Fantasy Baseball 2015: Week 8's Buy-Low, Sell-High Trade Advice
What good is a fantasy owner who lacks a sense of timing?
Fantasy baseball—just like the real thing—is a game of skill, luck and timing. That last trait in particular comes in handy in regard to getting value in the trading game.
Knowing which player(s) to trade away and which to deal for—and knowing just the right time to do so—can make all the difference.
After all, it doesn't get much better than making a move to unload a hot flavor-of-the-week type who's about to cool off in exchange for a slumping stud who's ready to take off.
Now, speaking of timing, let's get to some players to sell high and buy low.
Buy Low: Carlos Gomez, OF, Milwaukee Brewers
2015 Stats: .258 BA, 19 R, 4 HR, 18 RBI, 5 SB (128 PA)
Through the first two months, Carlos Gomez has been beset by injuries and hit by pitches, no doubt frustrating any owner who spent a first-round pick—and perhaps even a top-five selection—on him.
The big one came in mid-April when Gomez had to go on the disabled list with a hamstring problem that cost him two weeks. Then in mid-May, the 29-year-old was struck in the helmet by an upper-90s fastball from Noah Syndergaard. Gomez didn't actually miss any time for that, but he has since become something of a magnet for baseballs, getting drilled two other times.
Gomez has made more news for his rotten injury-related luck than for his play so far, and the former certainly has suppressed the latter. Tack on the fact that the 16-32 Milwaukee Brewers own MLB's worst record, and savvy owners have themselves a buying opportunity.
Remember, Gomez is in his prime and the only player to pull off consecutive 20-homer, 30-steal seasons the past two years. He also hit exactly .284 in both 2013 and 2014. On top of that, he's back in the leadoff spot again for a lineup that has started to get going a bit behind Ryan Braun, Aramis Ramirez and Khris Davis, not to mention the impending return of Jonathan Lucroy.
Gomez still can be OF 1 material, but he'll likely cost an OF 2 price right now.
Sell High: Greg Holland, RP, Kansas City Royals
2015 Stats: 1 W, 2.61 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 7 K, 7 SV (10.1 IP)
Like Gomez, this is a case where injury has suppressed a player's numbers to date. Unlike with Gomez, however, that might be a good thing for Greg Holland's owners.
How's that? Well, because Holland hasn't had enough of a chance for his statistics to plummet just yet. But with the way the 29-year-old looks, that could happen pretty quickly.
While Holland has a tidy 2.61 ERA and only one blown save out of eight opportunities, he has not been throwing well at all. To wit, the Kansas City Royals closer currently has more walks (eight) than whiffs (seven) in his 10.1 frames, which partly explains how his 5.35 FIP is—get this—more than double his ERA.
The pectoral strain that forced him to miss almost three weeks across April and May could be to blame if it's lingering at all, but something clearly is not right for Holland to have lost two miles per hour off his heater. Rather than try to stick it out to see when (if?) he gets himself together, why not peddle him as the proven elite, top-five closer he has been before he pitches enough to show he's not that this year?
Buy Low: Billy Hamilton, OF, Cincinnati Reds
2015 Stats: .222 BA, 23 R, 3 HR, 11 RBI, 18 SB (179 PA)
Admittedly, labeling Billy Hamilton as a buy-low candidate might be just a gut call or even wishful thinking. After all, the 24-year-old's production has come to a screeching halt.
Since opening the season with seven stolen bases in his first four games of the season—something that had never been done before—Hamilton has been hard to stomach with a .215 average and only 11 swipes in 37 games.
It's gotten so bad that the Cincinnati Reds have dropped him from his usual leadoff perch to last in the lineup the past week. That likely will hinder his ability to contribute as expected in the runs category.
With all that as the background, now is just the time to inquire about Hamilton—but only if you really need stolen bases. He won't bring much else to the table, but provided his super-low-for-a-speedster .248 BABIP—which is among the 30 worst in MLB—takes a turn for the better, Hamilton should be able to hit in the neighborhood of .250 and swipe 40-plus bases from here on out. A return to the top of the order would make him a plus in runs scored as well.
