense needs a spark, and getting the 28-year-old back in the leadoff spot would really help. Once he returns from the disabled list—he started a rehab assignment on Thursday—the plan could be to use him a lot more due to the struggles Jeff Francoeur and David Lough.
Kelly Johnson, OF, Tampa Bay Rays
The 31-year-old had 10 homers in his first 142 at-bats this season, which locked him into the regular lineup as the everyday left fielder. But with top prospect Wil Myers heating up in Triple-A (23-for-his-last-62 with six homers and 24 RBI) and closing in on the majors, Johnson will have to avoid being in a slump once the Rays do bring Myers up in order to avoid being the odd man out.
Currently in a 2-for-20 slump, Johnson will have to get back on track or Myers could take over the majority of at-bats at some point later this month.
Scott Van Slyke, 1B/OF, Los Angeles Dodgers
Teammate Yasiel Puig is commanding all the attention in Los Angeles at the moment, but 26-year-old Scott Van Slyke has quietly put up some big numbers (6 HR, 5 2B, 11 RBI in 58 at-bats) since his call-up in early May.
Playing mostly against left-handed pitching so far, Van Slyke is now playing everyday in left field with Carl Crawford on the disabled list, and he's showing that he can handle right-handed pitching as well (1.193 OPS vs LHP; .893 OPS vs RHP).
Jean Segura, SS, Milwaukee Brewers
Segura's value couldn't have been any higher than after his six-hit game on May 28, which boosted his batting average to .365. He's gone 5-for-34 since, though, and pitchers may have finally discovered how to get the 23-year-old out.
I'll admit, he's played so much better than I thought he would, but I knew that he wasn't going to keep up that pace for the entire season. He'll likely outplay his projections over a full season, but his numbers are very likely to start creeping back closer to where the experts thought they would be.
Gerrit Cole, SP, Pittsburgh Pirates
With Jeanmar Gomez on the disabled list, and with Wandy Rodriguez expected to miss at least one start with forearm tightness, the Bucs will be looking to fill some rotation holes soon.
James McDonald and Charlie Morton are each on rehab assignments and are close to returning, but don't count out top pitching prospect Gerrit Cole joining the rotation soon.
The 22-year-old still isn't striking out as many batters as you'd expect from a pitcher who throws in the mid-to-high 90's (47 K in 68 IP), but he's not giving up very many runs or giving up a lot of solid contact either. After back-to-back scoreless starts, Cole's ERA is down to 2.91, and he's allowed just 35 hits over his last 62 innings.
Francisco Liriano, SP, Pittsburgh Pirates
Liriano can be one of the best pitchers in baseball, capable of shutting down opponents and reaching double-digit strikeouts on occasion. But he's also one of the most frustrating pitchers in baseball, pitching poorly too often for how good his stuff is.
After making four excellent starts in his first five outings of 2013, though, expect a string of ugly games to come soon. His value is unlikely to be any higher than it is right now, especially with all the buzz going around about his 11-strikeout game against the Reds last weekend.
Andrew Cashner, SP, San Diego Padres
Maybe people are waiting for the injury-prone Cashner to land on the disabled list, or maybe they haven't realized that he's the Padres' best starting pitcher and isn't going back to the bullpen anytime soon. Regardless, he's still not a highly-owned pitcher in fantasy leagues.
With another strong outing on Thursday (7 IP, 3 ER, 7 H, 2 BB, 4 K at Colorado), the 27-year-old is starting to look like the long-term ace in San Diego. He's not striking out a ton of hitters but he's working deep into games, and an improved Padres offense should be able to put him in line for a victory more often than not.
Rafael Betancourt, RP, Colorado Rockies
Currently on the disabled list with a strained groin, Betancourt was pitching well (3.20 ERA, 11-for-12 in save opportunities) and should resume his role as the team's closer when he returns—or will he?
His replacement, Rex Brothers—who I recommended as a "Buy Low" pick last month—might not relinquish the job with the way he's throwing the ball.
The 25-year-old Brothers has allowed just one run all season, and that was way back on April 6. Since that time, he's pitched 23.1 scoreless innings and recorded a save in his lone opportunity since Betancourt went on the disabled list.
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