Fantasy analysts always tell you to “buy low” and to “sell high”. The problem with this advice is twofold.
First, everyone else in your league has heard the same advice and are on guard against being snookered into a disadvantageous deal.
Second, the types of players they tell you to trade and to trade for are illogical. They say “sell high on Mike Pelfrey” or “buy low on Jose Abreu”, but that’s just foolish. Everyone in your league is aware that Abreu is probably going to turn it around and that Pelfrey’s production is likely to fall off a cliff.
What buying low and selling high should really be about is taking advantage of changing opinions of genuinely good players. Case in point, a couple of weeks ago, Prince Fielder had hit four home runs along with twelve RBI in a four day span. Before this hot streak, Fielder had a top notch AVG and OBP, but the power numbers didn’t follow, but after these four games, his homers and RBIs were in line with the rest of his stats. With these counting stats added in, Fielder was a top ten player.
I drafted Fielder in the fifth round this year. Last year, before his neck injury, he was drafted in the second round. At this point Fielder was looking so good that his value went even higher than it was before last year’s season-ending injury. Taking advantage of these shifting expectations, I participated in a three-way trade, of which the most important part for me was getting Paul Goldschmidt for Fielder.
Now, do I think that Fielder will be a great player for the rest of the season? Absolutely. Do I think he’ll be a top ten player the rest of the season? Probably not.
I think that’s the point of buying low and selling high. Trade good players who people would want regardless, get their expectations shifted ever so slightly by whatever happens to be going on at the moment, and then reap the rewards.
With all this in mind, let’s take a look at a few players to sell high and to buy low on.
Troy Tulowitzki: Over the past two weeks, through a mere forty at bats, Tulo has hit five home runs with eleven runs and fourteen RBIs, with a .450/.500 slash line. Tulowitzki was regarded as a top 20 player before the season and, quite frankly, for the first month and a half of it, he sucked, but after this hot streak, his seasonal stats are back up to a level which could be considered elite.This is the perfect time to sell: Tulo has a great track record, was well-regarded before the season, is risky to own, has been bad for most of the season, and his stats look fine because he’s been awesome lately. I wrote this in my shortstop column from last week, but if you can trade Tulo for a guy like Jhonny Peralta and another good player, I wouldn’t hesitate to pull the trigger.
Jose Reyes: The Toronto shortstop has stolen five bases over the past week. Yes, there have been plenty of other nice stats over this streak, but the stolen bases are what’s important. Reyes looks like he’s over his rib issue and he seems like he’s ready to return to being a top-five shortstop. Don’t let him fool you. During his rehab, Reyes said that his injury was going to linger throughout the year. That’s never a good sign. Overall, I still like Reyes plenty, as the games he ends up playing will be highly productive, but if you can get someone who thinks he’ll be healthy for the rest of the year, let him take that risk. Like with Tulowitzki, if you can trade Reyes for Peralta and another good player, do it as fast as you can before your trade partner changes his mind.
Albert Pujols: I actually traded away both Pujols and Reyes as part of the Goldschmidt trade (although I did get Ian Desmond and Josh Reddick in return). Pujols eventually found his way to my opponent for that week, where he promptly hit three home runs in three days. He didn’t stop there, and he’s now hit seven home runs in total over the past two weeks, bringing his season total up to fifteen. Even with this hot streak, Pujols is still only hitting .258 on the year and despite having fifteen home runs and batting behind Mike Trout, he only has 28 RBIs on the year. See if you can convince someone that Pujols is a top-10 first baseman. If you can, trade him for that amount of value, but if not, he doesn’t bring the same risk that the two shortstops above do, and it’s worth it just to keep him.
Edwin Encarnacion: There isn’t a better buy-low candidate in the whole league. Encarnacion is battling a shoulder injury and has been out for the last couple of games. Over the past two weeks, even when he’s played, Encarnacion has struggled, going 3-27 with a measly one RBI. There’s no way that he’s going to continue to play that poorly, but this slump has dragged his seasonal stats down to the extent that his owner might be getting antsy and worried, which is when you pounce. Don’t forget that Encarnacion bats cleanup in the best lineup in the game and that he’s one of the best power hitters in MLB. Value him as a top five first baseman, but try to convince your trade partner that he’s in danger of falling out of the top ten and be willing to trade what you need to get him, even if you let his owner talk you into trading top eight first baseman value for him.
Pablo Sandoval: The Kung-Fu Panda hasn’t acclimated nicely to Boston. He’s been pitiful so far this year, with five home runs and only seventeen RBIs. Obviously don’t overpay for him, but there’s always value to be had in trading for a struggling player in a good lineup, especially when said player is a third baseman, where there’s been a huge drop off after the best six or seven at the position.
Victor Martinez: V-Mart had a breakout season last year, at age 36 (PEDs, anyone?), and was drafted in the fourth or fifth rounds this season. He started off terribly and was dropped in my league. Someone picked him up, but then dropped him once he went on the DL. Once I saw this, I picked him up immediately and have stashed him in my DL spot since. There’s no way Martinez will come close to last year’s stats, an aberration that won’t happen again, but throughout his career he’s had a solid baseline of a good AVG and OBP, some power, and few strikeouts. That’s worth at least a brief inquiry into the cost of acquiring Martinez, especially since you’ll be able to get him on the cheap by pointing to his age, his injury, and his poor seasonal stats that’ll change for the better.
If you have any questions about fantasy baseball, individual players, trade offers, rest of season outlooks, or anything else, email me at email@example.com and I’ll answer your question on Sushi On Sports