Of course, there's also the risk that he totally craters and gets sent to the minors to figure things out, so be careful not to overpay here.
Sell High: Anthony Gose, OF, Detroit Tigers
2015 Stats: .329 BA, 20 R, 1 HR, 11 RBI, 8 SB (156 PA)
Were you not staring at a picture of Anthony Gose that provides the answer, here's where we might have posed the question of which player currently owns the highest batting average on balls in play this season.
Indeed, it's Gose, who sports a ludicrous .456 BABIP, which not only is easily the loftiest in baseball but also would be more than 50 points north of the highest BABIP this century, which belongs to former shortstop Jose Hernandez (.404 in 2002). The only other player with a BABIP better than .400 in a full season since 2000? Manny Ramirez that year (.402).
In other words, Gose's luck is going to run out—and soon.
For now, the 24-year-old Detroit Tigers center fielder has a good amount of value because of his elevated average, 20 runs scored and eight steals. Plus, he's been hitting atop the Tigers' potent lineup and playing every day with the injury to Victor Martinez opening up designated hitter for Rajai Davis.
But between Martinez's eventual return as well as Gose's batted-ball luck, still-unrefined approach at the plate and his five caught stealings in 13 attempts, Gose is bound to turn back into a pumpkin. Sell now, please.
Buy Low: Carlos Santana, 1B/3B, Cleveland Indians
2015 Stats: .221 BA, 28 R, 6 HR, 27 RBI, 2 SB (190 PA)
Already off to one of his notorious slow starts, Carlos Santana will be out on paternity leave for the next few days to be with his wife and new baby, as Jordan Bastian of MLB.com reports.
All the best to Santana's family—and all the more reason for owners to put in a trade offer for the 29-year-old right now, while he's both slumping and away from the team.
Speaking of slumps, if you think the first two months of his 2015 look rough, consider his numbers from two recent seasons.
Through May 2012, Santana had the following fantasy stats: .245 BA, 21 R, 5 HR, 24 RBI, 2 SB.
And through May of last year, he was especially awful: .159 BA, 23 R, 6 HR, 17 RBI, 2 SB.
Point is? In 2012, Santana hit .256 with 51 runs, 13 homers and 52 RBI the rest of the way. Last year, he went for a .266 average with 45 runs, 21 homers and 68 RBI. He's still the same patient, dangerous hitter—just one who has a tendency to need some time to get the production rolling.
Santana's eligibility at both first and third base makes him a good target to bring a little versatility to your team, and he ultimately should flirt with being a top-10 option at both spots. If you happen to play in a league where Santana still is eligible at catcher—he did get in 11 games behind the dish in 2014—then this is even more of a prodding to go get him.
Sell High: Adeiny Hechavarria, SS, Miami Marlins
2015 Stats: .299 BA, 24 R, 2 HR, 20 RBI, 1 SB (188 PA)
On his own, Adeiny Hechavarria probably won't net you a whole heck of a lot in return. But the 26-year-old is the sixth-best fantasy shortstop in the traditional five-by-five rotisserie scoring, according to ESPN Fantasy Baseball's player rater.
Point that out, as well as his .299 average and 20-plus runs and RBI, and you're likely to pique someone's interest, at least enough to use Hechavarria as an enticing secondary piece in a swap. Remember: Shortstop is as shallow as it gets.
In reality, Hech's solid stats are driven by a hot first month, after which he has cooled considerably. Through April, the Miami Marlins shortstop was hitting .321 with both of his home runs, his lone steal and 16 runs and RBI apiece.
In May? He's still hitting a respectable .281, but with all of four extra-base hits—no home runs—and as many runs and RBI in 26 games.
While some thought Hechavarria might be taking a step up, he's still not walking at all (4.3 percent), which is a factor in fantasy because it limits his chances to get on base, score runs and/or steal a base—not that he does very much of either, anyway.
With no power, no speed and no patience, Hechavarria's value is all tied to his batting average, which happens to look pretty good—at the moment. It likely won't stay that way for long, so you should be moving and shaking to get rid of Hech before the bottom falls out.
Need more fantasy baseball help? Come pepper me with your questions on Twitter on May 29 at 1 p.m. ET @JayCat11.