We all want to think we're smarter than the game. Sometimes we skirt the risk and end up with an incredibly pleasing result. Other times the regression monster rears it's ugly head and things go south when we hold on to a player well past his “use by” date. Ray Flowers highlights some players who hit the All-Star Break with tremendous numbers who you would be wise to consider dealing before the proverbial bottom falls out of their performance.
To see who Ray listed as players you want to buy low on, well, click on the link silly.
Devin Mesoraco, Reds
In 60 games he's hit 16 homers with 45 RBIs. Those are stupid good numbers. He's also batting .304. Ask yourself a simple question. Is Mesoraco the second coming of Mike Piazza? Hopefully you said no. That being the case, wouldn't it be wise to see what you could get if you dealt him? His BABIP keeps regressing – from 370 in May to .293 in June to .231 in July – and it will likely continue to receded (.341 overall). We've also seen the same regression in his HR/F ratio by month (30.0, 26.3, 24.0 and 15.4 in July). He's likely to continue to see regression (23.9 overall). Simply put, it would be stupefying if he continued along at these levels the ROTW (Rest of the Way).
Others to sell: Derek Norris, Kurt Suzuki
Matt Adams, Cardinals
Adams has 11 homers and 41 RBIs over 301 at-bats. Can totally buy that level of production from him. The issue isn't the power, it's the batting average. Currently batting .329, there isn't a baseball person on the planet that ever thought he would hit that well. You DON'T hit .329 with a 0.15 BB/K rate. There is only one other man in baseball with a mark under 0.25 who is batting .300 (Adam Jones at .301). There's also very little chance that Adams will finish the year with a 25 percent line drive rate. It's just not the type of hitter that he is. Also, that .376 BABIP is a huge number, like top-10 if not top-5 in baseball by the time the year is over. Highly likely that will recede as well. Bottom line is this. Ten plus homers are totally doable from here on out, but it's quite possible that he'll struggle to hit .270 the ROTW.
Others to sell: Jose Abreu, Victor Martinez
Jose Altuve, Astros
Batting .335 with 41 steals, the 5'5” second sacker of the Astros is on pace for a season of .335 and 65+ steals. When was the last time a second baseman hit .335 with 65 thefts? Well, it hasn't happened in the 21st century. Since 1950 it's never happened. If we move things back to 1900 we find the Eddie Collins is the only second baseman ever to have pulled off the trick (he hit .346 with 67 steals in 1909). Is Altuve historically good? Exactly my point. It's also bonkers to think a guy that stole 33 and 35 bases over two full seasons would, in year three, double that rate. Every thing that possibly could have gone right for Altuve did in the first half. Is he going to have a magical season that will go down in baseball history or are the worst of times ahead for a guy who currently has the worst GB/FB ratio of his career? You know which side I'm on.
Others to sell: Dee Gordon, Scooter Gennett
Casey McGehee, Marlins
He's been stupendous. No if, and's or buts, he's just been great on his way to .319 batting average and 53 RBIs. That's the good. The bad? He hit .223 and .217 in 2011-12. He couldn't find a big league gig in 2013 so had to play in Japan. His BABIP was .249 in 2011-12. This year the mark is .369. Oh, and despite all the success he's hit one home run giving him 10 homers in his last 207 big league games. Can ride it out if you want – you added him off waivers for free – but it would be wise to kick the tires on a deal since someone might be willing to overpay for his services.
Others to sell: Lonnie Chisenhall, Todd Frazier
Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies
This comment is going to be along the same lines as the one on Altuve. Here is the pace of Tulo: .345-36-89-121. How many shortstops have reached those four marks in a season since 2000? Of course zero. Since 1900? It's happened once when Alex Rodriguez did it in his first full season in 1996 (.358-36-123-141 and he added 15 steals). Moreover, for Tulo to reach those numbers we have to anticipate that he will appear in more than 150 games this season. Since 2007 how many seasons has has played 150 games? The answer is two and since the last time he reached that number (2009) he's averaged 110 games a season. You really think he's going to stay healthy the rest of the season given his track record? Do you really think he's going to set career bests in batting average, homers and runs scored as well? Good luck with that.
Others to sell: Alcides Escobar, Jimmy Rollins
George Springer, Astros
Guess who leads the AL in strikeouts? Mr. Springer with 112. Given that he's appeared in only 76 games we can say two things. (1) He would be leading baseball if he had played all year (B.J. Upton is at the top with 116 Ks – in 89 games played). (2) If Springer were to maintain this pace over 150 games we'd be looking at 221 strikeouts. The record for Ks in a season is 223 by Mark Reynolds in 2009. That is no bueno. When you strike out this much you don't hit for a good average. It's currently .233 (incidentally that's the same as his Isolated Power mark). His batting average may not go up. He's stolen five base, but for a guy who lit up minor leaguers for 45 steals that's a horrible total. It's also questionable if his 27 percent HR/F ratio will continue. That's a big time number. If it regresses to let's say 20 percent, a total that would still be double the league average, and we've got a batter who all of a sudden isn't doing a hell of a lot in the fantasy game.
Others to sell: Nelson Cruz, Khris Davis, Billy Hamilton
Alfredo Simon, Reds
One of the best waiver-wire adds of the year. He hit the break with a 12-3 record, 2.70 ERA and 1.05 WHIP through 18 starts. Epic really. However, the concerns are everywhere. His K/9 rate is under 6.0. That's not good. His BABIP is .232. He's not holding on to that (.277 for his career). His SEIRA (4.01) and xFIP (3.95) are light years above his raw ERA. The biggest issue though? How about workload. In 2010 his innings pitched mark was 67.1 innings. In 2011 it was 133.2. In 2012 it was 61. In 2013 it was 87.2. Right now, right now, he's already up to 116.2. How many bullets does he have left? I'm betting not a lot given that he's never thrown more than 133.2 innings in a season, a mark he will blow past in a month.
Others to sell: Mark Buehrle, Jesse Chavez, Jason Hammel, Scott Kazmir, Chris Young
Rafael Soriano, LaTroy Hawkins, Joe Smith
Soriano has been tremendous. Check out the numbers: 0.97 ERA, 0.81 WHIP, 8.76 K/9, 3.27 K/BB. He's also 22-for-24 in save conversions. He's gained two strikeouts from last season. His K/BB ratio is the best it's been in four years. His HR/F ratio, at least 0.80 the last three years, is a third of that at 0.24. His BABIP is .207. That's .070 points below his mark the last three years. His line drive rate is 14.8 percent. That's only 75 percent of his career mark (20.3 percent). The fact is the results are stupendous, but there simply cannot be a reasonable expectation of it continuing.
Hawkins is on the block. He could easily be dealt. If he is, chances are pretty high that he will end up being a setup man. Moreover, though he's a terrific 17-for-18 in saves, he's not dominating batters by any means. His K/9 rate is 3.82. That's p-a-t-h-e-t-i-c. His 1.56 K/BB ratio is h-o-r-f-f-i-c. It's highly unlikely that he will continue to boast a .227 BABIP (career .306). It's also unlikely that he will continue to operate with a HR/9 mark that is half his career rate (0.55 this year, career 1.01). There's nothing to hang your hat on here other than his current role.
Smith is the closer for the Angels and he's been killing it (2.32 ERA, 0.89 WHIP, 9.70 K/9, 5.11 K/BB ratio). Issues abound. (1) He's a bit of a sidewinder with an 89 mph fastball. (2) Though his WHIP is stupendous, his career mark is 1.22 and his mark last season was 1.22. (3) His 9.70 K/9 mark is nearly two full batters above his 7.63 career mark. That's over 483 outings folks. (4) His career walk rate per nine is 3.57. The last two years the mark is over 3.30. This year? Try on 1.90. (5) His 5.11 K/BB ratio is more than 100 percent better than his career norm. In fact, it's actually 139 percent above his career average of 2.14. He's never had a season over 2.35... a mark he is more than doubling. The fact is the results this year are in direct opposition to the work he's shown in the big leagues for seven previous seasons. The smart money is on regression coming in the second half.
MOVIE FANTASY LEAGUE
Wednesday night on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio (Sirius210, XM87, Monday-Friday 7 PM EDT, we held a four person movie snake draft. Myself and co-host Kyle Elfrink were joined by producers Drew Phelps and Phil Backert. Here are some audio highlights of the draft. For the results of the entire draft simply look down.
||A Few Good Men
||40 Yr. Old Virgin
||Planes, Trains, Auto
||Dumb & Dumber
||Star Wars (Episode 4)
||The Dark Knight
||Where Eagles Dare
||Remember the Titans
||Nightmare Before Xmas
||A Christmas Story
||The Lion King
||Super Size Me